Don't be caught short of college funds when your scholarship disappears after freshman year!
What makes a scholarship four times as valuable as another scholarship? Being renewable for every year of college.
Hooray, You Got a Scholarship! Darn, It's Not Renewable!
Winning a scholarship can be a joyful occasion, but be sure to read the fine print. In fact, find out if a scholarship is renewable even before you apply for it. "Renewable" means you will be awarded the scholarship for every year of college if you meet the scholarship's rules. If a scholarship's description does not specify that it is renewable, don't assume that it is. Contact the sponsor to clear this up.
Should You Accept a Nonrenewable Scholarship?
If you choose to accept a nonrenewable scholarship, your college might make up the difference in later years by increasing your grant aid. But if not, you'll have to win more scholarships, work more hours, borrow more money, or pay more out of pocket. If you are relying on the nonrenewable scholarship to make college affordable, you might want to delay accepting it and keep looking for a scholarship that is renewable.
The Ins and Outs of Renewing Scholarships
To renew a scholarship you must prove that you still deserve the award. The most common requirement is "satisfactory academic performance" in your preceding year of full-time study. What is "satisfactory" can be a certain GPA, or it can be vague. Get clarification from the sponsor. Other requirements can include residency in a certain state, financial need, and dependency on your parents. You may have to reapply as frequently as every semester.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Have a backup plan if you rely on scholarships to help pay for college. Nothing is guaranteed. Private scholarships may or may not be available in later years, even if they are renewable. Or your eligibility may suddenly change.
- Use the Scholarship Finder to find renewable private scholarships.
- Find out how to find scholarships offered by colleges.
Note: Financial information provided on this site is of a general nature and may not apply to your situation. Contact a financial or tax advisor before acting on such information.