• Scholarship Smarts
  • Read the Fine Print

Renewable Scholarships Are Best

Male student in university library

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.

What's Next?

Use the Scholarship Finder to find renewable private scholarships.

Financial information contained on the CollegeData website is for general informational purposes only and may not apply to you or your situation. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any financial content contained on the CollegeData website without consulting with a financial or tax advisor, or your parents, high school counselors, admissions representatives or other college counseling professionals. We disclaim all liability for actions you take or fail to take based on any content on the CollegeData website.