You may be able to find scholarships for college even if you waited until the last minute.
1. Your college’s financial aid service
Contact your school’s financial aid department to find out if any institutions Scholarships are left. There may be money left behind by a student who has decided not to attend. Or a financial aid service may have inside information about available rewards opportunities.
At the University of San Francisco, Christopher Simpson, the school’s associate director of financial aid and veteran student services, recently heard from an East Bay College Fund administrator. The association couldn’t find a recipient who matched their scholarship profile: a Southern California student attending a Northern California school and not living on campus.
“Luckily, I had a student I could pass the resource on,” says Simpson.
2. Your employer or your parents’ employer
Ask your parents if their employers have scholarships available. One in 10 companies offers employer-sponsored scholarship programs for family members of its employees, according to the 2018 Benefit Survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, a trade association.
If you work yourself, even part-time, find out if there is a scholarship program for employees.
3. Search engines for scholarships and competitions
Find late scholarships using search engines such as the US Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop scholarship seeker, College Board Big Future, Scholarships.com, FastWeb, FinAid, and Peterson’s scholarship finder, you can filter by due date or find those accepting applications year round. You can also search for scholarships on social media, using hashtags.
Monthly scholarship contests may also appear on search engines. They are easy to learn and often do not require an essay. Typically, the prices are around $ 1,000.
Never enter a competition or apply for an online scholarship if you need to submit money or private information, like your social security number; this may signal a scam.
4. Local organizations
Find organizations in your hometown that award scholarships. These tend to be less competitive than national prices as recipients generally need to be local. Start by checking with your high school’s guidance office or career center to find community scholarships that have not been claimed.
“Local organizations often don’t have a beneficiary, so they extend their deadline and don’t always advertise it,” says Jennifer Horner, director of financial aid at Eastern Connecticut State University in Windham, Connecticut. .
Contact community organizations, foundations, and charities in your hometown or state to find out if they still have scholarships available. On scholarship search engines, you can usually filter awards by geographic location to find nearby awards.
You can also search for career or major related scholarships through professional associations and national student organizations. These can be harder to get by the eleventh hour, but are still worth a shot.
Get your ducks in a row
To make the late scholarship application process easier, polish your resume and have a basic essay template handy. The template should include information about yourself, why you are going to school, and why you need the money.
“If you can have these things on hand, in your mind, or written down somewhere, then in most cases you’ve done most of your essay and just tie it to the goal of that particular organization,” explains Simpson.
What to do when you get a scholarship
Once you receive a scholarship, contact your school’s financial aid office. The scholarship money is factored into your entire aid program. If you receive more gift aid than your determined financial need, it can impact the needs-based aid you receive and may even reduce institutional scholarships you have already received.
If you have student loans, a scholarship can help you reduce the amount you need to borrow. Check with your financial aid office about repaying the loan money that may now be covered by your scholarship.
Make a scholarship plan for next year
Plan ahead to apply for scholarships to pay for the spring semester or the next academic year. Apply for revolving scholarships and big dollars to reap the greatest benefits. Keep track of upcoming deadlines so you don’t have to rush for last-minute rewards next year.
This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press.