Scholarship season is one of the most dreaded times of the year for anyone, but it’s especially difficult for current college students to find scholarships when most scholarships are geared towards high school seniors.
“So many scholarships are very small, locally based, ‘high school graduates from this area,’” said Leslie Limper, the Director of Financial Aid at Pacific University. “It’s kind of hard, especially for an institution, to filter through all of those scholarships and find ones that are specifically meant for their students.”
According to Limper, 28% of undergraduate student financial aid in the 2018-19 year came from institutional grants and scholarships, meaning the best place to look for scholarships is usually at the students’ respective university.
Pacific offers 12 scholarships for current students, including the Student Emergency Fund that was put together during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most notable scholarships is the EC Krebs Boxer Spirit Award which is open to all undergraduate students, whether they have financial needs or not. This scholarship ranges from awards of $500 to $3,000 and Pacific usually hands out anywhere from 100-150 awards per academic year.
There are also scholarships for Hawaiian students, veterans, LGBTQIA+ students, students who are immigrants or refugees, students who are children or grandchildren of Pacific alumni, as well as students who are studying abroad.
Besides the scholarships from Pacific, students can also use scholarship search websites to find financial aid, such as OSAC, College Scholarships.org, FastWeb, and Sallie Mae.
OSAC, or the Oregon Office of Student Access and Completion, unfortunately, is only for students who reside in Oregon, but there are similar sites for every state. OSAC matches students with hundreds of scholarships and they can apply for up to 40 of them. Students are asked to write four personal statements of 1000 characters or less, which are usually used in place of writing individual essays for each scholarship. The official due-date for the OSAC application is March 1st by 5 PM, but students who apply by February 15th are entered to win an additional $500 scholarship. Even if students can’t make the early bird deadline, they should apply for OSAC scholarships as it’s one of the most pain-free options for searching and applying to scholarships.
College Scholarships.org is a website that allows students to add filters to the search results and shows a lot of state or school-specific scholarship opportunities. This site doesn’t require any sign-ups or for students to give away any personal information, but it is only a starting point for applying to scholarships. Instead of allowing students to apply to scholarships on their website, College Scholarships.org links the websites where these scholarships are located. This site is cleanly organized and easy to navigate and understand, which makes it a good contender for searching for scholarships.
FastWeb and Sallie Mae are both sites similar to College Scholarships.org, but they have students create an account and fill out information about themselves like student activities they’ve participated in or what their major is. This creates personalized search results based on what the students enter and allows them to find more niche scholarships. FastWeb and Sallie Mae also allow students to save scholarships to a smaller list so they can find them more easily the next time they log in. Both of these sites have options for student loans as well.
All of these websites are great places to start for students who are unsure of where to find scholarships. When applying, students should make sure to avoid paying fees to apply or to search for scholarships.
“It’s a good time to start thinking about [applying for scholarships],” Limper said. “The deadlines that I see are mostly for March 1st through June 1st.”
Students should make sure to start searching for scholarships as soon as possible, as some scholarships prioritize applications submitted earlier. Students should also follow the Financial Aid Office on social media, as they post any scholarships and deadlines for scholarships that they receive.
Get more up-to-date information on scholarships by following Pacific University Financial Aid on Instagram as @pacificufinaid, on Twitter as @PacificUFinAid, and on Facebook as Pacific University Financial Aid.
Find a full list of scholarship search sites approved by Pacific’s Financial Aid Office at pacindex.com/scholarships — Grace Alexandria
Photo: The Financial Aid Office, located in Marsh Hall (Julien Dagan)