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Scholarship Seekers

The National Scholarship Providers Association (NSPA) is a non-profit membership association for scholarship and student support professionals. We do not give scholarships directly but we have some resources that may be helpful to you in identifying scholarships. Please see the list below for ideas about how to find scholarships. The items on this list are in no particular order of importance.

1. We encourage you to talk to your high school counselor(s) about scholarships and ask them to inform you about upcoming opportunities. Scholarship providers often send information to high school counselors so use them as a resource. Many high schools post scholarship opportunities/deadlines on a bulletin board or on their website on a regular basis. If your high school doesn't do that, it could be a useful suggestion to offer.

2. Don't wait until you're accepted, but talk to the college or university admission professionals and/or financial aid administrators at the schools in which you are interested in as soon as possible. Find out what type of scholarships and financial aid they can offer and how to go about applying for these funds. If you know what your academic major might be, talk to that particular department as well. Individual departments often offer their own scholarships that are not necessarily awarded through the college's financial aid office. 

3. Insider’s tip: If you've received your financial aid package (when or after you've been accepted), including any private scholarships you've been awarded, and the amount you still owe is more than your family can realistically afford, ask the college you hope to attend about options to appeal. Most colleges have an appeal process which might lead to a few more dollars towards your college expenses. This is no guarantee, and we don't recommend taking advantage of this process if you don't actually need additional monies, but it never hurts to ask. Also, don't be afraid to take a work study or other part-time job to contribute to your education and living expenses. Many students work part-time and there are studies showing that students who work on average no more than 12 hours each week do better in school because they learn better time management skills and are investing in their own education.

4. Be sure that you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) when it becomes available on or after October 1st each year. Studies have shown that students who apply for financial aid during the first three months of the FAFSA submission period (beginning October1) tend to receive twice as much grant (free) money on average as students who apply later in the financial aid application process. Many colleges have priority deadlines for filing the FAFSA, so be sure you meet those dates to receive the most funding possible. Apply early to be sure to get first in line for funding opportunities from the school and the state. The FAFSA is what colleges, the government, and some scholarship providers use to determine your estimated family contribution (EFC) and demonstrated financial need which, in turn, determines which grants, loans, and scholarships you might be eligible to receive. If you don't complete and submit the FAFSA by each school’s priority deadline date, you may not be eligible for any aid from the federal government given through your college. Many scholarship providers ask for your FAFSA information as well. If you have questions about this, contact your high school counselor(s) or the financial aid office at the college you are considering attending.

5. Applying for scholarships is a big job. It takes a lot of work, but that work usually pays off. Check out the free scholarship searches on the right of this page. The more information you can provide about yourself, the better, because it will help you find the best matches. Also check with local organizations like Kiwanis, Soroptimist, Rotary or Lions Clubs, as well as with local foundations in your area (community foundations, private foundations, etc.). If you think you know what your academic major or what career you'd like to pursue, find out whether any professional associations in your desired field offer scholarships. You might want to check national, state, regional, and local organizations. 

6. While nation-wide scholarships often award large scholarships, local scholarships tend to have better odds for "winning" since you're often competing against fewer students. Apply for as many scholarships as you can (even $500 and $1,000 awards can add up), but use good time and resource management skills to prioritize how much time you should spend on each application and divide your time and effort accordingly. For example, if a local foundation is awarding ten $1,000 scholarships and a big corporation is awarding one $10,000 scholarship, apply for both, but put more effort into the application for the local scholarship. Even though it's just $1,000, your chances of being selected are probably greater.

7. We advise students to never pay for scholarship or financial aid information. Services that ask for payment are often scams, and even if they are not, there are many free resources available.

8. For great resources for all things dealing with student financial aid including scholarship resources, visit sites such as,,, and

We wish you the best of luck in securing a scholarship and in your future educational endeavors.



Scholarship Searches

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*NSPA has not independently verified the results of this review.


Financial Aid Information

Federal Student Aid Videos

Federal Student Aid Facebook Page

FAFSA Application

Federal Student Aid Website

Award Displacement

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 Why Does Award Displacement Occur?

Impact of Award Displacement on Students
and their Families: Recommendations for Colleges, Universities, Policymakers and Scholarship Providers


Taxation of Scholarship Dollars

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