How can I get merit aid and scholarships?


There are three major sources of merit grants and scholarships:

States: Many states, including Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and New Mexico, award grants or scholarships to students with good grades. Your college's financial aid office should be able to tell you if you qualify for any state merit aid.

Colleges: The typical college has hundreds, sometimes thousands, of different merit grants. Call your college's financial aid office to ask about the options.

But don't stop there. Many merit scholarships are specific to a department, sport, or activity. So it also pays to call the department that runs your area of study, and faculty advisors for any activity (such as band or a sport) as well.

Foundations, charities and community organizations: From your local Lion's club to foundations funded by big corporations such as Coca-Cola, private organizations provide millions of dollars worth of scholarships each year.

However, many of the biggest private scholarships, such as the $20,000 Coca-Cola Scholars awards, have such intense competition that the odds of winning are low. You'll have better odds with local competitions. You can find those by asking your high school counselor, as well as any organizations that you might have ties to, such as a church or civic group.

Several web sites offer free searches of scholarship databases, but be careful: Many of them subject you to annoying and sometimes misleading ads.

NEXT: Financial aid tools To top of page

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.36%4.24%
15 yr fixed3.39%3.26%
5/1 ARM3.36%3.27%
30 yr refi4.34%4.22%
15 yr refi3.38%3.24%
Rate data provided
View rates in your area
Find personalized rates:
CNNMoney Sponsors
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.