How Many Scholarships Can You Get?

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College scholarships are one of the foremost sources of financial aid for students. Functioning practically as free money, scholarships are one of the only sources of financial aid that do not need to be paid back, unlike federal student loans.

However, navigating the rules and regulations surrounding scholarship money and financial aid can be tricky, especially since there are so many sources online, many of which are not credible. Trying to gather information on your expected family contribution, tax returns, student aid needs, and more can be a messy process. Fortunately, scholarships are fairly straightforward. After completing an application, if you are the winner you will receive money, which will oftentimes be sent directly to your accredited school by your scholarship provider. Furthermore, one of the greatest things about scholarships is that you can get as many as you need.

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Undergraduate students applying for scholarships for the first time are often concerned about how receiving scholarships may affect other financial aid packages they hope to get, like federal student aid or work-study. However, if you are in fact hoping to receive another financial aid package, you need not be concerned about how your college scholarships will affect it.

The only rule to bear in mind is that the amount of financial aid you receive cannot exceed the amount you need for your school costs. In other words, the total amount of financial aid that you receive cannot be more than your cost of attendance at your accredited school. So, current college students or graduate students who have already received a financial aid package cannot receive more scholarship awards than what is needed for their school fees, at least until the time comes to once again apply for financial aid through the FAFSA and other sources.

In effect, although there is a limit to the amount of money each student can receive through their sources of financial aid, whether that is federal student aid, merit scholarships, athletic scholarships, or something else entirely, a student can hypothetically get as many scholarships as they want, so long as the amount does not exceed the cost of attendance.

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how many scholarships can you get

How Many Scholarships Can You Apply For?

Since you can get however many scholarships you need, you can apply for as many as you want. There is no limit to the number of scholarships you can apply for, and you actually should apply to many. Scholarship awards can vary greatly, so you might apply for a few scholarships with huge awards, and you might also apply for some that are only worth a few hundred dollars. Whatever the case, you are welcome to apply for as many as you want, and doing so will increase your chances of earning at least some scholarship aid.

How many scholarships can you get

How to Get a Lot of Scholarships

There is no set method to guarantee that you get a lot of scholarships, but there are several things you can do to improve your chances.

Begin applying early

Applying early means that you should start at least the summer before your senior year of high school, as is recommended by the Federal Student Aid office. Furthermore, on, you can create a profile when you are as young as 14 years old. By applying early, you can maximize the number of scholarships you are eligible for and can apply for.

Apply to many

Many students apply for scholarships, so if you want to increase your chances of winning, you should apply to many. This way, you can increase your chances of winning at least one if not many.

Prepare your application well

When preparing your scholarship applications, be sure to gather all your materials well in advance and thoroughly proofread and edit all written submissions. It will be helpful to share your essays with other people as well, like school counselors, advisors, teachers, and professors, so that they can give you feedback on your work as well.

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What If I Get Too Many Scholarships?

Having too many scholarships is an incredibly rare problem, but it is possible, and if the amount of scholarship money you receive exceeds your cost of attendance, there are several options you can take.

First, if your scholarship funds are sent directly to your university, you can contact your financial aid office and your scholarship's provider to see if the scholarship funds can be put towards costs outside of tuition and fees. This could mean that the money is put towards buying a computer, notebooks, or even rent.

Similarly, if the money is sent to you directly, you can also contact your scholarship provider to see if you can use the money towards costs outside of tuition. Scholarship providers want to help students by giving them free money, so don't be afraid to reach out to yours to discuss what to do with the excess funds.

Oftentimes, your school might also send you a refund of whatever part of your scholarship award that is not used for tuition. It is important to note that you will likely have to pay taxes on this amount of money since it can be considered income.

How many scholarships can you get

Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Scholarships

How many scholarships does the average student apply for?

The size of scholarships can vary greatly, so the number of scholarships that students apply for also varies. In general, it is recommended that students apply for as many scholarships as possible. High school students should even begin applying as early as the summer before their senior year of high school, and students can begin applying for scholarships on when they are as young as 14 years old.

In the 2019-2020 academic year, the average number of grants and scholarship aid that college students receive at four-year institutions is $19,654. This is $7,892 at public universities, $20,374 at private non-profit universities, and $6,922 at private for-profit universities.

Can you keep leftover scholarship money?

It is indeed possible to keep leftovers of a scholarship award, although the circumstances under which students have leftover scholarship funds are extremely rare. Usually, students do not get to keep leftover scholarship funds, but sometimes your school will send you a refund check with the leftover money. Whether or not you can keep excess funds typically depends on your scholarship provider, so make sure to read the rules of the scholarship so you know what the possible uses are.

What is the easiest scholarship to get?

In general, the easiest scholarship opportunities to apply for are those that do not require an essay or other application materials. However, although the application process is easier, this does not necessarily mean that these scholarship opportunities are actually easier to win.

One way to increase your chances of receiving a scholarship is to apply for scholarships with narrow, specific applicant criteria. For instance, a scholarship for college students will be open to more applicants than a merit-based financial aid scholarship for computer science graduate students living in North Carolina.

Scholarships can have a variety of different applicant requirements including discipline, school year, ethnicity/race, location, grades, university, and more. Since there are so many options, finding a scholarship with narrow criteria that you match won't be too difficult, especially if you use a credible scholarship search engine like in order to filter through different types of scholarships.

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