Saving money with scholarships

Saving Money with Scholarships

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By Dr. Marcia Turner, dean of students at Hodges University

Making the decision to enter college comes with much research, review and financial analysis. Yes, the decision to enter college is a major investment; however, it is the type of investment that you make in yourself, which lasts a lifetime. Your education is yours and is something that cannot be taken away.

Determining how you will pay for your education can be daunting. When you begin to add up the cost of tuition, books and fees, the balance often leaves many students feeling defeated. When considering your financial options, scholarships are a useful and valuable tool in helping to reduce your debt.

Obviously, scholarships are not the only way students can pay for their college education. At Hodges University, the Office of Financial Aid provide students with information on available federal and state loans, and grant opportunities; however, students are encouraged to not only take advantage of outside scholarships, but also university-based scholarships to ease the financial investment of an education.

Below are some tips to follow when applying for scholarships:

  • Inquire about scholarships. Visit your institution’s Office of Financial Aid or Dean of Students for information on scholarships. Staff can provide valuable information to help you in your application process, as well as offer additional resources when looking for scholarships outside of the university.
  • Talk to your employer. Check in with your employer to see if they offer scholarships for employees or their children.
  • Don’t procrastinate. Begin researching scholarships before you apply to college. Oftentimes, scholarships require additional items for eligibility and scholarship deadlines vary.
  • Give advance notice for recommendation letters. If letters of recommendation are required, be sure to give your teachers, counselors or employers advance notice to prepare a letter.
  • Submit early. Don’t wait until deadline day! There are never penalties for submitting early, but you may often lose out if you miss the deadlines by even a day.

Students at Hodges University have the opportunity to apply for scholarships offered by the university through generous donations of our benefactors. Students are eligible to submit an application six times throughout the year and potentially receive one scholarship each 15-week term.

Hodges student Vanessa Suarez expressed her gratitude in receiving a scholarship, saying, “By awarding me the Jerry L. and Barbara J. Burris Foundation Scholarship, you have lightened my financial burden, which allows me to focus more on the most important aspects of school. Your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community. I hope that one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as you have helped me.”

Francine Ange, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in applied psychology, received the Scholarship Assistance for Veteran Education (SAVE) Fund. A full-time student, caregiver and dependent of a disabled veteran, she shared the impact of the scholarship, saying, “It is because of the Scholarship Assistance for Veteran Education (SAVE) Fund that I am able to attend classes at Hodges University for this summer 2016 term…Your kindness and generosity is a blessing in my life and to my education. This opportunity is greatly appreciated and one that will enable me to provide a better future for myself and my family.”

After hearing these inspiring and impactful expressions of gratitude, you may be asking, “How do I apply?” Let us tell you!

Visit STARS Online. The Hodges University Scholarship Committee uses STARS Online, a scholarship tracking and review system, which is available on the Hodges student web page. The application is accessible by logging in to your MyHUgo site and using your Hodges log in credentials.

Yes, it is that easy! However, you may need assistance, and to assist students in the application process for university awards, the scholarship committee has prepared these Frequently Asked Questions.

For students planning to enroll for the fall 2016 term, make sure to mark your calendars for August 1, 2016. This is the date that the scholarship system opens and is available for you to begin applying for a possible award. Each scholarship has its own specific criteria, so keep this in mind as you are preparing your application.

In addition, for fall 2016 term, new scholarship opportunities are available. Undergraduate students may qualify for either a needs-based or merit-based scholarship ranging from $500 to $2,200.

Awards are distributed twice throughout the term; initial awarding and final awarding. The initial awarding occurs just before the term begins, and the final awarding occurs by the date that the Mini-B term begins.

In addition to university awards, there are many outside, community-related scholarship resources available. Each semester, the Office of Student Development and the Hodges University Scholarship Committee update the newest issue of Money Matters, which provides useful information about in-house and outside scholarships, as well as advice on how to win scholarships.

However, the only way you can be awarded a scholarship is to apply. Make sure to treat the application as if you were applying for a job, and as always, do your research!