Like many adults, many students also believe that the scholarship or grant that they receive will never have to be repaired. Imagine the faces of those who have been awarded certain grants and scholarships when they receive a bill at the end of their college graduation. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 72% of college students who were 18 years or younger received scholarships or grants during the 2015-2016 school year and 65% for students 19-23 years of age.
You may not know it but not all money is free money. Your free money might disappear after your freshman year because there are some scholarships that are not renewable. While you could receive a certain scholarship for one year, the same one may not be available the following year. There are some schools that will award new students (freshman) a one-time scholarship in an effort for them to visit their college campus or to interview with their school. There are some scholarships that can be renewed if the student meets certain criteria’s. This might mean that the student must maintain a specific grade average, select from a certain major, or follow a strict school code of conduct. Every freshman should evaluate their scholarship to find out if it is renewable and to make sure they meet its terms. This information can often be found in the award letter that the student receives or by contacting the schools financial aid office.
Generally, a school will do all that they can to maintain their awards from one year to the next. However, the type of money that is awarded might change. If a student has a high federal student loan limit preceding their freshman year, during their sophomore year they may only receive a grant that is equal to grant that they have to replace the loan with. Some people see this as a bait and switch tactic. Regardless of how it looks, the student will still receive the same amount of aid, no matter how it is distributed. Despite this, grants and scholarships are more popular than financial aid that you will undoubtedly have to pay back, similar to a student loan.
Another thing that you might not realize is that when household circumstances change, it could affect your financial aid status. Perhaps you were enrolled when another sibling was still living at home but the sibling moved out while you were still enrolled. Your financial aid calculations will then indicate a change in your family’s finances. Without another mouth to fee, they see it as an increase in your family’s financial situation. Which means that they could reduce the amount of your financial aid.
These are just some of the reasons that you may end up spending money despite being awarded a scholarship. With a scholarship or grant, like any other type of financial agreement, you have to read the fine print. There is always someone in the departments financial aid department who can help you understand what you are actually receiving.