More Money, Less Problems

Fourth Estate/Billy Ferguson

Scholarships are an effective way to help pay for college 


Ah, how does one pay for school, you ask? Is it through grit, determination and struggle? Yes. 

However, the real answer is money. 

Whether you get a full scholarship to a university or are paying your bill completely out-of-pocket, universities run, in part, on money from students.

The pressure to find scholarships is often put on the individual. It is important to recognize that the need to find scholarships, grants, loans and other ways to pay for college only exists due to the astronomical amount of money universities charge for attendance. 

Per Mason’s Student Accounts website, in-state students pay a tuition of $4,530 for 12-15 credit hours, meaning they qualify as full-time students. Out-of-state students pay $16,260. These rates are for the fall 2019 semester and do not include fees for textbooks, parking passes or housing — some of those who live on campus are also required to have a meal plan. 

Some students receive little federal or university aid, and must pay for school either by themselves or with the help of their parents. But some of us do not have the ability to manage those costs without extra help — and this is where loans, grants and scholarships come in.

Now, I don’t want to make anyone depressed by talking about the crushing weight of student loan debt. With that being said, dear reader, it might be best to focus on scholarships. 

The external scholarships, which Mason lists on its financial aid website, are helpful, but they do not even begin to cover the amount of scholarships out there. Outside scholarships —

meaning ones not offered by Mason — can prove highly significant to the amount of financial aid one receives.

All scholarships are different. Not all scholarships require bountiful, hyper-emotional essays (but some do, so get writing!). There are options out there for the busiest of bees. Niche is a great resource, awarding a $2,000 no-essay scholarship randomly to one student every month. It also points students in the direction of other websites which may be of help.  

Another good resource is Scholarship Points. This platform allows you to create an account and enter drawings for different amounts. Every time you log in, you get to enter points to the reward of your choice. Simple and easy. It is also important to note that these systems depends on the luck of the draw, so it is best to not get discouraged if you don’t win. 

Scholly is another outlet. The site provides some of the best resources to find outside scholarships. Using it, you create a profile that matches you with eligible scholarships. From there, it is up to you to look at your list of matched scholarships and apply to the ones you chose — the ones that best fit you. 

Not only does Scholly provide resources for students to find scholarships, it also partners with other organizations to give their own awards to students. Currently, Scholly is partnering with Graduate Hotels to give three students $50,000 each to either pay off student loans or to use as a scholarship in their continued education. 

However, it requires a subscription that costs $44.99 a year. This expense might not be feasible to all students, though it may be worth it in the end. 

Just applying doesn’t guarantee that you will receive scholarships. They are difficult to find, and can be difficult to get. What’s important is that you keep trying and keep applying. You may not get the scholarships you want at first, but you can’t get any if you never try. There is something out there for everybody.