Why Scholarships are a Critical Tool for Families to Pay for College
Paying for college can be a complex, stressful process. Yet, a new study finds that students and families may be missing out on scholarships, which can help make college more affordable. In fact, almost 40% of families didn’t take advantage of scholarships to help cover last academic year’s college costs, according to Sallie Mae’s 2023 How America Pays for College report.
Almost half of families who didn’t apply for scholarships weren’t aware of available scholarships, and 29% believed they wouldn’t receive one. Many students also point to the time and effort it takes to find scholarships and complete their applications or believe scholarships are only for exceptional students or athletes.
Sallie Mae’s free scholarship search app Scholly helps connect students and families to free money for college. Scholly is a one-stop shop to search and apply for millions of dollars of scholarships.
Don’t Leave Free Money on the Table
Applying for free money is the first step in Sallie Mae’s 1-2-3 approach to paying for college.
Free money, such as scholarships and grants, are often what enable students from underrepresented and underserved communities access higher education. Last academic school year, 85% of students attending public Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) used scholarships and grants to cover the cost of college.
To help expand access and completion for more students, Sallie Mae’s Bridging the Dream Scholarship helps students from historically marginalized and underserved communities attend college. In partnership with Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), The Sallie Mae Fund awards high school students up to $10,000 in scholarships to access higher education. The Bridging the Dream Scholarship for Graduate Students awards $10,000 to graduate students who plan to use their degree to advocate for social justice and support their communities.
The Sallie Mae Fund and TMCF also offer the Completing the Dream Scholarship, which helps students from underrepresented backgrounds with unexpected college costs to help them graduate without financial barriers.
To date, Sallie Mae has awarded more than 600 scholarships totaling $2 million to help more students on their paths to success.