Every year, billions of dollars in scholarship grants are offered to students. However, they are not always fairly distributed to students in need. Higher education in the United States is a costly prospect for students who aspire to pursue their studies.
There is also a considerable lack of scholarship knowledge, which results in certain prizes having few or no candidates and some money remaining wasted. Students can do more to stay aware of scholarships, while organizations are taking action to ensure scholarship access is expanded to students in need.
Plans to Reach Out to Students in Need
The Common App, a non-profit organization devoted to reducing costs in the college admissions process, teamed up with Scholarship America, the nation’s largest private scholarship provider to do more to connect students in need with scholarships in 2021. They announced their plans to “close persistent racial and socioeconomic gaps in access to college scholarships.”
Since scholarship awards are so important to help students succeed and graduate, especially those from less privileged economic backgrounds, they should have access to scholarships and grants from private sources. Companies, non-profit organizations, and individuals offer many different types of scholarships that could be accessed by these students if they got the opportunity.
Common App and Scholarship America created a pilot program designed to identify and contact students who qualify for scholarship funding, and plan to go forward in making it easier for students to identify and apply for scholarships.
Issues that Make Scholarships Inaccessible
Assuming that students qualify equally for scholarships, there are several factors leading to unequal distribution of awards. Lower-income students may not receive good financial advice before or during college, and they may lack support from school counselors who are responsible for making them aware of scholarship opportunities in the first place.
They may have more trouble completing required forms about their financial status if they or their parents aren’t able to supply some information. They may be discouraged by long and complex application processes. In addition, scholarships may not be well advertised to these students on platforms that can reach them.
Students may also not have a good sense of how likely they are to receive a scholarship. They may not want to put in the effort if they think they have little chance of success, but many scholarships are available to them without having extremely high standards to get the reward.
Due to lack of awareness and the obstacles in their way, students with the greatest need may give up on opportunities that are available to them. Raising awareness and reducing these barriers are the best solutions to this problem.
Taking Steps to Improve Access
Simplifying the application process for scholarships can benefit students in need. Just as the Common App reduced obstacles to applying to multiple colleges and universities with the same information, streamlining the process of finding and applying for scholarships can help students who would have been left out. With better scholarship-finding tools, students can identify scholarships that are targeted toward their ethnic background, their city or state, their interests, or special experiences that they have. They can also help students find scholarships that fit their academic qualifications or are extremely easy to apply for, rather than ones that require unique essays that take more time to complete.
Scholarships are frequently getting claimed disproportionately less by those who need them most, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Students should be encouraged to apply for more financial aid and do so quickly before they miss out on opportunities.
Scholarship organizations such as Scholarship America and Common App, as well as sites that provide scholarship finders, can help students discover scholarships they might not have considered applying for. They can also instill confidence in kids by demonstrating that these opportunities are within their grasp. Underprivileged students can get scholarships and other financial aid more easily in the future with the help of these groups and increased awareness.