You may be wondering if getting a scholarship is all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, it’s always great to receive money that you’re not expected to pay back, but are there any drawbacks to getting a scholarship. As it turns out there are pluses and minuses to receiving scholarship money. The obvious plus is that you get money that you need for school that you won’t have to take out in the form of a loan. This money will go towards things like tuition, room and board, books, supplies, your computer, and anything else related to school.
You definitely don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth but there are some things that you’ll be expected to do in order to receive the scholarship money, and keep receiving it each semester. Many scholarship awards have minimum requirements that you’ll be expected to have in order to get the award in the first place, but you’ll also be required to maintain these minimums each semester you expect to keep getting it. What’s great about a scholarship is that it’s usually not a one-off. You can renew it for as long as you go to college, depending on if you keep your grades up and meet all other expectations. Some scholarships will want you to maintain a certain GPA, while others will expect you to get involved with extra-curricular activities or put in volunteer hours in order to get your money.
If you come to rely on your scholarship money, but have a bad semester, it can be financially devastating having your money rescinded or not qualifying for it for future semesters.
When compared to grants, scholarships usually have more strings attached, but since they are renewable it balances out. When you receive a grant, many times it’s a one-time award. If you want to receive it again you have to reapply and get re-accepted. The beauty of grants is that you rarely will have to do anything outside of applying for them. If you apply for a grant and are awarded the grant, the money just shows up either by direct deposit or in the form of a check. With a scholarship they will not only verify that you’re eligible to receive it, they’ll check with the school to make sure that you’re still keeping your end of the bargain, and all money will be sent to the college directly to pay for things. You’ll only get the leftovers to do with as you please.
Of course it’s better to get a scholarship than to not get a scholarship. Just don’t be surprised when you find out all of the other things that come with getting one. They are often glamorized and thought of as the Holy Grail of free money for college. Some scholarships cause stress in the form of keeping the minimum requirements. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it or not.