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Guiding you through the search for college scholarships

Scholarships—like grants—are financial aid that you do not need to pay back.

Scholarships are offered by many different groups, organizations, and even individuals. They are offered for all kinds of achievements—and to all kinds of students. And they’re usually competitive, with eligible applicants competing for a limited number of awards. But remember, you’re only competing against others who actually apply.

Learn more about how financial aid works. Attend our virtual Managing College Costs event to learn about financial aid for college or career training after high school. Watch the video and find resources >


To make the most of your search, start 9 to 12 months before the start of the academic year for which you need funds. Start by looking for local scholarships—and branch out as time allows.

Video: How to search for scholarships

You can find college scholarship information through:

  • Local sources: Talk to your high school guidance counselor, local librarian, local business owners and club representatives, and town officials. Be sure to speak with your parents about organizations or clubs they belong to or ask if their employer sponsors a scholarship.
  • VSAC-assisted scholarships: VSAC administers more than 150 scholarships for Vermont students.

Learn more & apply

  • Your college or university: Look on the college’s website or call the admissions office to ask about possible scholarships.
  • Veteran and military organizations: Both the federal government and nonprofit organizations offer money for college to veterans, future military personnel, active duty personnel, or those related to veterans or active duty personnel. To learn more, visit and search for “military scholarships.”
  • On the web:
    • Bigfuture® by The College Board: Find scholarships, other financial aid, and internships—from more than 2,200 programs, totaling nearly $6 billion.
    • Fastweb®: Find scholarships that match your strengths, interests, and skills—from more than 1.5 million scholarships, totaling $3.4 billion.
    • Cappex®: Fill out a free profile to discover which scholarships match you best.
    • NEFCU nursing and science scholarships: Learn about nursing and STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) scholarships for members of the New England Federal Credit Union.

VSAC-Assisted Vermont Scholarships

Access VSAC-assisted scholarships for Vermont residents.

Consider how scholarships could affect your financial aid 

Before applying for scholarships, check with the financial aid office of each college you are considering. Find out how receiving a scholarship might affect your overall financial aid.

First, consider the potential positives of each scholarship by asking yourself:

  • Will it reduce “unmet” or “remaining” need? Sometimes there’s a gap between your family’s need (as determined by the financial aid process) and the amount you have been awarded in aid. Scholarships can help to close this gap.
  • Will it reduce loans? Loans are repaid with interest, so it’s important to borrow only what you absolutely need. Replacing some of your loan burden with scholarships is a great way to avoid taking on too much education debt.
  • Will it reduce work-study? The federal government and colleges provide funding for work-study employment. But most colleges recommend that students work no more than 10 hours a week because too much work can interfere with studies. Scholarships can be helpful in reducing your need to work.

Then, consider the potential negatives by asking yourself:

  • Will it reduce grants? Grants and scholarships are both usually free aid. But if scholarships make you eligible for less grant money, you are simply replacing one form of “gift aid” for another—and it may not be worth the effort.
  • Will it reduce scholarships from the college or another source? Again, if you are simply replacing one form of gift aid with another, you may need to evaluate whether the effort is worth it.

VSAC-Assisted Scholarships

Access VSAC-assisted scholarships for Vermont residents.

Beware of scholarship scams

Be careful in using scholarship search companies! While some firms are legitimate, others aren’t. A tip-off could be if the firm “guarantees” or “promises” scholarships or grants. No reputable firm can legitimately make such a claim.

Beware of these telltale statements:

“This scholarship is guaranteed or your money back.”

“You can’t get this information anywhere else.”

“We’ll need your credit card or bank account number to hold this scholarship.”

“We’ll do all the work for you!”

“There’s a fee to apply for this scholarship.”

“You’ve been selected by a national foundation to receive a scholarship.”

“You’re a finalist …” (in a contest you never entered)

For more information, visit the FTC’s scholarship scams site or call toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).

VSAC-Assisted Scholarships

Access VSAC-assisted scholarships for Vermont residents.

Tips for success

These tips can help you be more successful in your search for education scholarships:

  1. Follow through—and don’t be scared off by the competition. Remember, if a scholarship is based on academic achievement, you’ll be compared only to the students applying for that particular scholarship. You may be 1 of just a few who follow through with the whole process.
  2. Don’t let financial need requirements keep you from applying. If a scholarship is based on financial need, your need will be compared to the need of other applicants only within that scholarship pool.
  3. Make sure each scholarship is worth the effort. Consider the size of the scholarship pool when applying. For example, with national scholarships, you’re competing against a very large population of people. So you’ll want to be sure the amount of work needed to apply is aligned with how much competition you will be facing—and the financial reward is in line with the effort.
  4. Do a thorough search. You never know where you might find scholarships that are right for you.
  5. Read and follow all instructions. They exist because the scholarship committee wants the best candidate.
  6. Submit materials on time. Must the scholarship application be postmarked—or received by the college—by the deadline? Know the difference and give yourself plenty of time to submit!
  7. Confirm receipt of materials. Call or email after you’ve sent in your materials and be specific in asking what’s been received.

VSAC-Assisted Scholarships

Access VSAC-assisted scholarships for Vermont residents.