Can I still get financial aid if I’m not a straight-A student?

Many myths surround financial aid and funding for college – one of those being the notion that only students who maintain great grades are eligible for financial aid. Truth is, there are a number of opportunities available for students who consider their academic records less than stellar.

It’s true that many scholarships and financial aid opportunities reward exceptional academic performance, yet not all scholarship and financial aid opportunities require a 4.0 track record. Some scholarships will have more lenient GPA requirements, such as a 2.5 or higher. Others, however, might place more emphasis on nonacademic and volunteer involvement. Above all, scholarship sponsors aren’t necessarily looking for the smartest candidate – they’re looking for the candidate who best matches their criteria.

Need-based aid

Several forms of government-awarded financial aid, including Pell Grants and Perkins Loans, are largely based on a demonstrated financial need. Your level of need will be determined annually by the information you provide on your FAFSA.

As The College Board pointed out, however, it’s important to note you might need to remain in good academic standing with your college or university to be eligible for future aid renewal.

Local scholarships and aid opportunities

While you may – and should – be tempted to look for scholarships on a national level, there are probably several opportunities available right in your backyard. Many businesses, organizations and even individuals offer scholarship opportunities strictly to students within their communities.

What does this mean for you? It spells out less competition given the smaller pool of candidates and, ultimately, a better chance of being rewarded such a scholarship.

Alternative types of scholarships

As noted by U.S. News & World Report, an increasing number of scholarships are being offered to students based on their talents and hobbies.

Some such offerings include specialized scholarships for theater majors, art students and inspiring scientists. Furthermore, scholarship opportunities are available for students based on musical ability or athletic prowess.

Finally, many students find they are able to secure scholarships and grants that are ethnicity- or background-based.

Above all, students should know there are a number of financial aid avenues they can explore as they attempt to fund their educations. Regardless of whether those sources of aid are based on need, location, talent or ethnicity, they are available.

To find scholarships opportunities that fit your profile, please visit ScholarSwag‘s website!

CommunityForce is recognized as the leading solution for scholarship and grants management by universities, foundations and United Ways worldwide.

Posted in Colleges, Student Prep, Universities

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