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Searching for Scholarships: Preparing for the 2015-2016 Year

Author: Financial Success | Image: Financial Success

While the harsh winter weather has hit campus early this year, there are many ways to make the upcoming semesters more warm and enjoyable. Yes, bundling up in extra layers and walking briskly to class might help break the cold, but what if the idea of funding your upcoming semesters is still leaving you feeling frigid? Good news! Students can help lower the cost of college by applying for gift aid or scholarships. Yes, this type of aid is free money and is not required to be paid back.

More than 66% of Iowa State students receive some form of financial assistance, specifically from grants and scholarships. In fact, applying for scholarships is one of the best ways you can reduce your need for student loans and alleviate the worry of trying to pay the full cost of college tuition. Students may be eligible for certain scholarships depending on a variety of factors, including their classification, department, merit based qualifications, or on a demonstration of need.

It is now easier than ever to apply for scholarships online through Iowa State. For example, all scholarships offered through the Office of Student Financial Aid now require one singular application and can simply be filled out online through CyPoint. Important: These scholarships also require a deadline of filing the FAFSA by March 1st. Remember, if you don’t have your tax information finalized by March 1st, you can still make the deadline by including estimated figures on the application, then updating theFAFSA once your taxes are done.

To start, the first step is to choose the top scholarship category from the drop down menu. (See image below) Then, based on your current classification, for example, Freshman, Currently Enrolled or Transfer, you will click on the Apply Here! link that is located in the middle of the page. You will then be prompted to the CyPoint website where you will be able to log in with your Net-ID and password to begin the application. If you don’t finish the application in one sitting, you are allowed to log back in at any time and finish the application where you left off. When you are done, simply click submit and your application will be forwarded on to the scholarships department. Easy as 1, 2, 3!

The other scholarships listed in the drop down menu above will require separate applications, including the College/Department Scholarships and the Privately Funded Scholarships. Here is the link for all scholarships available through Iowa State’s Financial Aid website


Don’t forget to consider other outside scholarship sources, like hometown banks, organizations and other businesses. There are also many online websites that offer free scholarship searches for students. Here are a list of the top 4 that are the most reputable and widely used:

Scholarship America
Scholarship America’s mission is to make post-secondary education success possible for all students, and their goal is to help 750,000 students complete their education beyond high school with manageable debt by 2025. Their programs includes Dollars for Scholars, Dream Awards, and Dreamkeepers.
The College Board was founded in 1900 and currently helps 7 million students annually prepare for higher education. The College Board began publishing their book of scholarships in 1997 and since then has made the information available online. Their scholarship database contains more than 2,300 scholarship opportunities, totaling nearly $3 billion.
CollegeNET is a technology company that builds web-based tools for event and academic scheduling, prospect and admissions management, tuition processing, and alumni development for colleges and universities. CollegeNET also operates a scholarship search engine and social network where students create topics, participate in discussions, and vote on scholarship winners.

Fastweb has helped 50 million students find scholarship money since the site was founded 15 years ago. It was the first online scholarship matching service and the first free national scholarship matching service. Fastweb’s site indicates they currently have roughly 1.5 million scholarships worth $3.4 billion in their database.

Happy scholarship searching and good luck to all taking finals next week!