In Getting out of debt, Saving Money, Student Loans

Discounts for collegeAs someone who graduated college with $72k in student loans, I wish I would have taken advantage of scholarships and grants. Andrew started a website called ScholarshipFly.com, that aggregates a lot of scholarships that are available to college students and has some other great ideas help save money for those going into college. Take it away, Andrew!

If you are among the vast majority of Americans trying to obtain their college degree, you are more than likely going to need some type of financial assistance. Before you begin looking at different types of student loans, however, the first thing you should turn to is scholarships. Scholarships are often referred to as “free money” because they don’t need to be paid back, and they are extremely beneficial in helping you cover or reduce the cost of your college tuition.

With all of the scholarships available, trying to find the right one can quickly become overwhelming and exhausting for the average busy student. Unfortunately as a result, many students end up taking on more debt than necessary for two reasons.  

First, it is easier to simply fill out the FAFSA for a student loan, and second, they don’t know how to start searching for scholarships.  

This is where scholarship search engines come in.  There are plenty of diverse options on the internet; for instance, many are well-established while others are in the start-up phase. These resources are the perfect place to start when looking for scholarships, and they make the entire process quick, efficient, and much easier.

College Board

College Board Scholarship Search College Board is an American organization whose purpose is to develop and administer standardized tests to both K-12 and postsecondary institutions.  It is responsible for creating and distributing well-known standardized tests such as the SAT and Advanced Placement Program tests.

On top of creating and implementing standardized tests, College Board also provides resources, tools, and unique services to students, parents, colleges, and universities, namely its Scholarship Search Engine.

The Scholarship Search Engine by College Board is an extremely useful tool that helps students narrow down their scholarship results based on personal information and eligibility requirements.  The next step is to enter in your academic information, including your college major. The third step in the search process is a section where you can specify other awards to be considered for such as grants, loans, and internships.

The last portion is your affiliation information which includes any clubs or activities you participate in. A lot of scholarships are only available to different specific ethnicities, genders, or even religion.  The College Board Search Engine slims down the field with your personal information; on top of this, it attempts to provide you with scholarships that match your interests and field of study.

Sallie Mae

Another company with useful scholarship resources is Sallie Mae which is a private company that focuses on originating, providing, and servicing student loans. Over the past 20 years, Sallie Mae has contributed over $125 million to higher education scholarships through the Sallie Mae Fund. While Sallie Mae is best known for providing student loans, it has a pretty helpful resource when it comes to scholarships which is known as the Sallie Mae Scholarship Search tool.

The Scholarship Search tool is an easy way to search a database with plenty of different scholarships. In order to gain access to the Scholarship Search tool, you must create and register an account with Sallie Mae. You can customize your profile which helps find scholarships matching your unique criteria.  Sallie Mae uses this profile to match certain relevant scholarships to the user.

ScholarshipFly

ScholarshipFly LogoScholarshipFly is a new, up-and-coming website with a sole focus on scholarships, and it is a completely free resource.  It was started by a recent graduate from an East coast university who started work with sizable debt from student loans.

Under this premise, the idea for ScholarshipFly was born.  It is a simple, growing database of scholarship opportunities which makes it a useful and easy resource for high school and college students. There are even plenty of advice resources on how to land a competitive scholarship or how to avoid scholarship scams. At any rate, the main incentive is to simply provide as many scholarship opportunities as possible; on top of this, more scholarships means less student loan debt.

The website homepage features several helpful videos about scholarships, but the main strength is the organization.  You can peruse tons of scholarships from a drop down menu, or you can click on a category and search for categorically relevant scholarship opportunity. In addition to an easy layout, the website has a search tool that can find any scholarship in its database.  While still small, the website is growing, and it offers a refreshing take on the scholarship industry.

Scholarships.com

Scholarships.comScholarships.com is a well-established and versatile website. Since its founding in 1998 this website has become one of the most widely used websites for scholarships. In addition to scholarships, scholarships.com covers colleges and offers advice on scholarship and college applications. It is with this versatility that scholarships.com has become the most trusted scholarship tool on the internet.

As mentioned earlier, it can be used for more than just scholarship searches. It has multiple tools in addition to a scholarship search tool for instance, users can find out which colleges offer their desired major with a college search tool. On top of this, there are tons of educational resources available for all sorts of different topics. These resources help people understand scholarships, student loans, and many other related subjects.

Final Thoughts

As you begin your journey in obtaining your college degree, don’t let the fear of searching through millions of scholarships deter you from looking for one at all. Reduce your student debt and the amount of expenses you accrue by finding scholarships quickly and efficiently using a scholarship search engine. Not only will using one of these tools help the process be stress-free and productive, but it could be the difference between graduating debt-free or debt-ridden.


Andrew is a content manager and part-time freelancer writer who focuses on personal finance, student loans, and current events.  After graduating from college, he decided to start writing about student loans, other financial aid, and higher education in general.  It is his goal to help create a debt-free trend for everyone.

Showing 6 comments
  • DebtDiscipline
    Reply

    Great resources. With two children heading off to college next year we are looking into as many “free money” options as possible.

    • Chenell Tull
      Reply

      Very smart – I wish I would have applied for more scholarships before college began! There are so many out there, it’s kind of crazy not to apply for some. 🙂

  • Steven Goodwin
    Reply

    Very good resources! I joke with my wife all the time that when our girls are old enough, their part-time job is going to be scholarship writing in order to work on getting as many as they can. If they can get quite a bit of scholarship money, then it might even pay better than a part-time job! Of course, my daughters are 4 and 2 right now, so we are a ways off, but it’s never too early to start planning right?

    • Chenell Tull
      Reply

      Heck yea – that sounds like an awesome idea to me! Then again, who knows what college will look like in 14 years!? 🙂

      • Steven Goodwin
        Reply

        Very true! I’m just going to have to keep my eye on what’s happening and stay ahead of the curve!

      • Steven Goodwin
        Reply

        Yup, could be a completely different animal once we get there with our girls!

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