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fast facts

• Scholarship deadlines typically range between October and March of the year preceding the one for which scholarship funds will be needed.

• Be alert for services that solicit money in exchange for guaranteed scholarships.  There are scams out there.

• Many scholarship applications require you write at least one essay.

• Over $3 billion in Scholarships is available annually.


Scholarships can serve as a valuable means of assisting students in funding an education. Sources can take the form of public and private companies, philanthropic individuals and organizations, not-for-profit organizations, state and local governments.

Despite the connotation that scholarships are awarded solely on the basis of academic or athletic performance, a student can be awarded a scholarship based upon the following activities: community or civic service, extra-curricular achievements, career aspirations, the student's or parent's employer, and organizational memberships to name a few.

Scholarship eligibility

401kid does not advise that families consider scholarships as part of their college funding plan, since less than 2% of college students receive any form of scholarship.  Even those that do receive scholarships rarely receive “full rides” (meaning, coverage of full Cost of Attendance).

That being said, it cannot hurt to be knowledgeable on what types of scholarships exist and to apply.  Almost all scholarship applications are free.  Here is a list of resources, if you are ready to begin a scholarship search.

Free Scholarship Search
401kid has partnered with
College Answer, who offers a free scholarship search that provides access to an award database containing over 2.4 million scholarships worth in excess of $15 billion.  Every time you log on or update your scholarship profile, a new search matches you with the latest scholarship opportunities.