How to access the scholarship money you’ve won

25 Jul

Yay! You got a scholarship! Congratulations!

I know what you’re thinking: “Now how do I get the MONEY?”

If you have received notice of a scholarship other than from your future college, you will want to make sure you keep track of how to access the money.

If you have more than one scholarship, make a chart (or separate file folders) with the following information:

Name and address of the organization.
Contact name at the organization and a phone number for that person.
Email address for the contact.
Amount of the scholarship
Requirement(s) to access the money
Date (if needed) to write for the funds

Typically, organizations require one or more of the following:

  • Proof of admission — a letter (or email notice) that you have been accepted to your college.
  • Proof of registration in a college or trade school — an official letter or online acknowledgement that you have made the commitment to attend that college. Registration typically requires some kind of a deposit. Contact the college registrar’s office–or see instructions online at your portal.
  • Proof of enrollment — online list of your courses or an official notice from your college that you have enrolled in classes (most require full-time attendance, typically 12 units). Contact the college registrar’s office–or see instructions online at your portal.
  • Official transcript of your completion of your first semester or first quarter. Contact the college registrar’s office–or see instructions online at your portal.
  • A letter from you requesting the funds, with an indication of where to send the check.

You cannot assume a scholarship organization will accept your own printout of grades or proof of registration. You probably have to get that official document directly from your college.

Do not expect the organization to remind you to request the funds. That’s your job! Some organizations may actually CANCEL your scholarship if you do not request the money on a timely basis.

Additionally, while some organizations continue their payments from year to year, others may require that you reapply annually. Don’t expect the organization to remind you of the process or deadline.

And most importantly . . . handwrite a sincere thank you note on nice stationery and mail it as soon as you receive the initial news of your scholarship . . . do not even wait until you get the money.

A great gift for any student starting his or her senior year in high school. The best advice gleaned from 50 different college grads about what they’ve learned about life: money, goals, relationships, and more. Available in the Looking Up! bookstore or at other online bookstores:

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