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Shaking the Money Tree - Scholarship Hints

AIE (Adventures in Education) Information about Scholarship Searching

Shaking the money tree: How to search for scholarships


How will you pay for college? Most students rely on a patchwork of loans, grants, and family savings to pay for college. Of course, every student would also love to receive a scholarship to help with expenses, but they often think they don't qualify for any. Don't make this mistake!

You should never assume that you won't be eligible for a scholarship. There are many unique scholarships offered by a variety of sources that may want to invest in your higher education adventure — you may be surprised by what you find!

Scholarships and grants are referred to as gift aid, because, unlike loans, they don't have to be repaid. Everyone should seek out free money before they think about taking out loans. When you apply for federal aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the first thing that's determined is whether you qualify for any federal grants.

But don't stop there. While it may take a little digging to find a scholarship that you qualify for, it's worth the effort. Generally, you don't have to wait until you are admitted into a program of study to apply for a scholarship. The earlier you become acquainted with the world of scholarships, the better. That way you have time to prepare and choose classes or extracurricular activities that are required for certain scholarships.

How do I find scholarships?

There are a variety of ways to search for scholarships, both online and off. To maximize your chances of winning a scholarship, you should research as many resources as possible. Contact the financial aid offices of the colleges you're applying to and ask about scholarship opportunities they know about. Most states and numerous private and/or public organizations also offer scholarships and grants.

Here are some other ways to look:

  • Search the phone book and ask at your local library for service groups that raise scholarship money for local students.
  • Ask your employer or your parents' employer if they offer scholarship opportunities or tuition reimbursement.

AIE's scholarship search

There are many free scholarship searches located online that can help you find scholarships that match your qualifications. You can try using AIE's Scholarship Search feature for starters!

The Scholarship Search contains information on more than 15,000 scholarships. You can choose to perform a Quick Search or to enter more specific data and perform an Advanced Search to find the best scholarships to fit your needs.

Quick Search

The Quick Search works like a normal Internet search engine. AIE visitors simply enter in relevant keywords — such as "minority" or "art" — and they are given a list of matching scholarships. For visitors who may not know where to start, a list of popular keywords is provided.

Advanced Search

The Advanced Search offers AIE visitors the opportunity to find scholarships based on more specific criteria such as gender, geographic location, school, disability, interests, group affiliation, etc.

Scholarship details

The Scholarship Search offers key information about each scholarship such as name, description, application criteria, award amounts, deadline, sponsor and/or contact information, number of awards offered, and type of award.

To try out AIE's Scholarship Search, visit