Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Won Multiple Scholarships? How to Keep ALL Your Award Money!

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Using Path to Scholarships and has paid off for many students and as a result numerous students have been over-awarded. Often students receive more money than is needed to cover tuition and expenses for a year of college. Then they learn they could have used it for following years, to cover other eligible expenses, or even for graduate school in the future.


Over-awarded is a term that means that the student has won more money than is required to cover tuition and expenses (Cost of Attendance) for a year of college.

Colleges and scholarships have different over-awarded policies. Students should ask their college financial aid office and each of the scholarships they were awarded about their over-awarded policy.

Some college and scholarship over-awarded policies may lower or keep the award they originally offered because other scholarships or resources were received. Some college policies will decrease a student’s loan(s) while others may decrease their own institutional scholarships they initially offered the student. 

Students who are awarded a Pell Grant and/or FSEOG grant will keep these grants since they are considered federal entitlements. These two grants cannot be reduced because students have been over-awarded.

Once the college makes an initial offer of financial aid, students need to report any additional outside scholarships won. Income and other resources will not be taken into account because that would impact the next year’s FAFSA. 

Keeping track of all scholarships won is key!

Students should maintain a scholarship log that has all the important information documented in one place to include:  
  • Name of the scholarship
  • Award amount
  • Contact person with email and phone number
  • Instructions for receiving the award
  • Over-awarded policy
  • Paperwork that must be submitted with due date
  • Date thank you note or letter sent
Plan for Keeping Over-Awarded Money
  1. Document all scholarships won on a scholarship log.
  2. Review the financial need and costs to attend the college for the year.
  3. Contact the college Financial Aid Office immediately, if over-awarded.
    1. What is their over-awarded policy?
    2. What will the college do with the extra money?
  4. Contact scholarships before they send money to the college, if over-awarded. 
    1. What is their over-awarded policy?
    2. Can the scholarship be deferred? Deferred means held for a period of time. If it is deferred, it is not counted as income for the current year.
To keep money students may request the following, but the policy for each college and scholarship will determine how the over-awarded money is allocated.

  1. To have funds applied to future tuition
  2. To cover childcare expenses when applicable
  3. To cover the cost of health insurance or other medical expenses when a student and/or parent pays out of pocket
  4. To have a one-time computer and printer purchase
  5. To have scholarship providers defer/hold the award for a year or longer
Gerardo Ochoa, Associate Director of Financial Aid, Linfield College, Portland, Oregon

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