Scholarship Renewals: Keep That Money Coming!
Most (if not all) colleges and universities have a scholarship requirement that students must meet each semester in order to keep their scholarship, especially if those are merit-based or competitive scholarships. However, these renewal requirements differ by both university and scholarship. When applying for renewable scholarships, you must keep track of two requirement areas.
- Scholarship qualification documents and procedures
- Award renewal qualification
Shockingly enough, not all scholarships are automatically set to renew for the full four years. For each year the scholarship is renewed, you must meet certain requirements. These criteria for admission may vary from one scholarship to another, but usually contain any of the following:
- Maintain the required minimum GPA
- Take a particular number of course credit hours per year
- Stay within your same major
- Continue to participate in the awarded sport or extracurricular activity
- Keep track of where your received funds were spent
Merit-Based Scholarship Renewals
Have you applied for a Merit Scholarship that is renewable for up to 3 or 4 years? Does your scholarship automatically renew or do you have to apply for it each year? Is the renewal contingent upon your GPA?
Though this may vary per institution, Merit-based scholarships are typically divided up between two semesters (fall and spring) and offered for the academic year only. They do not extend to cover summer classes. Most institutional scholarships require you to maintain a certain GPA to continue receiving your awarded funds. Scholarships are awarded to incoming freshmen for up to eight semesters of undergraduate enrollment. However, if you are enrolled in an approved five-year program, you will receive awards for up to 10 semesters.
You can lose your merit-based award if your GPA drops below the required minimum. The amount of the merit scholarship will most often remain constant each year for four years. However, full-tuition scholarships will adjust each year to allow for any tuition cost increases.
*Keep in mind that fees are usually not covered in full-tuition scholarships.*
Competitive Scholarship Renewals
Competitive scholarships are exactly what they are named, competitive. There are a limited number of awards and a large number of students trying to receive them. These are typically by semester or year and must be reapplied for in order to continue receiving the funds. Some are only offered for that first semester or first year, so definitely make sure you take that into account when looking at your financial aid and plan for after your freshman year accordingly.
Organizational Scholarship Renewals
Organizational scholarships can come from local organizations within your community or through your intended university. Most colleges have organizations arranged by successful alumni, partnerships, department heads, etc. that offer scholarships to incoming freshmen and occasionally upperclassmen. These institutionally-based organizational scholarships will typically fund a large amount of a student’s tuition and be renewable for up to four years, however, it varies per organization. These may also have criteria that must be met and maintained throughout the duration of receiving the award.
Outside Scholarship Renewals
If your outside scholarship is renewable, you’ll most likely need to reapply. Although most scholarships are for entering college freshmen, there are also plenty of scholarships available for sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
- Make sure you read all of the fine print to see how or if the scholarship will continue to be awarded while you progress forward.
- Always try reapplying for the same scholarships that you’ve previously received before looking for additional aid. If you still meet the requirements then you’ll probably be able to qualify again.
*Freshmen typically receive the largest scholarship awards.
5 ways you can lose a scholarship:
- Failure to meet credit requirements
- Poor grades
- Transferring schools
- Disciplinary action
- Changing your major
Also, make absolutely certain that you file your FAFSA every year by the deadline in order to renew your financial aid!
FAFSA renewal is just as important as scholarship renewal. The process is simple and shouldn’t take too much time! Simply sign into your Federal student aid account -> choose the renewal option -> update your information and make sure everything is correct -> submit by the deadline.