“Millions of dollars in unclaimed scholarships!” scream the headlines. You may not be getting any money from us, but you can still tap into this vast sum of money. Well, maybe.
There certainly is money available, with the current W&M freshman class having almost $1M in outside money, but two factors should be noted:
- Most of the scholarships are not from national searches. They come from local sources such as high schools, community organizations, parents’ employers, and places of worship. In Williamsburg, the Williamsburg Community Scholarship Fund provides money for local graduates. There are similar organizations in Richmond and Norfolk. Look nationally, if you wish, but realistically expect the money to be local.
- For the most part, the scholarships are for one year only and will only pay a small fraction of your total cost. You will need to rely much more heavily on your family’s contribution and financial aid from the College. Don’t miss the FAFSA deadline because you’re putting all of your faith in outside money.
How will we treat the new money? We understand perfectly that you have worked hard for these awards and don’t want them swallowed up in a replacement of other W&M grant money. The problem we face, however, is that your aid offer most likely contains money that is based on financial need…need which was calculated based solely on your family’s financial circumstances and before we knew about this additional support. So, we usually have to make an adjustment. In most cases, however, the change will be a reduction in the work/loan part of your offer and we will not need to reduce grant money.
On final issue with outside scholarships. If you have more than one, we may learn about them over a couple of months. This may result in more than one change in your financial aid package.
See you next time.