You’ve got the motivation to finish your degree. You might even have your entire transfer process mapped out, from transfer credit equivalencies to your admissions paperwork. But, you still have to figure out, “How will I pay for this degree?” Student loan debt represents more than $1 trillion dollars today across the United States.
You’re probably already used to navigating the financial decisions of adulthood, so you understand the weighty decision that is a student loan. And, you’ve got a life to pay for, whether that’s just rent and groceries or even a family to support, too!
These are just a few of the reasons scholarships are a critical piece of the puzzle for transfer students seeking to complete their degrees. If you’re wondering “Do transfer students get scholarships?” you’re not alone! And, the good news is that not only do many colleges and universities have unique scholarships just for transfer students, there are actually a surprising number of scholarships available from outside organizations, too. In fact, there has almost never been a better time to be a transfer student seeking earned financial aid in the form of a scholarship.
Check with Your University’s Financial Aid Department
Nobody is more invested in helping you succeed in earning your degree than the school you attend. Many universities that work with large numbers of transfer students have numerous scholarships with varying levels of qualifications, in addition to work programs, and even grants. Universities typically have a foundation that funds student aid. There are typically even program-specific scholarships that transfer students can compete to earn if it matches their desired degree program.
Look for Third-Party Scholarships
With the rising student debt crisis becoming an increasingly important social issue, there are many non-profit organizations and academic institutions stepping up to help students take the best advantage of the financial aid available to them. Organizations like The Scholarship Institute help all students, whether incoming freshmen or transfers, identify the right scholarships. There are even scholarships designed specifically for community college transfer students.
Seek Out Scholarships Related to Your Personal Life
Some of the scholarships that tend to fly under the radar are those completely unaffiliated with your education. Perhaps your employer offers scholarships. Maybe a club or organization that you belong to provides scholarships to members. Whether it’s the YMCA or Chick-fil-A, a big corporate employer, or the chamber of commerce, there are almost certainly scholarships available from someone in your life that you haven’t even considered. Don’t leave those stones unturned!
Once you identify the potential scholarships available to you based on your geographic location, degree program, or even personal demographics, the important part is to make sure you spend your time and energy wisely. Since most scholarships require at least a minimum set of qualifying traits and an essay, focus on the scholarships that will be most impactful to your college funding needs and are most closely aligned with your interests and abilities. Most importantly, never assume that just because you’re a transfer student there aren’t scholarships available to you, too!