Choosing a college or university is both an exciting and stressful time. If you’re planning to attend a Utah secondary school, you may find yourself worrying about how you will pay all the bills associated with going to college. There’s more to think about than just tuition costs: dorm fees, textbooks, school supplies, parking costs, lab fees and other expenses add up fast.
Not to mention, basic costs like food, gas and utilities don’t go away just because you’re a student. You may quickly realize that a part time job swiping cards at your school’s library isn’t going to cut it when it comes to financing your higher learning dreams.
There’s cause for hope, though. Scholarships, grants and awards created specifically to ease the financial burden are available to a myriad of different types of students. In the state of Utah alone, there are numerous resources, offering students full and partial scholarships to help lift the worrying strain of financing a college education.
These scholarships come is all shapes and sizes, making it possible to find one that’s just right for you. Understanding the different types of awards available to Utah residents, and how to go about applying for them, will help you secure a monetary grant and set you on the path toward financial security.
Scholarships and grants are available to a wide range of students. Some individuals have a misconception that scholarships are only rewarded to a certain set of potential recipients, like high school seniors or students of a certain age.
In reality, scholarship recipients come in all types. It’s an important fact to know, so you don’t miss out on a grant or scholarship that just might be tailor made for you.
Scholarships in Utah are available to individuals who are both currently in school, and those who are just about to enter school. Likewise, some Utah scholarships are for undergraduate students, and some are for graduate students.
Potential students of all ages can apply for certain scholarships, while some are designed for younger applicants. This means even students starting off later in life can still find financial assistance.
When looking for possible scholarships or grants, think about what makes you unique. Many scholarships are designed for a specific set or group, and identifying what characteristics you have that might make you a desirable candidate will help in narrowing down the list of scholarships you want to apply for.
When looking for a scholarship, keep in mind these factors that scholarship committees sometimes look for:
Utah state groups and organizations are a fantastic resource when looking for a school scholarship. These awards are designed in state, for Utah residents specifically, and should be a first go-to when considering grant applications.
The Centennial Scholarship for Early Graduation is a program that grants aid to Utah students on the basis of helping individuals to graduate sooner than typical. To be eligible, the potential awardees must graduate early from a Utah secondary school. The funds can then be used for any post-secondary school. The student must also:
For more information or to apply to the Centennial Scholarship, visit www.rules.utah.gov.
Like the Centennial Scholarship, the Utah New Century Scholarship is for Utah students specifically. It is designed for high school students who want to simultaneously earn their Associate’s degree, and the scholarship is for any four year public college or university in the state. To apply, visit www.higheredutah.org.
The Utah State Board of Regents’ Scholarship is for students who have successfully graduated from a Utah high school, and have earned at least a 26 on the ACT and a 3.5 GPA. The program offers $1,000 in aid to recipients, as well as possible additional grants for extra merit. To apply, go to www.higheredutah.org.
The Olene S. Walker Transition to Adult Living Scholarship is an annual $5,000 scholarship that can be used for tuition, books and other expenses. The award is granted to a Utah resident under the age of 26 who is transitioning from the Utah State Foster Care system and is looking to continue his or her education. The $5,000 is renewed each year the student attends college, and awardees get to also work with a mentor during his or her studies. For more information or to apply, visit www.justforyouth.utah.gov.
The Cooperative Studies Scholarship is a $750 to $1500 award granted each year to 145 undergraduate and graduate students attending a Utah college or university. Students must be working toward a degree in an area related to agribusiness to earn the scholarship. Visit www.chsfoundation.org for more information.
The NTA Utah-Keith Grifall Scholarship is a tourism grant awarded annually to students in the travel and tourism field who are also Utah residents. To be eligible, there are a number of requirements candidates need to fulfill, including:
Applicants must also have the following to complete an application:
Organizations running chapters within Utah also often award college assistance to certain individuals. Make sure to consider these options, so long as you fit the desired requirements:
To apply for the UAIIA scholarship, send a completed application to the Utah Association of Independent Agents of Utah, 4885 S 900 East, Suite 302, Salt Lake City, Utah 84117. You can download an application at www.iiaba.net.
One overlooked place to look for college scholarships and grants is large corporations and companies. Many businesses organize scholarships for students within their state, to encourage continued education in a particular field or just to drum up support for their company. In the state of Utah, there are a number of these types of grants available to students, and they are a valuable resource that should be taken advantage of.
For example, the Symantec Software Scholarship is a fund granted only to students living in Utah. Symantec is a computer software company with offices across the country. The company offers an annual scholarship, eligible to students in the ninth to twelfth grades. The aim of the scholarship is to promote continued education in the fields of math and science, making for college graduates who are potential future Symantec employees. The scholarship is worth $10,000, and four are granted to winning students. Winners are chosen from a pool of software-based science projects submitted to Utah’s regional science fairs.
To apply for the Symantec Software Scholarship, submit a software-focused project to one of the approved Utah science fairs. Take note that you do not have to win the science fair to win one of the Symantec scholarships, you just need to participate. At the same time as your submission to the science fair, apply directly to Symantec for consideration, at www.symantec.com.
Choose one of the following science fairs to participate in to be considered for the Symantec scholarship:
Likewise, the Thatcher Company, a chemical manufacturer and distributor, grants an annual scholarship to one new student planning to attend the University of Utah’s College of Science. The scholarship is a four year, full tuition grant, valued at about $30,000, including a $1,000 allowance for school books.
This scholarship is open to all students applying as freshmen who are working toward a degree in chemistry or chemical engineering. The Thatcher Company, led by University of Utah alum Tom Thatcher, is headquartered in Salt Lake City. Visit www.science.utah.edu for more information or to apply for the Thatcher Company scholarship.
Think outside the box to find even more scholarships and grants available to you. The Korean American Scholarship Fund has a western region scholarship applicable to individuals in the western part of the country, including Utah residents who are also Korean-American. Visit http://www.kasf.org/ for more information. Likewise, financial help for Hispanic or African-America students can be found at sites like hsf.net and finaid.org.
The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) Program is a system covering 15 western states, including Utah. The group grants tuition assistance to a number of students each year, and the amount of financial aid varies. WICHE also researches areas of employment in particular need, to help students pursue degrees toward those career paths. For more information, visit www.wiche.edu.
Consider going directly to the source. Many Utah universities and colleges offer scholarships through their own administration. For example, the University of Utah has an entire department devoted to granting money to deserving students. These scholarships are run by the alumni association and there are at any given time dozens of awards available to students. Visit www.alumni.utah.edu for more information.
Also, the Mormon Church, headquartered in Salt Lake City, offers a number of scholarship programs to potential Mormon students. The following are some choices when looking for a Mormon-specific grant:
Deciding to go to college or a university doesn’t have to be a stressful process. Though it may seem overwhelming, the end result is more than worth it. And, with the help of financial scholarships, a large part of the stress is instantly eased. Knowing that you’ll have a way to pay for all the expenses associated with college, from tuition to late night study snacks, lets you focus on hitting the books, not balancing your checkbook.
Make sure to use resources within Utah when looking for scholarships and grants. These awards get competitive, and looking within your own state can make you a desirable candidate for sponsorship. By narrowing the field and looking for scholarships specific to individuals with your own personal traits, you strengthen your chances of walking away with some cash in your wallet.
Remember, check the requirements for any award you apply for; make sure you have all the necessary paperwork and materials before submitting. Letters or recommendation, community service hours and a strong GPA can go a long way to winning you support. At the end of the day, let reviewers see the real you. Expressing why you want a college education so badly just may win you the aid and financial support you’re seeking.