Scholarships and Alternative College Funding

  • February 24, 2017
  • By: Greenpath Financial Wellness
  • GreenPath Financial Wellness is a trusted national nonprofit with more than 60-years of helping people build financial health and resiliency. Our NFCC-certified counselors give you options to manage credit card debt, student loans and homeownership.

Colleges, companies, community organizations, the military and foundations offer scholarships and alternative college funding to help students afford a college education. Students do not need to repay a scholarship. Scholarships are often awarded for students who fit a particular profile (earned a specified grade point average, enrolling in a specific major, bringing special talent in athletics or music, etc.).

Types of Scholarships and Alternative College Funding

Academic Awards

These merit-based scholarships are awarded for academic achievement. Ask about these awards at the school’s financial aid office, though you may not even have to apply for an academic award. Colleges often include them as part of the overall financial aid package.

College-Specific Awards

Colleges often have scholarship money available that they use to develop the financial package offered to a potential student. These scholarships may include terms such as maintaining a certain GPA or pursuing a specific major.

Departmental Awards

Specific academic departments may offer scholarships to attract students to a particular field of study. If you know what your major will be, contact the appropriate department at schools to inquire about scholarships.

Athletic Scholarships

These scholarships are highly competitive and the application process takes some marketing skills by the athlete and their coach.


The military is a well-known source of college scholarships. The ROTC program can pay up to full college tuition, plus a stipend for books. Military branches award scholarships in exchange for a tour of duty. Be sure that military services aligns with your goals, and that you’re prepared to fulfill the terms of your scholarship agreement.

Private Organizations

Within the “private” category, there are many types of alternative college funding options to consider:

  • Corporations may offer scholarships to attract and retain employees, support communities where their business is located, and encourage entrants into specific lines of work. These scholarships often go unawarded for lack of applicants.
  • Religious organizations may award scholarships to help their members afford college.
  • Unions may offer scholarship funds to children of their members.
  • Local school districts may offer scholarships to graduating students.
  • Local civic organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis Club, Rotary Club, Lions Club, etc., may have scholarship programs and/or be great sources to learn about local businesses that offer scholarships.

Talk with a financial wellness expert. Call the GreenPath Student Loan Helpline to get started today.

Research Your Options for Alternative College Funding

Check with colleges and local community organizations to explore what scholarships are available. FinAid is a helpful online tool for researching college scholarships.

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