One of the main questions that counselors and scholarship advisors are asked is, “Is there a dollar limit on scholarship amounts?” interestingly, the answer is a resounding, “Sort of.” While there are really no federal or state laws setting dollar limits on scholarship amounts, there are as many restrictions, limits, qualifications and technicalities concerning college funding as there are scholarships available.
It is important to remember how many different organizations, groups, colleges and government departments and agencies are involved in making college money available to students. Beyond scholarships there are grants, loans and other funding sources that have their own processes and procedures, and even the subject of scholarships alone covers many different facets.
Both sides of the business world, corporations and labor unions, offer many scholarships in many forms to many students. Individual scholarship funds may very well have certain limits, or ranges of awards, that determine the amount of scholarship funding. Various criteria such as family contributions, other grants and loans, the students’ GPA averages and various test scores can come into play to affect the dollar limit of the scholarship amounts that are ultimately awarded.
Many private scholarships, more so than public ones granted through state colleges, have a list of qualifications and requirements that can affect the amount of the award. It is also important for scholarship applicants to discover precisely what is and is not covered by the funding. Often the scholarship is denominated in the tuition amount only, and books, fees, living expenses and travel costs are expressly excluded. Whoever is paying for the scholarships can decide what, if any, dollar limit there should be on the amounts.
At the other end of the spectrum are scholarships that cover just about every costs associated with a college education. Because these “gold and platinum” awards are so comprehensive, they are also the most competitive. Among the most coveted scholarships are ones based on academic excellence, athletic prowess or both. In fact, it is entirely permissible for top academic student-athletes to apply for and win both kinds of scholarships. They are then able to coordinate their total benefits to cover all of their educational expenses.
Even students and student-athletes who are not among the elite can apply for a number of different scholarships, awards, grants, loans and stipends. There is not controlling laws, federal or state, that restrict the number or amounts of these various awards. It is entirely up to the scholarship funds to decide how much, and in what combinations, monies can be paid out to students make multiple applications.
Students needing help to pay for college need to develop their own scholarship amount figures based on the institutions they want to attend, the books they will need, living and travel expenses, etc. Then they must start the application process with a plan to hit that financial target. It make take one of the very best, most generous scholarships, or it make take a combination of several scholarships, grants and awards – but there is always a way to work the scholarship process to arrive at a total educational payment plan that will cover most everything. In the end, the only dollar limit on scholarship amounts is set by the applicants themselves, by the amount of time, effort, energy and determination they bring to the application process.