Scholarships are awarded based on merit, financial need, or sometimes a combination of both. While the terms scholarships and grants are sometimes used interchangeably, grants are usually need-based, and scholarships are usually merit-based. Merit-based scholarships select recipients based on some combination of student's academic records, SAT/ACT scores and/or other achievements. For many scholarships, selection criteria are not predefined, but vary with the strength of each year's applicant pool, and award funds to the most competitive applicants. Many scholarships require minimum criteria to apply, but still select final recipients from the strongest applicants.
Deadlines, eligibility requirements and application processes vary widely between programs. Carefully review the deadlines and requirements for each scholarship. Some scholarships, including some Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) scholarships require applicants to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid FAFSA.
Explore all relevant scholarship options to determine if you are an eligible and competitive applicant, and then apply for as many scholarships as you can. The scholarship search and application process takes time, but it can pay off. Students can receive multiple scholarships as long as the combined totals don't exceed certain limits.
If you have questions about specific scholarship programs, please contact the FAO Scholarship Unit at 410-704-2647 or scholarship AT_TOWSON.