How Not to Lose Your Scholarship

In Paying for College on May 16, 2016

After working hard at winning a scholarship, you definitely don't want to lose it! Some scholarships are renewable, which means that each year, upon review of certain criteria, the organization may award you the same scholarship for the upcoming academic year. So, even though you think all the hard work ends after you win the scholarship, there may be things you need to do to make sure you get the money for all four years of school. 

To avoid losing your scholarship, it’s critical to read the rules and guidelines outlined by the organization administering the award. Common requirements to continue receiving a renewable scholarship include:

Full-Time Enrollment Status
Organizations sometimes require students to maintain full-time enrollment status. Check to make sure what the organization’s definition of full-time is; sometimes they have their own specifications, and sometimes they default to your school’s definition. If you need to drop to half- or part-time status, you may miss out on your scholarship. 

GPA Requirement
Organizations often require students to maintain a certain GPA each semester, which means you might have to submit a transcript to prove you're performing well.

This also means that you’ll need to work hard to keep your grades up. A few missed assignments throughout the semester might not seem like much, but it adds up quickly! Know from the start what the GPA requirement is and recognize the work you'll need to put into maintain that grade point average. 

Service Requirement
Some organizations require their scholarship recipients to perform a certain amount of community service. Some even have specific service requirements, such as volunteering for certain events that are held by the organization or mentoring local students. Check with the organization to see if they have any guidelines as to how they’d like you to document and report your service hours, and be sure to budget your service time accordingly throughout the semester or year rather than leaving it all until the last minute.

Specific Major

Many scholarships are awarded to students who are planning to pursue a degree in a specific major or field of study, but what happens if you want to change your major during your college career? If you decide that you’d like to change your major, reach out to the organization to see if switching majors will affect whether or not you can continue to receive the scholarship. If you’re unsure about changing your major, the answer to that question might be a deciding factor for you.

Of course, not all scholarships are the same, so it’s your job to read the specifics of your scholarship carefully and ask the organization if you have any questions. If your scholarship is automatically renewable, ask when the decision for renewal will be made and how. Some scholarships may not be automatically renewable, but rather invite past recipients to reapply each year. In fact, past recipients are often given priority when awarding these scholarships. Knowing these details sooner than later will give you time to reapply if necessary.

Nobody ever likes to lose something they worked hard for, so do your research to avoid any potential losses. If you do happen to lose you scholarship, ask the organization about their reinstatement policies in order to try to win the scholarship back again.

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