Frequently Asked Questions

Scholarships & Grants

Where is a good place to start looking for scholarships?

The Sallie Mae Fund provides access to free scholarships search databases. Begin your search now.

How do I apply for a Sallie Mae Fund scholarship?

All Sallie Mae Fund scholarship information is available here. Be sure to check each program's criteria and deadlines carefully.

I applied for a Sallie Mae Fund scholarship. How will I know if I am a recipient or not?

Read the scholarship application materials carefully. They should tell you when and how you will be notified. Sallie Mae Fund scholarships are administered by outside organizations. Contact information should be on the application if you have additional questions.

When should a student start applying for scholarships?

The best time to begin looking for financial aid is at least one year before you actually need it, and then every year thereafter while you are still a student.

My son/daughter is going to be a junior in high school this fall, is it to early to start looking for grants and scholarships?

No, it is not too early to begin a scholarship search. Just realize deadlines and criteria can change from year to year so when it is time to apply make sure you have the most up to date application.

I got a private scholarship. Should I report it to the financial aid office?

Yes. If you are receiving any kind of financial aid from a private source, you must report the scholarship to the financial aid office.

I want to apply for a scholarship but there is maximum family income criteria. My family makes above that but they are not helping me pay for college at all. Can I still apply based on my income?

Contact the scholarship administrator directly to find out how they determine family income. Many scholarships collect income data by using the Student Aid Report, which typically includes family income.

Where can I find scholarships that are for graduate students?

There are many scholarship search databases online that include scholarships for graduate students. Search The Sallie Mae Fund's free database of scholarships worth over $16 billion, to find scholarships for high school, college, graduate, and adult students.

I am a non-traditional student (parent or older adult). Are there still scholarships for which I am eligible?

There are many scholarship search databases online that include scholarships for adult students. Search The Sallie Mae Fund's free database of scholarships worth over $16 billion, to find scholarships for high school, college, graduate, and adult students.

Where can I find scholarships to go to college outside the United States?

There are many scholarship search databases online. Search The Sallie Mae Fund's free database of scholarships worth over $16 billion, to find scholarships for high school, college, graduate, and adult students. Try also searching on the Web with key words as "study abroad" or "international scholarships."

I am not a United States citizen but will be attending college in the United States. Where can I find scholarships that fit my situation?

There are many scholarship search databases online that include scholarships for non-citizens. Search The Sallie Mae Fund's free database of scholarships worth over $16 billion, to find scholarships for high school, college, graduate, and adult students. The Latino College Dollars scholarship directory also allows students to search by citizenship criteria.

I did not graduate from high school and instead got my GED. How do I apply for scholarships that have a minimum GPA requirement?

Some scholarships accept GED scores in place of high school transcripts. Also, if you have a GPA from college classes you may have taken, those could be used. Be sure to ask the scholarship administrator what they require to meet eligibility criteria.

What is a Pell Grant and how do I apply?

The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate students. Grant amounts are dependent on your expected family contribution (EFC), the cost of attendance, your enrollment status (full-time or part-time), and whether you attend for a full academic year or less. You need to complete the FAFSA to apply for a Pell Grant.

What's the difference between the Pell and Cal Grants?

The Pell Grant is a federal funded grant and the Cal Grant is a California-funded grant. Neither of these grants has to be paid back.