How to Navigate College Scholarships and Where to Find Them


Cost is often one of the most heavily considered factors when students start the college application process. When funding your education, you can't perform your best academically if you're constantly worried about how to pay for it.

With the cost of college continually rising, many students depend on financial aid while attending school. While some use grants, work-study programs, and student loans to help them pay for college, others apply for and receive scholarships or payments to support student education.

Over 1.7 million college scholarships are awarded every year in the U.S., according to the Education Data Initiative. At Dallas Baptist University, students can apply for over 30 scholarships awarded for academic, leadership, musical success, and military affiliation.

Many non-college institutions also fund scholarships to help with the often expensive cost of attending a higher learning institution.

Applying for College Scholarships

Various private and public organizations provide and pay for college scholarships. Scholarships are awarded based on exceptional academics, community service, leadership, and financial need.

Most scholarships have different guidelines and deadlines, some as soon as a year before college starts. So, the sooner you apply for a scholarship, the better.

Organizations providing the scholarship typically offer step-by-step instructions for applying for a scholarship. If you are chosen as a recipient of a scholarship, the funding may go directly to your college for tuition or fees or may be deposited directly to your bank account.

Consult your high school counselor, a college's financial aid office, various foundations, community and religious organizations, or those related to your field of interest to find and apply for available scholarships.

Several websites can help you find college scholarships, too. organizes them by GPA, ethnicity, and residing state. After being accepted into a school, you can search for scholarships on your College Board account. The U.S. Department of Education also has a free online tool to help search for different types of scholarships.

Government Scholarships

According to the Education Data Initiative, the U.S. Department of Education awards an estimated $46 billion in scholarship money annually. If you want to apply for a federal scholarship, fill out the FAFSA application. The new simplified 2024-25 FAFSA application will be available after December 31, 2023. This one application provides the information needed at DBU to evaluate your eligibility for federal, state, and institutional grants and loans.

Academic Scholarships

Academic, or merit, scholarships are awarded to those who have exceeded a school's or organization's expectations with grades or noteworthy skills in an area. They are often given to applicants with grade point averages, ACT, or SAT scores above a specific number.

At Dallas Baptist University, academic scholarships range from $8,000 to $14,000 a year and go toward paying for a student's tuition. Students who make DBU’s honors program can receive an additional $2,000 a year. Students' college applications determine scholarship eligibility.

Private Scholarships

Organizations like trusts and foundations that deposit money into students' accounts fund private scholarships. Private scholarships are often based on  academic excellence, leadership skills, community service, heritage, military affiliation, or prospective major.

Every year, over 400 DBU students receive private scholarships, with an average award of $2,500. Over the 2022 - 2023 school year, DBU awarded students $2.1 million in private scholarships.

In a mix of university-offered and private scholarships, DBU offers the church matching gift program to full-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate students. DBU will match up to $3,500 annually raised by a student's Christian church. DBU also offers scholarships for students previously employed at various companies who want to return to school.

Christian Scholarships

As a Christ-centered university, DBU offers its students a handful of Christian scholarships. The school awards the Christian Service Scholarship, valued at $3,000 per academic school year, to students involved in church, community, and school. The scholarship increases to up to $4,500 for working adults attending DBU. The Christian Leadership awards up to $3,000 annually to students exhibiting leadership in church and school.

Additional Scholarships

Whether you're a transfer commuter student, a first responder, or a military veteran, there are available scholarship opportunities at DBU and most U.S. colleges. If you're looking for extra money for school, brainstorm what makes you unique, your passions, and your identity. Find organizations and foundations associated with those traits that offer scholarships, and you're on your way.

At DBU and many higher education institutions, undergraduate students on scholarship often have to live on campus and maintain specific GPA requirements. Students must complete FASFA forms to receive any scholarship funded by DBU.

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