When I was in high school, we had special counselors to help us choose colleges, fill out applications, and find financial aid and/or scholarships for school. Unfortunately, as homeschoolers we don’t always have that option. So are homeschooling kids eligible for scholarships? That’s what we’re going to talk about today!
Can Homeschoolers Get College Scholarships?
The simple answer is: “of course they can!” Honestly, at least in my case, it’s just not something most parents think about! Public schooled kids are told about the many financial aid options in a variety of seminars, meetings with guidance counselors, etc. But homeschooled kids have…yep, you guessed it: their parents. And, as I said, I didn’t think about it at all until my daughter started planning for college.
I don’t know about you, but paying for college is a pretty scary concept. If they can’t get financial aid or scholarships, we may have a big problem! This is one reason scholarships are so important. But, what scholarships are available for homeschooled students? Can they apply for the same scholarships that public schooled kids can? These were all questions that are vital to me, especially, as I have a 9th grader who is planning her high school curriculum around the college she wants to go to.
Many scholarships are available to both public schooled students AND homeschooled students. As colleges become more and more interested in homeschooled students (in fact, many colleges have actively begun recruiting them), the scholarships are also being made homeschool “friendly”. Sadly, a lot of parents are not aware of this.
There are many resources for homeschooling parents to find scholarships. You should start early, so you know what the requirements are for the different scholarships, how to apply, when you should apply and which ones you’re going to apply for. How early? Well…some of the ones I’ve seen are geared towards children as young as 6! Yes, SIX YEARS OLD! Call me ignorant, but I was a little shocked to tell the truth.
One way for any college student to pay for their education, the government PELL grants, are currently still available, but awards depend on financial need and the cost of the college the student will be attending. If your family is eligible for a PELL grant, I definitely recommend starting with that. This can either pay for most or all of your child’s education.
College Scholarships Offered in Your Community
Many community organizations, such as Lion’s Clubs, VFWs, churches stores or sports organizations offer scholarships to deserving teens in their town. Kohl’s, as an example, offers a scholarship.
Honestly, probably the best way to find scholarship opportunities in your area is to ask the guidance counselor at the local high school, and/or your local homeschooling support group. Either one will be able to tell you who in your community offers scholarships and how to qualify for them.
Scholarships Open to Homeschoolers
In addition to checking out your local community organizations, you can find a lot of scholarships for your child to apply for online. The Homeschooling Hub offers a list of available scholarships for homeschoolers. Some on the list are essay contests, others are knowledge tests, and some are based on financial need. One thing I learned from browsing this scholarship list is that some of them you can start applying for as early as age 13! I didn’t know that! (Did you??)
Oddly enough, Homeschool Scholarships has a list of scholarships too. LOL They include regional scholarships offered by colleges, which is nice. There are also scholarships offered by different homeschool organizations listed (Sonlight, for example, offers a scholarship for homeschooled students).
Homeschool-how-to.com has a nice list of college scholarships as well. Some of the scholarships on the list are specific to certain colleges, but there’s nothing wrong with that! Which brings me to the next resource…
If your student already has a college in mind, check the college to see if they offer any student scholarships. Remember to check early, so you know when and how to apply, and what qualifications you have to fulfill.
Because homeschooling is becoming more and more popular, it’s actually getting easier for kids to get into college; the same goes for the scholarships and financial aid. When researching scholarships, I recommend you check ALL the options out there for students, not only those who advertise to be for homeschoolers. Check with the scholarship administrators to see if they allow homeschoolers to apply. You never know, and any amount taken off what we have to pay is worth one little question!
Have you been down this road before? Where did you find scholarships to apply for?