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Financial aid for college generally comes from four sources:

  • Federal financial aid
  • State financial aid
  • Institutional scholarships
  • Private scholarships

Scholarships and grants are not usually required to be repaid (as long as the terms of the grant or scholarship are met by the student), while loans are repaid with interest.

This page is dedicated to institutional and private scholarships.  For information on government financial aid, please visit the Financial Aid page
There is also a separate page dedicated to Local Scholarships.

The first step to all financial aid is the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application.  Most colleges and universities require students to complete the FAFSA before they can receive institutional scholarships.

Yellow sign with the text WARNINGOnline scholarship searches are not always what they appear to be.  Unethical people may be using the guise of a scholarship to rip you off, steal your identity or gather your information to sell to advertisers.  Use extreme caution when searching for scholarships online.  Some "red flags" to watch for are:
    • Charges for services--application fee, processing fee, etc.
    • "Completing all paperwork for you"--you must give them your date of birth,
      SSN, etc.  Dont do it! 
    • Excessive hype--hurry to apply (before you think it through).
    • "Guaranteed scholarships"--no one can make this claim.
    •"Exclusive" information--a legitimate scholarship is widely publicized.

Institutional Scholarships are offered by the actual college or university, and are usually based on merit (ACT scores), need (donations from alumni to help students attend school), participation (football, band scholarships), and other criteria.  Institutional scholarships are valid only at the college offering the scholarship, and some are one-time offers, while other are renewable.

The college's website and college recruiter visiting the high school are excellent sources of information for institutional scholarships.  Click here for links to Mississippi colleges and universities.

Private Agency Scholarships are offered by local and national businesses, civic and religious organizations.  Each scholarship will have its own guidelines, rules and deadlines.  Most will require an application and an essay.

Please refer back to the warning above.  There are many good scholarships out there, but be careful.  Some of the legitimate scholarship search engines that have a reputation for being legitimate are:  (click on the logo to link to the website), the largest scholarship database on the webbig future, by The College BoardScholarship Guidance, helping schools everydayPeterson's