Utah Parent Question:

Hi! We’ve really struggled to find scholarships that are legitimate ones my son can apply for. His grades are stellar, he’s on track for the Regents Scholarship, but we’d like to figure out where the best places are to find other scholarships. Any suggestions?

Expert Answer (from StepUp Outreach Officer, Jacob Newman): 

Hello! Thank you so much for reaching out. We want to help you find scholarships for your son, and we want to help you remove those financial barriers to accessing higher ed. We gave a pretty detailed response to this question and another good one here. Here’s some concise advice that summarizes a lot of what we have said in the past.

1. AP, IB, Concurrent Enrollment: While not directly related to scholarships, I would suggest that you make sure your son is enrolled in courses that will fulfill college general education requirements. These classes can save thousands in tuition costs.

2. StepUp Scholarships: The StepUp team is working with many Utah groups (colleges, universities, district/ education foundation) partners to aggregate scholarship information specific to Utah schools. We hope to become the source for Utah-based scholarships. This process is taking us some time, but we are hard at work to aggregate this data and put it in place as soon as we can. In the meantime, you can still use our thoroughly vetted search engine that we have hosted through Utah Futures. I would suggest that you still consider looking close to home for scholarships. Ask your bank or credit union if they offer scholarships (I got a scholarship from my credit union in high school). Reach out to your employer to see if they offer tuition benefits for dependents. Ask at the district level/education foundation level about possible scholarships available to students. High school counselors often have a lot of school/district specific scholarship information

3. Make scholarship applications count: When applying for scholarships, make sure your son has a stellar resume by using our scholarship toolkit! A good resume and application materials can make a huge difference when it comes to being accepted or rejected. Applying for small scholarships can even make a difference; studies have shown that students often drop out of school for costs of less than $500!

4. Complete the FAFSA: Remember that when your son goes to apply for institutional scholarships, they will often require a calculation of financial need even if they are not necessarily need-based. Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid anytime after October 1st of his senior year. Keep in mind that many schools have financial aid priority deadlines as well! To help students and their parents file the FAFSA, StepUp Utah offers free FAFSA completion open houses at high schools throughout the state. If you want expert help filling out the FAFSA, StepUp Utah will be able to help make the process easy. We also offer the chance to win a scholarship just for filling out their FAFSA! Come to a StepUp Utah sponsored FAFSA completion event for more details!

I hope that gives you some direction and some ideas to help with your scholarship search! As always, please let us know if you need more help! -Jacob at StepUpUtah

Be sure to check out the short and info-filled videos about searching and applying for scholarships on the StepUpUtah YouTube channel as well. See them below…