THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
aying for college in the United States can be a Hercu-
lean task. But some of the burden can be reduced with
scholarships. Unlike loans, scholarships and grants
are gifts—and a gift is always better than a loan.
The best source of funding—“inside” funding—comes in
the form of merit scholarships and need-based grants from
the colleges themselves. These are often renewed each year,
as long as you keep your grades up and have no disciplinary
problems while in college.
It pays to research colleges with large endowments that
can afford to give out more money, as well as the many excel-
lent private colleges that are less selective than the “top tier.”
They often generously award students who rank in the top 25
percent of their high school class.
Need-based financial aid is a different story. But it’s worth
reviewing the basics of this because there is increasing
overlap in the forms required for both need-based and merit
There are many additional, private (“outside”) sources for
scholarship money, including a few that are geared specifically
to dependents of Foreign Service employees. However, there
are some things to keep in mind about outside scholarships.
Once you have received a need-based financial aid pack-
age from your college, you are required to report any outside
scholarships to the financial aid office. Expect your financial aid
package to be consequently reduced.
When this happens, many colleges try to reduce your loans
before they reduce grant money, but make sure you are aware
of each of your chosen colleges’ financial aid policies if you plan
to apply for outside scholarships.
If you submit multiple private scholarship applications, it’s
possible to win enough money to eliminate your loans and even
cover most, if not all, of your college expenses.
Francesca Kelly, a Foreign Service spouse, is a writer, university
counselor and college essay tutor. She writes frequently on educa-
tion issues and is a former editor of AFSANews. The complete
article appeared in theDecember 2016 Journal .
FROM THE DECEMBER 2016
Finding Money for College
BY FRANCESCA KELLY