Scholarships for college often go unclaimed

Scholarships for college often go unclaimed

Posted: Updated: Jun 13, 2014 11:14 PM
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

Millions of dollars for higher education goes unclaimed each year. It's money you can get for free, such as scholarships, grants and endowments.

Drew Watson, Jr. is one of many college students not only trying to make the grade, but do it without breaking the bank.

"I work part-time. It's kind of hard to balance school and work, but yea, I babysit on the side as well as an on-campus job," said Watson.

The junior business major missed out on free scholarship money as a freshman. Such financial aid could have initially helped knock down his now staggering school loans.

"It's kind of frustrating to hear like there are things that I could have gotten coming in as a freshman that I can't get now as a junior," said Watson.

News 2 did some digging and found only one out of 10 full-time students studying at a four-year college has some sort of scholarship, with the average amount about $2,800.

Also, the average college graduate has $19,000 of debt.

"We can give them that information, but it's up to the student to actually apply and follow through," said Tiffany Summers, Director of Financial Aid for Lipscomb University.

Summers knows first-hand about the money that goes unclaimed each year. She said most students are unaware of the scholarships or think they do not qualify. Despite some perceived level of complexity, there are ways to navigate the process and uncover these lucrative opportunities.

"Start looking now if you are a student who is like a junior in high school. Start looking at talking to your guidance counselor, and talking to the school you want to attend," said Summer.

Others ways to get that free money include:

- Talk to all types of corporations like Burger King and Xerox. They give away money.

- Ask your parents, employers, or places of worship for scholarships.

- File the free application for federal student aid also known as FAFSA.

"There are grants in Tennessee and all you have to do is file that FAFSA," said Summers.

Several Web sites offer free, personalized database searches that will help students track down scholarships, including FastWeb.com, CollegeBoard.com and CollegeNet.com.

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