Although there are many long-term benefits of winning scholarships, the short-term reward can be limited because the money often only lasts a year. Unless, of course, you can find a renewable scholarship.
Here are five renewable scholarships to consider — plus our tips on where to find funding that stays active as long as you stay in school.
Keep reading if you have or will earn a top score on the PSAT.
Being a good test-taker is key to winning a National Merit Scholarship (NMS), but it only gets your foot in the door. The NMS Corporation also evaluates your grades, extracurricular experiences, recommendation letters and personal essay. The award is given without regard to gender, race or ethnicity, or religion.
By taking the PSAT, you’re automatically entered into the competition for scholarship support, funded by businesses, schools and the NMS itself. Keep in mind, however, that NMS’s well-known $2,500 scholarships aren’t renewable — only those awards sponsored by corporations and colleges are renewable for up to four years. You would be notified via snail mail which type of award you received.
Application deadline: The date of PSAT testing for your school; if you miss the test, contact the NMS Corporation by April 1.
Keep reading if you’re a high school senior with at least a 3.0 grade point average.
The GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship hands out a maximum of $40,000 per student — that’s $10,000 per year, pending renewal. The foundation prioritizes applicants with leadership experience.
Application deadline: Current deadline is January
Keep reading if you’re a high school or college student whose parent passed away or became disabled as a result of their military service.
The Freedom Alliance scholarship amount depends on your financial need and is awarded over four years. To renew it each year, you must submit verification forms by October. The nonprofit foundation asks applicants to write 500 words about what your parent’s service means to you.
Application deadline: Check directly with the Freedom Alliance, which has a rolling application deadline
Keep reading if you’re a high school senior of African descent who’s pursuing a profession in technology.
If you meet the Microsoft scholarship’s eligibility criteria — and continue to meet it through your collegiate career — you could receive $5,000 per year for four years. Those criteria include registering at least a 3.3 grade point average while progressing toward a bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science, computer information systems or certain business disciplines.
Application deadline: Current deadline is March
Keep reading if you’re a graduating high school senior and the dependent of a member of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union.
The AFSCME scholarship awards a total of $8,000 — disbursed as $2,000 in renewable aid for four years — to students who stay enrolled full-time and pursue a bachelor’s degree. Applications call for your SAT or ACT scores, as well as a 1,000-word response to the prompt “What AFSCME Has Meant To Our Family.”
Application deadline: Current deadline is the end of December
In all likelihood, not all of the five renewable scholarship opportunities above will fit your exact financial aid situation. Maybe you’re not in the population segment under consideration, or perhaps your grades just aren’t good enough.
Still, it’s possible to find a scholarship that spans multiple years of college and fits your own situation. Aside from using online scholarship search engines and tools, here are three more places to look:
- Your current scholarship donors: It never hurts to ask whether the one-time award you’ve already secured could be extended. That was one trick employed by a woman who won six figures of gift aid.
- School financial aid office: You could find a renewable scholarship right on campus. Many colleges and universities make continued aid available for students who maintain a certain grade point average while progressing toward their degree. At Baylor University, for example, first-year students who receive a Carr P. Collins Scholarship could renew it for up to three years.
- State government: While it’s more frequent that states offer grants as opposed to scholarships, both are forms of gift aid. And your state’s program might restore the aid annually. For instance, if you’re studying in Arkansas, the state’s student loan authority awards one R. Preston Woodruff Jr. Scholarship that is renewable for four years.
Better yet, save yourself the trouble by winning a full-ride scholarship — they renew automatically.