7 Ohio Scholarships for College Students

 July 31, 2020
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Affording college can seem like an uphill battle, but one strategy for making it work is to apply for scholarships. Even if you don’t think you’ll win, applying to as many as possible is often worth the effort. Whether you’re a resident or heading to school in the state, an Ohio scholarship can help cover the cost of your college education.

Here’s a look at how to get Ohio scholarships, what to do if they don’t cover your costs, and how these awards can fit into the larger picture.

Ohio scholarships and how to apply

Here are some scholarships for students in Ohio you can apply for, along with information on award amounts and how to apply.

1. Beat the Odds scholarship
2. Community Foundation of Shelby County scholarships
3. NIADA/Manheim regional scholarship
4. Ohio EPA scholarship
5. Ohio News Media Association (ONMA) scholarships
6. Hamilton Community Foundation scholarships
7. Ohio Parks and Recreation Association scholarships

1. Beat the Odds scholarship

Offered by the Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio, this scholarship is given to high school students who have both overcome hardship to persevere academically and given back to their communities. Five Ohio students win the award each application cycle.

Award amount: You could get $5,000 and a laptop, as well as an invitation to join the organization’s youth leadership development programs.

How to apply: To be eligible, you must be a current high school student in Ohio and graduating by July of the year the scholarship is awarded. You can find application materials online. Information on the next upcoming deadline will be released online.

2. Community Foundation of Shelby County scholarships

The Community Foundation of Shelby County offers more than 70 scholarships. The qualifications for these scholarships vary, though in general high school seniors and current college students who are from Shelby County or nearby areas may qualify.

Award amount: Varies, but the amount for many of these scholarships is $1,000.

How to apply: Applications are usually due in February, with the materials available at the Community Foundation of Shelby County website

3. NIADA/Manheim regional scholarship

The National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA) annually administers scholarships to students in four national regions based on leadership abilities and academics. The scholarship is sponsored by Manheim, an automobile auction company.

Award amount: You could get $3,500.

How to apply: Application materials will be posted on the website, along with the deadline details for the 2021 scholarship.

4. Ohio EPA scholarship

This national scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students at both public and private Ohio post-secondary institutions. You must demonstrate a commitment to a career in environmental science or environmental engineering.

Award amount: College juniors and seniors in a four- or five-year degree program can win up to $5,000. Students in a two-year program can win up to $2,500.

How to apply: Applications are usually accepted as early as January. Check the website for details.

5. Ohio News Media Association (ONMA) scholarships

If you’re majoring in a field relevant to the news industry, such as journalism, marketing, advertising or communications, you could be eligible for one of four scholarships from the ONMA.

Each year, an Ohio college student can earn a $1,250 award through the University Journalism Scholarship, or receive the Harold K. Douthit Scholarship, a $1,000 award given to one student annually. For high school seniors, The Ohio High School Journalism Scholarship and the annual Minority Scholarship both award $1,250 to eligible Ohio students.

Award amount: Varies

How to apply: You need to download the application when it becomes available on the ONMA website. If you want to get a head start, take a look at the previous year’s application in case there’s any overlap heading into the next year.

6. Hamilton Community Foundation scholarships

The Hamilton Community Foundation offers several scholarship opportunities to students who are pursuing a post-secondary education and who are from or attended high schools in Hamilton or surrounding Butler County. The John A. Shafer Memorial Nursing Scholarship, for example, awards $2,000 to a student pursuing a nursing career.

Whether you’re a graduating high school senior, a current college student, a returning adult student or a recent graduate, you could find a scholarship that matches your background.

Award amount: The award amounts are dependent on the specific scholarships. Its Talent Attraction Program Scholarship, for example, awards up to $10,000.

How to apply: Head to the Hamilton Community Foundation website for more information on deadlines and application requirements.

7. Ohio Parks and Recreation Association scholarships

The Ohio Parks and Recreation Association Foundation has three scholarships available to students who have an interest in parks and leisure studies. The following three types of students may qualify: those majoring in parks or law enforcement; those who exemplify the future of the profession; and those majoring in recreation in general, such as outdoor recreation, community recreation, tourism and sports management.

Award amount: The Ohio Parks and Recreation Association website doesn’t list award amounts.

How to apply: Usually, applicants are required to write an essay, in addition to filling out an application form. The essay question and form are available here, if you want to prepare for the next round of applications, usually due in the fall.

What to do if scholarships in Ohio don’t cover your full cost

If scholarships in Ohio aren’t enough to cover your tuition and living expenses, look to national awards. If those don’t pan out, you could consider student loans.

Federal student loans

Federal student loans are offered by the government to help you afford the cost of college. Many students use federal student loans because they typically come with lower interest rates, plus borrower protections. For example, you may be eligible for income-driven repayment.

You don’t have to pay interest on subsidized federal student loans while you’re in school. You can also qualify for these loans with bad or no credit.

Private student loans

If you’ve exhausted all other financing options for your education, you could consider getting private student loans to cover remaining costs.

Know that you’ll start incurring interest on private student loans as soon as you take them out. Plus, private student loans don’t come with the same protections as federal loans. However, private student loans could help make college possible if you’re out of options for money and federal loans.

If you go this route, compare at least several different private student loan lenders to make sure you’re getting your best deal.

Create a strong financial plan

Whether you pay for school by securing scholarships, loans or a combination of the two, the key to lasting financial health is creating a budget and planning ahead for repayment.

Give your finances a good look as you map out your repayment plan for any loans you take out, and be persistent in applying for scholarships that could help you avoid student debt.

Also be aware that the methods above aren’t the only means available for paying for college. Check out our guide to strategies for covering your education. Keeping yourself as debt-free as possible is key for your financial future.

Christina Majaski contributed to this report.

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