Millions of dollars in grants, scholarships not used each year because students don't apply
TORONTO -- Every year millions of dollars in grants and scholarships are left on the table because students don’t bother to look for them.
But, it can be rewarding if you try.
A Mississauga university student says she won’t have to pay one penny for tuition this year in part because of grants and scholarships she has received.
“I would say I have received at least $14,000 already so that's been very helpful. This year I don't think I have had to pay a penny that I can think of from my pocket,” Gurmen Badyal said.
The website GrantMe.ca says the average university student graduates with $26,000 debt. It’s why students should be trying to take advantage of scholarships and grants, but many don’t.
“I think that the biggest reason that so much money in scholarships goes unclaimed is that many students often don't know where to start or where to look," Madison Guy, the founder of GrantMe.ca, said.
GrantMe.ca is a platform that matches students to scholarship and award opportunities.
Guy says students seeking scholarships should start looking early and explore all their affiliations, such as their bank, their parent’s employers and service clubs in their community.
Getting a scholarship is not just about high marks as many are handed out for reasons such as volunteering, community service and through business and sport connections.
Students are advised to focus on their strengths, try to keep the application process simple and create connections with those who offer scholarships.
While many students might think that trying to apply for scholarships is a lot of work, Guy says it doesn’t have to be.
“If you can create one really strong application that is a great reflection of who you are as a student and as a person then you can reuse and recycle that application across multiple applications,” Guy said.
Badyal advises that if a student is applying to college or university or is already there they should try to see if they are eligible to receive free money.
“Look at what's out there and there is no harm in applying. Just keep applying and I’m sure something will come out of it. But it's just the initiative that a student has to take first," Badyal said.
If you sign up through the website it will try to match you to scholarships you may qualify for. Applying is free but the website also has a paid subscription service for students seeking added help to steer them through the application process.