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Outside scholarships” are any scholarships you earn from external sources, basically anyone besides the federal government or the school itself. So why do you have to report outside scholarships to your school?

It’s All About Financial Need

When you earn outside scholarships, your financial need goes down—you now have additional money that you didn’t before. With your financial need lowered, you now need less money from the school itself to attend.

Therefore, whenever you get an outside scholarship, you tell your school’s financial aid office so they can adjust your reward letter.

Should I Not Pursue Outside Scholarships, Then?

By all means, keep applying for those outside scholarships! Even if your school lowers the amount of financial need they’re giving you, you’re still earning free money from the scholarships themselves, after all. Every scholarship counts. The more you earn from them, the less you have to take out in student loans (which should always be a last resort for paying for college).

If you do need a student loan, however, try using College Raptor’s new Student Loan Finder to discover personalized loan options. You can compare lenders and interest rates to find the best deal for you—for FREE!