If you have a scholarship or multiple scholarships, first off: congratulations! Second: did you know you could lose it? Yikes. It’s an unfortunate reality that scholarships are pretty conditional. After all, there were requirements for you to be eligible for the scholarship, so it makes sense that there are also requirements for you to be able to keep that scholarship too. Each scholarship is different, and so will have different criteria for retaining it. But here are a few common ways students can avoid losing their scholarship awards.
Poor Academic Performance
This is often the first condition that comes to mind while worrying about the loss of a scholarship. Some awards are given out on academic merit—having a certain GPA or test score—and so are conditional on maintaining satisfactory grades while in college, or even steadily improving them! If your grades take a nosedive, you better start checking the scholarship rule book. If you’re having trouble keeping your grades up, try forming a study group, changing up where you study, or talking to your professor about how you can improve your grades. You don’t want to lose your scholarship.
Abuse of Scholarship Funds
If a scholarship dictates that its money is only to be used for tuition payments, then only use it for tuition payments. Seems simple enough, but even students with well-intention might slip up and use that money to buy textbooks or study materials. Whoops. Of course, there can be bigger offenses like using the money to buy food or clothes (or, you know, worse). Long story short: use the money for the purposes the scholarship explicitly lays out, or you might lose it all. If you aren’t sure what you can use the money on, or the category seems vague, ask! There’s no harm in asking and it can save you from losing your scholarship.
Rule & Law Breaking
This should go without saying. If you break a rule/law, you lose your scholarship. Whoever awarded you the funds thought you were worthy of them, so don’t prove them wrong. An infraction could be anything from a minor one to something major. Plagiarism. Underage drinking. Cheating. Substance abuse. Jaywalking. Just don’t risk it. Someone gave you the scholarship and they can just as easily take it back if you give them a good reason.
Altering Your Student Status
Are you a full time, half time, or part time student? Scholarships are sometimes conditional on how much time you’re spending in the classroom. Thinking about switching majors? Did you have any major-specific scholarships that could be in danger if you make the switch? These are things to keep in mind where financial aid is involved. Of course, there are other scholarships available for other majors. Just remember to check the conditions of your current scholarships before you make any big changes to your education.
Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US—for FREE!