Need-Based Scholarships: Understanding the Criteria and How to Qualify

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Scholarships are one of the best ways to help pay for school. Whether you’re a recent high school graduate or returning to school with decades of experience under your belt, scholarships can help you fund your education. Dr. John Manzella say’s, but not all scholarships are created equal and not all students qualify for need-based scholarships. To know what kind of scholarship money is out there, you need to understand how need-based awards work — especially if you want to win one yourself!

What is Need-Based?

Need-based scholarships are awarded to students with financial need. These scholarships are not based on merit or academic achievement, but rather the student’s ability to show that he or she cannot afford the cost of attendance without additional funding.

Need-based scholarships are awarded by both public and private organizations, who use a variety of methods for determining eligibility.

What are the requirements for need-based scholarships?

You may not know it, but there are scholarships out there that are based on how much money your family makes. These “need-based” scholarships require you to apply directly to the institution–not through an outside organization like the National Merit Scholarship Program or a state’s department of education.

To qualify for these awards, you must meet certain requirements:

How do I apply for a need-based scholarship?

The first step to applying is to check with your school or university. Some schools require you to fill out a separate application, while others may have it built into their standard admissions process. You can also check with the scholarship provider directly, as they might have specific guidelines for how and when you apply. If you’re still unsure about how best to proceed after speaking with these sources, contact your guidance counselor; they’ll be able to give advice based on their experience working with students who want help paying for college costs.

Applying for need-based scholarships takes some work, but it can also be a lot of fun!

  • Apply for need-based scholarships. Scholarships are granted based on your financial need and can help you pay for college, so it’s important to apply for them if you qualify.
  • Understand the difference between need-based and merit-based scholarships. If a scholarship requires an essay or other application materials, make sure that these don’t take away from your focus on completing high school courses and getting good grades in them (especially if there are deadlines!).


Need-based scholarships are a great way to help you pay for college. They can be especially helpful if you don’t have family members who can contribute financially or if your parents weren’t able to save much before they passed away when they were younger. These types of scholarships look at factors like financial need and personal circumstances when deciding whether or not someone qualifies for one of their awards. In order for them to work out well for everyone involved, students should apply as early as possible so that there’s plenty of time for processing paperwork before deadlines come up later in the year!

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