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What to Do After You Win a Scholarship

In your quest to attend college in the most affordable way possible, you have probably spent time applying for multiple scholarships. When you get the great news that you have received one or more, there are still multiple steps to take to make the reward work for you. Learn what to do after you win a scholarship to minimize your risk of huge tuition bills when you head off to classes. First, take the time to celebrate. Next, follow these basic steps.

1 – Accept the Scholarship Award Officially

Do not assume that the scholarship money will be automatically deposited in an account or show up in the form of a check. You must officially accept it and find out how you receive the funds and use them in the future. You should get instructions with the approval letter or other notification.

2 – Express Your Gratitude for the Award

Since most scholarships come from companies, organizations, or individuals that make their own decisions about who gets the money, it makes sense to send a thank you to them directly. After all, they chose you out of an undoubtedly long list of applicants. It is always good etiquette and professionally advantageous to express gratitude in these ways.

3 – Carefully Save All Necessary Paperwork

Save the reward letter, all instructions, and the content of your application packet for both your own records and possible use in the future. This is especially important if you had to write an essay, send a creative report of your accomplishments, or otherwise create part of the scholarship application on your own. You may be able to tweak it for future use.

4 – Report the Scholarship to the School's Financial Aid Office

Your college or university's financial aid office must have notification of the scholarships you win in order to make appropriate offers for student loans, grants, and work-study programs. Most require that you share all your awards with them in a prompt manner.

5 – Receive and Use the Money to Pay Tuition Bills

Scholarship money is sometimes sent to the school directly and applied to your tuition, room and board, or other related bills for your education. Keep track of the process, review your account frequently, and follow up if things do not seem to be moving as they should. Ask for an estimated delivery time so you can manage your finances more accurately. If you receive the award yourself, get it in your bank and apply it to your bills as soon as possible.

6 – Look For Repayments and Tax Paperwork

If you won an excessively large scholarship, you may have some money left over after paying your tuition and college fees. Look for an overage check or repayment automatically deposited in your account. Also, you may have to pay income tax on scholarship money in some cases. Educate yourself about the possibility and look for a W-2 form in the mail.

Winning scholarships is an excellent way to get money for college whether you are a recent high school graduate or a returning adult learner. A surprising number of scholarships exist, but you need to know how to manage the money after you win one. Do not let anything stand in your way of getting the advanced education and degree you have always wanted.