Scholarship Planning Can Be Straightforward

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
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Peer Mentors Judy Saldana and Etzel Corona-Padilla are interviewed by a local television station about college financial aid.

Building a scholarship plan does not have to be complicated for students in Northern Nevada, and there is help available from the Financial Aid Office at Truckee Meadows Community College.

“There are scholarship opportunities for everyone, and I can help find financial help for you,” said Echo Lynch, Program Officer of Outreach and Scholarships. “Students can apply for more than one scholarship.”

Once students see the many awards available, they can build a scholarship plan and graduate with as little debt as possible.

Apply soon for two kinds of scholarships

The two types of scholarships are internal and external:

  1. Internal scholarships through TMCC Foundation; and
  2. External scholarships from organizations and credit unions.

In seeking a scholarship, students complete an application that is usually intended to determine if a student is a good fit for that award. There is one application to qualify for about 200 internal TMCC Foundation scholarships.

To apply for external scholarships, of which there are many, students choose which of the awards they are interested in, applying to those that are applicable.

“Start with the Scholarship Board,” Lynch said. “There are scholarships for everything from the American Indian Scholarship, to awards based on the specific major or degree program, to the Greater Nevada Credit Union Scholarship Program, just to name a few.”

There are more than 100 external scholarships listed on the board as of Feb. 19, with several requiring application by Saturday, Feb. 28.

Students can build a package, for example, combining a larger external scholarship, with a couple of smaller internal awards from the TMCC Foundation. Tips for completing the forms can be found by scheduling an appointment with Lynch, and by checking the frequently updated tips and updates about specific scholarships on TMCC’s Financial Aid Facebook page.

“We’re teaching students to be successful talking about themselves professionally to be a good fit for a scholarship,” Lynch said. “It’s good practice for your career later on.”

Planning ahead, and making a checklist is important

Lynch recommends that students first complete applications for external scholarships, because the due dates are sometimes as early as the end of February to qualify for the following academic year.

Step 1: Look at the Scholarship Board and choose awards for which you want to apply.
Step 2: Complete the internal scholarship form towards TMCC Foundation awards by May 1.
Step 3: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online application is open all year toward grants, loans and work-study.

“Every student at TMCC should complete the FAFSA, because if you don’t qualify for the Pell Grant, you might qualify for other types of aid,” Lynch said.

More information about Financial Aid, Scholarships and Student Employment can be found on their website, or by calling 775-673-7072, or contact Echo Lynch.