Debunking Scholarship Myths

Statistics on scholarships

Rayna Basa and Anabelle Sturdivant

Only students who get all As win scholarships.There are only scholarships for athletic or minority students. Scholarships are difficult to find and apply for.

These are only a few of the myths in finding scholarships in the average high schooler’s brain, but many students are unaware of the billions of dollars available in scholarship money.

“Each year, an estimated $46 billion in grants and scholarship money is awarded by the U.S. Department of Education and the nation’s colleges and universities,” said America’s Debt Help Organization. “In addition, about $3.3 billion is gift aid is awarded by private sources…”

One of the scholarships widely popularized in today’s society is athletic scholarships. In reality, there are many scholarships that students can receive based on merit, ethnicity, intended majors and where students live. Students can also apply for miscellaneous scholarships that require essays or videos, ranging from a multitude of topics, including women empowerment, ocean awareness, cyberbullying and even facing acne.

Scholarships are also available in most, if not all fields. Asian Women in Business is offering a $2,500 scholarship for Asian-American women that demonstrate leadership among their community, as well as a few other requirements.

The Environmental Research Center is also offering a $1,000 scholarship for those interested in the field of environmental science. “These scholarships are available to provide financial assistance to high school seniors interested in environmental health sciences and the pursuit of a higher education,” as stated on their website.

In the medical field, is currently offering a scholarship of $1,000; along with the requirements listed on their website, all applicants are required to “submit a 600 to 1,000-word essay explaining what they hope to accomplish during their career in the medical field and how the scholarship would fulfill those goals.”

With the millions of scholarship offerings, it may seem it is difficult to find the right ones.  However, websites such as, and offer a short survey in which they can tailor scholarships to your results.

“There really isn’t a struggle. If you look, there’s scholarships for anything and everything. If you are struggling finding scholarships, you are attacking this the wrong way,” said junior Andrew Sonico Eugenio. After applying for about seven scholarships, Eugenio won $1,000 along with free car washes for Vista English teacher, Kelly Hillesland, after writing a story about the creation of the duck mascot of Quick Quack Car Wash.

Without the assistance of the many scholarship offerings, it is no wonder that the average graduate faces student loan debts of about $37,172 in 2016. Tuition alone has increased more than 100 percent for public four-year colleges and over 60 percent at private four-year colleges, according to Forbes. Keith Carlson, nurse and chief content strategist at, said that he and his wife both had to borrow money for medical school, and student loans were a burden for many years.

“I think tuition fees are way overpriced; education shouldn’t cost that much, especially if we want to get into good schools,” said sophomore Ariana Radi. “Even though junior colleges may get a bad rep, they are more cost-friendly for the most part than going straight to a four-year university.”

Some college students are not aware that they can continue applying for scholarships after high school. Many scholarships, such as the Legacy Scholarship for Undergraduates sponsored by American Society of Interior Designers Educational Foundation, Inc. and the Undergraduate Research Fellowship sponsored by American Society for Microbiology, are scholarships geared towards undergraduates.

If students are still struggling with the costs, they can also receive help through federal aid. FAFSA–also known as Free Application for Federal Student Aid–is a tool for students to determine what financial aid they qualify for.

“Even if a family doesn’t think their student qualifies for financial aid, the FAFSA should be on file even to qualify for merit aid and once they get to college, they should continue to still apply for scholarships,” said Julie Calderwood, the college and career center clerk at Vista.

Despite the huge numbers of scholarships offered, “around $2.9 billion of federal grant money was left unclaimed…” according to USA Today. High school students of all years should take advantage of these opportunities in order to relieve and possibly avoid some of the detrimental effects college debt can have on their futures after college.