Ds Scholarship

College scholarships for Charlotte, North Carolina students

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Heading off to college can be something to be excited about and proud of but figuring out how to pay for it can be a major stress for students and their families.

About 12% of North Carolina residents have a student loan debt, according to the finance company LendingTree, and the “average balance” for borrowers in the state is $36,293.

There are means of getting help paying for school beyond loans, including scholarships and financial aid from multiple sources.

Here’s what to know about finding scholarships and more in the Charlotte area.

Scholarships for Charlotte-area students

Many scholarships are available to students enrolling at North Carolina colleges and universities:

  • ANSWER Scholarships is a Charlotte-based group that provides scholarships to mothers who are pursuing “any four-year degree plus select two-year degrees.” The organization also provides mentoring. Applications are due March 1, and applicants must live in Mecklenburg County or any of the 10 surrounding counties, be age 25 or older and have at least one child at home in pre-K through 12th grade.
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ Retired School Personnel group provides multiple scholarships to “graduating high school seniors and teacher assistants in CMS who are planning to enter the teaching profession.” Applicants are expected to “provide our committee with an essay outlining academic achievements, leadership, extra-curricular activities, and financial need” and can get more information from their guidance counselor.
  • The College Foundation of North Carolina offers a searchable database of scholarships available across the state. You can narrow your search based on your county, where you’re going to school and more.
  • The Foundation for the Carolinas “manages more than 150 scholarship funds” available to students in North and South Carolina. You can narrow your search based on your major and location or search by keyword.
  • North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarships are available to state residents to help pay tuition when enrolled at UNC campuses and North Carolina Community College campuses “for at least six credit hours per semester.” Eligibility is determined by the FAFSA.

Colleges and universities also often offer scholarships for students in certain schools or major or who meet certain criteria. You should contact your school’s financial aid office for more information on what you’re eligible for and how to apply.

What about FAFSA?

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly referred to as “FAFSA,” is another step you can take to get help with paying for college.

The federal government will use your application to determine what sort of aid you’re eligible for, such as federal grants, work-study and public student loans. Many states, colleges and private aid providers will also use your FAFSA to help determine your eligibility for financial aid.

To fill out the application, you’ll need your Social Security number, tax records and bank statements. If you’re a “dependent student,” you’ll likely need the same information from your parents or guardian.

You can fill out the application at fafsa.gov, and many high will offer assistance to students in schools at the form.

The federal deadline for the 2021-22 academic year is June 30, 2022, and June 30, 2023 for the 2022-23 academic year. But North Carolina recommends submitting your application as soon as possible after it’s made available because awards are “made until funds are depleted.”

You should also check for specific deadlines from the school or schools you’re applying to.

This story was originally published February 10, 2022 5:59 PM.

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Mary Ramsey is a service journalism reporter with The Charlotte Observer. A native of the Carolinas, she studied journalism at the University of South Carolina and has also worked in Phoenix, Arizona and Louisville, Kentucky.

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