Hidden college scholarships

At a jam-packed College Fair this weekend, families pounded the pavement looking for school info but not necessarily scholarship information.

"Since she's only a junior, we haven't really thought about the financial aspects yet," said Kevin Emes.

But Mayor Michael Nutter started thinking about it right after his daughter Olivia was born.

"I would constantly whisper to her scholarship, scholarship, scholarship."

Okay that might be a little too early. Here's what scholarship experts do suggest.

"I suggest parents start looking at scholarships when their kids are in 9th grade," said Donna Frisby-Greenwood of the Philadelphia School District. "I think families are always surprised by what they find."

For instance, there's $1-thousand available to lefties, tall people and twins! And up to $10-thousand for applicants who are vegetarian!

"You can have a scholarship for fashion design and a student can apply for that, that's outside the institution the student is applying to," said Ellen Deitrich of the Shipley School.

If you have a sweet tooth how about cashing it in for a $5-thousand scholarship being offered to aspiring candy technologists?

We also found a $2two-thousand scholarship being offered to students who maintain political weblogs and a $6-thousand scholarship to the prom couple who makes the best outfit out of Duct brand duct tape. And $2-thousand for the winner of a wool knitting competition!

The Patrick Kerr Skateboard Scholarship is named in memory of a local teenager. Scholarships were not given this year because of fundraising to build a memorial skate park in Roslyn. But the plan is to resume the scholarships soon.

The money is out there and often left on the table, unclaimed.

"We have some scholarships that are unique to Philadelphia public school or charter students and we don't get enough students to apply for them," said Frisby-Greenwood.

So go for it and let a resourceful Temple student be your inspiration.

"She got $20-thousand in scholarships."

You know how? She applied for as many scholarships as she could find! And finding these scholarships shouldn't cost you anything.

"There are services out there that'll say to parents 'you pay me x number of dollars and we'll find you scholarships' there's no need for that."

Instead, log onto sites like educationplanner.org. Students can plug in their information and the website will send back information about scholarships you might be eligible for.

Also all families should apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid even upper and middle income students. That's how you find out what you're eligible for and some colleges won't even look to see if there are scholarships available for you unless they can see your FAFSA information.

For more information:

US Department of Education
PHEAA.org, (Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency)
Free Application for Federal Student Aid, (FAFSA)
Scholarships listed on Philadelphia public schools website
Philadelphia city's college awareness initiative

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