When I was in high school, applying for scholarships became a part-time job. I would lay out all the forms on a table, and meticulously fill in whatever they needed. I spent nights after school writing essays. I looked on websites for them. I reviewed past scholarship recipients to see what credentials they looked for.

But the reason I knew how to do this is because I came from a high school that emphasized going to college. They had info sessions about applying for college and scholarships. They had files of all the local county scholarships available and told of us about helpful websites to look at. They emphasized the FAFSA.

I wouldn’t have known about those resources otherwise. For those from low-income families, only one in ten earn a degree before age 25. Additionally, caucasian students receive more than three-quarters of all institutional merit-based scholarship and grant funding, and they are 40 percent more likely to win private scholarships than minority students.

Outside of merit-based scholarships are athletic scholarships. The NCAA states that an in-season player can only participate in athletically-related activities for a maximum of 20 hours per week, four per day. It is estimated that a typical Division I college player will devote 43.3 hours a week to the sport–causing many to argue that top athletes should be paid as employees, beyond their scholarships.

The NCAA passed legislation this year to allow schools to pay athletes an additional stipend to cover cost of living. Ball State was one of the first MAC schools to jump on board and offer student athletes up to $3,200 additionally each academic year.

Once students are in college, they have opportunities to apply for national and international scholarships. These scholarships allow students immersion experiences and additional funding, but directors say many students don’t want to take the time to apply to these scholarship, or they don’t know they exist.

For me, the time spent looking for scholarships paid off. 

This week, Ball Bearings explores the importance of scholarships in pursuing higher education.

To read more, visit ballbearingsmag.com