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Sallie Mae supercharges free tool for National Scholarship Month

Sallie Mae supercharges free tool for National Scholarship Month

It’s now easier than ever for students to find scholarships for college. Sallie Mae, the nation’s No. 1 financial services company specializing in education, today unveiled a newly enhanced Scholarship Search tool, free for anyone to use.

The supercharged tool launched during National Scholarship Month, which marks the start of the scholarship season. According to analysis of Sallie Mae’s scholarship database, more than 70 percent of scholarships list deadlines in the six-month period between November and April.

Sallie Mae’s Scholarship Search (www.SallieMae.com/ScholarshipSearch) now contains more than 3 million scholarships worth $16 billion, and it is expanded and updated daily. The enhanced tool also offers new sharing capabilities for social media. The modern design and optimized user experience include features like tip boxes with guidance for users to get the most out of the tool. Registered users will be entered to win a $1,000 monthly drawing.

To search for scholarships, users complete a simple profile that will be matched to specific scholarship programs. Students can view details about each scholarship program, including the award amount, eligibility criteria and deadline date. Students should return to the tool throughout the application process and annually while in school to see what new scholarships match their profile. Parents and guidance counselors can also use the tool to assist their students.

Four in 10 families used scholarship money to help pay for college in academic year 2012-2013, according to Sallie Mae’s “How America Pays for College” 2013 study. Nine in 10 families used some type of resource to help them plan ahead to pay for college. The most widely used resource, scholarship search websites, was used by 60 percent of families.

In honor of National Scholarship Month, Sallie Mae also offers these tips:

  • It’s never too early or too late to apply for scholarships. There are scholarships open to students as early as grade school. Don’t stop applying for scholarships after you graduate from high school. Keep applying throughout college.
  • Give it try. There are scholarships for all different passions, talents and achievements. You don’t have to be the class valedictorian or star football player to qualify for a scholarship. Awards for future welders, potato researchers, tall and short students and promoters of vegetarianism are just some examples.
  • Prioritize your results. Students should research their matches and find the awards that are the best fit. Apply for those scholarships first. You’ll need to show the scholarship judges why you deserve to win and you can only do so if your background, experience, goals and achievements match the scholarship requirements.
  • Dedicate time to your search. Set aside time to follow up on the latest matches from scholarship search engines, fill out forms or work on essays.
  • Don’t miss deadlines. Scholarships are very strict when it comes to deadlines.. You need to be organized (something parents can help with) and make sure you know when everything is due.

Join the conversation on how to save, plan and pay for college at Facebook.com/SallieMae or Twitter.com/SallieMae.

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