Are You Labeled an 'At Risk' Student?
There May Be Money for College if You Look
At Risk Student Scholarships vary from college to college and even state to state. Some offer a supplementary aid to help with the cost, while others have a little more to give. On an average, though, these are generally less then $2500.
Usually you must fall in one of several categories to be considered an at risk student:
- Have a disability that may keep you from completing college
- Have an income, or family income, that would show a greater then normal need for the scholarship
- A member of an ethnic minority that traditionally has a lower then national average rate of college education
- The dependent of a migrant farm worker or a migrant farm worker that the majority of your income is earned this way
- The First Generation to attend college
What this means is that you must fall well below the poverty level for income, which does include single parent and both parent households. You may have a handicap that would make attending college hard for you, like blindness or being in a wheelchair. You may be part of a group of people that are college educated less then that of other groups (like single moms, African Americans and Latinos). Or you may have a parent or yourself that travels the country to work in fields following the work and money. Or even be the very first person in your family to go to college. The good news is that you only have to show the need in one of these, not all. You may also want to look at general minority and disability scholarships.
Given Out at the University Level
The bad news is that there are very few scholarships that you can just apply for. Most college campuses have them available, but these are usually offered at the college itself, not a scholarship fund organization. Many do require some sort of essay to accompany it, and fortunately a great many award them for multiple years.
Some of the common ones are:
- Roy P. Drachman Fund, founded 1998, given to students of the University of Arizona
- Idaho Minority and at Risk Scholarship, which is available to residents of Idaho
- Daniels Opportunity Awards which awards the At Risk Scholarships to the four states of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming
Local agencies are also a good place to seek this type of scholarship, like the one from the Los Angles County Commission for Women and their offering of $1000 for the Girls At-Risk Scholarship program.
Start Your Search Early
If you want to go to college and you meet the criteria of the 5 points above, you may want to look into them before you start your senior year. Some programs only offer money to at risk high school students so they have it in place by the 12th grade.
In addition, because of the nature of the scholarships, this can also be helpful in seeking First Generation Scholarships if you're the first one to go to college. Most colleges offer this scholarship as well.
It may not all be publicized, but ask your counselor.