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General Scholarship Information

What is a scholarship?

Undergraduate scholarships are forms of financial aid that help students pay for their education. Unlike student loans, scholarships do not have to be repaid.

Generally, scholarships and fellowships are reserved for students with special qualifications, such as academic, athletic or artistic talent. Awards are also available for students who are interested in particular fields of study, who are members of underrepresented groups, who live in certain areas of the country, or who demonstrate financial need.

How and when will I have access to my scholarship funds?

Ferris State University Scholarships

Scholarships that are awarded to students directly from Ferris State University, such as Woodbridge N. Ferris Scholarships, are applied directly to student billing accounts each semester that the student qualifies for the scholarship. Because the University bills for one semester at a time, annual scholarship amounts are typically divided in half and applied equally to Fall and Spring semester bills. For example, a $1000 Ferris Achievement Scholarship would be divided in half, and the student would receive a credit of $500 towards his or her Fall charges and a $500 credit towards Spring charges. Scholarships apply to student accounts approximately two weeks after each semester begins.

Outside Scholarships

Each outside scholarship donor determines how his or her scholarship will be disbursed. Some donors will send checks in the mail directly to the student, while others will mail the checks directly to Ferris State University.

If the check is made payable to both the student and the college the student will be attending, then both parties must sign the check. If the check is mailed to the student, the student should endorse (sign) the back of the check and write his or her student identification number on the check. The student should then mail or deliver the check to the Ferris State University Student Services Center. (1201 S. State Street, CSS101, Big Rapids, Michigan 49307). If the check is received directly from the donor to the University, the Business Office will contact the student and make arrangements for the student to endorse and return the check. The check will then be applied directly to the student’s University billing account.

Where should I look for scholarships?

Your first step should be the Ferris State University Scholarship webpage. From our webpage you may search for scholarships offered only to Ferris State students. The MyScholarships database makes it very easy to search for Ferris scholarships.

Another excellent source of scholarship opportunities are national scholarship databases. We have listed several scholarship database sources that have proven reliable and secure. There are no fees associated with the scholarship search engines listed on this page. Here are a couple of tips to help make the most of your scholarship database search experience:

  • Create a new email address for scholarship purposes. Scholarship search engines are free for students, but they may sell your email address to advertisers to support their websites.
  • Your database search may not yield many results at first, but they may try to contact you in your junior or senior year of college with scholarship opportunities for you. You want to make sure they can get in touch with you, so routinely manage your scholarship email account - deleting any junk and scholarship notifications that you are not eligible for.
  • If a question even remotely applies to you answer affirmatively. For instance, if you have Polish or Native American heritage – even if it’s a small percentage, indicate so when you are submitting your search. The more information you provide, the more possible “hits” will come back on your search. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity for a scholarship because you didn’t mention that your great-grandfather was of a particular nationality.
  • Different search engines do yield different results, so submit your information in several databases.
  • Make sure you submit all mandatory requested information in search engines and on scholarship applications.
  • Provide any additional information that may be pertinent to the scholarship. For example, if you have volunteered someplace, include a reference from someone who supervised you. If you have worked, include a copy of your resume and reference letters from supervisors. Anything you can give the reader to give them a better understanding of you could help make you stand out in the awarding process.

Click here to access our list of approved database search engines.

Any other scholarship resources I should be aware of?

We encourage you to check the following possibilities:

  • Your parent’s employer(s).
  • Your local chamber of commerce or equivalent.
  • Your family banking institution.
  • Your family utility company or co-op.
  • Local businesses.
  • Your high school guidance office.