Los Angeles Times’ Ask ED Q&A

Dear ED,

There are thousands of different scholarships available for college, but I understand most are difficult to get.  What is the difference between a private and public scholarship?

– Amanda, parent, Woodland Hills, CA

Many organizations – from church groups to large corporations – offer private scholarships.  However, these scholarships only amount to approximately 2% – 3% of the financial assistance available to college students.  There are many other ways to secure gift aid.  For example, university, state, and federal scholarships and grants can be more substantial than the average private scholarship and may be easier to qualify for.  Since private scholarship money does not reduce your expected family contribution, many collegs rescind or reduce their grant/aid awards when they discover a private scholarship has been awarded to a student.  In other words, private scholarships will usually save money for the college, not for the family.

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