Does the Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment handle all of the scholarships on UCLA’s campus?
No. Each academic department, research center, and administrative office handles its own scholarships. The Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment (formerly Scholarship Resource Center) administers a number of private donor scholarships for the College of Letters and Science , but we are not experts on every UCLA (or non-UCLA) scholarship, nor do we administer these other scholarships. Our primary job, however, is to educate students about the private scholarship process and to introduce them to the resources that will help them to apply for (and win) outside agency scholarships.
I hear there’s millions of dollars in unclaimed scholarship money that’s just sitting there for the taking. How do I claim that money (preferaby with little to no effort)?
The good news is that there are thousands of scholarships in existence, but this unclaimed fortune in scholarship money is a myth if it means that students are not required to put thought, effort, and initiative into their applications. If you’re not willing to do anything, you’re not going to win anything.
I was just accepted to UCLA! I need to figure out by May 1 (the deadline for submitting my Statement of Intent to Register) if I can afford to attend UCLA. Can the CSSE help me find scholarship money before the May 1 deadline?
Unfortunately, no. The scholarship process is a slow process, so even if you found a scholarship to apply for with an April deadline, you would likely not find out about whether or not you won before the May 1 deadline. Our Center is a resource that will help you search for scholarships and, once you are enrolled, to apply for scholarships, but we cannot help you find fast cash.
I’m the parent of a UCLA student. Can you help me get scholarships for my child?
The CSSE serves students, and we strongly believe that students should invest their own time and energy into the scholarship process. Applying for scholarships teaches valuable skills. If a parent does that work on the student’s behalf, it is a lost opportunity.
However, there are things that parents can do to help support their children through the process. First, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You should complete a FAFSA for every year that your son or daughter attends college (not just the first year they are enrolled). This establishes financial aid eligibility.
Second, discuss finances and financial responsibility with your child.
Finally, be supportive and help your child stay organized.
When should I start applying for scholarships? Once I have received an offer of admission to a university? Once my freshman year of college starts?
Ideally, high school students should begin applying for scholarships before the undergraduate admissions cycle gets underway (there are even some scholarships that high school juniors are eligible to apply for). A high school senior should begin applying for scholarships in earnest the summer before he or she graduates from high school, and he/she should continue applying for scholarships throughout the fall, winter, and spring of his/her senior year. Transfer students should begin the scholarship process before transferring to UCLA.
Are there scholarships that don’t require a personal statement? I want to avoid scholarships that require one because I have nothing interesting to write about.
Most scholarships require a personal statement or essay of some kind, so if you want to apply for scholarships, you will need to get comfortable with the idea of writing personal statements. Fortunately, if you are a UCLA student, you can attend one of the CSSE’s Personal Statement workshops or make a writing appointment with us!
Where can I find the list of scholarships that I am eligible to apply for?
Unfortunately, “the list” doesn’t exist. There are thousands of scholarships out there, so it is impossible to compile them all into a single list. Furthermore, you are the only person who can determine whether or not you are eligible to apply for a scholarship, so no one else can compile a list of scholarships perfectly tailored to you. You must compile your own unique list of scholarships! The Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment provides many scholarship search resources, but you must be proactive about seeking them out and making use of them. Please contact us for information about how to access our library of scholarship materials and for tips on online scholarship searches.
I’m an international student. How can I find scholarships that I’m eligible for?
A big challenge for many international students is that they are not able to file a FAFSA, which is needed to demonstrate financial need. This means that international students are often limited to applying for merit/no-need scholarships (that is, scholarships that don’t require demonstrated financial need from their applicants). Because a large number of scholarships at UCLA (though certainly not all) require some amount of demonstrated financial need, international students are not eligible for many UCLA scholarships (particularly those offered by the Financial Aid Office upon admission to the university). (It should be said, however, that the situation for international graduate students can be somewhat different, as many fellowship awards at the graduate level come from academic departments rather than from the Financial Aid Office and are therefore not always strictly need-based).
Another challenge that international students face is the fact that many scholarships have U.S. citizenship or residency requirements. When searching for scholarships using sites like Unigo , international students should search for merit-based scholarships that don’t require U.S. citizenship or residency. If an award does not specify any residency requirements, it likely doesn’t matter where the student is from, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check with the organization before submitting your application.
International students should also visit our office in person to browse our many funding books and our binder of scholarship listings for international students.
I’m an AB540 student. Am I eligible for scholarships?
Yes, you are! First, make sure to file the Dream Application with the Financial Aid Office by March 2 every year (visit www.fao.ucla.edu for more information about how to do this). You can access the Dream Application at http://www.csac.ca.gov/dream_act.asp . Filing the Dream Application by this date will help FAO determine if you qualify for a CAL grant. Applicants who file after March 2nd are not eligible for CAL grants, regardless of need, so be sure to put this date on your calendar!
Secondly, you can find a number of other scholarships by using our Center’s search services. Come visit us to look at our library—we have a binder full of scholarships for AB540 students, and a number of other books targeted to specific populations. We can also direct you to some online databases that will be particularly helpful. The key for AB540 students is to search for scholarships that do not have citizenship requirements, and there are many scholarships that fit this criterion! As long as the scholarship organization does not specify that you must be a US citizen to receive their funding, you can apply for as many scholarships as you can find that match your academic, personal, and/or professional background.
I’m a graduate student. How can the Center for Scholarships & Scholar Enrichment help me to find funding for my graduate program?
The CSSE is most helpful to graduate students in helping them to search for funding opportunities. We have many books, binders of scholarship listings, resource guides, and links on our website that graduate students will find useful as they compile lists of scholarships and fellowships that they are eligible to apply for. We can also help graduate students in a more limited capacity with scholarship or fellowship essays, though graduate students should always visit the Graduate Writing Center first. The GWC offers 50-minute appointments and can work on lengthy documents, whereas our Center can offer only 30-minute appointments on 5 double-spaced pages per appointment. In short, graduate students should visit the SRC during the search process, and then again at the end of the process for proofreading after visiting the GWC.
I’m an out-of-state student. Are there scholarships specifically for me?
There are very few UCLA scholarships that are specifically earmarked for out-of-state students. With that said, out-of-state students should apply for as many scholarships (both UCLA and non-UCLA) as they are eligible for. (See “Where can I find the list of scholarships that I am eligible to apply for?” for more information) For out-of-state students who don’t have demonstrated financial need, please see the next question about merit/no-need scholarships.
I’m in financial crisis, and I need money fast. What scholarships can I apply for?
Scholarship money is not emergency money, so applying for scholarships is probably not the realistic solution to your current situation. If you are facing a financial emergency, you should contact the UCLA Economic Crisis Response Team (ECR) at ECR@saonet.ucla.edu. You may also visit www.studentincrisis.ucla.edu/resources.html for more information
I’m not a high school student. Have I missed my chance to apply for scholarships?
Not at all! There are many scholarships out there for undergraduate and graduate students as well as for high school students. Applying for scholarships is not something you do once at the end of high school and never again. You can apply for and win scholarships before each year that you attend school. You will become eligible for some scholarships just by applying for admission to a particular college or university, but that college or university will also offer many scholarships that you will need to find and apply for separately from the application for admission. Those could come from a number of different offices on campus (Financial Aid Office, academic departments, research centers, alumni association, student organizations, etc.), but you’ll likely need to search around on campus websites (and Google) to find them all. It is also important to recognize that you can apply for many scholarships from outside your college or university as well. There are all sorts of organizations (businesses, volunteer groups, advocacy groups, professional groups, etc.) out there that offer scholarships to freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, and/or graduate students. A good place to start looking for those is on our Search Services page. There you’ll find a list of scholarship search engines and databases that can help you find opportunities that fit your particular student profile.
I do not qualify for financial aid. How can I find merit-based scholarships?
Just to be clear, not qualifying for financial aid doesn’t mean that you don’t need money for school—it simply means that you cannot demonstrate financial need through the FAFSA (or Dream Act Application). If you don’t have demonstrated financial need, you will be limited to applying for “merit” or “no-need” scholarships, which are scholarships that don’t take applicants’ financial situation into consideration. You can find merit/no-need scholarships in a variety of places. A good place to start is Unigo , where you will be able to find lots of scholarships (especially essay contests) that don’t require financial need from their applicants. Visit the SRC in person to peruse the Merit/No Need Scholarships binder, as well as the Essay Contests binder.
What is the FAFSA? What does it have to do with my financial aid eligibility?
All students are expected to contribute towards the cost of their college education. How much you and your family will be expected to contribute depends on your financial situation—and is what is referred to as your Expected Family Contribution or EFC.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form used by the U.S. Department of Education to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) by conducting a “need analysis” based on financial information, such as income, assets and other household information, which you (and your parents if you are a dependent student ) will be asked to provide. The form is submitted to, and processed by, a federal processor contracted by the U.S. Department of Education (ED), and the results are electronically transmitted to the financial aid offices of the schools that you list on your application.
FAFSA is the application used by nearly all colleges and universities to determine eligibility for federal, state, and college-sponsored financial aid, including grants, educational loans, and work-study programs. The California deadline for the FAFSA falls on March 2 every year (even if March 2 is on a weekend). Most international students are not able to fill out the FAFSA. AB540 students are not eligible to fill out the FAFSA, but they can fill out the California Dream Application , which serves the same function as the FAFSA (and is also due every year on March 2).
Can you answer questions about my FAFSA, financial aid package, loans, eFan, or Dream Act Application?
No. You will need to speak with the UCLA Financial Aid Office (310.206.0400) about anything related to your financial aid package. Our Center is here to help you during the scholarship search and application process. Once you win a scholarship, though, the Financial Aid Office takes over by processing your scholarship check and figuring out how the scholarship will fit into your financial aid package.
I was accepted to UCLA, and I wasn’t offered (m)any scholarships. I was offered scholarships at other universities (including a Regents Scholarship from another university in the UC System). Can I negotiate with UCLA for scholarships, using my scholarship offers from other universities/UCs as leverage?
There are certain scholarships that are offered to students as part of their admissions package; most of these scholarships are awarded by Undergraduate Admissions and the Financial Aid Office. If you have questions about your financial aid package and/or any scholarships you were (or were not) awarded upon admission, you will need to speak with the UCLA Financial Aid Office (FAO) directly. Please keep in mind, however, that students are rarely able to bargain with the FAO or with Admissions for additional scholarships. Finally, each individual UC campus makes its own decisions regarding the award of Regents Scholarships. A student may win a Regents Scholarship at Berkeley and not be offered one by UCLA (or vice versa). These decisions are final and not subject to negotiation.
Where should outside agency scholarship checks be sent?
Please do not mail scholarship checks to the CSSE, as our office does not process them. Please mail scholarship checks to the following address:
Payment Solutions and Compliance Office
University of California, Los Angeles
Box 957089, 1125 Murphy Hall
405 Hilgard Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90095-9000
Please make sure that the check is made out to “UC Regents” and that the scholarship recipient’s 9-digit UCLA id number appears in the memo line of the check.
I was notified that I won a scholarship that I never applied for. The organization is telling me that I need to give them my credit card number so they can “hold” the scholarship for me. Is this a legitimate scholarship, or a scam?
More than likely, it’s a scam. While it is true that every so often, a university (or an office affiliated with a university) might identify a student for a scholarship that he/she hasn’t applied for, this usually doesn’t happen (legitimately) under other circumstances. It is also important to remember that, under legitimate circumstances, the university or campus office would never ask a student for his/her banking or credit card information. Generally speaking, however, you must apply for scholarships in order to win them, so being offered an award that you never applied for is definitely a red flag. Other warning signs: online scholarship “lotteries” that ask only for your contact info (this is usually just thinly-veiled phishing); scholarship organizations based in California or Florida (where a disproportionately large number of scams originate); scholarship organizations with no phone numbers; scholarship organizations with unprofessional-looking websites, social media sites, and/or flyers (i.e. lots of typos, poor writing, etc.); scholarships that don’t offer a list of past winners; and scholarships that require an entry fee. If you have any questions about the legitimacy of a scholarship listing, feel free to bring it to the SRC for a second opinion!