COVID-19 Intensifies College Students’ Need For Scholarships and Other Financial Aid

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COVID-19 Intensifies College Students’ Need For Scholarships and Other Financial Aid

By Claire Berge Schmidt

Scholarship America® Accepting Applications for 2022 Dream Award Scholarships Through Oct. 15

Scholarship America, the nation’s largest nonprofit scholarship and education support organization, is accepting applications for the 2022 Scholarship America Dream Award through Oct. 15, 2021. Awards are made to students from across the nation who have completed at least their first year of college or beyond. The scholarships are renewable and increase in amount each year.

Students’ concerns about the rising cost of college and high tuition rates are top-of-mind for students, who say COVID-19 has impacted their financial stability and that of their families. Among students responding to a national survey by Scholarship America, more than 64% said that the pandemic has increased their need for financial aid and nearly 66% are taking steps to seek additional aid.

Among students surveyed:

  • 47% say the pandemic has dramatically impacted their ability to earn income needed for their education
  • 63% are actively applying for scholarships

“COVID-19 continues to intensify the financial struggle students and parents often face to cover the cost of going to college,” said Robert C. Ballard, president and CEO of Scholarship America. Scholarships and other types of aid help make a difference. They help students focus on their studies, stay in school and graduate.”

Students can apply for the Dream Award here. Those who apply will also be notified about additional scholarship programs they may be eligible for. Scholarship America provides access to more than 1,400 scholarship programs.

In its ninth year, the Dream Award is Scholarship America’s unique renewable scholarship program. It’s open to any college student with financial need, who has overcome barriers and successfully completed at least one year of their college education. Past recipients have come from diverse backgrounds, seeking 2- or 4-year degrees. That includes students who are first in their family to attend college, who are parents themselves, or who are choosing to attend college later in life. In the past eight years, Scholarship America has distributed 270 awards and over $2.8 million, with scholarships ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 based on financial need.

Here are comments from past Dream Award recipients:

“This scholarship means everything to me. As a student on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), I would not have enough funding to complete my degree. I don’t know what I would do without it…Thank you for giving me hope, and making my dream to be a civil engineer a real possibility.” Greta Vasiliauskaite, civil engineering major, Illinois Institute of Technology

“The Dream Award scholarship will help me progress toward my path to becoming a doctor. I aspire to give back because I truly understand what a difference this makes for students like me.” Victoria Thy Doan, biochemistry major, University of Incarnate Word

“The Dream Award I received in 2019 allowed me to complete undergraduate studies at Boston University with no student debt. Additionally, having no student debt encouraged me to apply to grad school where I will be attending the University of Southern California this fall.” Daniel Hernandez, film/television major, USC

The 2022 Scholarship America Dream Award recipients will be announced in February. Recipients will be celebrated in June 2022, at the Dreams to Success National Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C.

About the Dream Award Selection Committee

Dr. Martha Kanter, Executive Director of the College Promise Campaign and a Senior Fellow, Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy at New York University, chairs Scholarship America’s Dream Award Selection Committee comprised of respected business and educational leaders along with Scholarship America’s President and CEO, Robert C. Ballard.

Fundraising to support Scholarship America’s Dream Award was spurred by an initial donation of $350,000 from journalist and author Katie Couric in 2011. More information can be found on

About Scholarship America

Scholarship America is a non-profit organization that helps students fulfill their college dreams. Since 1958, Scholarship America has distributed $4.5 billion to more than 2.8 million students. The organization works with partners to lower barriers to a college education and give students the support needed to succeed. Learn more at