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Textbook Scholarships to Look Into

By Kaitlin Hurtado

College is expensive and that fact is nowhere near a secret. While many students are lucky enough to qualify for some form of financial aid, whether it be from the government or a private scholarship, it may not always be enough to cover everything associated with your college education. Your college expenses are not limited to your set amount of tuition costs -- they include rent if you are not living at home, transportation (gas, public transportation fees), food, and school supplies. Luckily, there are still options to help you cover what you need to succeed in school, just like your college textbooks.

While college tuition is known to be expensive, many new college students are surprised to find just how shockingly expensive textbooks are. While the textbook alone might be a hefty price, the accompanying (and required) access code may be even more expensive. According to the most recent survey data from the College Board, the average full-time, on-campus undergraduate student at a four-year school is estimated to have spent $1,240 on college textbooks and supplies during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Just like students get scholarships to cover tuition, students can also get scholarships to cover textbook scholarship.

Keep reading for textbooks scholarships you can consider next time you're looking to buy all your college textbooks.

Helping Hands Book Scholarship

This program was created back in 1994 for students who needed help paying for textbooks and other studying materials. As long as you are at least 16 years old and planning to attend a 2-year, 4-year, or tech institution, you are eligible.

The scholarship opens up applications twice a year -- July 15 for fall semester scholarships and December 15 for spring scholarships. Each application period results in 15 scholarships that offer anywhere from $100 to $1000.

Carl A. Scott Book Memorial Fund 

For students who have a demonstrated commitment to social justice and are working toward a social work degree can apply for this textbook scholarship. Each year, the scholarships awards two students $500 who have at least a 3.0-grade point average.

The scholarship is open to students who are African American, Native American, Asian American, Mexican American, or Puerto Rican.

Barnes and Noble Scholarships

Depending on what university you are studying at, you may be able to receive a Barnes and Noble scholarship. Campuses that offer these scholarships will award students money to spend on their textbooks purchased through Barnes and Noble bookstores. Each award is usually $500.

Proyecto H.A.C.E.R. Book Scholarship

Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad/Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, Inc. offers textbook scholarships to young women or non-binary students graduating high school who are committed to community service, leadership, and academic excellence.

The scholarship award is $1,000 and the deadline to apply for the scholarship is July 10, 2021.

Because College is Expensive Scholarship

As the name of this scholarship goes, college is expensive. While this isn't a scholarship to cover just textbooks, it can be used to cover any cost associated with a college education.

As long as you are a college student or planning on enrolling into a university within the next year, you are eligible for the scholarship. Unlike many other scholarships that are merit-based or have multiple qualifications, winners are chosen each quarter (March, June, September, and December) at random. The winner will be awarded $500.

Your Campus Financial Aid Office

While there's plenty of sites where you can check out textbook scholarship, paying a visit to your very own campus financial aid office can help immensely. Online scholarships can be a gamble (and headache) when you get information overload with every new site you visit.

With your campus financial aid office, you can get one-on-one help with faculty and get assistance on vetting what scholarships are right for you and your financial situation. Some universities will offer scholarships to students just for textbooks. For example, The University of Dayton in Ohio offers a textbook scholarship to eligible students who visit the school's campus during their college selection process. Through the scholarship, the university grants students up to $500 per semester for textbooks with the condition that the purchases are made at the on-campus bookstore.

Private Student Loans 

If these options aren't available to you and your federal aid doesn't give you the coverage you need for textbooks and other costs, you can also turn to private student loans. These loans are offered by banks or other lenders and often require you to have a cosigner or good credit score.

Being wiser about your textbooks, from renting instead of buying to opting to using used textbooks or going digital, can also help you stretch what money you do have for textbooks.

There are plenty of options out there for any students, from scholarships to methods of saving money. Best of luck with your studies and search for scholarships!