Scholarships - Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I report/disclose all sources of financial assistance I have, or expect to receive to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships?
(Disclosure Statement) Federal Student Aid Guidelines require schools to include various types of aid, as part of the student’s estimated financial assistance when packaging his/her financial aid award. All categories of students are required to report all instances of expected aid to the Financial Aid Office. Failure to do so could result in the reduction, retraction or even cancellation of some or all of the student’s financial aid award, possibly leaving the student with a balance owed to the University. The list provided below, should not be construed as all inclusive:
Waivers of Tuition and Fees; Fellowships or assistantships; Veteran Educational Benefits’ Stipends; National Service Education Awards; Insurance programs for student’s education; scholarship; any educational benefits paid because of enrollment in post secondary education; Chapter 1607 Reap Benefits, ROTC living allowances, net income from Need-based Employment; Americorps funds, Designated State Aid; Designated Aid paid on the student’s behalf; Scholarships, etc…

How can I begin searching for scholarships?
Students and parents may consider three practical and effective methods for undertaking the scholarship search, application, and management process. These are guides and students may develop their own approaches to fit varying circumstances.

  1. The Target Method – This method was used by the authors of the Ultimate Scholarship Book to earn over $100,000 in scholarship funding while attending Yale University.

    Basically, the student would focus his or her search efforts on local sources (center of the target), such as community foundations, state higher education agencies, high schools, college financial aid web sites, places of religious worship, fraternal organizations, banks, clubs and other local organizations. These sources have far fewer applicants than national sources, increasing the likelihood of earning awards. Then, the student would change focus to more distant sources (outside of the target’s center) by searching in books, on-line, and by becoming members of reputable search engines like,, and These engines send scholarship opportunities to members each day via e-mail based on the member’s profile.

  2. E-Book Method – This is a simple approach to making technology work more for us. For example, the Ultimate Scholarship Book is available in an e-book format accessible using Amazon’s Kindle and other e-readers. Instead of leafing through the entire paperback book, scanning each page, and writing down findings, a student can use the Find option offered by e-readers and other applications like Adobe Reader to search for keywords within the e-book (i.e. “African American”, “female”, “biology”, “Virginia”, “HBCU”, “left-handed”, etc.). This approach can expedite the process and increase the effectiveness of search efforts.

    According to, statistics show that for each scholarship earned, a student needed to submit about 10 scholarship applications. In order to locate those 10, the student needed to review at least 100 opportunities. – Be prepared to devote considerable time and effort to earning scholarships!

  3. Directory Method – The following scholarship search database providers allow both high school and college students to search for scholarships based on specific criteria:

    • – You can use the Filter Category option to select how the scholarships are grouped and listed: Student Athletes, Academic Merit, Essays, and others
    • – You can use the Browse By option to search by City, College, Major, and other criteria
    • – See the bottom of the home page to view various categories offered for scholarship search, such as Scholarships for Women, Veterans, and Minorities
    • ScholarshipExperts/ – You can search by a variety of criteria on this search provider, such as Scholarships for Students with Disabilities, Company-sponsored Opportunities, and Sweepstakes
    • – A new, free scholarship search and matching service containing helpful features, allowing students to learn more about their chances of winning scholarships, among other features.

    These are some of the reputable search engines and database providers we have found to be effective and especially efficient, since students cut their search time greatly by using the Directory Method

  4. Follow us on Twitter or check our page regularly – We have a Twitter account and use it to post scholarship and other information that students may use to learn about more recent opportunities. Here is a link to our Twitter page: @HUPirate_FinAid. *Please use our Contact Us page to submit inquiries and contact our office. Do not use Twitter for contact purposes.

Students will find these and other tips within the following Scholarship Search Tips PDF document. The MS Excel spreadsheet can facilitate the search process as well by allowing students to document their findings quickly in a legible and easy to manage format. For example, a student can simply copy an opportunity from a webpage or page in an e-book and then paste in the spreadsheet.

Scholarship Search Tips Spreadsheet (excel)
Scholarship Search Tips (pdf).

How do I receive or apply for an institutional scholarship, such as those offered by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, as well as those offered to incoming freshmen by the Office of Admission?

Admission Scholarships: Hampton University is pleased to recognize outstanding academic achievement by offering a variety of scholarships to first-time freshmen. These scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis and funding is limited. The Office of Admission considers several factors when selecting incoming freshmen for a scholarship. The Office of Admission is solely responsible for the selection of qualified applicants. For more information, please visit the Admission Scholarship Information web page.

Other Institution Scholarships: HU attracts some of the most academically talented students in the country and abroad. Each year, at a minimum, we have literally hundreds of students with grade point averages between 3.0 and 4.0. As such, the selection process for institutional scholarships is extremely competitive for the number of opportunities available. Therefore, we use software programs to help identify and randomly match the most qualified students, based on each scholarship donor’s eligibility criteria. Typically, institutional scholarships are awarded once Spring grades have been finalized in May.

Scholarship Search Engines: We believe that the search for scholarships should not end at the point of admission. Moreover, students should spend as much time in search of scholarship opportunities as they spend with their favorite leisure programs… right up to the point of graduation. With this in mind, we highly recommend that all students review the FAQ above entitled How can I begin searching for scholarships? There are several methods such as the Target Method, E-Book Method, and Directory Method that may be helpful in your ongoing search.”

How do I qualify for need-based scholarships and grants?
The following formula is used to calculate financial need: Cost of Attendance (COA) minus Expected Family Contribution (EFC) equals Financial Need. The EFC is a figure provided by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) based on the FAFSA to help determine a student’s financial need. Students who applied for federal aid with the FAFSA will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the DOE, which will contain their EFC. If a student does not submit the FAFSA form, then financial need will be the difference between the student’s COA and all accepted aid, if any. *The financial need figure will change if any aid is received, reduced or retracted throughout the academic year. If a student has financial need at the beginning of the academic year and receives financial aid that fulfills that need, then that student would no longer have financial need and would not be eligible for need-based aid.

Where can I apply for external scholarships?
Scholarships and grants can come from a variety of sources, such as: government (federal, state, city and county), institutions of higher learning (colleges, universities and trade schools), clubs, unions, societies and other organizations (fraternities, sororities, Boys and Girls Club, NAACP, UNCF, banks, credit unions, churches, and UAW); military branches (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy) and individuals (family, friends, and philanthropists) . Interested students and parents may research on-line, with the organization and individual, and using scholarship/grant books, manuals and periodicals. Also, there are some reputable search engines, such as FastWeb, which can help locate scholarships and grants for students. *Be sure to investigate the reputation of any organization and individual whom you plan to send personally identifiable information with the Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission, and your state attorney general. Click here for a scholarship list: (doc) (pdf)

Does the Scholarship and Grants Division of the Office of Financial Aid find external scholarships for eligible students?
No. Students and parents must take the responsibility to identify potential sources of scholarships and grants. This is important since only the student and parents would know their particular circumstances, such as membership in certain organizations (i.e. fraternities, sororities, churches, etc…), opportunities for employment-related financial assistance (i.e. tuition reimbursement programs through employer) and student recognition for outstanding service (i.e. community, academic achievement, etc…). Students who are residents of states other than Virginia may decide to consult his or her state department of higher education for any possible forms of assistance other state programs. Virginia residents can consult the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

Why has my external scholarship not been paid to my student account?
Scholarships and grants from external sources may be sent to Hampton University via U.S. mail, or other delivery service, or via electronic funds transfer (EFT). In many cases, our office has received an award letter from an external organization and we used it to update the anticipated award to the student’s financial aid package. The awarding organization or individual may require some sort of verification of the intended recipient’s: grade point average, enrollment (full or part-time), financial need, and other information from Hampton University (Financial Aid, Registrar, Business Office, etc…) prior to sending the award.You should always check with the award grantor after we complete the verification for a possible time frame for receiving the funds.

I contacted the scholarship organization and they said my scholarship check has been sent to Hampton University. Why is my award not paid to my student account?
There are few reasons why a scholarship check may not have been paid to the intended student’s account. One reason is the check and how it was written. We do not accept personal checks. So, if one was used for your scholarship, it may have been returned to the granting source. Also, if the award check was made payable to any party other than “Hampton University”, then that particular party (probably the student) would be required to visit the Business Office to sign the check over to Hampton University for it to be cashed. Another reason is the check may contain incorrect or missing information, which would make the check void. Also, organizations must send scholarship and grant award checks directly to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. If the award was sent to any other office, processing it may be delayed. The student and parent(s) could contact the scholarship organization again to inquire about the above. We strongly encourage all recipients of financial aid, whether federal, state, private or institutional to have the granting organization to forward data to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

What is the address to where external scholarship checks must be mailed?
Hampton University, Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, 100 East Queen and Tyler Streets, Hampton, VA 23668.

What is the difference between a scholarship and student account payment check?
A scholarship check would usually be accompanied by an award letter on the granting organization’s or individual’s letterhead, indicating the intended recipient, award amount, duration of award (i.e. Fall, Spring, Summer semesters), as well as any other relevant information. The check would be from the granting organization and would contain their name (or the program name) in the upper-left corner of the check (i.e. Robert C. Byrd Foundation), and possibly their address. A student account payment (cashier’s check or money order) check would usually be from a financial institution, like a bank, and would not include an award letter, program, or scholarship organization name.*Most checks sent directly to the Business Office, and not to Financial Aid, are treated as student account payments.

Why was my scholarship check used to pay my balance instead of help pay for my books and supplies, as specified?
Students usually purchase textbooks required for each class through the Hampton University Collegiate Book Store.When an organization sends a scholarship award check to the University specified to cover books and supplies, if the student has a past due balance, then the check will be used to help satisfy that balance. Any funds remaining may be provided to the student in the form of a refund, either a paper check or electronic refund (E-Refund), which the student could use for books and supplies. It is important to ensure that your student account does not have an outstanding balance if you expect to receive a scholarship specified to cover books and supplies. For more information on the application of fees to the student’s account, you should contact the Business Office.

Why has my scholarship from my major department not been paid to my student account?
Our office requires at least five to seven (5 – 7)business days, during peak periods (June – September), for processing of paperwork and other related financial aid matters for students. In addition, most scholarship award paperwork (i.e. grant-in-aid form) from major departments needs to be reviewed to ensure compliance with any rules and regulations of the University, federal or state government, or the granting organization, prior to being sent to be be updated to the student’s account.

Why has my tuition, room and board, comprehensive fee, and stipend from my major department not been paid to my student account?
The scholarship and stipend form used by major departments and other offices within Hampton University to award student tuition, room and board, comprehensive fee, and stipend awards has been updated to provide important information to all parties involved, and to request the signatures of all required parties, including the student receiving the award(s) after reading the entire scholarship and stipend form. The important information provides stipend award limits per student classification, such as for undergraduates and graduate students. Also, the important information provides the potential reasons why the award listed may not be available. Such as, time period during which the form was submitted may be a registration period, where longer processing time is required by our office. Also, if the student’s account budget, or cost of attendance, would be exceed by update of the current award. Also, the student may be ineligible for that particular award based on some other eligibility criterion.

Visit The Scholarship Search Page »

Be sure to review the language on the scholarship and stipend form prior to signing, in order to be aware of the process and rules regarding receiving departmental scholarships and stipends.