Receiving too much free money doesn’t seem like a problem, but when it comes to scholarships and college expenses, it can be. Some schools practice what’s called “scholarship displacement,” (also called “stacking”) which is when any need-based financial aid you’ve been awarded by the school – like loans, work-study, and grants – is reduced after winning a private scholarship, usually by the same amount of however much money you’ve received in the scholarship. This is because winning a scholarship makes it look like you have more money available to pay for school, so your demonstrated financial need decreases.
Hopefully, your school’s financial aid office will see that you’ve won a scholarship and will reduce your loans or work-study to compensate…but that’s not always the case. A grant or scholarship you were awarded by the college, for example, might be taken away and replaced with the private scholarship, so you essentially gain nothing by winning it.
Too Much Scholarship Money? There’s a Hack for That
If you’ve found yourself in a similar situation, don’t panic! There are a few things you can try to keep more of the money you’ve won: