Local scholarships are awards for individuals living or attending college in a specific location. An example would be a small organization in Boston awarding scholarships to students residing in specific Boston-area ZIP codes.
Local scholarships are great because, naturally, fewer students apply for them. Thus, a local scholarship will be less competitive than a national scholarship. However, local scholarships can also be hard to find. Their providers usually market them through word-of-mouth or in a very tight-knit network of schools and other organizations.
They key to finding local scholarships is to know who awards them and how they typically promote these awards. Let's look at a few potential sponsors for local scholarships.
Many grocery chains run scholarships in a small local area. Check your local stores' weekly sales paper for scholarships details. Additionally, some food brands may run scholarships on specially marked boxes. The next time you are grocery shopping, just scan the labels quickly to check for scholarship advertisements.
Churches sometimes offer scholarships for their members or for other members of a community. You'll usually hear about these scholarships through word-of-mouth or other local media, such as radio and newspaper advertisements.
Check the financial aid websites of other colleges in your area/state. Many times, you'll find local scholarships that you can apply for. Just make sure to read the scholarship application and requirements carefully to ensure that students from a different school can apply for that scholarship.
Specific Online Searches
You can hunt for scholarships for your local area by using Google to search for terms like "Scholarships in <insert your city>." Read through the search results carefully, and try to go through at least three pages of results before attempting a new search.
Community Foundations And Local Charities
Community foundations are large, charitable organizations set up for the purposes of serving a specific location, and many of them offer scholarships. For example, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts offers scholarships to students who are residents of western Massachusetts. The best way to find these organizations is to search for "community foundations in <insert your state>" in Google, and browse through the results.
Another potential scholarship gold mine is your city and/or state government. Almost every state offers some sort of financial incentive (scholarship, grant, etc.) for local residents to stay in the area for their post-secondary studies. Check with your local/state government websites for more information on available financial aid.
Many other types of organizations award local scholarships, so be on the lookout! It's also good to note that the more involved you are in your community, the easier it will be to hear about these scholarship opportunities.