October already? That’s right… the Fall semester is already nearly halfway done. If you haven’t already, then now’s the time to get your scholarship search underway.

It’s never too early to start hunting for free college money. In fact, you can give yourself a major head start by jumping on scholarship opportunities when you’re still an underclassmen. If you’re already a Senior, that’s all the more reason to get going!

Despite High Costs, Many Scholarships Go Unclaimed

College is more expensive and more competitive than ever. According to Value Penguin, the average cost of a public (state) college in the US in 2018 was $25,290 per year for in-state students, and $40,940 for out-of-state students. The cost is even higher for a private college, running students at $50,900 a year on average.

Despite the incredible cost of getting an education, roughly $3 billion in scholarship money goes unclaimed by students every year. That’s $3 billion in free money being left on the table!

But, while there’s plenty of money, it won’t be available forever. That’s why it’s important you start looking for these opportunities as early as possible.

A while back, we created our College Money 101 series, which provided some vital information you’ll need to begin the scholarship process. These handy guides provide information on how to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), and where to find and apply for grants, scholarships, and other opportunities.

We recommend checking out the College Money 101 series as a jumping-on point to start your search on the right foot. Or, if you’ve already done the basic steps outlined in those posts, are looking for more scholarship opportunities for which you can apply…we’ve got you covered.

Check out this database of scholarships for students around the US. Some are intended for special categories of students, while others are open to all applicants. Awards vary anywhere from $500 to $45,000, so it’s worth checking out.

Remember: it’s never too early—or to late—to start the scholarship search. The sooner you begin, the more free money you can claim!