Search Early—and Often—for Scholarships

Keep an eye out for new scholarships, like the Buick Achievers Scholarship Program.

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Each week we've repeated some form of the same message, which is now almost our mantra: start your scholarship search early. Be prepared. Take your time.

But with the announcement last week of a new scholarship program by the GM Foundation, we'd like to add: search often! New opportunities may present themselves at any time.

The GM Foundation's scholarship is one we want you all to know about—but before sharing the info, we do need to disclose that GM has selected Scholarship Management Services, a division of Scholarship America, to manage the program, which means my employer has a relationship with GM. That, and children of Scholarship America employees are ineligible (sorry!).

That said, if you are a student interested in majoring in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, design, marketing, or business administration, head on over to www.buickachievers.com right now. This $4.5 million-a-year scholarship program will recognize and award 1,100 students nationwide who excel both in the classroom and the community.

[Turn your community service into college cash.]

Through the Buick Achievers Scholarship program, 100 students will be awarded up to $25,000; 1,000 students will receive $2,000 scholarships. Even better, from our perspective? These Buick Achievers scholarships are renewable for four years. This means that the value of an individual scholarship could be as much as $100,000 toward a four-year degree.

To be eligible for the Buick Achievers scholarship, applicants must:

• Be high school seniors or high school graduates entering college for the first time in the fall of 2011

• Plan to enroll in full-time undergraduate study at an accredited four-year college or university for the entire 2011-12 academic year

• Demonstrate an interest in the automotive industry

• Be U.S. citizens and have permanent residence in the United States

[See 7 things you need to know about private scholarships.]

Scholarship recipients will be selected based on the following factors:

• Academic achievement

• Financial need

• Participation and leadership in community and school activities, work experience, educational and career goals, and unusual circumstances

GM states that special consideration will be given to the following applicants: first-generation college students, females, minorities, military veterans, or dependents of military personnel.

Applications will be accepted through March 31, 2011. Scholarships will be awarded for the 2011-2012 academic year. Good luck!

Janine Fugate joined Scholarship America in 2002. She is an alumna of the College of Saint Benedict, Saint Joseph, Minn., and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Affairs at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Fugate is the recipient of numerous scholarships at both the undergraduate and graduate level.