How to Become a Scholarship Consultant

Paying for higher education can be a confusing and expensive process. If families need help navigating the many ways they can apply for financial aid, then they can seek the help of an educational consultant. Scholarship consultants often work under the broader job title of Financial Aid Consultant or Certified College Planner. These consultants work for high schools, colleges, companies or individually to help students identify ways to pay for college. They must be well versed in available scholarships, loans and federal financial aid. Learn how to become a scholarship consultant.


  1. Image titled Become a Scholarship Consultant Step 1
    Apply for and attend college. Scholarship consultants must be experienced in the process of applying for higher education. Consider business, communications, counseling, education, accounting or other degrees that develop communication, research and financial skills.
  2. Image titled Become a Scholarship Consultant Step 2
    Get a job working in financial aid at a university, high school or college. Many successful scholarship consultants work with students who are applying to go to college. With at least 5 years of experience in financial aid, you will be able to work as a consultant.
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    Work on a scholarship committee or in an admissions department. These positions may be allotted to more experienced members of staff. Vetting applicants will give you experience evaluating the essential qualifications that are needed to obtain scholarships.
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    Attend a financial aid seminar. These seminars can help you learn about Federal Applications for Financial Aid (FAFSA), College Scholarship Service (CSS) profile and student loans. They are an excellent addition to a scholarship consultant resume.
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    Seek a certification. Some college consultants have developed a reputation for overcharging and promoting fraud. Take a training class provided by the Certified College Planning Specialist Certification (CCPS) or Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) to distinguish yourself as an educated and ethical part of the educational consulting field.
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    Become a member of the ICEA. The ICEA estimates there are 2,000 educational consultants working in the United States. Only 500 are part of the ICEA organization. Paying dues to the ICEA or another professional organization can distinguish you from competition and help you to find jobs using their website.
  7. Image titled Become a Scholarship Consultant Step 7
    Seek employment as a scholarship consultant. There are a few paths you can take to be a full time consultant.
    • Apply for a position as a financial aid consultant at a university. The financial aid consultant meets with students to help direct them toward the best loans, scholarships and federal financial aid. These are coveted positions that are often given to people with counseling experience.
    • Apply for a position with a college planning or consulting company. These positions are available at entry and mid-level to people in large metropolitan areas. You will work within the company's framework to offer specialized advice to students and families.
    • Become a self-employed scholarship consultant. This path requires large start-up costs for the individual. You will need to create a professional office space, set rates and do marketing. You may be able to decide your own hours and work more heavily during the school year.
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    Set up your scholarship consulting business. If you choose to work for yourself, then you will need to develop a good reputation and business plan.
    • Visit universities and colleges in the state. Meet with admissions departments or financial aid consultants at the schools to determine what they are looking for. You will likely need to do this at your own expense at first, unless it is included in your job description at a private company.
    • Set your rates and determine the consulting packages you will offer. The ICEA reports that the average hourly rate for an educational consultant is $140. You will need to base your rate on the standard of living in the area you want to work and your level of experience.
    • Produce marketing materials. Set up a website where people can post reviews. Give discounts for referrals and post your services at high schools, colleges and on community boards.
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    Build your business each year. It may take 5 or more years to develop a large client base and professional partnerships. Increase your financial aid education whenever possible in order to cater to student needs more fully as the college climate changes.

Things You'll Need

  • Bachelor's degree
  • Financial aid experience
  • Seminars
  • Certification
  • Professional membership
  • Office space
  • University/college research
  • Marketing materials

Article Info

Categories: Budgeting and Financial Aid for College