RSP FundingFinder FAQ
Here are answers to the most commonly-asked questions we've received about RSP FundingFinder. We've tried to make this section as complete as possible. But, if there is something you'd like to know that is not addressed here, just email the staff at Reference Service Press, and we'll get back to you shortly.
Who produces RSP FundingFinder?
RSP FundingFinder is powered by Reference Service Press (RSP), the only company in the United States to specialize solely in the development of financial aid resources (in print or online). In addition to RSP FundingFinder, Reference Service Press issues an extensive line of award-winning books, ebooks, and custom products. Long recognized as the "leading authority" and a "true success story" in the field of funding information, RSP has devoted the past 30+ years to collecting, organizing, and disseminating in multiple formats the most current and accurate information available on scholarships, fellowships, loans, grants, awards, and other funding opportunities.
What databases are offered?
Currently, RSP FundingFinder offers five funding databases:
- RSP Funding for Undergraduates
- RSP Funding for Graduate Students
- RSP Funding for Professionals and Postdoctorates
- RSP Funding to Go Abroad
- Choctaw Nation Scholarship Database
More database products are planned for the future.
What kind of funding is covered in the databases?
RSP FundingFinder provides current and comprehensive information on the entire range of funding opportunities available to support study, research, creative projects, and other activities for college-bound high school students, undergraduates, graduate students, re-entry students, professionals, and postdoctorates. These include scholarships, fellowships, loans, grants, awards, and internships.
Where does the information in FundingFinder come from?
Our crack team of sophisticated information sleuths is continuously modifying and adding to the records in our funding databases. To make sure that the information included in the databases is both reliable and current, the editors at Reference Service Press 1) review all existing program descriptions throughout the year (updating and deleting entries as needed) and 2) search exhaustively for new program leads in a variety of sources, including directories, news reports, newsletters, annual reports and sites on the Internet. Since we only include funding descriptions in our databases that are written directly from information supplied by the sponsoring organization in print or on the Internet (no information is ever taken from secondary sources), we send up to four data collection letters followed by up to three telephone or email inquiries, if necessary, to each sponsoring organization identified in the process. Despite our best efforts, however, some sponsoring organizations still fail to respond and, as a result, are not included in our databases.
How many funding opportunities are included in FundingFinder?
Thousands of funding opportunities representing billions of dollars and available to millions of recipients are described in each of the FundingFinder databases. At any one time, there are 40,000 or more unique and totally "portable" funding programs described in FundingFinder. The exact number of programs included will vary over time, since FundingFinder is updated on an ongoing basis.
What information is provided for these funding programs?
Each funding program described in FundingFinder provides the following information (when available):
- Sponsoring organization name, mailing address, telephone numbers (including any toll-free, TTY, and/or TDD numbers), fax number, email address, and web site.
- Program title and any former or variant names.
- Eligibility qualifications required of applicants, factors considered in the selection process, and application procedures.
- Money awarded, including fixed sum, average amount, or range of funds offered, expenses for which funds may and not not be used, and cash-related benefits supplied (for example, room and board).
- Length of time the funds are awarded (e.g., a semester, a year, multiple years) and whether or not the awards can be renewed
- Any unusual (generally non-monetary) benefits, features, restrictions, or limitations associated with the funding program.
- Number of awards granted each year or other specified period.
- Month or other deadline period by which applications must be submitted.
- Subject focus of the award.
Are applications included for the opportunities described?
Some funding opportunities require applicants to fill out a specific form; others request a letter or a proposal. FundingFinder provides detailed information about application procedures for each program, along with links to online applications or information on the contact addresses to use for application requests.
How often is the information in FundingFinder updated?
Reference Service Press constantly updates entries in its working database and periodically transfers that information to the individual FundingFinder databases. If RSP staff have been unable to verify or update information for a particular program within the past 12 months, that program is automatically withdrawn from FundingFinder. We set up this strenuous review process in order to ensure that FundingFinder users are always provided with the most current and reliable information available anywhere.
Are any funding programs specifically excluded from FundingFinder?
Yes, there are. Just because a funding program exists doesn't mean it qualifies for inclusion in FundingFinder. We have specifically excluded the following types of programs from the databases:
- Programs that are single-school/institution based. Because FundingFinder focuses on "portable" funding programs--ones can be used at any number of schools, institutions, or locations--scholarships and other programs administered by a single school or institution solely for the benefit of its own students or staff are not covered here. Unlike other online sources, we never superficially bulk up our listings with random school-based offerings. Write directly to the schools or other institutions you are considering to get information on the full range of support for their students and staff members.
- Programs that specifically exclude U.S. citizens or residents. If a program is open only to foreign nationals or clearly excludes American citizens or residents from applying, then it is not included in FundingFinder.
- Awards that are offered as a one-time promotion (for example, a sweepstakes for advertising purposes) or as a one-time event. We don't want you to waste your time applying for funding that may have already been awarded and will never be available again.
- Programs of questionable legitimacy. For example, while many legitimate programs charge reasonable application fees (and would be included in FundingFinder), there are some programs that either charge inappropriately large fees or are more focused on the application fees than on the recipient awards (those programs would be excluded from FundingFinder).
- Programs that did not respond to our research inquiries or do not post current information on their web sites. We want you to have the most current and accurate information available. So, we only include information in FundingFinder that was supplied directly by the sponsoring organization (in writing, by telephone, or on their Internet site); we never write program descriptions from secondary sources and we never include a program in the database that cannot be verified or has not been updated within the past 12 months.
Why use FundingFinder rather than another online source?
Billions of dollars are available to college and graduate students, professionals, and others looking for scholarships, fellowships, grants, or other types of financial aid. But, finding the funding you need can be confusing and frustrating. There are dozens of available web sites and hundreds of books out there. Which one should you choose? You don't want to waste your time or, worse yet, get outdated, inaccurate, or incomplete information. That's why you need FundingFinder. Prepared by the leading provider of funding information, and by staff that share the library field's passion for comprehensive and accurate information, RSP FundingFinder has a proven track record of offering the best funding information available anywhere. And, here's another plus: because FundingFinder is so comprehensive, many of the programs included in the undergraduate, graduate, or professional/postdoctorate databases have never been covered in other financial aid listings. So, even if you have checked elsewhere, you will want to search though FundingFinder's databases for additional leads.
Which FundingFinder database should I use?
RSP FundingFinder currently offers four databases: RSP Funding for Undergraduates, RSP Funding for Graduate Students; and RSP Funding for Professionals and Postdoctorates, and the RSP Funding to Go Abroad.. Here are some guidelines for picking which database(s) to use:
- Use RSP Funding for Undergraduates if you are a college-bound high school student, high school graduate, or college student (currently enrolled or returning) who is looking for funding for study, training, research, creative projects, professional development, or other activities at junior/community colleges, proprietary or career colleges, vocational or technical institutes, four-year colleges, or universities in the United States.
- Use RSP Funding Funding for Graduate Students if you are a college junior/senior or college graduate, currently enrolled in a graduate school, or returning to graduate school and interested in 1) working on a master's degree, doctoral degree, postgraduate professional degree, or postgraduate certificate or 2) looking for funding for research, creative activities, personal accomplishments, professional development, or other projects while a graduate student at an American institution.
- Use RSP Funding for Professionals and Postdoctorates if you are an architect, artist, dentist, doctor, engineer, librarian, nurse, researcher, school teacher, social worker, lawyer, writer, academician, or other professional/postdoctorate looking for funding to support research, training, creative activities, projects, travel, or other activities in the United States.
- Use RSP Funding to Go Abroad if you are an high school student, college student, graduate student, professional, or postdoctorate looking for money to support study, training, creative activities, projects, travel, or other activities in countries outside the United States.
How will FundingFinder help me find the money I need?
With extensive feedback from librarians, search specialists, and funding experts, we have developed a targeted list of questions that will help you customize and create your own personalized list of scholarships, fellowships, grants, awards, or other funding opportunities. In just minutes, you'll be able to identify funding that matches your current educational level, your subject interests, where you live, where you want to spend the money, the type of activity you want funded (study, research, travel abroad, etc.), your activities, your ethnicity, your organizational memberships, the amount of funding you need, and even the time of year you want to apply!
What if I am not sure which is the best way to answer a search question?
We've anticipated that problem and developed an extensive list of tips to help you as you go through the search questionnaire. Whenever you're not sure what exactly is being asked or what would be the best answer for you, just click on the "Help me choose" button that's available on every question. A tip box for that question will display with information designed to help you choose the best response.
What if I get too many or too few results?
Not a problem. Just go back to your Search Questionnaire and revise your answers to the questions that could broaden or narrow your search. For example, deciding to search for loans as well as free money will add to your search results; being more specific about your subject interests will reduce your number of hits.
Could I get results that don't really apply to me?
Yes, it's possible. There are two main reasons why that could happen:
- You didn't check the answer you intended in your search questionnaire, so you're getting results that don't match you or your funding needs. Go back and review your questionnaire responses; if you see any that you didn't intend, or that you answered incorrectly, change them and re-run your search.
- We made a coding error, so a program is showing up as a match for you when it's not. This doesn't happen often, but it can happen. After all, we have more than 40,000 records in our working database. Generally, we assign up to 100 codes to each record. That means there are 4 million opportunities for us to make a typo or a miscoding! If you think you've found a record that has a coding error, send us an email and we'll look into it. If we've made a mistake, we'll change it right away--and send our thanks to you for moving us closer to our goal of a 100% error-free database.
I don't have time right now to look through my search results. What should I do?
Don't worry. We've automatically saved your latest search results in Your Results List. Just click on the Results List link the next time you come to FundingFinder, and you'll find your customized funding list there.
If I run another search, will I lose the Results List I had?
Yes. Remember: we only save your latest search results. So, every time you search the database, your new Results List will replace the one previously there. But, you don't have to lose information about the programs you've identified in previous searches. Just routinely save the funding programs that interest you to your Favorites folder and those entries will always be available to you--no matter how many new searches you do.
If I run into problems, how can I get help?
There are several ways:
- If you have general questions, you can always click on the FAQs link on the bottom of every page.
- If you have questions about the best way to answer or revise your Search Questionnaire, just click the "Help me choose" button that's available on each question.
- If you have technical questions that are not answered by the FAQs or the "Help me choose" tips, send an email to Technical Support.
- If you have a question about how to search the databases or the results you got, send an email to our editors.
Will the information I give to customize my search be shared or sold?
You're right to be concerned. There are many companies providing funding searches on the Internet that are more interested in collecting information for marketing purposes than in providing the best information available to individuals looking for funding. Not so with FundingFinder. We never sell, or rent, or distribute any information you provide. To learn more about the ways we protect your privacy, be sure to read our terms of service and privacy policies.
Why would institutions want to subscribe to FundingFinder databases?
If your institution is interested in subscribing to the most current, comprehensive, reliable, and user-friendly sources of funding information available, you've come to the right place:
- Current: Funding programs are continually updated and added to FundingFinder's databases. Likewise, programs that have ceased operation, have been suspended, or can no longer be validated are routinely withdrawn from the listings. No other source, in print or online, is more current.
- Comprehensive: At any one time, there are 40,000 or more unique and totally "portable" funding programs described in the FundingFinder databases. This represents billions of dollars in funding available to millions of college-bound high school students, undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals/postdoctorates. No other source, in print or online, is more comprehensive.
- Reliable: Financial aid is not one of our publishing interests. It is our only interest. If we were not good at what we do, we could not have successfully operated our business with a single product line for more than three decades. Our products have uniformly received rave reviews. And, our parent company, Reference Service Press, is routinely referred to as "the leading authority" on funding. Perhaps that's why the Simba Report on Directory Publishing called us a "true success in the world of directory publishers."
- "User-friendly: Based on extensive input from librarians, career counselors, and others interested in funding information, FundingFinder databases are intuitive, easy to navigate, completely customizable, and fun to use. An unlimited number of users from your institution can create their own accounts, save their results, and rerun their searches at any time. Extensive tips and guides are available. Our statistical reports will provide you with summaries of type of use and information needs. Best of all, for both you and your users, technical service and customer support for FundingFinder are just a phone call or email away.
How does an institution subscribe to FundingFinder databases?
FundingFinder databases are only available on subscription. Libraries, schools, and other education-related institutions interested in subscribing to one or more of the databases should contact Reference Service Press by email or phone (1-888-463-2247). Subscriptions are annual, can be automatically renewed, and are priced based on expected usage. Discounts are available for subscriptions to more than one database.
Can for-profit and other organizations subscribe to FundingFinder?
While only institutions that will make FundingFinder products freely available to their users without charge can subscribe to the databases, individuals and other organizations can still access or repackage RSP's funding data; licenses are available specifically for that purpose. To learn more about our licensing options, send Reference Service Press an email or give us a call (1-888-463-2247).
Can I, as an individual, access FundingFinder?
Yes, Reference Service Press has partnered with EUREKA, the Career Information System to offer FundingFinder bundled with their product, for an individual subscription. Get Funding Finder and EUREKA.
Why can't I access the databases from www.rspfundingfinder.com?
Because FundingFinder is a subscription-based product, www.rspfundingfinder.com is intended to be simply an information page that describes the service. Access to the actual funding databases is provided only by subscribing institutions to their registered users. Some institutions subscribing to the FundingFinder databases permit access specifically at their physical location. Others let their users access the databases remotely, through the institution's web portal. Check with your institutions to see if they are subscribing to any of the FundingFinder databases and, if they are, what process you need to follow to access the data. Then, you'll only be a few clicks away from finding the funding you need!