My husband is getting his way through school by scholarships and FA. He's currently working on his Bachelors at Evergreen State College, after just graduating with an AA. After he completes his Bachelors, he'll go for his Masters at Evergreen as well. At that point, he plans to enter the workforce (God willing!) and work on his Doctorate evenings/weekends online.
He has done 100% of his schooling by scholarships and FA. FA doesn't reward much, like you said. It covers tuition and books. However, he's tapped into resources like TRIO and uses their loaner books, so he rarely has to buy books. He also tries to pick his books up at local garage sales. We've had good luck finding some he needs, and others he doesn't that we pick up for a dollar and sell to the school for $30-75! Back to scholarhips, he spends significant time and effort on this. He uses local resources at the school like TRIO who help point you in the direction of all the scholarships to apply for, when there is open money to anyone who applies, help with writing your essays and even free printing. My husband also takes the time to get excellent referral letters from past teachers, as well as taking the time to write out thoughtful thank you notes back to those teachers. I think most people think scholarships are too much work to apply for or that they won't get scholarships for whatever reason. What we have found it, is that although you do want to put in some time and effort, the rewards are well worth it! My husband has changed his "major" ohhhh 4 times? And he just tailors his essay to whatever he's going for at the moment, hehe.
As of this upcoming year, my husband just recieved a 3 year, full ride scholarship to the Evergreen State College, as well as nearly 30,000 in scholarships (8 of that however, is student loans and 2 of that is work study-neither of which he plans to use). He also still recieves FA. He also has gotten other small scholarships (1000 and less). Because of his hard work, it provides him with the ability to not only go to school, but to be able to NOT work while he does so, giving him more time to focus on his schoolwork and get top notch grades. We live off of his FA and scholarship money, and although things are tight, we are able to live comforable and frugally in Olympia. Which isn't the cheapest place to live!