College education in the United States comes at a high cost, with annual fees ranging from $20,770 for public schools, up to $46,950 for private schools. In fact, on average, students graduate with over $37,000 of student loan debt. The topic of student loan debt in the United States is an increasingly contentious issue and has left many parents and students like contemplating whether a four-year college education is even worth it.
The good news is that college expenses can be drastically reduced – and in some cases, eliminated altogether – through scholarships. While the process of identifying and applying to scholarships can be tedious and time-consuming, they can help students overcome the financial obstacles that stand in the way of their future careers
While the best college scholarships are highly competitive, there are strategies that can be used to improve your chances of being awarded one.
This guide provides insight into the types of scholarships available, the application process, and how to improve your odds of being awarded a scholarship.
The Difference Between Grants and Scholarships
Before proceeding any further, it’s important that you understand the difference between grants and scholarships. While both are financial vehicles that can help defray the cost of higher education, they differ in many ways.
Grants are awarded by both federal and state governments based on financial need, and in some cases, academic achievements. One of the best examples is the Federal Pell Grant.
College scholarships, on the other hand, are awarded based on merit. This could be in the form of academic achievement, a particular talent, or athletic ability. Most scholarships are funded by private foundations and non-profit organizations. Some are also funded by state governments. Award amounts can vary from a few hundred dollars to essentially a “full-ride,” where all tuition and associated expenses are covered.
A common misconception about scholarships is that students need to be at the top of their class to be considered for one. The good news is that many scholarships are based on ethnicity, religion, hobbies, and/or field of study.
How and Where Can You Find the Best College Scholarships?
The first thing most students want to know is where to find a college scholarship.
The best place to start is local since there will typically be less competition, which will increase the odds of a scholarship being awarded to you. This is not to say that you shouldn’t explore national scholarships too, however. It’s important to make sure that you are exploring all available options.
Here are a few places where you can begin your scholarship search:
- The Free Scholarship Search tool sponsored by the United States Department of Labor Website
- The financial aid offices at colleges and universities you are interested in
- Your high school counselor
- Ethnicity-based organizations
- Foundations, nonprofits, and other organizations that are related to your field of interest
- Scholarship database search websites like Peterson’s, Fastweb, and Cappex
- Organizations based on other collectives, such as religion (e.g., The Christian Connector provides a free resource for students interested in Christian colleges and Christian college scholarships)
Keep in mind that all of the resources listed here are free of charge. Be wary of websites that charge fees for access to databases of scholarships, since most of the information is available for free if you know where to look.
Once you’ve started researching potential scholarships, it’s important to narrow things down and get yourself organized. Otherwise, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed. After all, trying to apply to 20 different scholarships in a single week will require a considerable amount of time and effort, which will most likely result in mental fatigue.
A good rule of thumb is to apply to several new scholarships each and every week. Anywhere between 3 and 7 is a healthy goal to have. While initially, these numbers may sound high, you have to keep in mind that it’s all about the law of numbers: the more scholarships you apply to, the higher the probability of some scholarship money actually being awarded to you. Be consistent in your efforts, and also try to get your applications in as early as possible.
What Do You Need to Apply for a College Scholarship?
Motivation, dedication, and ambition are the first step, but they are not enough. What more do students need to apply for financial aid for their studies? The answer would be a neat application with all the required documents.
While motivation, dedication, and ambition are all required when applying for college scholarships, there is also quite a bit of documentation that you’ll need to submit along with your application:
- A copy of your driver’s license, state-issued photo ID or passport to verify you are a U.S. citizen. You’ll need to submit a copy of your green card and/or visa if you are not.
- Certified copies of transcripts, certificates and/or diplomas (if available)
- 2 or 3 letters of recommendation from teachers, supervisors, and/or guidance counselor’s
- Test results for SAT’s and/or ACT’s for undergrad scholarships, and GRE’s, LSAT’s, GMAT’s and/or MCAT’s for graduate scholarships
- A resume, if available
- A motivational letter and/or essay that provides the scholarship committee with additional information about why you are a worthy recipient
Types of College Scholarships
High school students are eligible for undergraduate scholarships based on academic performance, as well as for things like ethnicity, a particular field of study, and extracurricular activities.
The most common scholarships available to high school seniors include:
- Local community scholarships
- Scholarships based on academic achievements, particularly high SATs/ACTs scores
- State-sponsored scholarships for high school seniors with military parents
If you’re interested in any of these types of scholarships, you can apply through your high school guidance counselor, organizations related to your field of interest, federal agencies, online websites, and the financial aid office at colleges and career schools. If you have military parents, you should contact your state’s Department of Higher Education or the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, to learn about their scholarship alternatives.
Academic & Athletic Achievement Scholarships
Both academic and athletic scholarships are based on outstanding performance and are very competitive. Academic scholarships require academic excellence, which means both a high GPA and admissions test scores. A resume full of extracurricular activities, as well as community service, is also highly recommended.
Athletic scholarships, on the other hand, are awarded based on participation and talent in one or more sporting activities, as well as a history of good academic achievement. Here are a few to consider:
- The National Strength and Conditioning Association Foundation Minority Scholarship awards ethnic minority students completing tertiary level studies in strength and conditioning.
- The Jerry Martin Memorial Scholarship provides tuition assistance to students aspiring to become strength and conditioning coaches.
- The Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Program provides $20,000 to 20 student athletes who have a GPA of at least 3.0, have demonstrated their athletic prowess and are involved in their communities.
Average Academic Scholarships
If you’re not at the top of your class, the good news is that there are scholarships available that are based on average academic accomplishments. Although academic performance is still taken into consideration, these types of scholarships provide support to ambitious students who boast leadership skills, have a history of community service, and transcend in other school activities. In other words, they evaluate candidates from a much broader lens.
Here are a few to consider:
- The Horatio Alger Association Scholarship is awarded to students with a GPA of 2.0 or more who have successfully overcome adversity through integrity and perseverance and want to positively contribute to society. There are two categories of cash awards given: 100 scholarships valued at $10,000 and 150 scholarships valued at $1,000.
- The Do Something Scholarships encourage the spirit of community service by offering scholarships through a series of campaigns. The campaigns are updated periodically but can amount to as much as $5,000 in funding.
- The Discover Student Loans Scholarship Award is a game of chance since it is offered to a randomly selected person who signs up for Discover’s email list. However, it still offers the chance to win a $5,000 scholarship to help cover college expenses.
If you’re interested in literature, design and/or music, there are a variety of creative scholarships available to you as well. Literature and design scholarships will require a portfolio, while music scholarships will require auditions in front of a panel of judges who will evaluate your skill set and talent.
Here are a few to consider:
- The Against the Grain Artistic Scholarship is open to Asian-American college students who are majoring in performing arts, visual arts, journalism and/or mass communications.
- The AIGA Worldstudio Scholarship is granted to minority and financially challenged students studying photography, illustration, and design. A GPA of at least 2.0 is expected.
- The Jay Franke Scholarship is sponsored by the Diabetes Scholars Foundation and is awarded to high school seniors who have Type 1 diabetes and will be completing a degree in music, theatre or dance.
Scholarships for Minorities
These types of scholarships are designed specifically for students from a particular ethnic group, and their funding usually comes from community organizations and associations, as well as the Federal government. These are excellent scholarships to apply for if you’re a member of an underrepresented ethnicity and interested in a specific field of study, like STEM.
Here are a few to consider:
- The AICPA Minority Scholarship is offered by the AICPA Foundation to outstanding minority students studying accounting. A $5,000 cash award is paid directly to the student’s financial aid office to cover expenses related to the accounting degree.
- The Casey Family Scholars Program awards Foster Care to Success Scholarships to youth transitioning out of foster care into undergraduate study.
- The Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship Program awards scholarships to minority students who have proven leadership potential and a passion for community service. This scholarship goes beyond financial aid to also offer mentoring, leadership conferences and internships.
First-Generation Student Scholarships
If you come from a low-income background and are going to be the first person in your family to attend college, there are a variety of different merit scholarships you’ll be able to apply for, provided that you meet certain baseline criteria when it comes to GPA and test scores.
Here are a few to consider:
- The American Indian College Fund offers a Full Circle Scholarship to American Indian and Alaska Native college students who are the first in their families to receive a tertiary level degree.
- The Cynthia E. Morgan Scholarship is awarded to college students who are residents of Maryland and are the first in their families to attend college. These students must be attending a Maryland accredited post-secondary school and must be entering a medical-related field.
- The Institute for Study Abroad offers a First-Generation College Scholarship of up to $2,500 to first-generation college students who wish to study abroad for a semester or year.
Scholarships for Women & Single Mothers
Certain college scholarships are specifically designed for women, as well as single mothers. To increase the representation of women in higher education, many associations and corporations are increasingly awarding scholarships to encourage women to pursue careers in male-dominated professions, including business, science, and politics.
Here are a few to consider:
- The American Association of University Women (AAUW) awards Selected Professions Fellowships to women who enter graduate or postgraduate programs in male-dominated fields
- The Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation helps low-income mothers
- The Association for Women in Mathematics offers scholarships to women who are interested in mathematics
Community Service Scholarships
If you’ve done a lot of community service and/or volunteering, you should check around in your local community to see if any scholarships are available. While most community service scholarships have a lower dollar value than many of the aforementioned scholarship types, they can still defray some of your college expenses. With the assistance of your school guidance counselor and/or college financial aid advisor, you should be able to quickly identify a list of these types of scholarships, as well as cull information on how to apply to each.
Here are a few to consider:
- The Against the Grain Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship is offered to Asian-American college seniors and graduate students who are positively impacting the Asian-American community.
- The Beat the Odds Program is sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund and is committed to developing a cadre of young leaders in Ohio, New York, California, Texas, Minnesota, and Washington D.C. The scholarships offered by the program in each state differ but are united by one common thread: recipients must be youth who are community leaders and have overcome adversity.
- The Bonner Program offers scholarships to students on 22 college and university campuses who are actively involved in community service projects. Recipients are required to complete at least ten hours of volunteer service weekly and a summer community service internship.
Scholarships for Veterans and their Families
Although military veterans can receive financial aid for higher-level education through the GI Bill, there are numerous veteran scholarships that provide varying degrees of tuition assistance. These scholarships serve as another option for funding if a veteran is no longer eligible for the benefits offered by the GI Bill. However, the dollar value of these scholarships tends to be far less than the value offered by the GI Bill (the GI Bill covers up to 100 percent of tuition and other related expenses).
Here are a few to consider:
- The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Sport Clips Help a Hero Scholarship offers up to $5,000 to help cover tuition fees of military personnel who are retired, honorably discharged, on active duty or members of the National Guard or Reserve.
- America’s Child Scholarship is offered to children of deceased military personnel who died in combat.
- Military.com offers a wide range of scholarships for military veterans and their families.
When to Apply for a Scholarship?
Most college application deadlines are between January 1st and February 1st, with March 1st being the “late” deadline. If you’re planning on applying to any scholarships, however, you need to start preparing for this process much earlier. When it comes to scholarships and especially competitive ones, you’re much better off applying early than late. Plus, if you apply early, you’re much less likely to miss a deadline.
How to Apply for a College Scholarship?
If you’re interested in applying for college scholarships, here’s a short checklist to help you along the way:
Step 1: research scholarships and create a list that you want to apply to
The first step in the process is to identify scholarships that you may qualify for using all of the aforementioned tools. Also be sure to talk to your guidance counselor, as well as college financial aid officer, if one is available. Take advantage of any and all resources available to you. When it comes to researching college scholarships, be sure you cast your net as wide as possible. Also, be sure to conduct research early – and often. New scholarships are available all the time, so it’s important to consistently be checking for them.
Step 2: organize your research
Every scholarship is different. What this means is that each one will have a slightly different application process and that deadline dates will vary. Organize your research based on deadlines, starting with the most pressing first, to ensure that you don’t miss out on any valuable scholarship opportunities due to a missed deadline.
Step 3: gather all your documentation
Gather all your basic application documentation so that it’s easily accessible and readily available for inclusion with your scholarship applications. Failing to submit all required documentation will automatically disqualify you from being awarded a scholarship, so be sure to make sure all your I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed. There’s nothing worse than finding out you didn’t receive a scholarship because of a silly mistake.
Step 4: write your essay and/or cover letter (if required)
Some scholarships require that applicants submit essays on specific topics and/or cover letters. Both provide students with the opportunity to explain why they are the most worthy recipient of the scholarship funds.
Step 5: fill out – and submit – your application package
The final step in the process is to fill out the application, and double-check that you have everything ready to submit. This includes proofreading your application, essay and cover letter, as well as ensuring that all other supporting documentation – including information about your GPA and admissions test scores – is current.
When you’re finally ready to submit everything, be sure to read through the fine print. While many scholarship packages can be submitted electronically, some scholarship committees will only accept submissions via snail mail.
Do All Scholarships Require an Essay?
Writing an essay is not a mandatory requirement for all scholarships. Typically when an essay is requested, it’s so that students have an opportunity to share additional information about themselves that the deciding committee wouldn’t otherwise know about. Even if an essay isn’t required, it’s still a good idea to include one anyway. You never know, something you write just may be the deciding factor in tipping the scales in your direction.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you’re writing your essay:
- Brainstorm what you want to say. Read through all of the essay criteria, and get all of your initial thoughts down on paper.
- Create an outline. Go through everything you’ve written down and start organizing it so that it makes sense. As you are doing so, be sure to ask yourself if everything in your outline is on-topic with the essay topic.
- Start with a strong and engaging introduction. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so be sure that your essay opening captures the awards committee’s attention. This will pique their interest early on, and also set the tone for the remainder of your essay.
- Use supported arguments throughout your essay. Provided you’ve done a good job with your outline, writing the essay body will be a piece of cake. Simply expand upon each item, using an engaging writing style and professional tone.
- Share something personal, if possible. In your essay, try to incorporate things about yourself, if at all possible. Try including a short story that’s applicable to the subject matter, or sharing insight with the committee as to why you’re applying to the scholarship in the first place. This element of “humanization” can make a world of difference.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread. Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes convey that you’re not very detail-oriented, which isn’t a great message to convey to people who are evaluating your application against numerous others.
- Ask for feedback. Hearing a second or third opinion is always a good idea.
Also, when working on your essay, don’t be afraid to break the process up into several days. So, for example, create your outline one day, write the actual essay the following day, and proofread it on day 3. This gives your mind time to digest and process everything, which can – and will – result in a better quality essay at the end of the day.
Best College Scholarships
Here are 50 of the most popular college scholarships available to undergraduates and graduates. The scholarships have been arranged into five categories as listed below:
- Academic Excellence
- Dedication to Community Service
- Scholarships for Minorities
- Scholarships for Nurses
- Career Specific
Academic Excellence Scholarships
AXA Achievement Scholarship – This scholarship is awarded to students who excel in non-academic activities in school and/or their local communities and are pursuing an undergraduate education. This scholarship gives extra consideration to individuals who have made achievements in empowering their communities, or society in general, and students who have focused in on areas of financial, environmental, and emergency preparedness.
Successful applicants for this scholarship are driven, ambitious, have a respect for their families, communities, and fellow citizens, and demonstrate the potential to significantly strengthen their communities through acts of ongoing service. The deadline for applications is in December.
Engebretson Foundation Scholarship – Each year the Engebretson Foundation awards a scholarship to a high school student who has demonstrated academic excellence and has limited financial resources to pay for college. Out of all applicants, one student will be awarded $5,000 per semester of college.
To qualify for this scholarship, students must graduate from a United States high school, plan to attend a 4 year college or university, be in need of financial assistance, and show academic excellence by graduating in the top 5% of their class and/or carrying a GPA of at least 3.75, with a composite score of 28 or higher on the ACT exam.
AFCEA Educational Foundation’s STEM Scholarship – STEM – which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics – represents the foundation for vital, but challenging careers in science, as well as medical and engineering fields. Since it’s crucial to develop the next generation of workers in these coveted fields, AFCEA has a $2,500 scholarship that’s awarded to graduate students who want to teach STEM subjects.
Students must be US citizens attending a university within the country who are also taking at least 2 STEM-related classes per semester. They must also complete an application, write several essays, obtain letters of recommendations and have at least a 3.5 GPA. Additional requirements can be found on the AFCEA’s site. This scholarship is only available to undergraduate students.
Alexander Graham Bell College Scholarship Program – This highly competitive scholarship program is offered to high-achieving students who have hearing loss in both ears that were diagnosed before they were four years old. However, applicants must use spoken communication as their primary mode of communication.
Recipients can pursue either graduate or undergraduate degrees at accredited universities. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.25 or more and are required to write an essay and submit three recommendations. Applications usually open in November and close in February of the following year.
First Responders Children’s Foundation General Scholarship – Although the academic requirement of this scholarship is lower than many traditional academic scholarships, it is still an important scholarship to mention because it provides financial assistance to children of first responders. Candidates must be enrolled in a full-time Bachelor’s degree, Associate’s degree or certificate at an accredited college, university or technical/vocational institution. Additionally, a GPA of at least 2.6 must be maintained.
Recipients can receive up to $5,000 in financial aid which is sent directly to the school. The deadline for application submission is usually in July but it is best to consistently check the website for updates.
The Boomer Esiason Foundation (BEF) General Academic Scholarship – Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for this scholarship which is offered to students who are either suffering from cystic fibrosis or who are children of someone who suffers from cystic fibrosis. Specific details are not provided about the academic requirements. However, mention is made of the fact that the selection committee considers academic ability, character, leadership potential, community service, and financial need.
Between $500 to $2,500 is offered in financial aid. There are four deadlines each year; one for each quarter.
Great Minds in STEM (GMiS) Scholarship Program – Applicants for this scholarship should be pursuing a higher education degree in a STEM-related field and have an overall GPA of 3 or more. Additionally, applicants should either be Hispanic or demonstrate community service work in an underserved community. Both undergraduate and graduate students can apply. The deadline is usually in April annually and recipients can get up to $10,000.
The New York Women in Communications (NYWICI) Scholarship – Open to both graduate and undergraduate students, this scholarship is for young women who are pursuing a communications degree. Eligible women living in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or Pennsylvania can apply. However, they must have a minimum GPA of 3.2. There is also a mandatory internship component. Applications open in mid-November and close on the last Friday of January.
The Lagrant Foundation Scholarship Program – This scholarship is offered to both graduate and undergraduate students who are majoring in the fields of advertising, marketing or public relations. Undergraduate students receive $2500 scholarships while graduate students receive $3,750 scholarships. The minimum GPA requirements are 3.0 for undergraduate students and 3.2 for graduate students. The deadline for applications is usually February and candidates who submit applications early can get additional points that give them a better chance of winning the scholarship.
The Business Leaders Scholarship Award – Students at the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels can apply for this $1500 scholarship. However, they must be pursuing a business-related degree and have a minimum GPA of 3.2. The scholarship is offered bi-annually with due dates being May 1 and October 1.
Dedication to Community Service Scholarships
Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship Program – Coca-Cola awards up to $20,000 scholarships to high school seniors who demonstrate leadership skills, as well as a commitment to their schools and to their communities. The application deadline for this achievement-based scholarship is October of every year.
The Coca-Cola Foundation Scholarship is awarded to graduating high school students who have made a commitment to making their communities a better place and are taking steps to make an impact through volunteering and community service opportunities. Each year, 150 scholarships are awarded to students who meet the eligibility requirements and plan on earning a degree from an accredited 4-year university or college.
Do Something Scholarship – The Do Something Scholarships award more than $1.2 million in scholarships over the past six years to students who have done outstanding work in their communities and made a significant impact.
One of the simplest scholarships to apply for, the Do Something organization awards scholarships based solely on community involvement. Students must be between the ages of 13-25, interested in volunteer opportunities, and have invested time in community service to make their local towns and cities a better place. There are no GPA requirements or essays to write. Simply fill out their online application.
Ronald McDonald House Charities Scholarship – Since 1985, Ronald McDonald House Charities has awarded more than $56 million in scholarships to students who exhibit financial need and have demonstrated academic excellence, community involvement, and exemplary leadership skills.
RMHC offers scholarships to high school seniors under the age of 21 who reside in one of their regional geographical areas located throughout the country and have maintained a GPA of at least 2.7. Ronald McDonald House also offers their National RMHC Scholarship, which is open to all eligible students, regardless of geographical location.
There are multiple types of scholarships awarded within this program, with amounts ranging from $1,000 to $100,000. The amount awarded depends on the type of scholarship and additional eligibility criteria. These one-year scholarships can be applied toward tuition at any regionally accredited technical institution, community college, or 4-year university.
Horatio Alger Scholarship Award – The Horatio Alger Scholarship Program is one of the largest and most widely recognized national scholarship programs in the country. Horatio Alger offers several scholarships, including state scholarships, technical scholarships, and targeted scholarships, in addition to their national award. These scholarships are primarily need-based and awarded to students who have faced and/or overcome difficult life challenges.
In order to be eligible for the Horatio Alger Scholarship Program, the gross adjusted income of the student’s family must not exceed $55,000. This scholarship is open nationwide to high school seniors who are involved in co-curricular or community service activities and have maintained a GPA of 2.0 or higher. National Scholarships are awarded at $25,000, with state-level scholarships being awarded at $10,000 each.
Elks Foundation Most Valuable Student Scholarship – The Elks Foundation awards 500, 4-year scholarships every year to high school seniors who are U.S. citizens, have demonstrated leadership within their communities and have financial limitations that might otherwise prevent them from pursuing a collegiate education. Students need not be related to a member of the Elks Foundation to be eligible for this program.
Scholarship values range from $4,000 to $50,000 per year. When reviewing scholarship applications, Elks Foundation officials choose the top 20 candidates and invite them to participate in a Leadership Weekend, where students have the opportunity to interview with national judges in hopes of securing a top-tier scholarship of up to $50,000.
AXA Achievement Scholarship – Ten thousand applications from high school seniors hoping to start college in the fall are accepted annually for this scholarship. Applicants must demonstrate ambition and drive for community service and high academic achievement. Recipients can get a $2,500, $10,000 or $25,000 scholarship. Additionally, the beneficiary’s school receives a $1,000 grant.
Alliant Energy Innovation Scholarship – Alliant Energy offers 25 $1,000 scholarships annually to its customers. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.5, play an active leadership role in the community, volunteer and submit a 300-word essay. Employees of Alliance Energy or its subsidiaries are, however, ineligible.
Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program – School principals and guidance counselors can nominate one exceptional high school senior to receive this $1,000 scholarship award. This student must demonstrate a commitment to community service, academics, and leadership.
GE- Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program – GE has partnered with the Ronald Reagan Foundation to offer financial awards to college-bound students who have demonstrated community leadership. Each recipient is awarded $10000 and receives continuous leadership development support. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and demonstrate leadership, drive, integrity, and citizenship through community service work.
Great Value Colleges Community Service Scholarship – This $1500 scholarship is offered to undergraduate or graduate students who have completed at least 40 hours of community service and have at least a 3.0 GPA. Two awards are offered each year: one in the fall and the other in the spring.
Scholarships for Minorities
Gates Millennium Scholars Program – The Gates Millennium Scholars Program operates with the goal of increasing the representation of certain minority groups in the collegiate environment, especially in the academic disciplines of computer science, engineering, mathematics, education, public health, and other areas of academic focus where minority groups are typically underrepresented.
The Gates Millennium Scholars Program is available for underrepresented groups in society and minorities, including the African American, African Indian, Hispanic American, and Native American ethnicities. Applicants must possess a 3.3 GPA and be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant in order to be eligible. The application deadline is in January.
Burger King Scholars Program – One of the most popular scholarships is the Burger King Scholars program, which is awarded by the Burger King McLamore Foundation. Since its start, the Burger King Scholars Program has awarded more than 33,000 high school students and Burger King employees with scholarships to kickstart their collegiate careers.
This scholarship awards students with up to $25,000 for their college costs. Eligible students must have at least a 2.5 GPA, work a part-time job of at least 15 hours/week, and require financial assistance. The application deadline ends in January, and students throughout Northern America are encouraged to apply. The scholarship is also available to Burger King employees and their families.
Jackie Robinson’s Foundation Scholarship Program – The Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship program awards 4-year scholarships in amounts up to $30,000 to high schools students who identify as minorities and are committed to building their leadership skills and adding value to their communities through service and volunteer activities.
Each year, 60 scholarships are awarded to students with outstanding academic performance who plan on attending an accredited 4-year university or college. In addition to providing monetary support to minority students through their scholarship program, the Jackie Robinson Foundation also provides mentoring, leadership building and community involvement opportunities, and internship and job placement services to scholarship recipients.
Google Scholarship Funds – Like Microsoft, Google offers a variety of grants to help the underprivileged, as well as Hispanics and Native Americans. Many of its programs focus on helping students who want to enter STEM fields like engineering. For example, the tech giant partners with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) to provide scholarships to Native Americans who are studying computer-related topics. Awards are for up to $10,000 to students who are sophomores in college with at least a 3.0 GPA. Students must also be a member of AISES, as well as a Native American tribe.
Similar to the AISES scholarship, Google offers similar scholarships for Hispanic students. In fact, Google has a Hispanic scholarship fund that awards eligible students with up to $10,000, provided they have at least a 3.0 GPA and are still working towards getting a college degree. Eligible applicants must demonstrate financial need, and preference is given to students who are working towards computer and/or engineering degrees.
In addition to financial assistance, this program gives students the opportunity to win trips to Google conferences at their headquarters, provides academic counseling, and offers career development training.
Abercrombie and Fitch Scholarships – Clothing retailer Abercrombie and Fitch has partnered with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to provide low-income African American students with scholarships of up to $3,000. Eligible students must have at least a 3.0 GPA and demonstrate financial hardship. The UNCF also partners with private benefactors and large corporations to provide grants to less fortunate students.
Some of its partners include:
- Beer company and owner of the Budweiser brand, Anheuser-Busch
- International pharmaceutical firm, Pfizer
- Farming and genetically modified organisms company, Monsanto
Actuarial Diversity Scholarship – Actuarial science is one of the most challenging and underrepresented professions. The Actuarial Foundation has chosen to tackle the challenge of underrepresentation by creating the Actuarial Diversity Scholarship. Applicants must be Black/African American, Hispanic, Native North American or Pacific Islander undergraduate actuarial science students. They must also have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Awardees receive scholarships that range from $1000 to $4000.
The American Meteorological Society (AMS) Minority Scholarship – This scholarship is specifically designed for Hispanic, Native American and Black/African-American students who are pursuing undergraduate degrees in atmospheric or related oceanic hydrologic sciences. A GPA of at least 3.0 is required. Successful applicants receive a $6,000 two-year scholarship with $3,000 being disbursed each year.
The APIA Scholarship Program – This scholarship is offered to students with Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity who have a low socioeconomic status and are first-generation college students. Applicants must have a minimum 2.7 GPA and be actively involved in community service. Recipients can get a one-time $2,500 award or a multi-year $20,000 award.
The Catching the Dream Scholarship Programs – This scholarship specifically caters to Native Americans who are pursuing higher education degrees in math, engineering, science, business, education, and technology. There are three scholarship programs: the MESBEC, NALE, and TBM with dollar values ranging from $500 to $5,000 per year.
The ACA Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Award – Martin Luther King Jr. did a lot to support equality for blacks in America. Therefore, it is only fitting that a scholarship named in his honor be tailored specifically for Black/African American students. Applicants must be pursuing tertiary level education related to a criminal justice career. Applicants must also write a 250-word essay.
Johnson & Johnson Male Nursing Scholarship – Since there are few male nurses, Johnson & Johnson offers a scholarship for male nursing students, and the company strives to award at least 25% of these grants to Hispanic and Latino male nursing students. Eligible students will receive up to $1,000 to help defray the costs of their education. Prospective applicants can learn more about this program and others by clicking here.
National Black Nurses Association Scholarship – This next scholarship is unique in that it helps both African Americans and nursing students. Currently, African American students who are studying nursing can apply for grants that range from $500 to $2,000. Students must be in good academic standing, have written several essays and collected letters of recommendation. Candidates must be a member of a local NBNA chapter.
A Nurse I Am Scholarship – Sponsored by Cherokee Uniforms, this scholarship is offered to undergraduate and graduate. Successful applicants receive a $2,000 scholarship. Applications usually open in February and close in April.
After College/AACN Scholarship – The beauty of this scholarship is that it is offered to anyone pursuing a nursing degree at the undergraduate, graduate or doctoral level. The scholarship value is $2,500 and it is awarded each quarter. However, only members of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) are eligible.
Tylenol Future Care Scholarship – Tylenol offers a scholarship specifically for graduate students pursuing degrees in healthcare. It is a one-time award and several scholarships are offered that range from $1,000 to $10,000.
The American Cancer Society’s Doctoral Degree Scholarships – There are few scholarships for doctoral-level students. This rare find is a godsend for nursing students pursuing doctoral degrees in cancer research. The $15000 stipend is awarded for each of the two years of the scholarship. Applications typically open in July and close in October.
Mary Anne Rizzolo Doctoral Research Award – This $2500 scholarship is offered by the National League of Nursing (NLN) to Ph.D. or DNP students doing valuable nursing education research. The recipient is also given a one-year membership with the NLN. Applicants must submit a proposal for blind review and successful applicants are chosen through a peer-review process.
The Nurse Corps Scholarship Program (NCSP) – This all-encompassing scholarship finances tuition, fees and other educational costs for successful applicants pursuing undergraduate or graduate nursing programs. The trade-off is that the recipient must work in a Critical Shortage Facility (CSF) immediately after graduating.
The F. Edward Hébert Armed Forces Health Professionals Scholarship Program – This scholarship is specifically for students enlisted in the US Army pursuing undergraduate medical degrees. The scholarship covers the full tuition cost, books equipment, a $2,300 stipend, a $20,000 sign-on bonus and food and housing allowance.
Career Specific Scholarships
ACES Bill Walsh Scholarship – This scholarship is open to both undergraduate and graduate students who have demonstrated talent and passion for writing and editing. Applicants must submit three references, respond to a problem prompt, edit the first paragraph of a news article, write a headline and write an opinion-based essay.
Recipients are awarded $3,000 in financial aid and the opportunity to attend the ACES national conference. The deadline for applications is usually November.
Berklee Lollapalooza Endowed Scholarship – This prestigious full-tuition scholarship allows one outstanding musician in America to attend one of the best performing arts colleges in the world, Berklee. Candidates must apply to the Berklee College of Music, participate in a live audition and attend an interview. The best of the lot are nominated for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the winner is announced in April of each year. Only one award is granted each year.
The (ISC)² Undergraduate Cybersecurity Scholarship – Students pursuing an undergraduate degree in cybersecurity, information assurance or a related field are eligible to apply for this scholarship. Applicants must have a minimum 3.3 GPA. Scholarship recipients are awarded scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
The American Culinary Federation (ACF) Scholarships – The ACF works with the American Academy of Chefs (AAC) Scholarships are offered for apprenticeship programs, certificate programs, and post-secondary degree programs. The scholarships range from $1,500 to $2,500.
The American Bus Association (ABA) Diversity Scholarship – The aim of this scholarship is to increase diversity in the transportation, travel and tourism industries. Applicants must be pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree related to one of these industries. A 500-word essay is also required. Successful applicants receive a $5,000 scholarship.
The Actuary of Tomorrow Scholarship – This actuarial science scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students who have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants should also have successfully completed two actuarial science exams. The successful applicant receives up to $9,000 in scholarship funds.
American Floral Endowment Scholarships – These scholarships are granted to undergraduate and graduate students studying floriculture and horticulture. More than 20 scholarships are available, and applications are due by May 1 annually.
AICPA John L. Carey Scholarship – Graduate accounting students who are pursuing the CPA licensure can apply for this scholarship. Five students are awarded this $5,000 scholarship each year. Applications open on December 1 and close on March 1.
Blacks at Microsoft Scholarship – This scholarship is a part of Microsoft’s diversity program. Two $5,000 awards are granted to high school seniors who have been accepted into an undergraduate technology-related degree program. Those who win the scholarship can renew it for their four-year degree program if they continue to meet the criteria. Applicants must have a minimum 3.3 GPA.
The Bound to Stay Bound Books Scholarship – People interested in pursuing advanced degrees in library sciences, and who plan to work in children-related library services, are eligible for this scholarship. Four awards are granted annually. Successful applicants can also become members of the American Library Association and the Association for Library Service to Children.