How To Find Scholarships For College - (2024)

Scholarships are a pivotal financial aid resource for college students, but how can you find them?

Finding the right scholarship for your educational goals is a process. The first step is to educate yourself on your basic options. What kinds of scholarships (military, identity-based, etc.) do you qualify for? Is a scholarship the most appropriate form of financial aid for your needs? From there, you can start casting a wide net on scholarship search engines. The clearer you are about what you want, the more you can narrow your options.

This page offers an overview of different types of scholarships, tools for finding scholarships, and financial aid concerns for college students.

Where to Begin Your Search

Finding scholarships that align with your educational goals can seem intimidating, but it's best to start with the basics. Research the types of available scholarships and how to access them, as covered below.

Paying For College

Scholarships provide funding for students who need help paying for college. Like grants, scholarships do not require repayment, making them preferable to loans. Here are a few informational resources about finding funding in college.

How to Pay for College

This page offers tips and resources on how to cut the cost of college for first-time students, including information on filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and in-state tuition rates.

Paying for College: Financial Aid, Scholarships, and More

First-time learners can estimate the cost of college and explore various forms of financial aid with this page.

Financial Aid for Online College

This guide offers information on applying for financial aid when enrolled in an online degree program.

The Student Financial Aid Source

First-time learners can use this step-by-step guide to explore how they can pay for college by working, accessing scholarships, and accessing heavily discounted tuition.

Academic Scholarships

Many scholarships are specifically tailored to certain levels of academic achievement. Like other scholarships, they help learners reduce their tuition expenses. These types of scholarships also have high standards for continued eligibility for financial aid; if your grades fall, you could lose your award money or even have to pay it back.

Academic Scholarships: Everything You Need to Know and Do

This guide offers tips for applying to an academic scholarship, along with an extensive list of popular academic scholarships. Each entry lists the award amount and links directly to the scholarship landing page.

First-time students can visit this page for an overview of how to access each type of scholarship.

Scholarships for Online Students

This guide lists some popular colleges that offer scholarships for online students, including scholarships tailored to online transfer students and in-state online learners.

Financial Aid: Business Scholarships

Business majors seeking financial aid should consult this guide, which provides tips on how to apply for business scholarships and grants, along with an extensive list of scholarships for business majors.

Athletic Scholarships

Student-athletes can receive athletic scholarships for participating in sports. These scholarships assist talented athletes by covering some of their schooling costs. "Full-ride" athletic scholarships are rare, and student-athletes should research options cautiously.

Athletic Scholarships

This page covers how student-athletes can improve their chances of scoring athletic scholarships. Students can also explore popular athletic scholarships from organizations like the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Military Scholarships

Learners interested in joining the military and veterans returning to school can pursue military scholarships. These programs and financial awards can help enlisted members, their families, and veterans pay for their education. Most of these resources require recipients to complete a minimum number of years of service.

Financial Aid: Military Scholarships

This guide explains military scholarships, their benefits, and how students can apply. The page also features a list of popular military scholarships organized by branch.

Finding Military Scholarships

This guide goes into greater detail about where to search for military scholarships, how to apply for them, and who is eligible to receive them.

ROTC Scholarships

Students in ROTC or who are considering joining ROTC should visit this page, which covers how to receive ROTC scholarships, typical awards, and how they vary between military branches.

Scholarships for Veterans

This guide helps student veterans who want to apply for scholarships for themselves and their families. The page offers a list of scholarships for veterans, including scholarships for disabled veterans.

Identity-Based Scholarships

Identity-based scholarships support people from marginalized or socially disadvantaged groups, helping create more equity in higher education. Learners can receive awards based on demographic information like gender, ethnicity, or disability, rather than need or academic accomplishment, to encourage wider representation in academia.

Scholarships for Women

This guide for female college students provides an overview of scholarships for women and explains the difficulties women face in higher education. The page also lists popular women's scholarships by major.

Scholarships for Minority Students

Minority learners in college can use this guide to find scholarships designated for their demographic groups. It includes a list of both general and special interest scholarships for minorities.

Scholarships for African American and Black Students 2020

This page covers the role that scholarships play in helping African American and Black students pay for college. It also includes several lists of relevant scholarships, including a list of scholarships for African American women.

Scholarships for Latino/a Students

This guide for Latino/a students explains how scholarships can help these students overcome economic and social barriers. The page also includes an extensive list of scholarships specifically for Latino/a learners.

Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

Learners with disabilities who need help paying for school should consult this guide, which includes specific types of aid and lists popular scholarships for students with different types of disabilities.

Financial Aid for Undocumented Students

This guide provides information on how undocumented learners' status affects their ability to find and apply for scholarships. It also covers how undocumented students can access financial aid and how that access varies across state lines.

Religious Scholarships: Everything You Need to Know and Do

This page explains the merits of religious scholarships for both religious and secular learners who need help paying for college. The guide also provides a list of scholarships organized by faith.

Scholarships for International Students

Browse popular scholarships for foreign learners, as well as tips on how international learners can craft better scholarship applications.

Scholarship Databases

Scholarship databases make it easier to find and apply for scholarships that fit your demographic groups and educational goals. These websites enable you to search through thousands of scholarships and grants while continually refining search parameters. No single database is comprehensive, so make sure to try multiple sites in your search.

Unigo is one of the most extensive databases for scholarship and grant listings on the internet. Learners can use Unigo to create a scholarship profile and apply for scholarships online.

Scholly is a popular app where students can apply for scholarships and grants. The app's algorithm displays scholarship and grant opportunities based on each student's unique profile. is a free search engine for scholarships, grants, and other financial aid opportunities. The site's numerous partnerships with colleges and universities give it access to some scholarships that other online databases don't have.

The College Board is primarily known for offering standardized tests like the SAT, but it also features an extensive scholarship search engine. The organization even offers a special $40,000 opportunity scholarship drawing for candidates who complete its six college planning steps.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Get Scholarships for Online College?

Online college scholarships work in the same way as traditional financial aid. Many colleges even offer scholarships that are exclusively for online students.

How Do You Find Scholarships for College?

You can find scholarships for college in several ways, including through scholarship search engines or through your prospective school's scholarship landing page.

How Do I Find Local Scholarships?

Ask around your community when looking for local scholarships, which are often less competitive than national scholarships. You can find local scholarships through local businesses, foundations, and nonprofits. Local scholarships often honor the memory of key community members.

Can I Use the Common Application to Apply for Scholarships?

Thanks to integration between the College Board scholarship search and Common App, candidates can use the Common App to apply for several scholarships simultaneously with a single application.

How To Find Scholarships For College - (1)

Matthew Sweeney

Matthew Sweeney received his Bachelor of Arts in English with a specialization in English literature from Portland State. His writings on music and culture have appeared in the publications Eleven PDX Magazine and Secret Decoder. In his free time he enjoys reading, cinema, hiking, and cooking.

Header Image Credit: FG Trade | Getty Images

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How To Find Scholarships For College - (2024)


How do you find scholarships I can actually get? ›

How do I find scholarships?
  1. the financial aid office at a college or career school.
  2. a high school or TRIO counselor.
  3. the U.S. Department of Labor's FREE scholarship search tool.
  4. federal agencies.
  5. your state grant agency.
  6. your library's reference section.

How do I find hidden college scholarships? ›

So, Where Do You Find Unclaimed Scholarships? One good place to look for scholarships is on the Financial Aid Finder Scholarship Announcement Blog. Every Friday, the site lists several scholarship opportunities with upcoming deadlines.

Is there a database of scholarships? › is a California-based, comprehensive source of scholarship resources.

Can you get a scholarship for being African? ›

Examples of African American scholarships

The Gates Millennium Scholarship Program awards scholarships to talented minority students with financial need. The Jackie Robinson Foundation is a national organization that provides opportunities for minority students to achieve their dream of higher education.

What is the easiest way to get a full scholarship? ›

7 tips for getting a full-ride scholarship
  1. Start preparing early. ...
  2. Perform well academically. ...
  3. Take challenging classes. ...
  4. Excel in extracurricular activities. ...
  5. Apply for admission at multiple schools. ...
  6. Develop relationships with teachers and counselors. ...
  7. Submit a stellar application. ...
  8. Private scholarships.
Feb 7, 2023

What is the largest scholarship database? ›

The Fast Web Scholarship Search is the largest, most accurate, and most popular free scholarship search site - with more than 30 million registered users.

What is the most difficult part of finding scholarships? ›

The main challenges of searching for scholarships are finding opportunities you are eligible for, as mentioned, and taking the time to search for scholarships. Though most students have a busy schedule, it can really pay off in the end if students can find the time to apply for a few scholarships.

Why are scholarships so hard to find? ›

The diversity of reasoning that goes into giving money away creates a confusing network of opportunities for students to sift through on the internet. Furthermore, the many inconsistent algorithmic interpretations of language on internet search engines and databases make this process even harder.

Can you get a scholarship if your parents didn t go to college? ›

What are first-generation scholarships? First-generation scholarships are scholarships offered specifically to students whose parents didn't attend college (or didn't graduate with a 4-year degree). They may also be called “first-in-family” scholarships or first gen scholarships.

How do you know if a scholarship website is real? ›

Signs of a Scholarship Scam
  1. Charging a fee. Most scholarship scams charge some kind of fee. ...
  2. Requesting unusual information. ...
  3. Asking for your bank account number. ...
  4. Telling you that you won a scholarship, but you never applied. ...
  5. Claiming to be a foundation or tax-exempt charity. ...
  6. Sends you a scholarship check.

Do people actually get scholarships from niche? ›

Niche is 100 percent legit and people really do win each month. While you definitely should be on the lookout for scholarship fraud (better safe than sorry), rest assured that Niche scholarships are the real deal.

Are scholarship websites legit? ›

There are many legitimate companies that have lists of scholarships they offer for sale. Others might charge you upfront to compare your profile with a database of scholarship opportunities — and then give you a list of awards that you may qualify for. And there are online scholarship search engines, too.

What are scholarships for minorities called? ›

Diversity scholarships can be for specific ethnic or racial groups, or they can be designed to cater to multiple underserved populations. They're issued by universities, private companies and nonprofit organizations, and there are awards for both undergraduate and graduate students.

What is the average scholarship by race? ›

Asian students received a higher average annual amount of grant aid ($13,840) than did students who were of Two or more races ($11,940), White ($11,420), Black ($11,390), Hispanic ($11,090), American Indian/Alaska Native ($10,750), and Pacific Islander ($10,280).

What are some black scholarships? ›

General Scholarships for Black and African American Students
  • Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship. ...
  • Ron Brown Scholar Program. ...
  • American Bus Association Diversity Scholarship. ...
  • AMS Minority Scholarships. ...
  • BLM² Foundation Scholarship. ...
  • American Association of Blacks in Energy Scholarship.

What ACT score is needed for full-ride scholarships? ›

Shoot for at least a 28 on the ACT or above 1300 on the SAT. Some scholarships allow for flexibility, so check the particular scholarship, but these numbers generally give you the most options. Encourage your student to also pursue a high GPA or even 4.0, especially their senior year.

What scholarship pays for everything? ›

What's a full-ride scholarship? It's a financial award, like any other scholarship, but with a difference—it covers all your college expenses. And not just tuition—a full-ride scholarship also covers your housing, meals, books, lab fees, and sometimes even living costs.

Is there a limit to how much money you can get from scholarships? ›

There really is no limit to how much you can win in scholarships. However, once you get to a certain point, winning scholarships will impact how you pay for college. As stated above, the school has the right – and the obligation – to remove any financial aid from your package that can be replaced by a scholarship.

What are the two most common scholarships? ›

Common types of scholarships for college are merit-based scholarships, need-based scholarships, and athletic scholarships.

What state has the most scholarships? ›

The research has revealed:

North Dakota takes the top spot as the state offering the most scholarships.

Which state gives out the most scholarships? ›

The students seeking the most scholarships hail from Texas. Nearly 11% of all scholarship application submitted in the united states came from the Lone Star State.

What not to do when applying for scholarships? ›

Here are seven mistakes to avoid when searching for and filling out scholarship applications.
  1. Starting Research Too Late. ...
  2. Missing Deadlines. ...
  3. Filling Out a Scam Application. ...
  4. Ignoring Scholarship Requirements. ...
  5. Bypassing Smaller Scholarships. ...
  6. Leaving an Application Incomplete. ...
  7. Making Errors on an Application.
Feb 21, 2023

What is the lowest GPA to get a scholarship? ›

Some scholarship committees only consider applicants whose GPA meets a certain threshold. Minimum requirements range from around 2.0 on the lower end to 3.75 or higher for competitive academic scholarships. Generally speaking, a 3.0 GPA or higher will give you a decent shot at qualifying for a variety of scholarships.

What is better than a scholarship? ›

Fellowships generally offer more money than scholarships.

Students use all sorts of financial aid to pay for college, including grants, scholarships, loans, and fellowships.

How to increase your chances of getting a college scholarship? ›

5 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Winning a Scholarship
  1. Treat scholarship applications like a job. ...
  2. The more involved, the less amount of competition. ...
  3. Look for local scholarships. ...
  4. Find scholarships that fit your unique personality. ...
  5. Don't forget to look at your part-time job or your parent's job.
Jun 28, 2022

What is the average chance of getting a scholarship? ›

Odds of Winning a Scholarship

Only about 1 in 8 college students wins a scholarship, and the average amount used to pay for college is about $4,200 a year. Very few students win $25,000 or more in scholarships each year (only about 0.1%). Among the students who win scholarships, 97% win $2,500 or less.

Why do I never get scholarships? ›

You're not being consistent

Many students will get inspiration to apply to scholarships and then quickly lose steam when they don't immediately see any wins. If you've applied to dozens of scholarships and haven't heard back the best thing you can do is: Set a monthly goal and consistently meet your target.

What GPA do I have to keep to not lose my scholarship? ›

Most schools set grade point average (GPA) minimums to keep the financial aid flowing—even for "need-based" grants awarded based on family income. Colleges typically require students to maintain at least a 2.0 GPA, the equivalent of a C average, to qualify for almost any kind of financial aid.

How do I pay for college if my parents won't help? ›

No parental support for college students? 7 ways to pay on your own
  1. Fill out the FAFSA.
  2. Apply for scholarships.
  3. Get a job.
  4. Look into tax credits for qualifying college expenses.
  5. Minimize your college costs.
  6. Research tuition assistance programs.
  7. Consider taking out federal student loans.
Jan 27, 2023

When should parents stop paying for college? ›

California. It's only until the child reaches 18 years of age that parents should provide support. However, it can continue until the age of 19 if the child is a full-time high school student and not self-sufficient. In California, the law allows parents to keep supporting an adult child who is incapacitated.

What financial information should a scholarship website never ask for? ›

Students should never give out personal details or banking information when applying for a scholarship. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Warning Signs To Be Aware Of: Promises for a Low-interest Student Loan for a Fee.

Are scholarships without essays legit? ›

This is not true. In fact, there are many great scholarships that don't require an essay at all. These no essay scholarships can range from quick scholarships that you can apply to in a few minutes to other scholarships that are focused on students with a specific talent.

Is it normal for scholarships to ask for your address? ›

They may also ask for your street address as well as the school you plan to attend. If you do win a scholarship, it's likely they will ask for further information from you, specifically as it relates to sending your prize money.

Who receives the most scholarships? ›

As the latest scholarship statistics reflect, entering a four-year private nonprofit institution gives students the highest chance of being awarded a scholarship. At 62%, students from private for-profit institutions are the most likely to receive grants from the federal government (Hanson, 2021).

Where do most scholarships come from? ›

Scholarships come from various sources, including clubs, organizations, charities, foundations, businesses, colleges and universities, the government, and individuals.

What percentage of people receive scholarships? ›

Surprising Scholarship Statistics

Only 7% of college students will receive a scholarship. The U.S. Department of Education awards an estimated $46 billion in scholarship money annually.

Do scholarships ask for Social Security number? ›

Scholarship applications may ask for a lot of information depending on the type of award, but typically scholarship applications will not request your Social Security number (SSN).

Can I trust Fastweb scholarships? ›

Each Fastweb scholarship is vetted by a real person to make sure it is legitimate. They also rigorously update our database to ensure that members have the most helpful, up-to-date information on each scholarship.

Do legitimate scholarships charge a fee? ›

Most legitimate scholarship sponsors do not require an application fee. Other fees. If you must pay money to get information about an award, apply for the award, or receive the award, it might be a scam.

What is the Queen scholarship? ›

The Queen's Scholarship was an annual education scheme introduced by the colonial government in 1885 to enable promising students in Singapore and Malaya to enrol at a British university.

What race gets the most Pell grants? ›

Pell Grant Average by Demographics
  • The average Pell Grant award for White students is $4,406.
  • The average Pell Grant award for Black students is $4,528.
  • For Hispanic students, the average award is $4,773.
  • For Asian students, the average award is $5,140.
  • American Indians who received the Pell Grant averaged $4,283.
Jun 5, 2023

What is the Chick Fil A scholarship called? ›

Through the Remarkable Futures™ Scholarship initiative, Chick-fil-A has invested more than $162 million in scholarships since 1970 to help over 93,000 Team Members pursue a college education and achieve their remarkable future—whether it's with Chick-fil-A or elsewhere.

What race goes to college the most? ›

College degrees are increasing among all racial and ethnic groups, but white and Asian Americans are far more likely to hold a college degree or earn one than Black, Hispanic or Native Americans.

Can you get a scholarship based on race and ethnicity? ›

Race and national origin classifications are subject to the highest level of scrutiny (courts refer to it as “strict scrutiny”). Race or national origin may be considered in awarding a scholarship only if “narrowly tailored” and necessary to achieve a “compelling interest” of the college or university.

What race has the most student loans? ›

Student Loan Debt by Race
  • Black and African American college graduates owe an average of $25,000 more in student loan debt than White college graduates.
  • Four years after graduation, Black students owe an average of 188% more than White students borrowed.
May 17, 2023

How do you find scholarships that almost nobody knows about? ›

Consumer Reports Magazine, and other sources, list the following sites worth checking:
  2. Scholarship
  4. (affiliated with FastWeb)
  5. Scholarships. com.
  6. The US Department of Labor's Career OneStop site.
Nov 19, 2019

What is the hardest scholarship to get? ›

Top 10 Hardest Scholarships to Get
  • Rhodes Scholarship.
  • Fullbright Scholarship.
  • Gates Cambridge Scholarship.
  • Princeton Scholarship.
  • Mitchell Scholarship.
  • Churchill Scholarship.
  • Marshall Scholarship.
  • Jardine Scholarship.
Sep 23, 2020

What is the most famous scholarship? ›

The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest graduate fellowship in the world, and probably the most famous.

How rare is it to get a full scholarship? ›

Full-ride scholarships are awarded to only about 0.1% of students (Wignall, 2021). Nearly just as rare are full-tuition scholarships, which are awarded to only 1.5% of students (ThinkImpact, 2021). A regular high school student may have the qualifications for as many as 50 to 100 scholarships (Dickler, 2021).

How much money do most scholarships give? ›

The U.S. Department of Education awards an estimated $46 billion in scholarship money annually. The average scholarship for 2-year institutions is worth $6,010. On average, first-time undergraduates who receive government grants and scholarships at a 4-year college receive about $14,890 annually.

What is the scholarship that pays for everything? ›

What's a full-ride scholarship? It's a financial award, like any other scholarship, but with a difference—it covers all your college expenses. And not just tuition—a full-ride scholarship also covers your housing, meals, books, lab fees, and sometimes even living costs.

What are two things you should never do when applying for a scholarship? ›

  1. What Not To Do When Applying for. Scholarships. ...
  2. Don't Go Over The Word Count. ...
  3. Don't Forget About Grammar and Spelling. ...
  4. Don't Write An Insincere Essay. ...
  5. Don't Just List Your Accomplishments. ...
  6. Don't Try To Force Another Essay to Fit. ...
  7. Don't Be Too Negative. ...
  8. Don't Wait Until The Last Minute.

Is there a limit on how many scholarships you can get? ›

College scholarships are free money that you don't need to pay back. There's no limit to the amount of scholarships you can apply for—so submit as many applications as you can.

Can I get a full ride scholarship with a 3.5 GPA? ›

With a 3.5 GPA, you might be eligible for a full-ride scholarship. However, it's important to note that there is no such thing as a free lunch. If you receive a full-ride scholarship, that means you'll need to maintain your GPA in order to keep receiving funding.

What happens if you get too many scholarships? ›

If you earned scholarships and grants that add up to more than your total cost of attendance, your school may send you a refund of the leftover scholarship money. Keep in mind, you may have to pay taxes on that amount.

What is the 5 strong scholarship? ›

The mission of the 5 Strong Scholarship Foundation is to increase the retention and graduation rates at partnering Historically Black Colleges and Universities by assisting in the enrollment and success of academically promising student leaders until graduation.


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