Looking for a college education without the college price tag? College scholarships can help with that. Did you know that over 1.7 million scholarships and fellowships are awarded each year? Thousands of students in the U.S. depend on scholarships for college every year to meet rising tuition and living costs.
Luckily, there are tons of scholarships to choose from, even less competitive scholarships. The trick is knowing what's available to you and knowing where to find it. It's crazy to think that a few years ago, there was $2.9 billion in unused federal grant awards. Clearly, students either didn't care to apply or didn't know where to look! But still, in that same year (2015), 72% of students received some sort of financial aid, including grants and scholarships.
Read on to find out about all the different types of scholarships and how to find them on a college scholarships website.
Scholarships come in all shapes and sizes. Knowing and searching the types of scholarships that are out there will help you find scholarships designed just for you! Here are some of the most common types of scholarships.
If your grades were always a bit mediocre, you might feel as though you won't have a chance in finding scholarships for college. But the truth is, not all scholarships have grades as their main criteria. If you're a strong sportsperson, you might be eligible for an athletic scholarship!
Colleges often offer athletic scholarships to students with the intention that the student will play on the college’s sports team. You can find athletic scholarships from various colleges and universities as well as other private institutes like sports companies or organizations. Athletic scholarships can either be full-ride scholarships or partial scholarships.
Athletics scholarships offered by colleges are often seen as controversial, as critics believe that awarding scholarship money for athletics rather than academic or intellectual purposes is not in an institution's best interest. However, many athletic scholarships require students to not only maintain performance in a specific sport, but also to maintain a minimum academic standard.
Here are some athletic scholarships offered in 2022:
Many colleges and universities have funds for scholarships to assist students who are suddenly faced with a serious illness. There are also college scholarships specifically for students who have been affected by cancer.
Childhood cancer survivors are more likely to have difficulty finding employment compared to people who never had cancer. Cancer scholarships aim to bridge that gap.
There are also scholarships for students with parents that have or had cancer:
Sometimes, big retail companies and corporations offer scholarships. For example, McDonald’s Hacer Scholarship offers financial aid to Hispanic students. And, Foot Locker offers a $20,000 scholarship to student athletes.
If you're working a part-time job at a retail store or chain, make sure you check the company website for any scholarships.
Some organizations and universities offer creative contest scholarships. These are also known as project scholarships, which students apply for with a creative submission.
Are you a prospective graduate student barely making your student loan payments from your undergraduate education? Unfortunately, those costs don't end with graduate school. Universities sometimes charge much more money for graduate program tuition each year than undergraduate tuition.
Luckily, there are tons of scholarships available to graduate students worldwide. However, if you're looking for less competitive scholarships, you'll have better luck as an undergraduate student. Graduate scholarships are harder to score, since they are more specialized and less abundant.
High school scholarships are available to students in either their junior or senior year of high school. High school scholarships vary in type, sometimes offered based on a student’s extracurricular activities, interests, ethnic background, or field of study. Other types of high school scholarships include:
Students with disabilities face unique challenges when they attend college. And, disabilities are quite common. In 2015, 19% of undergraduate students reported having at least one disability. Some examples of disabilities include learning disabilities, visual impairment, speech disorder, autism, and more.
Still Confused? You can use our College Scholarship finder tool - Scholarships Match
Last-dollar scholarships are provided by private and government-based institutions, and cover leftover fees that a student is faced with after considering any other grants they received. Usually, students can’t access last-dollar scholarships until after they receive a letter offering financial aid.
This kind of scholarship might require details regarding a student’s bank accounts, taxes, income, loans, and sources of financial support.
Did you know there are scholarships for people studying specific majors? It turns out For example, if you've always dreamt of studying Russian language and literature, there's a scholarship for that! The William and Mary University offers the Dobro Slovo Scholarship fund for students that wish to spend a semester in St. Petersburg.
That's just one example though—there are scholarships out there for every major, even really specific ones. Additionally, many scholarships by major cross over with scholarships by career. That’s because certain careers require you to major in a specific field. You’ll find some 2021 scholarships by major in the career scholarships section.
Career-based scholarships are mainly focused on a student's career ambitions.
These are the scholarships a college or university will award to students who plan to pursue a specific field of study in order to achieve their dream career.
For example, many schools and hospitals offer generous nursing scholarships to students that wish to become nurses, and practicing health care professionals that would like to receive nursing credentials.
Most scholarships in general are merit scholarships. They are the most common type of scholarship, and often cross-over with other types of scholarships. Your academic performance qualifies you for a merit scholarship. Colleges look at academic background, past rankings, exam scores, transcripts, and your overall academic track record when considering candidates for a merit scholarship.
While most merit scholarships focus on academic performance, others use a candidate's extra curriculars, community service, professional or business experience, artistic skills, or leadership skills as criteria for consideration. You’ll notice that many of the scholarships within this article, including minority scholarships, have academic requirements.
Students of minority groups typically face more challenges than white students. For example, Americans growing up in poverty are more likely to be Black or Hispanic than white. Some organizations and colleges account for these inequities and celebrate diversity by offering scholarships to minority groups.
List of Minority Scholarships (Hispanic Students) 2021
Students from low-income backgrounds are eligible for need-based scholarships. Many universities as well as private organizations offer need-based scholarships. These grants often require extensive documentation about a student’s and their family’s financial scenario, as well as the EFC result from the FAFSA. It’s also not uncommon for need-based scholarships to also entail certain academic requirements as well. You can check your desired college’s financial aid section to learn more about individual need-based scholarships.
Some scholarships require extensive documentation and work on your part, including long essays. Luckily, some scholarship providers know that essays aren’t always a student’s favourite thing to do. That’s why there are plenty of no-essay scholarships available!
Some scholarships for college are location-based. No matter how good your grades are, some organizations won't consider you for some scholarships unless you reside in a specific state.
These scholarships may be offered by state schools, community-based organizations, and state-based career initiatives, among others. Check individual websites from colleges to find out more about state scholarships.
In society, how do you identify yourself?
Are you a single mom or dad? Are you part of some important legacies? Are you a veteran? Are you part of the LGBTQ community? Are you a victim of effects caused by the 9/11 incident? Do you have any unusual interests and talents?
There are many organizations that offer scholarships for people facing specific life circumstances. You’ll notice a few scholarship categories within this article that are for specific life circumstances, like for students with illness and disability, or for LGBTQ students.
Prospective undergraduate students have access to the most scholarships, including the Pell Scholarship. In fact, 86% of first-time, full-time undergraduate students were awarded financial aid in 2017-2018 for 4-year degree-granting institutions. A similar percentage of undergraduate students (78%) received financial aid for programs at 2-year degree-granting institutions. Most scholarships found within other categories in this article, with the exception of the graduate scholarships, are undergraduate scholarships. Some organizations and colleges have entire sections of their websites with undergraduate scholarships, like the American Navy Undergraduate Scholarships, and the SAIC Undergraduate Scholarships.
Every U.S. student interested in applying for scholarships should first complete the FAFSA. The FAFSA helps qualify you for all forms of federal and state student aid. After that, you should apply directly to schools and organizations that offer scholarships.
Scholarships aren’t loans. That’s the beauty of scholarships — you don’t have to pay them back! But, there are some scenarios in which you might be forced to give back the money, including:
Learn more: Do you have to pay back Scholarships?
This year was difficult for many amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Apart from that, college tuition has always been quite expensive, requiring many students to rely on scholarships. Luckily, there are countless scholarships for college available across the country, including less competitive scholarships. Check out college scholarships websites like the College Monk and our Scholarship Match tool, or individual college websites to learn more about specific scholarships.