How to Get College Grants and Scholarships

Besides federal and private student loans, there are countless grants and scholarships for college students available in the U.S. Organizations, schools and governments award billions of dollars’ worth of scholarships annually. Students interested in attending college and wondering how to fund their education have numerous options available for funding. Some college scholarships are available based on applicants’ majors or areas of interest. Others are offered to members of a particular ethnicity, religion, gender or community.

In addition to scholarships, students can also get some grants for college from federal, state and local governments. Grants and college scholarships are both funds issued to you with no strings attached. Scholarships are often awarded for merit, while grants are often need-based. However, both merit and need-based grants and scholarships are available. The sections below list some valuable free scholarships and grants for college available to students in the United States.

Federal Pell Grants

One of the most well-used school grants available is the Federal Pell grant. This grant is available to students seeking a bachelor’s graduate or professional degree for the first time. Students must be able to display significant financial need to qualify for the grant. The maximum value awarded per student for the 2019-20 school year is $6,195.

How much a student can receive from this school grant depends on numerous factors. Factors include the student’s expected family contribution, the cost of the school program, whether the student is enrolled full or part time and how long he or she plans to attend school. Students apply for the Federal Pell grant by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students must submit a FAFSA every year in order to maintain their benefits.

guide-banner

TIP BOX

Did you know? You can get your loan payments lowered if you are able to demonstrate financial hardship.
Did you know? You can get your loan payments lowered if you are able to demonstrate financial hardship.
The Gates Scholarship

One of the most prestigious scholarships for college students available in the United States is the Gates scholarship. This scholarship is funded through The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It covers the full cost of attendance, minus financial aid and expected family contributions, for 300 students. The college scholarship identifies students with an excellent academic record, a history of demonstrated leadership and well-rounded personal skills. The following eligibility requirements are in place:

  • You must be a high school senior.
  • You must be African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian and Pacific Islander American or Hispanic American.
  • You must be eligible for the Pell Grant.
  • You must be a US citizen, national or permanent resident.
  • You must have a minimum GPA of 3.3 and be in good academic standing.

If you do meet the eligibility requirements, you can receive college scholarship tuition funding that helps make higher education affordable for you.

The Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship

Each year, the Coca-Cola company selects 150 students to receive a $20,000 college scholarship. These scholarships are awarded to high school seniors who have made positive changes to the world. Applicants must demonstrate a history of leadership and effecting change in their communities in order to receive the reward. The following eligibility requirements are in place:

  • Applicants must be current seniors set to graduate in the current school year.
  • Applicants should be U.S. citizens, nationals, permanent residents, refugees, asylum seekers, Cuban or Haitian entrants or humanitarian parolees.
  • Applicants must be seeking a degree at an accredited post-secondary institution.
  • Applicants cannot be the children or grandchildren of Coca-Cola employees.
  • Applicants cannot be high school graduates.
  • Applicants cannot be temporary US residents.

Applicants who receive this award can use it to pursue higher education at any accredited post-secondary institution. However, it is only a one-time award. Therefore, applicants may need additional scholarship money to continue paying for college expenses.

Generation Google Scholarship

Some scholarship money is restricted to applicants studying a particular subject. The Generation Google scholarship is designed to encourage underrepresented minorities to join the field of technology and science. Students can earn up to $10,000 in the United States, or $5,000 in Canada, to put towards their undergraduate or graduate education. To qualify, students should submit an application that includes responses to multiple short answer questions. Although Google strongly encourages minority students to apply, the scholarship is available to all who meet the qualifications. The college scholarship eligibility requirements for an undergraduate scholarship include the following:

  • You are a current high school senior
  • You plan on enrolling in a four-year college program in the United States or Canada in the fall
  • You intend to major in computer science, computer engineering, software engineering or a related subject
  • You demonstrate an interest in studying computer science
The Dell Scholars Program Scholarship

Funded by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the Dell college scholarship is available to students who demonstrate both financial need and academic merit. Those who are awarded the scholarship receive $20,000 as well as a laptop and textbook credits. Students must demonstrate motivation and hard work in their experiences and application. This means overcoming personal challenges, participating in college readiness and seeking a college degree.

To qualify for this scholarship money, students must participate in a college readiness program approved by the foundation in their junior or senior year. Additionally, students must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Minimum 2.4 GPA
  • High school senior on track to graduate
  • Pell Grant eligible
The JFK Profile in Courage Essay Contest Scholarship

Some free scholarships are competition-based, such as the JFK Profile in Courage essay contest. This annual scholarship awards $20,000 to the first place winner, $3,000 to the second place winner, $1,000 to five finalists and $100 to eight semi-finalists. This college scholarship asks high school seniors to submit an essay between 700 and 1,000 words about any U.S. political leader since 1917 who has exhibited courage by defending the public good. To qualify for this scholarship money, applicants should submit an essay that meets the eligibility requirements. Some of the essay requirements are:

  • The paper must be between 700 and 1,000 words long, not including citations.
  • The author must cite at least five sources.
  • The political leader highlighted in the essay cannot be John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy or Edward M. Kennedy.
  • Essays must not focus on political leaders discussed in previous winning essays, unless the author explores a different courageous act.
  • Essays must be an original work by the student.

Students can submit their essay applications online or by mail, but submissions must be in or postmarked by the appropriate deadline. Additionally, students must list a nominating teacher.

It might also interest you: