How to Find College Scholarships & Tips for Funding Higher-Education

Author: Sarah Perowne

Last update: 6/23/2023

College Scholarship Tips

Four years of college can cost a lot, on average around $25,000 per academic year in state schools and around  $54,000 for private institutions. The price of a good college education is a barrier for many high schoolers who dream of attending college or further education, including those from minority backgrounds who are underrepresented at many colleges around the U.S. Many people also believe that scholarships are only available to high school students, when in fact, there are many available for those currently enrolled in college that can help pay for tuition, food, board, room, fees, and other expenses.

It is not all bad news, as many schools, organizations, associations, and nonprofits recognize the desire to attend college for those who can't afford it. Still, these scholarships can be hard to find and apply for, so here we're going to narrow down your search. We will tell you what types of college scholarships are available for undergraduate and graduate students, give advice on when to apply for scholarships, and break it down into resource subcategories, so you can be sure that you apply for the scholarships right for you.

What Types of College Scholarships are Available?

Many types of college scholarships and grants are available for high school and college students, from academic scholarships to athletic, need-based, to identity-specific programs. Typically, these scholarships don't require you to repay the amount received, making it an affordable option for many. 

3 Tips for Funding Higher-education

"How am I going to pay for college?" Well, it's a question that many parents and students face year after year when talking about affording college tuition and college life. From the neverending acronyms of FAFSA, EFC, and SAR to the huge amounts of paperwork, it can be a lot, and it can take significant research to find ways to save and pay for college. Here are some ways you can start thinking about funding college.

Financial Aid

The majority of students who are U.S. citizens and permanent residents qualify for unsubsidized federal student loans. You will have to fill out the FAFSA form, which applies to students enrolled at least half-time. Students with financial needs may also qualify for subsidized federal student loans. Check out if you’re eligible for subsidized aid.

Working During School

Another good way of supporting yourself through college is by looking for part-time work alongside your studies. The Federal Work Study program could be a place to start. They provide part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial needs, allowing them to earn money while studying. Another way is by working full-time during the summers or doing internships. If you're interested in enhancing your language abilities and potentially earning rewards, one option is to participate in college word and trivia competitions. These competitions not only offer an opportunity to sharpen your skills and learn new vocabulary with a words with friends cheat, for example, but can provide financial assistance for minor expenses.

Apply for Grants, Scholarships & Fellowships

Lastly, apply for scholarships, grants, and fellowships. While enrolled in college, you might want to consider applying for fellowships. Fellowships are monetary awards that can subsidize the cost of your education or help you pay for scholarly extras, like trips, projects, shows, thesis costs, etc. Fellowship awards are usually given for academic pursuits and are merit-based. You can learn more about fellowships and how they might help you here.

College Scholarships for High School Seniors

First off, if you're a high school senior, congratulations! You're one step closer to becoming a college student and can officially start applying for college scholarships. If you think you're late to the game, don't worry. You should get your applications in as early as possible, but some scholarships run throughout the year and the summer after graduation.

ScholarshipOwl No-Essay Scholarship

Each month, four winners could win a ScholarshipOwl grant for $1,000 that will be directly paid to your college. You must be a U.S. resident, except for Rhode Island and Michigan, and be enrolled or will be enrolled in a qualifying high school, college, or university within the United States.
Nitro Scholarship

Nitro is a student resource website that prides itself on helping students and families responsibly pay for and pay off their college education. The Nitro scholarship sweepstake is free to enter, and winners are selected each month.
Be Bold No-Essay Scholarship

Be Bold has a scholarship worth $25,000 for the applicant with the boldest profile, and it takes less than 2 minutes to apply.
Semper Solis Scholarship

Want to flex your essay writing skills? The Semper Solaris Scholarship essay contest is designed for current full-time senior high school students with a GPA on a 4-point scale of at least 3.0.

List of College Scholarships

Looking to complete your undergraduate course or in your freshman year of college but struggling to figure out how to pay for it? See if you can apply for any of these scholarships.

College Scholarships for Women


The AWSCPA scholarship award is part of the AICPA Legacy Scholarships. Female students looking to pursue a career in certified public accountancy (CPA) or an accounting related-field can apply.
Chicana Latina Foundation

To help female students who self-identify as Chicana and/or Latina fund and invest in their studies, the CLF selects 40-50 students as part of their Leadership and Scholarship program.
Science Ambassador Scholarship

For women interested in STEM fields of study, the Science Ambassador Scholarship offers up to four years of tuition expenses for high school seniors and undergraduates.

The NANBPWC is a non-profit organization that promotes and protects the interests of women business owners and professionals. They offer many scholarships for African Americans.
Women’s Independence Scholarship Programme

The Women's Independence Scholarship Program (WISP) was created in 1999 to help female survivors of intimate partner abuse to overcome the educational barriers necessary for gaining employment and financial stability. Check out their FAQs page for more information.
Go Girl!

Go Girl! Grants are specifically for women living and studying in the Coachella Valley, CA, over 25 and above. The grants are awarded on a needs basis, and applicants must already be working towards a undergraduate degree or occupational certification.
Illustrating Awesomeness Scholarship

Every fall, the Illustrating Awesomeness Scholarship offers young women and gender-non-conforming undergrads of color an opportunity to fund their spring semester at a U.S. Based college.

LGBTQIA+ Scholarship Resources & Grants

Point Foundation

Point Foundation's Flagship Scholarship is for anyone who identifies as part of the LGBTQ community. They assess applicants' leadership skills, academic achievement, LGBTQ advocacy, and financial need.
League Foundation

LEAGUE Foundation provides financial resources for LGBTQ+ community members graduating from high school in the year they apply. They have four yearly scholarship programs that each applicant is automatically entered into.
Beloved Arise

The Queer Youth of Faith Essay Contest is open to high school seniors aged 16-20 residing in the United States who identify as LGBTQ+ and a person of faith.

PFlag Scholarships are open to residents in the San Diego County who self identify as LGBTQ+. The scholarships are awarded to high school seniors continuing to higher education or full-time undergrad and graduate students.
Out to Innovate

The Out to Innovate Scholarships are intended for LGBTQ+ undergraduate and graduate students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics degrees.

Scholarships & Grants for Black College Students

Ron Brown Scholarship

RBSP awards around 45-50 people the opportunitiy to gain a four-year scholarship. Each year $10,000 are awarded to high school seniors interested in public service, community engagement, business entrepreneurship, and global citizenship.

The American Association of Blacks in Energy supports the academic achievements of students desiring a career in the energy-related field. Each year, the AABE awards more than $350,000 in scholarships to students.
100 Black Men of America Scholarship Program

The 100 Black Men of America. inc has a few scholarship programs, awarding young African American youth access to high-quality education regardless of socioeconomic status.
CDW HBCU Scholarship

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund and CDW offer 20 outstanding scholars financial assistance attending one of TMCF's member schools. To apply, students must be enrolled full-time at a Historically Black College or University (HBCUs) or a Predominantly Black Institution (PBIs.)

Scholar Programs for Hispanic & Latino/a Students

Hispanic Scholar Programme

The HSF scholar program selects 10,00 outstanding students with the opportunity to access scholar support services while studying, internship opportunities, and mentorship.
Education Dynamics

If you are a minority first-generation college applicant, at least 17 years old, and pursuing an associate or bachelor's degree at an accredited post-secondary institution of higher learning or a certificate program, check out EducationDynamics $10,000 scholarship.
Dorrance Scholarship Programs

The Dorrance Scholarship is a need-based award that aims to give families in Arizona a chance to send their children to college. Their program includes a $12,000 scholarship per academic year for four years, financial and academic support.
Great Minds in STEM

A few different scholarships are available from Great Minds in Stem that prospective college students can apply for, depending on their study field. The GMiS Stem scholarship is available for undergraduate or graduate applicants pursuing a STEM-based degree or health-related accredited program.
Hispanic Scholarship Consortium

For many first-generation Hispanic students, applying for college can be a daunting experience. The Hispanic Scholarship Consortium offers scholarships, mentorships, and leadership programs to graduating high school seniors, undergraduates, and graduate students.

Scholarships for DACA & Undocumented Students

The college dream can seem unreasonable for undocumented students without sufficient financial support. Discover private scholarships you can apply for if you're an undocumented student or a DACA student.

Golden Doors

Golden Doors firmly believes that immigration status shouldn't affect your college dreams or opportunities; hard work and determination should. Each year, the Golden Doors Scholar program offers students a scholarship to earn a bachelor's degree and pursue their dream careers.

Any high school junior attending a U.S. high school can apply for the College Prep Scholars Program regardless of citizenship. Their program works on a needs-based holistic process to review applicants.
Esperanza Education Fund

The Esperanza Education Fund provides scholarships to students from Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC, who were born outside the U.S. or whose parents are immigrants.
SOS Scholarships

The Students of Salaam (SOS) Immigrant Student Scholarship Fund supports immigrant students' academic and professional goals, regardless of their citizenship status. They offer personalized mentorship and financial assistance for their scholarship winners.

Finding Financial Support & Grants for Religious College Students

Young Christian Leaders

The Youth Christian Leaders (YCL) Scholarship is a monthly award of $1,000 for high school seniors and enrolled full-time college undergrads in funding undergraduate tuition and expenses.
Presbyterian Scholarship for Undergraduates

Eligible Presbyterian Mission Agency Scholarships applicants must be PCUSA church members seeking a full-time first associate or bachelor's degree at an accredited college in the United States. Additional awards are funded for BIPOC.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies

The American Baptist Home Missionary Society awards a few different scholarships yearly. For the ABHMS Student Scholarship, students must hold an active membership in an American Baptist church and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.75.

Scholarships for Children of Veterans

Coast Guard Support Scholarships

If you are the child of an active duty, retired, or active reserve U.S. Coast Guard member, you could be eligible for the U.S. Coast Guard Foundation program.
Army Scholarship Foundation

The Army Scholarship program awards yearly scholarships to children and spouses of regular active duty, active duty Reserve, and active duty National Guard U.S. Army members. Children of former U.S. Army members are also eligible.
Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation

Pursue post-high school education with the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. Their Undergraduate and Associate Degrees Scholarship is available for undergraduates, and their Career and Technical Education Scholarship is for students pursuing a non-degree certificate program.

Scholarships for Current College Students

JumpStart Scholarship

The College JumpStart scholarship is an annual, merit-based competition open to 10th-12th graders, college students, and non-traditional students looking to commit to school.
Academic Merit Scholarships

To apply for the ABA Foundation Academic Merit Scholarships, students must be a freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, or graduate student at an accredited 4-year university or college pursuing a major or course of study in transportation, travel, or tourism.

More Resources for Finding College Scholarships


Scholarships is a free online scholarship database where you can browse scholarships by category and organize them on their online platform.
Bold is a seamless scholarship donor and applicant platform that connects donors with award-worthy applicants.

FastWeb is a free scholarship search platform connecting students to available scholarships and financial aid tools.

When to Apply for Scholarships

When do I apply for scholarships? The earlier, the better, but it depends on each scholarship's deadline. Some deadlines start as early as a year before college starts, but others run throughout the year. If you're in high school and looking to go to college, we recommend you start researching and applying for college scholarships during the summer between your junior and senior years.