California Scholarships

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How Do I Get a Scholarship in California?

California is home to 309 four year and 408 two year colleges and many offer California scholarships. Some California scholarships are open to eligible students of other states too. While some are only for eligible CA residents.

A popular choice for degrees at all level, CA is one state where enrollment is on the rise by 3.5%. In 2017 alone, universities in the Golden State awarded 616,887 degrees. Three of the most popular majors are business, psychology, liberal arts and science.

If earning a bachelors, masters or PhD in California is your goal, scholarships may be very useful. There tend to be varying price points for tuition depending on the type of college you choose.

Private four year colleges in CA cost an average of $29,875. It’s less for public four year colleges, with averages at $5,742 for state students and $29,875 if you live outside CA.

How Do I Qualify for a Scholarship?

You should always check to see if you are eligible for a scholarship in California. There are many California scholarships for high school seniors, current college and grad students. As long as you meet the criteria, you should plan to apply by or before the deadline.

Besides your college major, there are likely other criteria to meet. Scholarship providers will look for a good GPA, SAT / ACT scores, financial need, or talent.

You may also find some college scholarships in California that are only for residents. There are also plenty of California scholarships for out of state students.

Most providers list out details about what grades and test scores an applicant should have. They may also tell you they need your FAFSA application by a set date.

What California Colleges Offer Full Ride Scholarships?

High achievers might apply full ride scholarships in California. A full ride scholarship could help pay all the costs related to attending a college.

Apart from tuition and fees, full rides tend to also pay expenses. Things like room, board, textbooks and maybe some extras.

One example is the Mork Family Scholarship at University of Southern California. It is available for incoming freshman and there are ten awards total.

Each year, the scholarship pays full tuition (about $51K per year). Plus, recipients receive a $5,000 stipend.

The Strive Foundation Scholarship at UCLA is another. Each year, up to ten freshmen receive four year Stamps scholarships.

Stamps awards pay up to UC wide tuition and fees for CA residents. Also, the scholarships covers UC out of state tuition and fees for non resident students.

As a Stamps scholar, you may also apply to use an Enrichment Fund of up to $12,000.

What California Scholarships Could Out of State Students Apply for?

Beyond scholarships for California students, if you aren’t a CA resident, don’t fret. There are plenty of national and school specific scholarships you might apply to as well. Selection of recipients varies between merit and need based criteria.

At UC Davis, the Regents Scholarship is a merit award. So, it looks at grades and personal feats, rather than need. To qualify, the school assesses the info provided on your application. If chosen for the $7,500 scholarship, UC Davis will notify you with your offer of admission.

For those whose GPA hovers at 2.0 or above, there is the Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program. There are up to 106 awards and total award amount is $25,000 each.

It is for high school seniors who show clear financial need. As long as you are a US citizen with a $55K or lower adjusted family income, you may be eligible.


Check out our list of California scholarships below.

ENRE Student Fellowship Program

This fellowship is open to international and U.S. second-year graduate students who are enrolled in a PAB-accredited master's-level planning program focusing on issues related to the environment, natural resources or energy. Students must have a grade point average of B (3.0) or higher.

Total: $2500 Awards:  1
Deadline:  September 27

CalCPA Inland Empire Chapter Scholarship

This scholarship is open to undergraduate and graduate students who are attending colleges/universities located within the CalCPA Inland Empire Chapter's boundaries. Students must have a declared accounting major or emphasis in accounting (if a community college student).

Total: $2000 Awards:  9
Deadline:  September 30

Shout It Out Scholarship

This award is open to all U.S. students who are 13 and older and who are currently enrolled (or enroll no later than fall of 2026) in an accredited postsecondary institution of higher education. One scholarship winner will receive a $1,500 scholarship.

Total: $1500 Awards:  1
Deadline:  September 30

Advancing Women in Technology Scholarship Program

The Advancing Women in Technology Scholarship Program is available for women in California who are majoring in a STEM or technology field such as science, math, engineering, or computer science. Applicants must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

Total: $5000 Awards:  4
Deadline:  October 1

Hertz Fellowship

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation is available to graduate students majoring in physical sciences at select partner universities of the foundation. The list of eligible schools can be found at All applicants are evaluated on merit only.

Total: $33000 Awards:  20
Deadline:  October 23

Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship

This creative and fun scholarship program is open to all U.S. students who are 13 and older and who are currently enrolled (or enroll no later than fall of 2026) in an accredited postsecondary institution of higher education. One scholarship winner with an imaginative and well-written response to the scholarship question about the Zombie Apocalypse will receive a $2,000 scholarship.

Total: $2000 Awards:  1
Deadline:  October 31

Voice of Democracy Scholarship Program

U.S. high school students in grades nine through twelve who are 19 years of age or younger are eligible for this scholarship. To apply, the applicant must write an essay on the theme listed on the Veterans of Foreign Wars website and record the reading of that essay; submit both essay and CD/flash drive to be considered for this scholarship.

Total: $30000 Awards:  500
Deadline:  October 31

CSEA Member Career Grant

Undergraduate or graduate students who are residents of California and active members of the California School Employees Association are eligible for this award. Applications are available on the California School Employee Association (CSEA) website only to members upon the creation of an account.

Total: $1000 Awards:  30
Deadline:  October 31

Harvey Fellowship

This award is available for U.S. and international Christian graduate students. Recipients are selected based on academic achievement and commitment to Christian values.

Total: $12000 Awards:  20
Deadline:  November 1

Bank of America Merrill Lynch MBA Diversity Fellowship Program

This fellowship is for U.S., first-year MBA minority students entering a business school in the fall.

Total: $40000 Awards:  10
Deadline:  November 1

Centenary University Out of State Grant

This grant is open to U.S. students who are incoming first-time freshmen or transfer students at Centenary University in New Jersey and are not New Jersey residents. Students must demonstrate financial need.

Total: $7000 Awards:  120
Deadline:  November 1

Education Matters $5K Scholarship

The Education Matters Scholarship is open to any applicant who is 13 years of age or older and is a legal resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia. Each applicant must complete a scholarship match quiz/questionnaire and search for scholarships at UNIGO. The scholarship committee will select the winner based on the creativity and originality of the submitted written response to the scholarship question each year.

Total: $5000 Awards:  1
Deadline:  November 30