Need-Based Scholarships

Millions of Scholarships, personalized results

 and get matched to scholarships that are personalized for you.

What is a Need Based Scholarship?

Need based scholarships are given to students who show financial need. These awards determine eligibility based on family income. Financial need may come from filling out the FAFSA. About 58% of low income families used need based scholarships in 2019, according to a Sallie Mae study. A scholarship is a monetary gift. you typically do not to pay back the funds compared to a student loan. So receiving a scholarship may make college more affordable. 

10 Scholarships for Financial Need You Should Apply for

There are plenty of need based scholarships for college students. Start your scholarship search with these ten awards. Then look for more scholarship opportunities based on your goals, major and interests. 

  1. GE Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program
  2. Dell Scholarship Program 
  3. Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship 
  4. Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship
  5. UNCF Koch Scholarships
  6. Smith College Need Based Financial Aid
  7. Anarcha, Betsy, and Lucy Memorial Scholarship Award
  8. AKA Educational Advancement Foundation Graduate Financial Need 
  9. National Association of Hispanic Nurses Scholarships
  10. Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) – Graduate Student Grant (NJ)

How Do You Qualify for Need Based Scholarships?

To qualify for need based scholarships, the first step is to fill out the FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a standard form to determine financial aid. The federal government, states and colleges use it. FAFSA forms are available on October 1st so make sure to apply by the deadline.

The FAFSA asks questions about family income, taxes, and other assets. This helps find what you are able to pay or your expected family contribution (EFC). You also list the colleges you applied to and the cost of attendance. Based on the math: COA minus EFC equals your unmet financial need. Keep in mind that tuition may vary over time but your EFC could stay the same. 

Here are some general eligibility requirements for need based scholarships: 

  • Full time enrollment status
  • U.S. citizen or legal resident 
  • Plans to attend an accredited two or four year college in the United States
  • Have a high school diploma or GED

With all these factors, there are need based scholarships for students majoring in certain subjects. UNCF STEM Scholars Program is one example. This award is for Black high school students. You must have at least 3.0 GPA and plans to pursue a STEM career.

What is the difference between need based and merit scholarships?

Need based scholarship is given to family assets and income while merit scholarships are based on academic success. The main goal of need based aid is to make college more affordable for low income families. Your GPA and test scores may not be a factor in receiving financial need awards. Assuming need is not a criteria, undergraduate students of all income levels may also qualify for merit scholarships.

Merit scholarships are for high achieving students. They look at academic achievements. You typically need a strong GPA and test scores in order to qualify. Other criteria such as community service, leadership, and other talents could help you earn a merit award. 

Where Do You Find Scholarships Based on Financial Need?

Many high schools, colleges, companies and nonprofits provide need based college scholarships. Federal and state governments also offer financial aid based on need. You should also look for local awards within your community. Your scholarship search should include awards based on your academic achievements, major, and personal interests.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program is for high school seniors with financial need. Eligible students may receive up to $40,000. You must be attending a four year undergraduate school. Many Cooke scholars exhibit a 3.5 GPA or higher and participate in community service projects. If you are selected, you may work with an education adviser. You also may attend a Scholars Weekend event in Washington D.C. 

Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund is for women over 35 years old who show unmet financial need. JRF Scholars may receive up to $8,000. The award empowers non traditional students to pursue undergraduate program or trade skills certification.

Federal and State Government 

The U.S. Department of Education offers need based aid as grants and work study. Once your school’s financial aid office has your FAFSA, it uses your EFC to make you an offer. It’s also called an award letter. It states the types of aid available, total amounts and outstanding cost. The letter may state a college scholarship especially if you’re a first year student.

Federal Pell Grants

This is the largest need based federal grant program. Amounts change but the maximum amount is $6,345 for the 2020 to 2021 academic year. According to Sallie Mae’s How America Pays for College 2020 report, 48% of families relied on grants to pay for college. Although grants are renewable, you may have to keep up with the terms and reapply each year. 

Federal Work Study

This program allows eligible students to earn money to pay for school through a part time job. As a rule, you must apply and interview for these jobs. You may find on campus or off campus work. Some typical work study jobs include office assistant, lab research, cafe worker, and others. 


Some colleges offer TEACH Grant eligible programs. If you’re enrolled as an undergraduate, post bachelor’s or grad student at one of these schools you may qualify. Eligible applicants need a 3.25 GPA and must sign a service contract. This states that upon graduation, you agree to teach in a high need field, full time and at a school that serves low income students. In return, this federal grant provides up to $4,000 per year.

State Grants

Many states have a certain amount of need based grants. You may have to fill out a FAFSA as well as state form and be accepted to a public four year college in your state. Just make sure to meet all application deadlines since they may differ.

List of Scholarships for Financial Need

Check out our list of 2,139,532 scholarships worth $9B.

Arcadia University Campus Achievement Award For Returning Students

U.S. undergraduate students attending Arcadia University in Pennsylvania are eligible for this award. Students must demonstrate financial need, campus involvement and have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

Total: $6000

Awards: 2

Deadline: May 30, 2022

The UJA-Federation of New York Selim And Rachel Benin Scholarship

This award is for Jewish students attending graduate or professional schools in the United States. Applicants must be majoring in one of the select majors.

Total: $5000

Awards: 1

Deadline: May 31, 2022

Ted, W4VHF, and Itice, K4LVV, Goldthorpe Scholarship

The Ted, W4VHF, and Itice, K4LVV, Goldthorpe Scholarship is open to international and U.S. students at four-year colleges/universities and possess an active amateur radio license (any class). Students must demonstrate financial need and active volunteer service in their community.

Total: $500

Awards: 1

Deadline: May 31, 2022

Joe Francis Haircare Scholarship

This award is available for U.S. undergraduate students who plan to study or are currently studying cosmetology. Students must be enrolled by August of the award year.

Total: $1500

Awards: 1

Deadline: June 01, 2022

Hispanic Leaders Group of Greater St. Louis Scholarship Program

This award is available for Hispanic students who are residents of the St. Louis area. Applicants must have a grade point average of 2.5 or higher and plan to an attend an accredited educational institution in the fall following application.

Total: $2000

Awards: 2

Deadline: June 01, 2022

CollegeBound Foundation Last-Dollar Grant

This award is for U.S. high school seniors that will graduate from a Balitmore city public high school. Students must be accepted to and plan to attend a 4-year college/university in Maryland. Students must not have a total family income greater than $75,000.

Total: $225000

Awards: 1

Deadline: June 01, 2022

HORIZONS Foundation Scholarship

Female students who are currently enrolled in a program of study which is relevant to a career in the areas of national security or defense are eligible for this award. Students must have a grade point average of 3.25 or higher.

Total: $12000

Awards: 1

Deadline: June 01, 2022

Max McElhaney Memorial Educational Scholarship

This scholarship is open to U.S. and international undergraduate students who are majoring in history or education at a four-year college or university. Students must be enrolled full time.

Total: $2500

Awards: 1

Deadline: June 01, 2022

Annette M. Brown Scholarship Fund

This scholarship is available for residents of Androscoggin County, Maine. Applicants must have unmet financial need and must be attending or planning to attend a college or university in Maine.

Total: $5000

Awards: 1

Deadline: June 01, 2022

I-70 Community Hospital Education Foundation Scholarship Fund

The I-70 Community Hospital Education Foundation Scholarship Fund is available for undergraduate and graduate students in Saline, Lafayette, Johnson, or Pettis Counties in Missouri who are majoring in a medical field of study.

Total: $2000

Awards: 1

Deadline: June 01, 2022