Need-Based Scholarships

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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. 

TEACH Grant

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 2,140,815 scholarships worth $9B.

AKA Educational Advancement Foundation Graduate Financial Need Scholarship

U.S. graduate students who demonstrate community involvement and financial need will be considered for this award. Students must have a grade point average of 2.5 or higher. The total dollars awarded for this scholarship is $1,000. Click here to learn more and apply today!

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: August 15, 2021

City of Boston Disability Scholarship Contest

The City of Boston Disability Scholarship Contest is available for current college students who have a family member with a disability. Applicants or one of their family members must be employed in the public sector.

Total: $3000

Awards: 3

Deadline: August 15, 2021

Excelsior Scholarship Program

The Excelsior Scholarship Program is available for New York State residents who have an adjusted gross household income of $125,000 or less. Applicants must attend an undergraduate program at a SUNY or CUNY college and must enroll full time.

Total: $5500

Awards: 1

Deadline: August 31, 2021

American Board of Funeral Service Education National Scholarship

College students who have completed one or more terms of study in funeral service or mortuary science education are eligible for this award. Students must be U.S. citizens.

Total: $5000

Awards: 2

Deadline: September 01, 2021

Bryce Thomson Scholarship Fund

Employees of a National Ice Cream Retailers Association member business may apply for this need-based scholarship. Applicants must be college-bound high school seniors, or current college freshmen, sophomores, or juniors.

Total: $1700

Awards: 10

Deadline: September 10, 2021

Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG)

This award is available to Mississippi undergraduate students who are enrolled at or planning to enroll at an eligible Mississippi college or university. Students must have a grade point average of 2.5 or higher and an ACT score of 15 or higher (or SAT score of 720 or higher), and must receive less than the full Federal Pell Grant as determined by the completion FAFSA.

Total: $591

Awards: 24329

Deadline: September 15, 2021

New Jersey Tuition Aid Grant (TAG)

This award is available to New Jersey resident undergraduate students who are attending a participating postsecondary institution in New Jersey. Students must demonstrate financial need to be eligible.

Total: $4100

Awards: 81000

Deadline: September 15, 2021

Acorn Equality Fund Luke Scholarship

The Luke Scholarship is available to LGBT students, allies, and the children of LGBT parents who have a permanent residence in the Acorn Equality Fund service area (all counties in Illinois except Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will). Applicants must demonstrate academic achievement and unmet financial need.

Total: $35000

Awards: 5

Deadline: September 24, 2021

WHITE COLLAR DEFENSE DIVERSITY SCHOLARSHIP: 2020

The scholarship program is open to all African American and Hispanic undergraduate, and law school students as well as incoming college freshmen. The candidate must be in good academic standing with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Candidates must have a demonstrated financial need.

Total: $500

Awards: 1

Deadline: September 30, 2021

Chick Fil A Scholarship

*Team Members must be employed at an eligible restaurant at the time of the application and when the award is announced. For tax reasons, Team Members are not required to remain employed at an eligible restaurant after being notified of their scholarship award. The specific terms and conditions of any awarded scholarships will be different for Team Members of Chick-fil-A Franchisees, Team Members of Chick-fil-A, Inc. Operated Restaurants, and Team Members of Dwarf House Group, LLC.

Total: $25000

Awards: 6700

Deadline: September 30, 2021

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