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 scholarships worth .

Mega Bank Scholarship

APCF was founded in 1990 by API community leaders in response to the need for alternative funding for Los Angeles-based nonprofit organizations serving API communities. Since 2011, APCF has partnered with donors such as local companies and family foundations to offer scholarship programs to financially assist students in their pursuit of higher education. All of the scholarships have an online application and recommender form that can only be found on our site. The online applications can be found at https://www.apcf.org/scholarships Application requires student to list out community service activities, disclose some family financial information, and answer 2-500 word essay prompts. The applicant must share the recommender form link with their preferred advisor for submission.
Award Amount

Total: $5000

Awards: 5

Deadline

Deadline: April 15, 2024

Preferred Bank Scholarship

APCF was founded in 1990 by API community leaders in response to the need for alternative funding for Los Angeles-based nonprofit organizations serving API communities. Since 2011, APCF has partnered with donors such as local companies and family foundations to offer scholarship programs to financially assist students in their pursuit of higher education. All of the scholarships have an online application and recommender form that can only be found on our site. The online applications can be found at https://www.apcf.org/scholarships Application requires student to list out community service activities, disclose some family financial information, and answer 2-500 word essay prompts. The applicant must share the recommender form link with their preferred advisor for submission.
Award Amount

Total: $16000

Awards: 8

Deadline

Deadline: April 15, 2024

State Bank of India (California) Scholarship

APCF was founded in 1990 by API community leaders in response to the need for alternative funding for Los Angeles-based nonprofit organizations serving API communities. Since 2011, APCF has partnered with donors such as local companies and family foundations to offer scholarship programs to financially assist students in their pursuit of higher education. All of the scholarships have an online application and recommender form that can only be found on our site. The online applications can be found at https://www.apcf.org/scholarships Application requires student to list out community service activities, disclose some family financial information, and answer 2-500 word essay prompts. The applicant must share the recommender form link with their preferred advisor for submission.
Award Amount

Total: $10000

Awards: 10

Deadline

Deadline: April 15, 2024

Anthony Muñoz Scholarship Fund

The Anthony Muñoz Scholarship Fund was created by Anthony Muñoz and his family to support Tri-State youth in achieving their dreams of attending a local college or university. All applicants must demonstrate a desire and intent to overcome adversity, have financial need, excel academically, and fulfill a leadership role in the community. Semi-finalists will be interviewed by AMF Scholarship Fund selection committee in May. Finalists will be announced on May 31st! Committed to nurturing the growth of all Tri-State youth and especially vulnerable, at-risk populations, the Anthony Muñoz Foundation has created unique opportunities that appeal to students of all ages, educational, cultural and economic backgrounds. Through deploying a life-changing college scholarship fund program, three high school education and recognition programs, three empowering football camps, and our Whiz Kids tutoring program, the Anthony Muñoz Foundation is making a tangible difference in the lives of youth across the Tri-State. Anthony strongly feels that youth need to be encouraged and inspired, as well as recognized and rewarded for their accomplishments. Anthony and our organization want the youth of our region to know that they have value. No matter the odds, they can rise above the hardships life has dealt them and achieve their dreams.
Award Amount

Total: $60000

Awards: 3

Deadline

Deadline: April 26, 2024

Alford & Clark Injury Attorneys Students in Need Scholarship

At Alford & Clark Injury Attorneys, we fiercely advocate for victims of personal injuries across the state of Texas from our headquarters in San Antonio. While contending with giant insurance companies and corporations, we strive to provide compassionate and intelligent service to each of our clients. In short, we treat each case like it is our only case. Our team spends nights and weekends working to obtain just outcomes for our clients, and we have a deep appreciation for dedication, determination, and hard work. Through our Alford & Clark Injury Attorneys Students in Need Scholarship, we aim to promote those ideals by supporting students who have overcome obstacles and demonstrated a need for financial assistance. Therefore, we award scholarships of $2,000 in the Fall and Spring semesters to qualified students interested in a career in law who can demonstrate the need for financial assistance.
Award Amount

Total: $2000

Awards: 1

Deadline

Deadline: May 20, 2024

The Bayar Fellowship

The Bayar Fellowship, established in 2020, is dedicated to finding, developing, and supporting the next generation of leaders. We aim to empower high school students from marginalized communities and low income backgrounds by providing them with the fundamental tools necessary to become leaders in their communities.
Award Amount

Total: $8000

Awards: 8

Deadline

Deadline: May 31, 2024

James Kennedy Law One Tough Student Scholarship

At James Kennedy Law, we help our clients put up a tough fight against drunk drivers and other negligent parties who are responsible for their injuries. We know that it takes strength and resolve to overcome the effects of an accident with a drunk driver. With our One Tough Student Scholarship, we want to support college students who have been impacted by drunk driving and who want to join the fight against drunk driving in our society. Each semester, we offer two scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each to students in need. The funds can be used for tuition and other educational expenses at a college or university anywhere in the United States. Contact our scholarship team via email at [email protected].
Award Amount

Total: $2000

Awards: 2

Deadline

Deadline: June 05, 2024

Café Bustelo El Café Del Futuro Scholarship

We’re honored to invest in our community by awarding twenty-five $5,000 scholarships to college students at HACU-member institutions to help further their education. This year, Café Bustelo asked applicants to share how their heritage, family, and community have impacted their desire and motivation to obtain a college degree; how they plan to give back to their community; and what they intend to accomplish with their degree in an essay in English or Spanish (800 words or less). Since the scholarship began in 2014, $800,000 in college funds have been awarded to 160 Latino students nationwide through the partnership.
Award Amount

Total: $25000

Awards: 5

Deadline

Deadline: July 01, 2024

Horatio Alger Montana Scholarship Program

This award is for Montana high school seniors planning to attend an eligible institution of higher education. Students must demonstrate critical financial need and possess a grade point average of 2.0 or higher.
Award Amount

Total: $10000

Awards: 50

Deadline

Deadline: October 25

Horatio Alger South Carolina Scholarship

This scholarship is available for high school seniors in South Carolina who have unmet financial need and a grade point average of 2.0 or higher.
Award Amount

Total: $10000

Awards: 8

Deadline

Deadline: October 25