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Many scholarships do not take your grade point average (GPA) into consideration. GPA scholarships may either look at your grades or set the bar at different places on the 4.0 scale.
So, whether you are an A or B student, there are many scholarships to consider. It is a myth that you need a 4.0 to get scholarships. But if you have a 4.0 there may be different options for you so don’t slack off.
Some of the scholarships that accept lower GPA scores (E.g. 2.5) may be “needs-based”. These may not look at your academic record at all. They may award scholarships to those who need financial aid. Or they may be open to students whose scores fall below 3.0.
Many colleges and scholarship providers look at your unweighted GPA. Usually if a scholarship provider asks the student for a GPA, they clarify what they are looking for.
That stated, there are different grading scales. In fact, some schools use a U.S. letter scale. If that sounds familiar, there is a way to calculate your GPA. You add the numbers that correspond to your letter grade. Then divide the total by the number of classes you took.
Number-Grade Conversion Chart:
In short, the GPA you need to get an academic scholarship varies. Academic scholarships each come with their own set of criteria. These concern grades as well as what types of activities you do outside class. Leadership and community involvement may be a requirement for eligibility.
But many colleges and providers reward high achievers. What does it mean to be a high achiever?
The U.S. government started tracking high school student performance since 2009. They found the number of students completing rigorous curriculums is on the rise.
Yet one study found that only 5.9 % of college-bound seniors have the following five criteria:
This means that most college-bound students have GPA scores lower than 3.5 on the 4.0 scale. Most in fact score an average of 3.0.
The GPA you need to get a full ride scholarship varies from college to college. Some scholarship providers may look for a certain GPA like 3.5 – 3.7 on a scale of 4.0. Or they may assess your particular class rank (E.g. top 5% or 10% in your class). Others look at ACT or SAT scores.
One way to find out what test scores and GPA mean to a specific school is to visit their website. Or contact their financial aid office. Many colleges publish the academic marks one needs for certain merit scholarships.
A strong GPA and test scores may qualify you for a merit scholarship. But the actual Grade Point Average needed varies from school to school. Some may factor in financial need too. Or go to specific groups of students.
One example is the AG Bell College Scholarship Awards. Applicants need to have an unweighted GPA of 3.25. These scholarships are for full-time students. Students must be deaf and hard of hearing and use Listening and Spoken Language. They must also be pursuing a four-year undergraduate degree or a graduate degree. This must be at an accredited mainstream college or university.
Another scholarship that rewards academic prowess is the BME/SAE Engineering Scholarship. Applicants must be U.S. residents with a minimum 3.75 GPA. They must also rank in the 90th percentile in both math and critical reading on SAT I or composite ACT scores.
There are many 3.0 GPA scholarships available. One example is the American Florist’s Exchange Scholarship. Recipients have a 3.0 GPA and higher. The Straight “A” Scholarship is another. Available through the Harold C. Schott Foundation, it awards $2,000 to eligible 3.0’ers.
You should also know that federal funding does not look at your GPA. For instance, a Federal Pell Grant factors in household size and income.
The following visual shows a list of 12 scholarships which ask for a certain GPA range. There are many more in every range and from a wide range of sources like colleges and universities.
Check out our list of 15,118 GPA scholarships worth $226M.
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The sources for school statistics and data is the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.