GPA Scholarships

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What GPA is Needed for Scholarships?

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:

Numeric Grade Standard Grade Grade Point Average (GPA)
90 to 100 A 4.0
80 to 89 B 3.0
70 to 79 C 2.0
60 to 69 D 1.0
Below 69 F 0.0

What GPA do You Need to Get an Academic Scholarship?

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 other things. Like what types of activities you do outside class. Leadership and community involvement for example.

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 the following five criteria:

  1. A high school GPA of 3.5 or higher
  2. A score of 1100 or higher on the SAT
  3. A course-taking pattern that included 4 English credits, 3 math credits, 3 science credits, 3 social studies credits, and 2 foreign language credits
  4. Positive teacher comments
  5. Participation in two or more school-related extracurricular activities

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.

What GPA do you need to get a full ride scholarship?

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.

What GPA is needed for a merit scholarship?

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.

Can I get a scholarship with a 3.0 GPA?

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.

12 Scholarships by GPA

Minimum GPA Requirement Example Scholarships
1.0 to 2.0 Full Circle Scholarship SME Scholarship
2.1 to 2.5 Ascend Educational Fund African Teaching Fellowship
2.6 to 3.0 Straight A Scholarship American Florist Exchange
3.1 to 3.5 ABA Academic Merit Scholarship A.G. Bell Scholarship
3.6 to 4.0 Churchill Scholarship BME/SAE Scholarship
No GPA Requirements Dodell Women’s Empowerment Scholarship Google SVA Scholarship

Top GPA Scholarships

There are many scholarships that do not look at GPA scores. There are also 3.0 GPA scholarships and merit scholarships for academic high achievers. Here are the top upcoming scholarships that go to recipients with different GPA scores:

ABA Academic Merit Scholarships

The American Bus Association Foundation promotes academic excellence and diversity in the motor coach travel and tour industry through its scholarship program. The ABA Foundation has awarded more than $1 million in financial support to hundreds of scholars since its inception. These scholarships award high school students who are pursuing Academic excellence, Athletic Achievement, is Actively serving in the community while possessing a strong Ambition, a winning Attitude and the ability to overc...

Total: $5000 Awards:  2
Deadline:  April 6

Dodell Women's Empowerment Scholarship

U.S. women who are 35 years of age or older and are re-entering or continuing school n order to learn a marketable skill which will lead to economic self-sufficiency are eligible for this award. Students must live and attend school in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, or Ventura counties in California.

Total: $1000 Awards:  2
Deadline:  May 1

The African American Teaching Fellows (AATF)

The African American Teaching Fellows (AATF) is available for teachers working towards licensure in core areas (Elementary, SPED, Health/PE, Secondary English, Sciences, Mathematics, History/Social Sciences, or Foreign Language). Each applicant must have at least a cumulative GPA of 2.5 and a GPA of 3.0 in education courses or in the academic major.

Total: $15000 Awards:  15000

George M. Pullman Educational Foundation Scholarship

The George M. Pullman Scholarship is available for graduating high school seniors from Cook County, Illinois. Students must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and demonstrate financial need.

Total: $10000 Awards:  40
Deadline:  February 01

SME Directors' Scholarship

This award is for U.S. and international students who plan to study manufacturing engineering and technology. The applicant must have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher to be eligible.

Total: $1000 Awards:  3
Deadline:  February 01

Ascend Educational Fund Scholarships

Ascend Educational Fund awards scholarships ranging from $2,500 to $20,000 to immigrant students and children of immigrants who are graduating from a New York City high school to attend public or private colleges and universities. Regardless of ethnicity, national origin, or immigration status. Scholarships will be disbursed directly to the recipient’s educational institution in equal installments over a two or four year period, depending on the type of institution.

Total: $2500 Awards:  10
Deadline:  February 01

Straight A Scholarship

The Straight A Scholarship awards high school students who are pursuing Academic excellence, Athletic Achievement, is Actively serving in the community while possessing a strong Ambition, a winning Attitude and the ability to overcome Adversity.

Total: $5000 Awards:  18
Deadline:  February 01

Lagrant Foundation Graduate Scholarship

This award is available for U.S. graduate students with a grade point average of 3.2 or higher who are of either African American, Asian/Pacific, Hispanic, or Native American heritage. The applicant must major in a field of study that has an emphasis on public relations, marketing or advertising.

Total: $3250 Awards:  40
Deadline:  February 28

MCSF Scholarship Program for Grandchildren of Marines

High school seniors and current undergraduate students whose grandparent served in certain units of the Marines during World War II are eligible for this scholarship. Students must have a grade point average of 2.0 or higher and a household income of $82,000 or less.

Total: $10000 Awards:  700
Deadline:  March 03