Scholarships Based on Financial Need

The following scholarships take financial need into account when choosing award recipients. For many of these programs, though, financial need is just one of many criteria considered. In other words, strong applicants will also be successful students, leaders, or community activists. For most of these applications, you’ll likely have to submit documentation about your family income.


Horatio Alger Scholarship Award

This generous need-based scholarship is geared toward students who have faced and overcome great obstacles. To be considered eligible, your gross adjusted family income must be at or below $55,000. At the national level, there are 106 $25,000 awards; at the state level, there are scholarships for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia of $10,000 each.

This one scholarship application will get you considered for many other national, state, and specialized scholarships, which means less work for you and more opportunities for scholarship funding!

  • Eligibility: US high school seniors who plan on getting a bachelor’s degree
  • Deadline: October 25, 2019


Jackie Robinson’s Foundation Scholarship Program

Applicants to this need-based scholarship are judged on their leadership skills and commitment to community service. To be considered eligible, you must identify as a minority student. As many as 60 new scholarships are awarded annually. The scholarships are four-year awards, and recipients can receive as much as $30,000 over four years.

  • Eligibility: US minority high school seniors who plan on getting a bachelor’s degree in the US
  • Deadline: Likely February 2020


Engebretson Foundation Scholarship

This need-based scholarship is pretty straightforward: it’s awarded to one student each year who demonstrates not only financial need but also impressive academic performance and leadership ability. The annual award winner receives $5,000 per semester of college.


Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program

In addition to providing funding for college, this scholarship program offers personal advising on selecting a college, navigating the financial aid process, and transitioning from high school to college. Applicants are judged on academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence, desire to help others, and leadership skills. Awards are given to students each year, and can be as high as $40,000 per academic year. In 2019, 121 students were accepted into the program.

  • Eligibility: High school seniors with financial need who plan to attend a four-year college
  • Deadline: November 13, 2019


Elk’s National Foundation Most Valuable Student Competition

Applicants to this need-based scholarship are judged on their scholarship and leadership abilities. In total, 500 scholarships are awarded across the country totally $2.44 million, and award amounts (over four years) range from $4,000 to $50,000. Applications must be submitted to the Elk Lodge closest to your home address, so make sure to research the Elk Lodges in your area before you apply.

  • Eligibility: US high school seniors who plan to attend a four-year US college
  • Deadline: November 5, 2019 at 11:59 PM


Gates Scholarship

The Gates Scholarship aims to help scholastically-outstanding minority high school seniors reach their full potential. 300 students each year receive a scholarship covering the full cost of attendance (including tuition, fees, room, board, books, and transportation) that is not already covered by other financial aid and expected family contributionRead more about the Gates Scholarship and how to win it here.

  • Eligibility: US minority high school seniors who are Pell-eligible (Pelligible?) and have a minimum cumulative weighted GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent)
  • Deadline: September 15, 2019


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