Higher education can be costly, but scholarships can help alleviate the financial burden. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit, need, or a combination of both.

The Cost of Higher Education

The cost of higher education has been increasing for many years. In fact, the average cost of tuition and fees at a four-year public college has increased by more than 200% since 1985. This means that college is now much more expensive than it used to be.

The Importance of Scholarships

One of the best ways to mitigate the rising costs of higher education is to find scholarships. Scholarships are financial awards given to students based on academic merit, financial need, or other factors. Millions of dollars in scholarships are available each year, and they can provide significant financial assistance to students.

The Availability of Scholarships

Many students are unaware of the substantial scholarships available outside the materials provided by the financial aid offices of prospective universities. There are scholarships available to students from various foundations and corporations designed to provide for a number of needs. Some scholarships are based on academic achievement, while others are based on financial need, extracurricular activities, or other factors.

How to Find Scholarships

There are a number of ways to find scholarships. One of the best ways is to start by talking to your high school counselor or college financial aid office. They can provide information about scholarships available to students in your area. You can also find scholarships by searching online or by contacting foundations and corporations that offer scholarships.

Applying for Scholarships

Applying for scholarships can be a lot of work, but it is worth it. The more scholarships you apply for, the more likely you will be awarded one. So don't give up, and start applying for scholarships today!

Here are some tips for applying for scholarships:

  • Start early. The earlier you start applying for scholarships, the more time you will have to find scholarships that you are eligible for and complete the applications.
  • Be organized. Keep track of all the scholarships you apply for and the deadlines for each.
  • Be thorough. When filling out scholarship applications, be sure to answer all of the questions completely and accurately.
    Proofread. Make sure to proofread all of your scholarship applications before submitting them.

With a little effort, you can find scholarships that will help you pay for college. So don't give up, and start applying for scholarships today!

College Scholarship Resources

This guide explores various resources to help students find higher education scholarships.

College Board: Advising Undocumented Students

Undocumented students often face unique challenges when it comes to accessing higher education. The College Board's Advising Undocumented Students webpage provides valuable information on state laws and scholarship opportunities available to students regardless of their immigration status.

College Board: Scholarship Search

The College Board's Scholarship Search is a searchable database of more than 2,200 scholarships, other financial aid, and internships. The website provides students with a free resource to find and apply for scholarships matching their academic and personal profiles.


Fastweb! is an online resource that helps students find scholarships, grants, and internships that match their profiles. The website boasts approximately 1.5 million scholarships worth over $3.4 billion. Fastweb! matches students with relevant scholarship opportunities for free. The SmartStudent™ Guide to Financial Aid is a comprehensive source of information, advice, and tools related to student financial aid. The website provides students with a dedicated scholarship search process and is free for all users. is an excellent resource for students seeking higher education scholarships.

Foster Care to Success (FC2S): Scholarships and Grant

Current and former foster youth often face unique challenges when accessing higher education. FC2S's Scholarships and Grants webpage provides links to various sources of higher education scholarships that cater to the needs of current and former foster youth.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) provides financial assistance to Hispanic-American students who have demonstrated academic excellence. HSF has awarded over $500 million in scholarships and provides a range of programs for students, scholars, alumni, and parents.

Horatio Alger Association National and State Scholarship Programs

The Horatio Alger Association offers college scholarships to homeless and at-risk students. The organization provides approximately 1,000 scholarships annually to eligible students who have overcome adversity.

Que Llueva Café Scholarship

This scholarship, sponsored by Chicano Organizing and Research in Education (CORE), provides financial assistance to college-bound, undocumented, Latino students. CORE seeks to support undocumented students that have met the rigorous academic requirements necessary to enter a secondary education program by providing financial support enabling the students to enter college.

Resource Guide: Supporting Undocumented Students (PDF)

This guide, published by the U.S. Department of Education, provides helpful information about financial aid options open to undocumented students. It includes an overview of the rights of undocumented students, tips for educators on how to support undocumented youth in high school and college, and key information on non-citizen access to federal financial aid.

Resources for Undocumented Students

This webpage from the Minnesota Department of Higher Education provides information about various sources of financial aid and scholarships for undocumented students.

SchoolHouse Connection Youth Leadership and Scholarship Program

The SchoolHouse Connection Youth Leadership and Scholarship Program provides scholarships and support to formerly or currently homeless youth to ensure their completion of a post-secondary education program. The program also helps scholarship recipients build a stable peer and adult network to support them during their college years and transition into the workforce.

NASFAA State Financial Aid Programs

This webpage from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) provides information on state financial aid programs. Almost every state has at least one grant or scholarship available to residents, and many have a long list of student aid programs. Eligibility often is restricted to state residents attending a college in-state, although that is not always the case.

U.S. Department of Education: Finding and Applying for Scholarships

The U.S. Department of Education's website is a one-stop shop for gathering scholarship search tips and searching for different types of aid for higher education. The website offers information about federal and private scholarships and the application process.

Western Michigan University Foundation Scholarship

The WMU Foundation Scholarship is new for high-achieving, high-financial-need first-time, full-time college freshmen. To be eligible, applicants must have a high school GPA of 3.7 or higher, be admissible to Western Michigan University, and meet one of the established need criteria, including homeless, foster care, or undocumented status.

In addition to the resources listed above, it's essential to keep in mind certain approaches while seeking funding for higher education. NCHE recommends that students not provide personal information to any agency except the agency sponsoring the scholarship. Include the requested information in the scholarship application and apply directly to the sponsoring agency. Students should also avoid paying fees to receive information about scholarships or to apply for scholarships. It's always best to check with the higher education institution(s) where you are applying for information about scholarships they make available to their student body. It's also worth speaking with a school counselor to request a list of scholarships sponsored by local, regional, or state organizations.

In conclusion, finding scholarships for higher education can seem daunting, but utilizing all available resources is essential. By taking advantage of the above-listed resources and following the recommended approaches, students can secure funding for their higher education goals.

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