12 Scholarships for First-Generation College Students

First-generation college student scholarships help cover the cost of higher education. Read on to learn about financial aid for first-generation students.

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by Staff Writers

Published June 21, 2022

Edited by Will Baker
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12 Scholarships for First-Generation College Students
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Recognizing that first-generation college students may need a little extra help getting ready for college, many schools, nonprofits, professional associations, and foundations provide awards specifically created for these learners. Keep reading to learn about some of the best first-generation scholarships currently available.

Colorado Mesa University's First Generation Scholarship

Offered to incoming first-year learners whose parents do not possess a bachelor's degree, this award requires applicants to complete the FAFSA and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

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This award can be renewed so long as students take at least 12 credits each semester and keep their Colorado Mesa University GPA at 3.0 or above. Learners do not need to submit an additional application to receive award consideration.

Deadline: December

Award amount: $1,000 a year

Apply for Scholarship

Dorrance Scholarship Program

Designed for first-generation college students in Arizona, the Dorrance Scholarship Program provides awards to applicants who can demonstrate financial need. Selected learners can receive a $12,000 scholarship each year for up to four academic years, so long as they continue to meet all requirements.

Applicants must possess a GPA of at least 3.0 and score at least 1110 on the SAT or 22 on the ACT. They must also attend one of Arizona's three public universities.

Deadline: February

Award amount: $12,000 a year

Apply for Scholarship

Florida First Generation Matching Grant Program

Provided by the Florida Department of Education's Office of Student Financial Assistance, applicants to the FGMG program must demonstrate need and be enrolled in an undergraduate program at an approved Florida public university or community college.

They must also enroll in at least six credits per semester and meet any other eligibility mandates set forth by their institution. If students continue to meet the terms, they can renew this award for up to four years.

Deadline: Varies

Award amount: Varies

Apply for Scholarship

OCA-UPS Gold Mountain Scholarship

Provided to support first-generation Asian American or Pacific Islander students, this program provides 15 scholarships per year. Applicants must be in their senior year of high school and identify as AAPI. They are not required to have U.S. citizenship.

To apply for the award, students must submit a short bio, academic transcript, two essay responses, one short answer response, and two references.

Deadline: April

Award amount: $2,000

Apply for Scholarship

Kim and Harold Louie Family Foundation Scholarship

Students hoping to qualify for this scholarship must be children of U.S. citizens or members of the U.S. military. They must also be starting their first year of college and have a minimum 3.7 GPA.

As part of the application requirements, students must provide two reference letters, a personal statement, and an online application. They must also participate in an interview.

Deadline: March

Award amount: Varies

Apply for Scholarship

First Generation POH Scholarship Fund

West Indian or Caribbean undergraduate students whose parents do not possess a bachelor's degree can apply for this award if they're currently enrolled in a STEM-related program.

To receive consideration, applicants must submit an essay answering these questions: How has being West Indian/Caribbean impacted your life positively? Once you graduate, how will you use your new degree to help the West Indian/Caribbean community?

Deadline: May

Award amount: $1,700

Apply for Scholarship

New Jersey First Generation Scholarship

This award supports first-generation college students residing and attending college in New Jersey. Applicants must be in their senior year of high school or first year of undergraduate studies. They must also actively participate in extracurricular activities and possess a GPA of at least 3.5.

As part of the application, students must write an essay on what it means to be a first-generation college student and how participating in extracurriculars has shaped them.

Deadline: April

Award amount: $2,500

Apply for Scholarship

Odyssey Scholarships

Provided by The University of Chicago, these awards support first-in-their-family college attendees, as well as students from families with low incomes. Awarded based on financial need, funding provides support for general tuition and fees. Students can also use funds to cover study abroad opportunities and health insurance costs.

As part of the award, recipients participate in a financial literacy seminar. They can also participate in a paid Metcalf internship or research project.

Deadline: Varies

Award amount: Varies

Apply for Scholarship

Abby's First-Generation College Student Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to high school seniors planning to attend a four-year university who would be the first in their immediate family to earn a bachelor's degree. This award requires applicants to possess a minimum 3.0 GPA and be involved in sports or extracurriculars. Applicants must also be participating in funding their education.

As part of the application, students must write an essay describing a challenge or setback they experienced and how they worked to overcome it.

Deadline: June

Award amount: $500

Apply for Scholarship

First-Generation, First Child Scholarship

To be eligible for this award, applicants must be the first-born child within their family. They must also be the first in their family to go to college. Applicants must write an essay that shares what it means to be a first-born, first-generation student and how that experience has affected them academically, mentally, and physically.

Deadline: April

Award amount: $1,446

Apply for Scholarship

McCutcheon | Nikitin First-Generation Scholarship

Undergraduate or graduate learners who identify as first-generation college students can apply for this award if they can demonstrate financial need. As part of the application process, students must compose an essay about how education has shaped their understanding of the world.

Deadline: March

Award amount: $500

Apply for Scholarship

First in the Family Humanist Scholarship

Students who identify as Asian, Pacific Islander, Black, Latinx, or Native American -- as well as agnostic, atheist, humanist, freethinker, or secular -- can apply for this award by providing a letter of recommendation, essay, and a letter of admission from a community college or university.

Preference is given to students who have experienced homelessness or foster care, or who are undocumented and/or LGBTQ+ individuals.

Deadline: June

Award amount: $5,000

Apply for Scholarship

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