50 Best College Scholarships

The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs fellowship program has both graduate and undergraduate awards. The undergrad award applies to students in the senior year of a bachelor's program.

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Apply for These Top Scholarships

You probably know the story: student loan debt is at an all-time high and tuition has gone up at many colleges. What you may not know is that there are many thousands of scholarships that have reasonable selection criteria. Of course, there are also niche scholarships for certain demographics of aspiring college students. What we've done is filtered through hundreds of college scholarships, fellowships and grants at different study levels and demographic niches, and made a list of fifty of the top awards in terms of their main prize's value.

This is an update to last year's top scholarships list, and inactive/ defunct scholarships have been replaced. We hope this top-scholarships guide will help you, and that you will research the ones suited to you and apply for them.

1. Intel Science Talent Search (ISTS)

Intel Corporation's Intel Science Talent Search (STS) competition awards multiple prizes at different levels to qualified high school students and their schools. A select number of finalists will also have an invitation "to attend a week-long celebration of science" in Washington, DC. Three medals are awarded: Basic Research Medal, Global Good Medal, Innovation Medal - one per competition category. First, second and third prizes are awarded in each of these three categories.

2. Flinn Scholarships

The Flinn Scholarship program awards eligible top-performing Arizona high school senior students up to $115,000 each towards college. This includes "tuition, fees, room and board and at least two travel abroad experiences." Eligible candidates are limited to those who will attend one of three colleges in the state: Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, or University of Arizona. Other than that, there are no restrictions in terms of subject of study.

3. Buick Achievers Scholarship Program

The GM Foundation's Buick Achievers Scholarship program awards qualified first-time freshmen (e.g., high school seniors or graduates) or current college students who are in or planning to major in Engineering, Technology, or some Design- or Business-related programs. with STEM disciplines being favored. Awards are given based on demonstrated need.

4. Boys & Girls Clubs of America's Youth of the Year

Boys and Girls Club of America (BGCA) offers multiple prizes towards tuition to members 14-18 years of age. Local clubs pick monthly winners, from which they pick a Youth of the Year winner. These latter winners compete at a state level, with the winner picking up a $5,000 scholarship. State winners compete in regional competitions, with the winner earning an additional $10K scholarship. Finally, all regional winners compete for the National Youth of the Year title and six winners each earn $25K per year for up to years.

5. Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway

Dr Pepper's Tuition Giveaway offers several prizes over a period of months to eligible students (18-24 for all prizes; 25+ for leaderboard only). Candidates submit their "One of a Kind" story (see site for details) and have friends vote. After 50 votes, submit a video to accompany your story. Each month, the top five students on the leaderboard (based on votes) will win $1,000 each towards tuition. At the end of the voting period, the top five students win $5,000 each towards tuition. Dr Pepper will also select finalists and award a Grand Prize of $100,000 towards tuition.

6. Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology

Siemens Foundation, a non-profit branch of Siemens companies, offers prizes to winning individuals or teams of up to three people for innovative STEM research ideas. All competition topics must be related to Math, Science or Technology. Students in grades 9-12 are eligible, and prizes are towards tuition.

7. Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships awards multiple prizes to new American immigrants or their children. The foundation selects candidates "for their potential to make significant contributions to US society, culture, or their academic field." Prizes go towards tuition for graduate studies.

8. Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship

The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs fellowship program has both graduate and undergraduate awards. The undergrad award applies to students in the senior year of a bachelor's program or in the first year of a grad program. The grad award applies to students in first or second year of a grad program. Awards are intended for students who have an interest in pursuing a career in Foreign Service with the U.S. Department of State. Each Fellow receives up to $37,500 per year for a variety of costs: tuition, room and board, books, mandatory fees, one round-trip ticket between student's home and school.

9. RiseUpMS Teacher Education Scholars Loan/Scholarship

The TES (Teacher Education Scholars) award is not a scholarship in the strictest sense. Rather, it's an education loan for eligible high school students who plan to get a degree in education, get teacher certification and teach after college in the state of Mississippi. However, loan recipients teaching in a Mississippi public school for five years after licensure will have the full loan forgiven.

10. College of the Ozarks

The College of the Ozarks, a strong Christian values college, offers a number of full-tuition scholarships to qualified candidates. The college's total "cost of education" for students, whether in-state or out-of-state, averages around $18,100. This entire cost is covered for any students accepted, for all four years, thanks to variety of federal and state funding and private sponsorships. Preference is given to students from specific counties of the states of Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma and Kansas (see site for list of counties). However, anyone can apply and students from outside these regions are occasionally accepted. A part-time campus work program commitment is required, which is worth $4,242 per year.

11. Burger King Scholars Program

Burger King McLamore (sm) Foundation offers multiple college scholarship prizes to high school seniors as well employees or their children or spouses/ domestic partners. Both General Track and Employee Track applicants must be high school seniors and reside in the U.S., Puerto Rico or Canada and planning to apply for college as a full-time student. A total of nearly $3M was award in the previous year.

12. Most Valuable Student Scholarship

Elks National Foundation's Most Valuable Student Scholarship program awards a total of 500 four-year college scholarship prizes to eligible high school seniors who rank the highest of all applicants received. Membership in Elks (or relationship to a member) is not required. Selection will be based on a number of factors including financial need, academic achievement, and demonstrated leadership ability, amongst others. There are two top prizes of $12,500/year for four years.

13. Innovation Task Force Scholarship Competition

The George Washington University's ITFS (Innovation Task Force Scholarship) competition is open to students, faculty and staff. Candidates submit innovative ideas for either generating net revenue of $1M or more yearly for GWU, or ideas which will reduce net costs in that amount. The winning students each receive a $50,000 scholarship. (Faculty and staff winners can win free campus parking or cash equivalent.)

14. Google Global Science Fair

The Google Global Science Fair is a yearly competition for scholarship and non-scholarship prizes. Multiple awards available, along with different winner titles based on the category of a submitted project. Categories include but are not limited to: natural sciences; pure science; engineering; space and physics; computer science and math; environment, health or resources; education and more. Competitors must be 13-18 years of age but do not have to live in the U.S.

15. National Geographic Bee

The National Geographic Bee is an annual geography competition with numerous scholarship and other prizes. Schools must register by Dec 18, 2015, for the $100 registration fee, after which it increases to $120. At least six students per school in eligible grade levels (4-8) must be selected to compete in that school or the winner(s) will not be able to compete at the state level. Students must be under 15 years of age as of Sep 1, 2015. Schools must have their competition no later than the first week of Feb 2016 (Feb 5th). State competitions take place on Fri, Apr 1, 2016. State champions compete in the national championship in Washington, DC, May 23-25, 2016. First place: $50K scholarship, subscription to NatGeo mag, trip to Galapagos Island and $500 cash. Second place: $25K scholarship and $500 cash. Third place: $10K scholarship and $500 cash. Fourth through tenth place: $500 cash each.

16. Davidson Fellows Scholarship

The Davidson Fellows scholarship program awards three levels of prize towards tuition and related expenses to qualified applications. Competition categories are STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and Humanities (Literature, Music, Philosophy). However, some topics are ineligible. (See competition rules.) Eligible candidates will be 18 or younger as of Oct 1, 2016.

17. Dream Award

Scholarship America's Dream Award scholarship program makes funds available to qualified students entering a second or higher year of post-secondary education. Candidates must be at least 17 years of age and received a high school diploma or equivalent by Sep 2015 or earlier, and completed a minimum one year of college/ university or vocational/ technical school by Jun 2016. Scholarships are renewable, and the award amount increases by $1,000 each year. Eligible areas of study are subject to change. Previous year: general scholarships, STEM scholarships and scholarships for Chinese-American students.

18. Oklahoma Baptist University Scholarships

Oklahoma Baptist University (OKBU) offers a number of scholarships applicable towards their 86 areas of study. Scholarship prizes range from $300 to $44,000 (over four years). Specifically, some of the top prizes are: Academic Grant at $2K/yr x 4 years ($8K) and $5K/yr x 4yrs ($20K); President's Academic at $8K/yr x 4yrs ($32K); Trustee's Academic at $9K/yr x 4yrs ($36K); Founder's Academic at $11K/yr x 4yrs ($44K) and two different full tuition scholarships (each for four years). Prizes are not based on financial need, only on academic achievement.

19. Irene S. Wischer Education Foundation Scholarship Program

The Irene S. Wischer Education Foundation Scholarship is awarded yearly based on demonstrated financial need. The prize amount is up to $11,000 per year for tuition, renewable to a maximum of four years. (Previous recipients can reapply.) Eligibility factors include residency in the state of Texas for at least 12 consecutive months prior to applying and demonstrated academic ability, amongst others. Preference is given to Christian candidates who attend church regularly, as per the wishes of Irene Wischer.

20. Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Each year, the JKCF awards around 85 community college students up to $40,000 per year to transfer to a four-year college or university in order to be able to complete a bachelor's degree. Scholarship prize money can go towards most educational expenses, including tuition, mandatory fees, books and living expenses. The awards cover the final 2-3 years of a bachelor's program. The amount actually received per year is dictated based on their tuition plus any other scholarship awards being received. Candidates must not have previously attended a four-year institution and will be selected based on financial need as well as characteristics such as academic achievement/ ability, leadership and other factors..

21. GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship

The Reagan Foundation's GE-Reagan scholarship awards multiple eligible students $10,000 per year up to four years total. The money is towards tuition, fees, books, supplies, room and board. Winners will be invited to an awards program. Eligibility is based on academic performance and demonstrated financial need, amongst other factors. Students must be high school seniors and planning to enroll full-time in a bachelor's degree program.

22. Federation Executive Recruitment and Education Program (FEREP) Scholarship

FEREP offers a number of scholarships to qualified candidates for graduate study in select subjects (MSW, MPA, MBA). Candidates must be planning careers in Jewish Federations and will have a minimum two-year paid work commitment that follows grad school. Prizes will be up to $20,000 per year for up to two years (max. $40K total). Either U.S. or Canadian citizens may apply, and must be registered as full-time students at an accredited American or Canadian college or university. Candidates should have demonstrated leadership ability and an understanding of the mission of the Jewish Federation system, amongst other criteria. Failure to fulfill work committment requires pro-rated repayment of scholarship winnings.

23. Iowa's Matthew Shepard Scholarship

The Matthew Shepard Scholarship program awards a winners at two levels: Silver and Gold. The Silver scholarship prize is an initial $500 per semester with additional base and bonuses that total up to $9,000 over four years and can be used at any American university for tuition, books, fees. The Gold scholarship prize is similarly structured but is worth a total of up to $40,000 over four years. The GPS Bonus for prizes is $3,500 and is based on GPA score. The Internship Bonus for both prizes is $1,500 and is optionally awarded based on completion of an approved internship.

24. Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards

The Diller Family Foundation awards 15 prizes of $36,000 each year to Jewish teens that show leadership skills and who submit a social project idea to better the global community. Awards may be used for tuition or towards projects. Candidates must be 13-19 years of age at nomination, self-identified as Jewish and have non-compensated volunteering experience.

25. Siebel Scholarship

Each year, the Seibel Scholars program chooses 93 eligible graduate students in their final year of studies who are at the top of their class. Areas of study include business, computer science, bioengineering and energy science. Awards go toward costs for students' final year of their graduate program.

26. Google U.S./Canada PhD Student Fellowship Program

Google's US/Canada PhD Fellowship program awards numerous prizes (14 for the last year) to doctoral students. In addition to covering tuition and fees for two years, winners receive a $34K stipend each year (paid out over a nine month period for each academic year). Eligible areas of study are computer-related topics, including Natural Language Processing, Machine Translation, Speech Technology, Cloud Computing, Software Engineering and several other topics.

27. Harry S. Truman Scholarship

The Harry S Truman Scholarship program awards between 55-65 prizes each year to eligible students in their third year of college (by award date). Candidates will be selected on a number of factors, including possible grad studies (master's, doctorate or professional degree) in select areas (Public Administration, Public Health, Social Work, Education, Public Policy, International Affairs), or a number of other career interests. (See site for details.) Community service experience and academic record are important factors in candidate selection.

28. Boren Fellowships and Scholarships

The Boren Awards are given yearly at both undergrad (scholarships) and graduate (fellowships) levels. Boren Scholar and Fellow award winners spend time overseas furthering their college studies in a select number of subjects. The amount of a prize for each winner depends on the program cost overseas. Candidates who are studying "less commonly taught languages and long-term linguistic and cultural study" are favored. The Boren Awards are an NSEP (National Security Education Program) initiative, and as such, the languages that are favored are those of important to federal national security. Winners have a minimum one year work commitment with the federal government after graduation.

29. Voice of Democracy Scholarship

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) offers a yearly audio essay contest for high school students, with the national winner receiving a $30,000 scholarship towards an American university, college or vocational/ technical school There are additional national prizes of $1-16,000. Each first-place state winner wins at least a $1,000 scholarship and a paid trip to Washington, DC. Candidates must be in grades 9-12 (home study program students eligible) by the deadline date. The theme for the 2015-16 program is "My Vision For America.

30. Doodle 4 Google

The Doodle 4 Google competition has numerous prizes for winners in grades K-12. There will be one national winner who wins $30,000 towards a college scholarship and who will win a number of other prizes, as well as have their future college get a $50,000 Google for Education grant. As well, there will be four national finalists winning $5,000 towards a college scholarship.There are additional state winners (50) and state finalists (250) who will win non-scholarship prizes. Winning students will be judged on various criteria including creativity, artistic merit and theme communication in their Google logo submissions.

31. Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships: STEM Teaching

The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships award winners with funds towards the necessary education and classroom experience required to become teachers of STEM topics at high-need high schools in the states of Indiana, Georgia and New Jersey. The program has university partners, and award winners will be admitted to a master's degree program, be prepped for teacher certification (science, math, technology education), receive a $30,000 stipend, and become lifelong members of the national Woodrow Wilson Fellows network. There is a paid, minimum three-year teaching commitment attached to the awards. Tuition arrangements for the master's degree vary by partner university.

32. Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship

The Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships, available through the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, are offered yearly to at least 22 qualified doctoral candidates in the humanities or social sciences and who are studying ethical or religious values. Qualified candidates will be those completing their dissertations during the 2016-17 academic year. Tuition may be waived for some students at the discretion of their individual schools.

33. AXA Achievement Scholarship

The AXA Achievement Scholarship program awards 52 winners each year (50 states, DC, Puerto Rico) scholarships of $10,000, with 10 of those winners also receiving an additional $15,000. Candidates must be high school seniors planning to be enrolled full-time in an accredited two- or four-year American college/ university for the 2016-17 academic year. Selection criteria includes academic achievement and community- or work-related activities -- especially in financial, environmental, health, safety or emergency preparedness areas.

34. Francis P. Matthews and John E. Swift Educational Trust Scholarships

The Knights of Columbus (KofC) offer a number of scholarships including the Matthews and Swift Educational Trust Scholarships to the children of members in good standing who have died (or been wounded) while serving in the military in a combat zone, or law enforcement officers or firefighters who have died while on duty due to criminal violence towards them. Scholarship candidates include adoptive children. Applications must be made within two years of death or disability. Scholarships can be used towards tuition only (not fees or other costs) "at any Catholic college of the student's choice in the country of the member's domicile at the time of death or disability." Prizes are up to $25,000 per winner.

35. Brightest Minds MBA Scholarship Contest

The Brightest Minds MBA scholarship program awards one winning student a $25,000 scholarship towards tuition at one of several business school sponsors. The winner will be the competitor who scores highest on The Economist's GMAT Tutor simulation test. An additional five (random) winners will each win an iPad Air. Eligible candidates are prospective MBA or Executive MBA students.

36. Ronald McDonald House Charities/HACER Scholarships

RMHC (Ronald McDonald House Charities) has a number of different scholarship programs for different minority groups including the HACER Scholarship for students with at least one parent of Hispanic/ Latino heritage; RMHC/ Asia; RMHC/ African-American Future Achievers; and the more general RMHC/ Scholars program. Selection of winners are based on a number of criteria including being under 21, demonstrating financial need, eligible to attend a two- or four-year college, university or technical school, be served geographically by a local chapter of RMHC that is participating, amongst other factors. Prizes for 2015-16 not yet listed; previous contest awarded $25,000 to the HACER Scholarship winner.

37. NCTM/ MET Lola May/ Shirley Frye Fund, Program of Mathematics Study and Active Professionalism Grants

NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) offers a range of grants, scholarships and other awards for prizes of $1,200 to $24,000. There are more than two dozen awards (too many to list here), with some having a deadline of Nov 6, 2015 and the rest on May 6, 2016. The top prize is the Program of Mathematics Study and Active Professionalism Grants, which awards up to $24,000 to a Pre-K-6 teacher who wants to further their understanding of mathematics and will work towards and advanced degree. Other grade levels represented are Pre-K-5, Pre-K-8, Pre-K-12, 6-8, 7-12, 9-12. Professional development and lifetime achievement awards are also available. See site for full list of named awards.

38. James Madison Graduate Fellowship

The James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation offers graduate fellowships to qualified individuals planning to become high school teachers. Funding permitting, each state will have one winner of $24,000 towards tuition and related expenses (max $12K per year). Candidates with an existing graduate degree are allowed to apply. All winners must complete a period of teaching after graduation. Acceptable degrees include: MA in American history, political science or government; MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) concentrating on American Constitutional history; MEd (Master of Education) or MA or MS in Education with a concentration in American history or American government and related topics.

39. Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship

Each year, the Coca-Cola Scholars Program awards 150 scholarships of $20,000 to eligible high school seniors who are expecting to graduate and planning to enter a college degree program. Winners are selected across all 50 states. There also 400 additional stipends towards community college costs totalling $437,500, and which are administered by Phi Theta Kappa. See site for details.

40. DAR Richard and Elizabeth Dean Scholarship

Through the Daughters of the Revolution (DAR), two yearly awards are given in the form of the Richard and Elizabeth Dean Scholarship program. Each award is $5,000/year for up to four years. Winners are eligible graduating high school students with a minimum GPA of 4.0, with renewal based on a minimum GPA of 3.25.

41. Servant Leader Scholarship Competition

Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) offers a number of named scholarships through their John Wesley Scholars Program through their Honors College. This includes the Servant Leaders Scholarship awards, which are given based on academic merit. Only students who have applied to the John Wesley Scholars Program (for incoming freshmen) are further selected to participate in interviews for the program and competition. Competition dates are Fri Jan 29 and Fri Feb 19, 2016. The deadlines for competing on these two dates are Jan 9 and Jan 31, 2016, respectively. Winners will be given four-year scholarships ranging from $1,000/year to $5,000/year (e.g., $4K to $20K)

42. Inter American Press Association Scholarship

The IAPA/SIP (Inter American Press Association/ Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa) awards scholarship money towards postgraduate studies in the U.S. and Canada. Candidates must be under 35 years of age and working as a newspaper/ online reporter or editor in Latin America or the Caribbean and be fluent in either English or French. Awards include $20,000 for a year of study plus round-trip transportation for the winners. (Winners are responsible for expenses for spouse or children.) Look for the link titled "Download Form SIP Scholarships" (MS Word .doc format). Note: filename indicates 2014 but the application form specifies a 2016 deadline.

43. Dell Scholars Program

The Dell Scholars Program is an annual competition awarding 300 eligible students $20,000 towards college tuition. Winners also receive a laptop, textbook credits, and ongoing support for "all of the emotional, lifestyle, and financial challenges that may prevent our scholars from completing college". This includes help in dealing with stress, getting out of debt, managing substance abuse, getting child care and more. Eligible candidates are grade 11-12 students participating in a Michael and Susan Dell Foundation approved college readiness program (see site for details). Candidates must demonstrate financial need, are eligible for a federal Pell Grant, and are planning to enroll full-time in a bachelor's program in the fall semester directly after high school graduation.

44. CIA Undergraduate Scholarship Program

The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) Undergraduate Scholar Program awards winning candidates a job with annual salary, health benefits, life insurance, retirement benefits and up to $18,000 per calendar year towards tuition, mandatory fees, books and supplies. The commitment requires full-time study during the regular college academic year, with work at a CIA facility in Washington, DC, during summer breaks. Transportation costs between school and DC will be covered each summer, and a housing allowance given. Candidates must demonstrate financial need and be available to work in DC during employment periods. Either high school seniors planning to enroll in college (4-5 year programs) or a college freshman or sophomore enrolled in a 4-5 year program can apply. The program was originally developed to assist minority and disabled students; however, all otherwise qualified students may apply.

45. TEACH Grant

The FSA (Federal Student Aid) office of the U.S. Department of Education offers select students a TEACH Grant, which is a student loan with a teaching requirement that turns it into a grant. The objective of this financial aid program is to graduate students in education degrees who will then commit to teaching "in a high-need field in a low-income area." To be eligible for the TEACH grant, candidates must be eligible for federal student aid, have a GPA of at least 3.25, be enrolled as an undergrad, post-baccalaureate or grad student at a participating school, and sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve form, which signifies agreement by the student to teach where required, for at least four years duration and within eight years after graduating (or ceasing to be enrolled). If the work committment is satisified, the TEACH amount does not have to be repaid, and effectively becomes a grant. If the full work commitment is not completed, the amount to be repaid is pro-rated.

46. Hadden Scholarships

The Youth Foundation's Hadden Scholarships award academically worthy students in financial need scholarship funds for a college education. Additional selection criteria includes extra-curricular activities and community service. Scholarships are given only if a student's college does not reduce any scholarship they would give. Scholarships are between $2,500 to $4,000 per year for up to four years.

47. Catholic Financial Life Orphan's College Scholarship

Catholic Financial Life (CFL) offers their Orphan Scholarships program to qualified CFL members or children of members. Criteria includes both natural orphans and those whose adoptive parents passed away. Full-time students of a four-year program receive up to $4,000 per year for four years ($16K max). For eligible students enrolled in a technical/ vocational school, they receive up to $8,000 per year for two years. Payments are only made up to age 24, maximum.

48. Life Lessons Scholarship Program

Life Happens' yearly Life Lessons Scholarship offers college scholarship funds to qualified candidates who have lost a parent and who submit an essay or video about how the death impacted their life. The 2015 competition awarded a total of $230K to 29 winners -- including three first-place prizes ($15K); two second-place prizes ($12.5K); one each for third- and fourth-place ($10K each); 10 first runners-up ($8K); 11 second runners-up ($5K); and one Life Lessons LIDMA Scholarship ($5K). The deadline for 2016 is not yet announced, though details state that applications are usually accepted in the month of Feb. (Previous deadline was Mar 3, 2015, with that competition opening on Feb 2, 2015.)

49. Barclay College

Barclay College offers an $11,000 full-tuition scholarship to all residents students on acceptance to the college. The program is funded by supporters of the college, in order to provide accepted students with a Christian education without heavy debt. Candidates can apply online. More details on the site.

50. FIRE's Freedom in Academia Essay Contest

FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) offers a yearly free speech essay contest. Several scholarship prizes are awarded to wining candidates. To enter, you must be a high school junior or senior for the school year of the contest (e.g., 2015-16) and submit an essay on the topic in question that is 800-1000 words. Topics usually center around free speech. Prizes based on best essays: 1x $10K; 1x $5K; 3x $1K. An additional four prizes of $500 will be awarded from the remaining entrants based on random drawing.

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