Need-Based Scholarships: Scholarships and grants are more crucial than ever before as the price of a college education rises. But many students, particularly those with severe resource constraints, navigating the complex landscape of government grants and loans, institutional scholarships, work-study, and more offer a substantial obstacle.

Need-Based Scholarships

It might be difficult for organizations that award scholarships to choose how to manage their assets so that their impact is maximized. For both groups, establishing a distinction between need-based and merit-based scholarships is a crucial first step.

What are Need-Based Scholarships?

Need-based scholarships, as the name implies, are given out according to a student’s capacity to pay for college. Many colleges, foundations, nonprofit organizations, and corporations also provide need-based scholarships, even though need-based aid is primarily associated with government programs like the Pell Grant.

Many colleges and organizations use the College Board’s CSS Profile application in addition to the Free Application for Student Financial Help (FAFSA) for determining need, albeit it is the Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) that determines eligibility for federal aid.

Some need-based scholarships have requirements for the GPA of the beneficiaries or that they fall into a specific group, including underrepresented minorities, scientific majors, or art students.

However, unlike merit-based scholarships, need-based scholarships also have financial criteria and generally are not open to students with families over a certain income level.

What are the Benefits of Need-Based Scholarships?

Need-based scholarships carry several significant benefits compared to merit-based scholarships. They:

1. Are More Likely to Impact a Student’s Ability to Attend College

Since merit-based scholarships do not consider a student’s financial situation, they are often awarded to students whose families could pay for a college education.

Need-based scholarships are more likely to be the difference between attending college and being unable to afford it.

2. Are More Likely to be Awarded Equitably

The chances available to their more affluent counterparts may be absent for students who grow up in poverty, which may affect their eligibility for merit-based scholarships.

For instance, a student may have a lower chance of receiving an athletic scholarship if their parents cannot afford private sports instruction and transportation to away games.

Similarly to this, pupils who attend underfunded schools or who live in unsafe settings might not perform as well in class since they don’t have access to the necessary resources. Therefore, need-based assistance is more likely to advance equity.

3. Is More Responsive to a Student’s Circumstances?

Changing life circumstances can have a major impact on a student’s performance both academically and in their extracurriculars.

Since continued funding from merit-based scholarships often depends on outcomes, they can become a significant source of stress for students facing unexpected challenges.

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List of Need-Based Scholarships

1. Isaac Yunhu Lee Memorial Arts Scholarship

Being an artist can take on many different forms, and humans are unique in their ability to create original ideas and art that contributes something to the world.

The Isaac Lee Memorial Arts Scholarship looks to provide funding to a student taking the next step in their artistic journey by going to art school.

Low-income students in their junior and senior years of high school or in undergraduate school are eligible to apply if they are planning to attend or are currently attending art school.

How to Apply

To apply, please write about a favorite piece of art you’ve created and what inspired its creation.

Essay Topic: Please attach an image of a favorite piece of art you’ve created and write about what inspired its creation.

Application Closed

Winners Announced: May 10, 2022

Apply Here

2. Horatio Alger National Scholarship

As one of the nation’s largest college financial aid programs in the country, the Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program is one of the major scholarship programs nationally that specifically assists high school students who have faced and overcome great obstacles in their young lives.

The scholarships are funded by Horatio Alger Members who, like the Scholars, have experienced challenges but ultimately overcame them to become successful business and civic leaders.

The National Scholarship is awarded to eligible students in all fifty states, and the District of Columbia. National Scholars receive an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., during the spring of their senior year to participate in the National Scholars Conference.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to apply for the Horatio Alger National Scholarship, applicants must meet the following criteria:

1. Be enrolled full-time as a high school junior in the United States

2. Exhibit a strong commitment to pursue and complete a bachelor’s degree at an accredited non-profit public or private institution in the United States (students may start their studies at a two-year institution and then transfer to a four-year institution)

3. Demonstrate critical financial need ($55,000 or lower adjusted gross family income is required)

4. Be involved in co-curricular and community service activities

5. Display integrity and perseverance in overcoming adversity

6. Maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0; and

7. Be a United States citizen

The undergraduate application is available annually from December 1 to March 15.

Apply Here

3. Gates Scholarship

The Gates Scholarship (TGS) is a highly selective, last-dollar scholarship for outstanding, minority, high school seniors from low-income households.

Each year, the scholarship is awarded to exceptional student leaders, with the intent of helping them realize their maximum potential.

Scholarship Award

Scholars will receive funding for the full cost of attendance that is not already covered by other financial aid and the expected family contribution, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), or the methodology used by a Scholar’s college or university.

The cost of attendance includes tuition, fees, room, board, books, and transportation, and may include other personal costs.

Scholarship Basic Eligibility

To apply, students must be:

1. A high school senior

2. Pell-eligible

3. A US citizen, national, or permanent resident

4. In good academic standing with a minimum cumulative weighted GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent).

5. Additionally, a student must plan to enroll full-time, in a four-year degree program, at a US-accredited, not-for-profit, private, or public college or university.

  • For American Indians/Alaska Natives, proof of tribal enrollment will be required.

Apply Here

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4. Greenhouse Scholars Fund

Greenhouse Scholars is a diverse community of leaders using education to transform underserved communities in our backyard and around the world.

They empower promising young students with the personal, professional, and financial resources they need to create lasting change in their own lives and the lives of others, regardless of circumstances.

Greenhouse Scholars believes in the power of education to close the opportunity gaps that limit opportunities for people in underserved communities.

They surround their students with support and equip them with the skills they’ll need to realize their vision of affecting real change and rewriting a narrative that has hindered the potential for generations.

The students we work with go on to become real change-makers within their communities, and this really is the heart of the matter.

Apply Here

5. BigFuture Scholarships

BigFuture rewards you for doing what you already are doing: planning for life after high school. With no essay, minimum GPA, test score, or citizenship requirements.

BigFuture makes it easy to enter drawings (yes, plural!) each month. Simply complete the unlocked steps on your dashboard and you’ll be automatically entered to win.

One step completed = one entry each month the earlier and sooner you complete tasks, the bigger your chances to win. Students whose families earn less than $60,000 a year receive two entries for each drawing.

Apply Here

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