Finding scholarships for high school seniors can give you the monetary means to afford your post-secondary pursuits after walking the stage.
Whether you’re pursuing a technical certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s program, scholarships can provide free financial aid with no repayment constraints. That’s especially important because college tuition rose 3 percent from 2014 to 2015, much faster than inflation.
The College Board estimates that the average net cost for on-campus students at public colleges is $18,620 each year. Price tags are even higher at private for-profit and non-profit universities. Therefore, all 12th graders should include searching for scholarships to their do-to list along with campus tours, SATs, and college applications.
You can get started with these 20 lucrative merit- and need-based scholarships for seniors.
1. AMVETS National Scholarship Program
Deadline: April 15th
The AMVETS National Service Foundation hosts an annual scholarship program to award $4,000 over four years to high school seniors who are the children and grandchildren of honorably discharged United States veterans. Eligible applicants be entering at the college freshmen level, be accepted at an accredited college or technical school, hold a minimum 3.0 GPA, have U.S. citizenship, demonstrate financial need, and write a 100-word essay titled “What a Higher Education Means to Me.”
AMVETS National Scholarship Program
4647 Forbes Blvd.
Lanham, MD 20706
2. AXA Achievement Scholarship
Deadline: December 31st
Valued at $10,000 apiece, the AXA Achievement Scholarship is presented annually to 52 high school seniors, one from each state, who are planning to enroll full-time at an accredited two- or four-year college. Qualified U.S. residents must anticipate finishing their diploma, show ability to succeed in higher education, demonstrate ambition, and be actively involved in community or work-related activities. Special consideration is given to achievements that empower society to mitigate risk.
AXA Achievement Scholarship
1290 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10104
3. Clara Lionel Foundation Global Scholarship
Deadline: June 10th
Founded in 2012 by Rihanna, the Clara Lionel Foundation Global Scholarship is awarded for $5,000 to $50,000 each year to graduating high school seniors in Brazil, Barbados, Cuba, Haiti, Grenada, Guyana, or Jamaica who are pursuing full-time undergraduate U.S. study. To apply, first-time college freshmen must be eligible for funding per the Office of Foreign Assets Control. Scholarships are renewable for four years of a bachelor’s program if a 2.5 GPA is maintained.
Clara Lionel Foundation Global Scholarship
1411 Broadway Floor 39
New York, NY 10018
4. Daniels Fund Scholarship Program
Deadline: November 13th
The Daniels Fund Scholarship is a competitive, need-based program for outstanding high school seniors in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming who will pursue a bachelor’s degree at a partnering university. Qualified recipients must be U.S. citizens or legal residents, have unmet financial need, achieve an ACT score over 16 and SAT scores above 400, plan to study full-time, showcase leadership potential, and embody Bill Daniels’ strength of character.
Daniels Fund Scholarship Program
101 Monroe Street
Denver, CO 80206
5. Dell Scholars Program Scholarship
Deadline: January 15th
Since 2004, the Dell Scholars Program has gifted a $20,000 scholarship, laptop, and textbook credits annually to 300 high school seniors who plan to enroll full-time in a bachelor’s program at an accredited U.S. college after graduation. For consideration, students must participate in an Dell-approved college readiness program, carry a minimum GPA of 2.4, qualify for the Federal Pell Grant, display determination to succeed, show active club involvement, and have unmet financial need.
Dell Scholars Program Scholarship
P.O. Box 163867
Austin, TX 78716
6. Elks Foundation Most Valuable Student Scholarship
Deadline: December 4th
Ranging from $1,000 to $12,500 per academic year, the Elks Foundation bestows the Most Valuable Student (MVS) Scholarship to 500 high-achieving high school seniors who are citizens of the United States. Eligible candidates must be pursuing a four-year bachelor’s degree, plan to take 12 or more credits per semester, enroll at an accredited U.S. institution, display academic merit, and convey great leadership skills. In April, the top 20 finalists will participate in the Elks Leadership Weekend in Chicago.
Elks Foundation Most Valuable Student Scholarship
2750 North Lakeview Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614
7. Gates Millennium Scholars Program
Deadline: January 13th
Funded for $1.6 billion by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Gates Millennium Scholars Program (GMSP) covers significant unmet financial need for minority high school seniors of African American, American Indian, Asian, or Hispanic descent. Annually, $1,000 scholars are selected to pursue bachelor’s degrees full-time at accredited U.S. colleges. Eligibility criteria mandates holding a minimum 3.3 cumulative GPA, qualifying for the Pell Grant, and exhibiting leadership potential.
Gates Millennium Scholars Program
1805 7th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
8. Herbert Lehman Scholarship Fund
Deadline: May 1st
Sponsored by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), the Herbert Lehman Scholarship is granted for $2,000 per year for $8,000 total to African American high school seniors who are enrolling at formerly segregated four-year colleges in the South. Eligible U.S. citizens must show financial need and commitment to public service, but there’s no GPA requirement. Applications must include a resume, personal statement, FAFSA form, transcript, and two recommendations.
Herbert Lehman Scholarship Fund
40 Rector Street 5th Floor
New York, NY 10006
9. Hollister Co. Anti-Bullying Scholarship
Deadline: February 1st
The National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) Foundation administers the Hollister Co. Anti-Bullying Scholarship to present $2,500 to outstanding high school seniors who have led efforts in their school communities to end bullying or persevered while being bullied. Qualified applicants must be enrolling full-time at an accredited college, acquire a minimum 3.0 GPA, and show commitment to community service. Other scholarships for seniors include the STEM Scholarship and Greg Goff Leadership Award.
Hollister Co. Anti-Bullying Scholarship
1936 North Druid Hills Road
Atlanta, GA 30319
10. Imagine America High School Scholarships
Deadline: December 31st
Established in 1998, the Imagine America High School Scholarships are awarded for $1,000 annually to graduating seniors from the United States and Puerto Rico who are enrolling at participating career school campuses. Interested applicants must achieve a minimum 2.5 GPA, have unmet financial need, show likelihood for completing college, and demonstrate voluntary community service. Counselors at every high school nationwide can nominate up to five seniors before the deadline.
Imagine America High School Scholarships
12001 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20191
11. James W. McLamore Whopper Scholarship
Deadline: December 15th
In honor of the Burger King co-founder, the James W. McLamore Whopper Scholarship is distributed for $1,000 to high school seniors and franchise employees who are enrolling at accredited two- and four-year colleges in North America. Up to $4,000 can be granted over four years if full-time enrollment and satisfactory degree progress are maintained. Selection is based upon academic achievement, participation in community activities, work experience, and financial need.
James W. McLamore Whopper Scholarship
7900 International Drive
Minneapolis, MN 55425
12. Laurel Hester Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: April 30th
The LEAGUE Foundation sponsors the Laurel Hester Memorial Scholarship in honor of the Ocean County Police Lieutenant for $1,500 to $2,500 annually to high school seniors who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ). To apply, candidates must be U.S. citizens or legal immigrants, be attending an accredited college, carry a cumulative GPA over 3.0, prepare a detailed list of community involvement, and submit two letters of reference.
Laurel Hester Memorial Scholarship
1407 North West Street
Wilmington, DE 19801
13. Mabel and Lawrence S. Cooke Scholarship
Deadline: December 31st
Each year, the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) gifts the Mabel and Lawrence S. Cooke Scholarship for $25,000 over four years to graduating high school seniors who are Eagle Scouts with a genuine commitment to volunteer service. Eligible students must be accepted at an accredited U.S. university, have financial need, score at least 1800 on the SAT or 28 on the ACT, and be actively involved in Scouting activities. There’s also the Hall/McElwain Merit Scholarship and Bailey Scholarship.
Mabel and Lawrence S. Cooke Scholarship
1325 West Walnut Hill Lane
Irving, TX 75015
14. Microsoft disAbility Scholarship
Deadline: April 15th
Valued at $5,000, the tech giant Microsoft has created the disAbility Scholarship program to financially support high school seniors who have overcome visual, hearing, mobility, cognitive, or speech disabilities to pursue a two- or four-year undergraduate degree. Eligible applicants must be accepted at accredited U.S. colleges, display a passion for technology, declare any STEM-related major, require financial assistance, carry a minimum 3.0 GPA, and submit a resume of extra-curricular activities.
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Microsoft disAbility Scholarship
1200 5th Avenue Suite 1300
Seattle, WA 98101
15. Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Scholarship
Deadline: July 1st or November 1st
Funded by the founder of Taylor Energy Company, the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Scholarship is granted biannually to high school seniors who will enroll at two- and four-year institutions in Louisiana this fall. To be eligible, candidates must be U.S. citizens, graduate from Louisiana high schools, complete an advanced 19-unit TOPS curriculum, maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA, earn an ACT score of 18 or better, and submit one character reference letter.
Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Scholarship
One Lee Circle
New Orleans, LA 70130
16. P.E.O. Foundation STAR Scholarship
Deadline: December 1st
Since 2009, the P.E.O. Sisterhood Foundation has offered the non-renewable STAR Scholarship for $2,500 to female high school seniors under 20 years of age who are enrolling full-time or part-time at an accredited college in the United States or Canada this fall. Qualified winners must exhibit excellence in leadership activities, be recommended by a local P.E.O. chapter, maintain an unweighted GPA of 3.0, be committed to community service, and show potential for post-secondary success.
P.E.O. Foundation STAR Scholarship
3700 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50312
17. Rosalind P. Walter Scholarship
Deadline: February 26th
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) awards the Rosalind P. Walter Scholarship for $2,500 per year or $10,000 total in honor of the International Tennis Hall of Fame member who inspired the World War II song “Rosie the Riveter.” To qualify, male and female high school seniors must show high academic achievement, be entering a four-year college program, show active involvement in varsity tennis athletics, and always give back to one’s community.
Rosalind P. Walter Scholarship
70 West Red Oak Lane
White Plains, NY 10604
18. Shell Oil Company Technical Scholarships
Deadline: March 3rd
The Shell Oil Company awards 20 Technical Scholarships yearly for $2,500 each for graduating high school seniors who are enrolling full-time at accredited institutions to study engineering, petroleum engineering, geology, geophysics, or other energy-related geosciences. Qualified candidates must be entering their first year, be lawfully authorized to work in the United States, display potential for future contributions in the energy industry, and have excellent aptitude for science.
Shell Oil Company Technical Scholarships
P.O. Box 2463
Houston, TX 77252
19. State Farm Good Neighbor Scholarship
Deadline: March 2nd
Starting each January, the State Farm Good Neighbor Scholarship program is hosted by Scholarship America to distribute 50 awards for $2,500 apiece to high school seniors finishing 12th grade and moving onto an accredited two- or four-year college. Eligible U.S. citizens or permanent residents must be lacking monetary resources, have a cumulative high school GPA of 2.5 to 3.2, exhibit good citizenship with volunteer service, and submit at least one recommendation.
State Farm Good Neighbor Scholarship
7900 International Drive
Minneapolis, MN 55425
20. The Dream.US Opportunity Scholarship
Deadline: June 9th
The Dream.US Opportunity Scholarship presents $20,000 yearly to cover tuition, fees, and on-campus housing expenses for students who have DACA or TPS status and reside in “locked-out” states. Eligible high school seniors will seek career-ready bachelor’s programs at Eastern Connecticut State University or Delaware State University. Immigrant students must hold a minimum 2.8 GPA, plan to attend college full-time, have come to the United States before 16, and have significant unmet financial need.
The Dream.US Opportunity Scholarship
1200 North Dupont Highway
Dover, DE 19901
Even before stepping into the college classroom, high school seniors become eligible for certain money-saving scholarships. The above scholarships are fairly generous, so they’ll draw more competition. Also look for niche scholarships based on your location, ethnicity, major, career interests, hobbies, and identity. Increase your chances by applying to all free scholarships that you qualify for. Pay close attention to deadlines to ensure your application materials are submitted for consideration on time. After checking out these 20 scholarships for high school seniors, visit your guidance counselor for more help finding college money.