Everyone knows that free scholarships for college students can help lower tuition expenses without racking up debt. Not all scholarships are free though. Some organizations charge a processing fee you must pay with the application. For example, the Kosciuszko Foundation bills students $35 for applying to their scholarship programs. The National YoungArts Foundation also requires paying $35 online via credit card before consideration.
Scholarships with application fees clearly aren’t necessarily scams, but they can hamper your finances. If you’re not selected for the prize, you’ll throw away precious dollars. Unless you’re confident in your chances, don’t gamble it. Focus on finding free college money like the following 20 scholarships that won’t cost a dime.
1. AFCEA War Veterans Scholarship
Deadline: November 15th
The Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA) proudly offers the War Veterans Scholarship for $2,500 yearly to honorably discharged U.S. military veterans of the Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan or Iraqi Freedom Operations from 2004 to present. Eligible U.S. citizens must be enrolled as sophomores or juniors, carry a minimum 3.0 GPA, and declare a C41-related major. Acceptable studies include computer engineering, cybersecurity, information science, mathematics, network security, robotics, and telecommunications.
AFCEA War Veterans Scholarship
4400 Fair Lakes Court
Fairfax, VA 22033
2. Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship
Deadline: January 22nd
Since 1986, the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship has proved $7,500 in free college money annually to outstanding undergraduates who are completing the last two years of a bachelor’s program in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). Students must be U.S. citizens or nationals, maintain at least a B average, attain junior or senior status, and be matriculated full-time at an accredited institution. Writing a two-page essay discussing a significant problem in one’s field is required.
Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship
One Scholarship Way
Saint Peter, MN 56082
3. Bruce Lee Foundation Scholarships
Deadline: June 10th
Without an application fee, the Bruce Lee Foundation awards one $10,000 and four $2,500 scholarships yearly to financially support students who are attending accredited two-year or four-year U.S. colleges and vocational schools this fall. Qualified applicants must be at least 16, show involvement in extra-curriculars, have work or community service experience, exhibit personal drive, and exemplify Bruce Lee’s passion for education. Applications must include a valid social security number, two recommendations, and a resume.
Bruce Lee Foundation Scholarships
11693 San Vincente Blvd. Suite 918
Los Angeles, CA 90049
4. Buick Achievers Scholarship Program
Deadline: February 29th
Offering up to $100,000 over four years, the Buick Achievers Scholarship Program is one of the biggest free college scholarships gifted to 50 first-time freshmen enrolling full-time at accredited four-year colleges for bachelor’s degrees. Eligible U.S. citizens or legal residents must declare a major within the STEM disciplines and demonstrate career interests in the automotive or related industries. Funding can cover students’ tuition, textbooks, and room and board for every year a cumulative 3.0 GPA is maintained.
Buick Achievers Scholarship Program
P.O. Box 33136
Detroit, MI 48232
5. Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship
Deadline: October 31st
Valued at $20,000 apiece, the Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship is open to current high school or home-schooled seniors who anticipate completing a diploma and pursuing a post-secondary degree the next fall. Eligible U.S. citizens, permanent residents, refugees, and asylees must be applying to accredited colleges, possess a minimum 3.0 GPA, be engaged in school and community activities, and be passionate leaders. Online applications are free and don’t require essays or additional materials.
Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship
P.O. Box 442
Atlanta, GA 30301
6. Delete Cyberbullying Scholarship Award
Deadline: June 30th
The Stop Online Harassment Project has created the Delete Cyberbullying Scholarship Award to provide $1,000 to students committed to thwarting bullying behaviors used on social media and the Internet. Any high school, college, or graduate students with U.S. citizenship or legal residency who’s planning to attend an accredited university can apply. The free online application only requires writing one short, 500-word essay describing how cyberbullying has personally affected them.
Delete Cyberbullying Scholarship Award
2261 Market Street Suite 291
San Francisco, CA 94114
7. Engebretson Foundation Scholarship
Deadline: March 1st
Founded by the late David J. Engebretson, a prominent South Dakota businessman, the Engebretson Foundation Scholarship is awarded for $5,000 annually to extraordinary high school seniors who need financial assistance to attend a four-year U.S. college. Qualified recipients must rank in the top five percent of their class, achieve a 3.75 GPA or higher, score at least 28 on the ACT or 1240 on the SAT, and have an eligible Expected Family Contribution.
Engebretson Foundation Scholarship
13110 Birch Drive Suite 148
Omaha, NE 68164
8. George J. Mitchell Scholarship Program
Deadline: September 30th
Annually, the George J. Mitchell Scholarship Program bestows 12 free college scholarships upon U.S. citizens under age 30 who wish to spend one year of graduate study at an accredited university in Northern Ireland. The U.S.-Ireland Alliance looks for eligible U.S. citizens who hold a bachelor’s degree, exhibit academic excellence with a GPA over 3.3, are committed to public service, and display leadership ability. Mitchell applicants must complete a 10-minute video interview on webcam.
George J. Mitchell Scholarship Program
2800 Clarendon Blvd. Suite 305W
Arlington, VA 22201
9. GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship
Deadline: January 7th
Celebrating our country’s 40 president, the GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship is awarded for $10,000 each year to lower undergraduate tuition for high school seniors planning to enroll full-time at an accredited U.S. college for a bachelor’s program. Eligible Americans must display good citizenship, have unmet financial need, achieve a minimum 3.0 GPA, have leadership experience at school or work, and pass a Skype interview. Finalists must be sponsored by a community leader, such as principal or elected official.
GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship
40 Presidential Drive
Simi Valley, CA 93065
10. Horatio Alger Association Scholarships
Deadline: April 15th
Awarding $12 million in free college money each year, the Horatio Alger Association honors outstanding students who have succeeded in spite of adversity with $22,000 scholarships. To qualify, candidates must reside in one of America’s 50 states, be enrolled as full-time high school seniors, exhibit critical financial need, pursue a bachelor’s degree at a non-profit college, be engaged in community service, maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher, and demonstrate perseverance in overcoming obstacles.
Horatio Alger Association Scholarships
99 Canal Center Plaza Suite 320
Alexandria, VA 22314
11. Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship
Deadline: November 3rd
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship gifts $40,000 per year to high-achieving seniors enrolling at the country’s most competitive four-year, accredited institutions for a bachelor’s degree in any declared major. At minimum, eligible applicants must carry an unweighted GPA of 3.5, achieve an SAT combined critical reading and math score of 1200, score 26 on the ACT, and have financial need with a family income under $95,000.
Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship
44325 Woodridge Parkway
Lansdowne, VA 20176
12. Maureen D. Keller Undergraduate Scholarship
Deadline: May 20th
With a free application, the Maureen D. Keller Undergraduate Scholarship is offered by the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences to promising high school seniors or college freshmen who are attending an accredited Maine college for a bachelor’s degree in biological, Earth, or other natural sciences. Interested in-state residents must be enrolling full-time, hold a minimum 3.0 GPA, maintain active involvement in community activities, and show potential as a valued scientific scholar.
Maureen D. Keller Undergraduate Scholarship
P.O. Box 380
East Boothbay, ME 04544
(207) 315-2567 ext. 107
13. Oracle Corporate Scholars Program
Deadline: April 4th
Funded by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the Oracle Corporate Scholars Program distributes at least $2,000 to African American college students who are majoring in computer engineering, computer science, math, business, marketing, or human resources. Eligible recipients must attend accredited four-year HBCUs, have U.S. citizenship, demonstrate financial need, attain sophomore or higher standing, and maintain a GPA over 3.0. Successful students are also offered free, paid internships with Oracle.
Oracle Corporate Scholars Program
1805 7th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
14. Pearson Scholarships for Higher Education
Deadline: May 2nd
Phi Theta Kappa grants 10 Pearson Scholarships for Higher Education at $5,000 apiece to students enrolled full-time or part-time in associate degree programs who wish to transfer to accredited four-year U.S. colleges for a bachelor’s degree. For free college money, candidates must be PTK members in good standing, have completed 12 to 36 semester hours, have a minimum cumulative 3.5 GPA, and hold temporary or permanent residency in the United States.
Pearson Scholarships for Higher Education
1625 Eastover Drive
Jackson, MS 39211
15. Point Foundation Scholarship Fund
Deadline: February 1st
For a maximum of $13,600, the Point Foundation Scholarship Fund gifts annual awards to “out” high school seniors or college students who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Eligible applicants must be enrolling full-time at an accredited U.S. university, pursue a degree-granting program, have strong academic achievement, exhibit financial need, and have a proven track record of LGBTQ community involvement. Finalists receive a free Los Angeles trip for an in-person interview.
Point Foundation Scholarship Fund
1357 Broadway Suite 401
New York, NY 10018
16. Tylenol Future Care Scholarships
Deadline: June 30th
Ranging from $500 to $10,000, the Tylenol Future Care Scholarships are award for free to 60 college students who are pursuing undergraduate or graduate studies for healthcare careers, including public health, nursing, pharmacy, medicine, and health education. Qualified candidates must be legal U.S. residents, have completed at least their freshman year, attend an accredited college, have one or more years remaining, maintain a satisfactory GPA, and be involved in volunteer services.
Tylenol Future Care Scholarships
1 Johnson & Johnson Plaza
New Brunswick, NJ 08933
17. United Methodist Leadership Scholarship
Deadline: January 16th
The United Methodist Leadership Scholarship is a free, merit-based program awarding $10,000 to active congregation members who are enrolling as freshman at United Methodist-related colleges within the Southeast Jurisdiction (SEJ). Eligible high school seniors must have unmet financial need, carry a minimum 3.5 GPA, and attain community leadership roles. Online applications must include transcripts, ACT/SAT scores, a resume, two written references from clergy and teachers, and a personal essay.
United Methodist Leadership Scholarship
P.O. Box 340005
Nashville, TN 37203
18. Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship
Deadline: February 20th
The Vegetarian Resource Group awards $20,000 in scholarship money each year to three graduating high schoolers who promote a peaceful world through a vegetarian or vegan diet and lifestyle. Eligible non-meat eaters must be enrolling full-time at accredited U.S. higher learning institutions for an associate or bachelor’s degree. The free PDF application must be submitted with a personal essay, copies of academic transcripts, three or more letters of recommendation, and documentation of vegetarianism community outreach.
Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship
P.O. Box 1463
Baltimore, MD 21203
19. Walmart Foundation First-Generation Scholarship
Deadline: June 24th
Through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Walmart Foundation First-Generation Scholarship is granted for $6,200 to outstanding high school seniors who are enrolling as freshmen at one of 47 public HBCU’s in the TMCF network. Eligible applicants must be the first in their family to attend college, work towards a bachelor’s degree, have U.S. citizenship, exhibit financial need on the FAFSA form, carry a minimum 2.5 GPA, and showcase leadership ability.
Walmart Foundation First-Generation Scholarship
901 F Street NW Suite 300
Washington, DC 20004
20. Wells Fargo American Indian Scholarship
Deadline: May 1st
The American Indian Graduate Center (AIGS) offers a $5,000 scholarship sponsored by Wells Fargo each year to undergraduates of American Indian or Alaska Native heritage to fund a degree-granting program full-time. To qualify, applicants must be at least freshmen, hold a cumulative GPA of 2.7 or above, attend any accredited U.S. institution, demonstrate financial need, and descend from a federally recognized tribe. There’s also the Cobell Scholarship and Accenture Scholarship Fund for free college money.
Wells Fargo American Indian Scholarship
3701 San Mateo NE Suite 200
Albuquerque, NM 87110
Crafting an impressive scholarship application that stands out exhausts plenty of time, brain power, and creativity. Applying for financial aid shouldn’t drain your wallet though. There are millions of legitimate free college scholarships that don’t require the dreaded “non-refundable application fee.” It’s estimated that public and private scholarships combine for $49.3 billion in free tuition coverage, so don’t overlook this untapped resource. Start your search for the right funding fit with these 20 free scholarships for college students.