Being among the 39.1 million people residing within the United States’ most populous state makes you eligible for countless scholarships in California. From the Redwoods to the San Francisco Bay and Death Valley, California is a diverse landscape occupying nearly 165,000 square miles of the Pacific Coast.
California’s extensive post-secondary system presently offers 153 public and 153 private colleges to choose from. Students may be attracted by the sunshine, beaches, and diverse culture, but they’ll also benefit from top-notch academics. In fact, Stanford University is distinguished as America’s fifth best university by the U.S. News.
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Whether you’ve chosen a well-known giant like the University of Southern California or lesser-known gem like Occidental College, these 20 scholarships for Californians can cut tuition costs.
1. Alan D. Stephenson Scholarship
Deadline: February 12th
The Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo County has established over 50 California scholarships, including the Alan D. Stephenson Scholarship. This renewable $2,500 award offers up to $10,000 to local graduating high school seniors who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ). Selection criteria requires being a U.S. citizen, pursuing a four-year degree full-time, having financial need, achieving a minimum 2.75 GPA, and actively advocating for sexual orientation equality.
Alan D. Stephenson Scholarship
550 Dana Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
2. Beryl V. Smith Scholarship
Deadline: April 29th
Package of Prevention’s founder and CEO, Courtney H. Smith, created the Beryl V. Smith Scholarship to honor her mother by providing $1,000 to college-bound Californians who’ve witnessed a parent or legal guardian battle against cancer. Eligible high school seniors must be accepted as full-time freshmen at accredited two-year or four-year institutions. Application packets are incomplete without physician verification and a personal essay on how candidates’ lives were changed by a cancer crisis.
Beryl V. Smith Scholarship
3941 Lorado Way
Los Angeles, CA 90043
3. California Middle Class Scholarship
Deadline: March 2nd
The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) administers the California Middle Class Scholarship to help in-state residents from families earning between $104,001 and $156,000 annually reduce their tuition by up to 40 percent. Maximum award amounts allow $2,189 for California State University campuses and $4,877 for University of California campuses per year. Qualified candidates must be U.S. citizens or legal residents, pursue their first bachelor’s degree, sustain a minimum 2.0 GPA, and avoid loan default.
California Middle Class Scholarship
11040 White Rock Road
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
4. Chicana/Latina Foundation Scholarship
Deadline: March 31st
Since 1977, the Chicana/Latina Foundation Scholarship has bestowed $1,500 annually upon Hispanic women who are currently enrolled full-time at a community college or university within Northern California. The 13 acceptable counties include Alameda, Monterey, Napa, Sacramento, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Sonoma. Other eligibility criteria requires having completed 12+ college credits, achieving a cumulative GPA above 2.5, attending the CLF Leadership Institute, and devoting 10 hours to volunteer work.
Chicana/Latina Foundation Scholarship
1419 Burlingame Avenue Suite W2
Burlingame, CA 94010
5. Daniel A. Terry Scholarships
Deadline: June 1st
Named for the California Fire Foundation’s founding president, the Daniel A. Terry Scholarships grant $2,000 annually to support the natural or legally adopted children of firefighters who’ve lost their lives on-duty. These scholarships in California require completing a high school diploma or GED, being accepted at an accredited degree-granting college, being under 27 years old, exhibiting financial hardship, and writing a 500-word essay about their experience being the child of a fallen firefighter.
Daniel A. Terry Scholarships
1780 Creekside Oaks Drive
Sacramento, CA 95833
6. Edna Yelland Scholarship Fund
Deadline: March 31st
Every spring, the Edna Yelland Scholarship Fund gifts one-time $2,500 scholarships to three minority students of African American, Native American, Asian, or Latino descent who are pursuing ALA-accredited master’s programs in library and information science. The California Library Association (CLA) seeks applicants who have U.S. citizenship or legal residency, have completed one or more courses, exhibit financial need, possess library experience, and intend to work in California post-graduation.
Edna Yelland Scholarship Fund
1055 East Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91106
7. Frederick and Demi Seguritan Scholarship
Deadline: February 19th
Valued at $20,000, the Frederick and Demi Seguritan Scholarship is presented annually by the Asian Pacific Fund as one of the largest scholarships in California. It’s designed for first-generation Asian Americans residing within California’s Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, or Solano counties who are becoming full-time freshmen at accredited four-year institutions. Demonstrating passion for business, a minimum “B” average, community service involvement, and financial need is imperative.
Frederick and Demi Seguritan Scholarship
465 California Street Suite 809
San Francisco, CA 94104
8. George Ramos Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: May 2nd
To honor the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and editor for the Los Angeles Times who passed away in 2011, the George Ramos Memorial Scholarship is funded by the California Chicano News Media Association (CCNMA) for $1,000 yearly. Full-time journalism majors of Latino/a heritage who reside in California or attend an accredited media school in-state may apply. The committee judges applicants based on scholastic achievement, financial need, community awareness, and journalistic ability.
George Ramos Memorial Scholarship
725 Arizona Avenue Suite 404
Santa Monica, CA 90401
9. Guy Fieri Cooking with Kids Scholarship
Deadline: May 31st
The California Restaurant Association added the Guy Fieri Cooking with Kids Scholarship in 2015 to award $20,000 to six high school seniors and current undergraduates who are pursuing accredited food service programs. Qualified applicants must be California residents, take at least nine credits per term, hold a cumulative GPA over 2.5, and satisfy 250+ hours of restaurant work experience. The application process features recording a 30-second video explaining culinary passions.
Guy Fieri Cooking with Kids Scholarship
621 Capitol Mall Suite 2000
Sacramento, CA 95814
10. Jeff Krosnoff Scholarship Fund
Deadline: January 13th
Created to memorialize the 31-year-old La Cañada native and distinguished Indy Car racer who was tragically killed at the 1996 Molson Indy Toronto, the Jeff Krosnoff Scholarship Fund distributes $10,000 annually to college-bound California high schoolers. To qualify, seniors must be accepted into an accredited four-year program, carry a minimum high school GPA of 3.0, include two references, demonstrate outstanding community citizenship, and write a two-page essay on their driving desire to succeed.
Jeff Krosnoff Scholarship Fund
P.O. Box 8585
La Crescenta, CA 91214
11. Knox-Hirsch OTR Graduate Scholarship
Deadline: March 31st
The California Foundation for Occupational Therapy confers 12 scholarships in California each year, including the $1,000 Knox-Hirsch OTR Graduate Scholarship. Registered occupational therapists could receive financial support to finish a master’s or PhD program that’s accredited by the AOTA. Eligibility criteria requires holding current CFOT membership, living in California, verifying a minimum 3.0 GPA, having occupational therapy work experience in pediatrics, and submitting two professional letters of reference.
Knox-Hirsch OTR Graduate Scholarship
3458 La Sombra Drive
Hollywood, CA 90068
12. Laurel Burch Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: March 1st
Sponsored by the California Art Education Association (CAEA), the Laurel Burch Memorial Scholarship awards $1,000 each year to high school seniors with extraordinary creative talent who plan to major or minor in visual arts and design at accredited U.S. institutes. For consideration, send an official transcript, three letters of recommendation, at least six digital images of artwork, and a personal statement on the power of artistic expression.
Laurel Burch Memorial Scholarship
80 West Sierra Madre Blvd. Suite 373
Sierra Madre, CA 91024
13. Milken Family Foundation Scholars Program
Deadline: December 9th
Nominated high school seniors in the Greater Los Angeles area could receive $2,000 for four years, academic counseling, career mentoring, and job assistance through the Milken Family Foundation Scholars Program. Eligible California finalists for the interview round must hold a minimum GPA of 3.6, score at least 1250 on the SAT or 28 on the ACT, actively participate in community service initiatives, exhibit financial obstacles, and have permanent U.S. residency.
Milken Family Foundation Scholars Program
1250 Fourth Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
14. Norma Ford Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: August 5th
Named for the 2009 CAPPS Hall of Fame inductee who lost her cancer fight the following year, the Norma Ford Memorial Scholarship grants up to $3,500 through the California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools each summer. Nominees must be beginning the third or fourth academic year of an accredited BSN, LVN-BSN, LPN-BSN, or RN-BSN program for nursing in California. Recipients must experience a financing gap and exceed the 3.0 GPA requirement.
Norma Ford Memorial Scholarship
2520 Venture Oaks Way Suite 170
Sacramento, CA 95833
15. Oliver Goldsmith, M.D. Scholarship
Deadline: February 12th
As a managed care consortium in Oakland, Kaiser Permanente funds the Oliver Goldsmith, M.D. Scholarship to bestow $5,000 upon several young clinicians who are entering their third or fourth year at an accredited medical school. Suitable applicants must be earning a Doctor of Medicine degree to practice medicine in Southern California and advocate for culturally responsive healthcare. Scholars also receive a six-week summer clerkship at any Kaiser Permanente facility.
Oliver Goldsmith, M.D. Scholarship
393 E. Walnut Street
Pasadena, CA 91188
16. Ray Dale Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: December 31st
The California Academy of PAs presents the Ray Dale Memorial Scholarship for $2,000 annually to financially bolster student members who are enrolled full-time in California primary care physician assistant programs that hold ARC-PA accreditation. Appropriate applicants must reside in the Golden State, have good academic standing, exhibit financial need, intend to take the NCCPA Board exam, and participate in activities promoting the PA profession.
Ray Dale Memorial Scholarship
2318 S. Fairview Street
Santa Ana, CA 92704
17. Robert Miller Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: March 24th
Each year, the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) Foundation sponsors the Robert Miller Memorial Scholarship to help Central Coast high school seniors or undergraduates who are planning to study viticulture and enology. The scholarship provides $500 for Allan Hancock Community College in Santa Maria or $1,000 for California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Applications must include an official transcript, ACT/SAT scores, two recommendations, and a 500-word personal essay.
Robert Miller Memorial Scholarship
1121 L Street Suite 304
Sacramento, CA 95814
18. Sheryl Kratz Scholarship Fund
Deadline: March 15th
Worth $2,000, the Sheryl Kratz Scholarship Fund is offered by the California Groundwater Association to encourage young men and women to select college majors in hydrology, water resources engineering, water resources science, and related fields. Interested applicants must reside in California for 6+ months, attend an accredited in-state institution, pursue a groundwater industry career, and submit a 500-word personal essay. Similar scholarships in California are the ACWA Scholarship and Clair A. Hill Scholarship.
Sheryl Kratz Scholarship Fund
P.O. Box 14369
Santa Rosa, CA 95402
19. Stephanie G. Hoffman Scholarship
Ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 each year, the Stephanie G. Hoffman Scholarship is awarded by the Jewish Community Foundation & Endowment Fund to support bachelor’s or master’s students who are studying English, literature, library science, literacy, or reading education to excite underserved children about books. Eligible Jewish students must permanently reside within California’s San Francisco Bay Area from Sonoma County to the South Peninsula but may attend any accredited U.S. university.
Stephanie G. Hoffman Scholarship
121 Steuart Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
20. Wilma Motley California Merit Scholarship
Deadline: February 1st
The American Dental Hygienists Association’s (ADHA) Institute for Oral Health has established the Wilma Motley Memorial California Merit Scholarship for awarding $2,000 annually to three associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral students studying dental hygiene. Selection criteria mandates pursuing the Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) credential, meeting the minimum 3.5 GPA, residing or attending school in California, having relevant clinical experience, and showcasing leadership ability.
Wilma Motley California Merit Scholarship
444 North Michigan Avenue Suite 3400
Chicago, IL 60611
Students who are “California Dreamin'” of attending college can find their wishes granted with scholarship assistance. The Golden State offers plentiful opportunities for striking gold and reaping lucrative financial aid. Scholarships are crucial because the average published tuition price for California’s public four-year universities is $9,270. Higher education expenses only rise higher in the private sector. For instance, Harvey Mudd College currently charges $52,916 for annual tuition and fees! College-bound residents should apply for the Cal Grant and some of these great scholarships in California.