20 Great Scholarships for Students in the Southwest

Earning a degree below the 39th parallel can be considerably cheaper with tuition assistance from scholarships in the Southwest.

The Southwest traditionally stretches from Arkansas through New Mexico and Arizona to California. Since the Gadsden Purchase was made in 1853, the region’s population has grown to approximately 11 million. College students are often attracted to the Southwest for its ethnic diversity, Mexican-inspired cuisine, scorching sunshine, and stunning natural landmarks like Carlsbad Caverns. Several top-ranked universities, such as Arizona State, Texas A&M, Southern Methodist, and Brigham Young, call the Southwest home.

10 Most Beautiful Colleges in the Southwest

Nevada was honored as America’s fastest-growing state, so it’s clear many graduates remain in the Southwest. Job prospects are also blooming at the 70+ Fortune 500 companies, including Exxon Mobil, Avnet, Devon Energy, and Southwest Airlines.

Fulfill your career potential by cashing in some of these 20 great Southwestern scholarships for college.

Exploring Top Southwestern Scholarships Available

1. AWWA Southwest Section Memorial Scholarships

Deadline: June 25th

The Southwest Section of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) offers three $1,000 scholarships annually to one college student each in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. It’s intended for high school graduates who have a parent or legal guardian who has held AWWA membership for at least 12 months. Funding can reduce tuition and fees at any accredited two- or four-year U.S. college. Arkansans can specifically apply for the $2,000 Ted and Clara Gentry Scholarship too.


AWWA Southwest Section Memorial Scholarships

30 Hidden Hills Lake

Arnaudville, LA 70512

(501) 476-0189


Scholarship Link

2. Bob Ondrusek Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: June 15th

Named after the president of Dallas’ Columbia Packing Company, the Bob Ondrusek Memorial Scholarship grants at least $2,500 from the Southwest Meat Association (SMA) to students from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Suitable candidates must be enrolled full-time at accredited U.S. universities with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 in animal science, food science, beef production, agricultural engineering, and similar majors to enter the commercial meat industry.


Bob Ondrusek Memorial Scholarship

505 University Drive E. Suite 701

College Station, TX 77840

(979) 846-9011


Scholarship Link

3. Charles W. Margolf Higher Education Scholarship

Deadline: February 15th

Since 2009, the Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute (RMCMI) has presented one $2,750 Charles W. Margolf Higher Education Scholarship for former scholars pursuing post-graduate degrees in mining-related fields, including engineering, geology, mineral processing, and metallurgy science. Southwest residents of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah can apply. Additional qualifications include being United States citizens, expressing interest in Western coal careers, and having academic merit.


Charles W. Margolf Higher Education Scholarship

3500 S. Wadsworth Blvd. Suite 211

Lakewood, CO 80235

(303) 948-3300


Scholarship Link

4. Church’s Partners Community Scholarships

Deadline: February 15th

Several Southwestern states, including Arkansas, Arizona, California, New Mexico, Nevada, and Texas qualify for the $1,000, one-time Church’s Partners Community Scholarships. Funded by the Cajun chicken chain, the program supports legal U.S. residents who are enrolling full-time or part-time at accredited post-secondary schools with a minimum 2.7 GPA. The online application from Scholarship America must include a transcript, adult applicant appraisal form, and personal goals statement.


Church’s Partners Community Scholarships

980 Hammond Drive Suite 1100

Atlanta, GA 30328

(770) 512-3975


Scholarship Link

5. Floyd E. McDonald Scholarship Program

Deadline: April 1st

The Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists Inc. sponsors the Floyd E. McDonald Scholarship Program to gift $1,000 awards to undergraduates in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. Eligible juniors and seniors must be pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree at least half-time (6+ credits) in forensics, chemistry, biology, or related natural sciences with a cumulative “B” average or better for careers in crime investigation. Don’t forget to attach an official transcript and three recommendations.


Floyd E. McDonald Scholarship Program

P.O. Box 2106

Humble, TX 77347

(719) 253-3813


Scholarship Link

6. George J. Elking Jr. Scholarship Fund

Deadline: April 30th

To honor the VP of Marketing & Sales at Slay Industries and two-time SWARS Person of the Year, the Southwest Association of Rail Shippers administers the George J. Elking Jr. Scholarship Fund for $500 to $2,000 annually. College-bound high school seniors from Arizona, Arkansas, Southern California, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah who are enrolling at regionally accredited U.S. institutions for their first bachelor’s degree can apply.


George J. Elking Jr. Scholarship Fund

8800 E. Chaparral Suite 155

Scottsdale, AZ 85250

(480) 850-5757


Scholarship Link

7. Goodwill Maximum Independence Scholarship

Deadline: March 15th

Goodwill Industries began the Maximum Independence Scholarship to grant $1,000 to students with documented disabilities who are entering accredited U.S. colleges or vocational schools. Applications are selected from select Southwestern counties in Oklahoma and Texas, including Baylor, Comanche, Kiowa, Tillman, and Wichita. Eligibility criteria includes finishing high school or GED equivalent, taking 12+ credits per term, demonstrating unmet need, and recording at least 15 volunteer work hours.


Goodwill Maximum Independence Scholarship

1901 Gore Blvd.

Lawton, OK 73501

(580) 699-5580 ext. 3004


Scholarship Link

8. Henry and Joyce W. Sumid Scholarship

Deadline: February 15th

Created in memory of the 1940 Pasadena Playhouse College of Theatre Arts graduate and his wife, the Henry and Joyce W. Sumid Scholarship presents $5,000 annually to high school seniors, undergraduates, and post-graduate scholars of the performing arts. Residing in Southwestern states like Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Utah is accepted. Young actors, set designers, theatrical directors, stage technicians, and playwrights must excel academically with a cumulative GPA above 3.0.


Henry and Joyce W. Sumid Scholarship

P.O. Box 398

Pasadena, CA 91102

(626) 356-7529


Scholarship Link

9. Italian Catholic Federation Scholarships

Deadline: March 15th

Ranging from $400 to $1,000, the Italian Catholic Federation Scholarships are awarded to United States citizens living in California, Arizona, or Nevada whose parents, legal guardians, or grandparents are of Italian descent. Qualified applicants must profess the Roman Catholic faith, gain admission at accredited four-year colleges, attain a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or greater, and engage in charitable efforts. The Mario Cugia Scholarship is specifically available to Italian Studies majors in the Southwest.


Italian Catholic Federation Scholarships

8393 Capwell Drive Suite 110

Oakland CA 94621

(510) 633-9058


Scholarship Link

10. Joe Eddleman Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: February 15th

The Southwestern Fertilizer Conference (SWFC) bestows the Joe Eddleman Memorial Scholarship for $2,500 yearly to four outstanding undergraduates who have chosen agricultural majors, including soil science, plant biology, and horticulture. Natives of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana studying at any accredited U.S. institutions may apply. Applications need a course transcript, three recommendations, and a 500-word essay titled “Fertilizer’s Significance in Production Agriculture.”


Joe Eddleman Memorial Scholarship

P.O. Box 339

Cedar Park TX 78630

(512) 259-2118


Scholarship Link

11. John Michael Caldwell Student Scholarship

Deadline: February 21st

Named after the first archivist at Oklahoma University’s Carl Albert Center in 1979, the John Michael Caldwell Student Scholarship provides $600 from the Society of Southwest Archivists. It’s designed for current, dues-paying members who are enrolled full-time in archival administration programs, including library and information science, at graduate schools in Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Other SSA scholarships in the Southwest include the Otis Hebert Jr. and David B. Gracy II funds.


John Michael Caldwell Student Scholarship

4503 Glomar Avenue

P.O. Box 301311

Austin, TX 78721


Scholarship Link

12. KASF Southwestern Regional Chapter Scholarship

Deadline: July 8th

College students of Korean heritage who are studying full-time in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, or Texas can receive the Southwestern Regional Chapter Scholarship for $500 to $5,000 from the Korean American Scholarship Foundation (KASF). Qualified applicants must be U.S. citizens or nationals, carrying a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, and lacking financial assistance for tuition. Extra funds are also made available to non-Korean descendants of American veterans who served in the Korean War.


KASF Southwestern Regional Chapter Scholarship

P.O. Box 420242

Houston, TX 77242

(213) 380-5273


Scholarship Link

13. Larry J. Mildren Graduate Scholarship

Deadline: October 17th

The Therapeutic Recreation Symposium for the Southwest (TRSSW) gifts the Larry J. Mildren Graduate Scholarship for $750 to post-graduate students studying in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, or Texas. Eligible master’s and PhD candidates must declare an emphasis in therapeutic recreation, obtain an outstanding GPA of 3.5 or better, have healthcare work experience, be supported by two recommendation letters, and pursue the CTRS certification.


Larry J. Mildren Graduate Scholarship

20400 Colonel Glenn Road

Little Rock, AR 72210

(501) 821-5500


Scholarship Link

14. Michael A. Shutt Academic Scholarship

Deadline: December 16th

The Southwest Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives (SWAAAE) created the Michael A. Shutt Academic Scholarship to honor his 35-year career leading Hodges & Shutt and logging over 4,000 pilot hours. For the $1,500, undergraduate or graduate students must be attending universities in Arizona, California, Nevada, or Hawaii full-time to enter the aviation industry. Acceptable majors will include airport administration, transportation engineering, aviation business, and aeronautics.


Michael A. Shutt Academic Scholarship

107 S. Southgate Drive

Chandler, AZ 85226

(480) 403-4604


Scholarship Link

15. NEWH Dallas Chapter Scholarship

Deadline: April 3rd

The Network of Executive Women in Hospitality (NEWH) Dallas Chapter offers an Southwest scholarship yearly for $1,000 to female college students studying full-time in Texas, Missouri, Kansas, or Oklahoma. Eligible candidates must attain at least junior standing with a minimum 3.0 GPA and unmet financial need in an accredited hospitality-related program, including culinary arts, architecture, event planning, and hotel administration. There’s also a NEWH House Chapter Scholarship available.


NEWH Dallas Chapter Scholarship

5646 Milton Street Suite 213

Dallas, TX 75206

(800) 593-6394


Scholarship Link

16. Osage Nation Higher Education Scholarships

Deadline: July 5th

Led by Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear, the Osage Nation Higher Education Scholarships are ideal for Southwest residents in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas who have Osage tribal membership. Interested Native Americans must be pursuing associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees full-time at accredited U.S. universities with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Specifically, the Eugene Daniel Scholarship supports medical-related majors and the John L. Rubel Scholarship assists with technical study.


Osage Nation Higher Education Scholarships

102 Buffalo Avenue

Hominy, OK 74035

(855) 758-8609


Scholarship Link

17. Southwest Athletic Trainers Association Scholarships

Deadline: April 1st

Representing District 6, the Southwest Athletic Trainers Association (SWATA) funds $1,000 scholarships to juniors, seniors, and graduate students from Arkansas and Texas who are enrolled full-time in CAATE-accredited athletic training programs. Eligibility criteria requires holding NATA membership, lack financial means, hold a 2.5 GPA or better, and have worked in their college’s athletic department. Applications are incomplete without a personal narrative, two recommendations, and unofficial transcripts.


Southwest Athletic Trainers Association Scholarships

3411 Peter’s Colony

Flower Mound, TX 75022

(469) 446-0395


Scholarship Link

18. Southwest Tribal NARCH Scholarships

Deadline: August 22nd

The Southwest Tribal Native American Research Center for Health (NARCH) Scholarships present up to $2,500 for American Indian students belonging to federally-recognized tribes, preferably in New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado. Accepted candidates must carry a 3.0 GPA or higher in an accredited health-related graduate program, such as nursing, health administration, nutrition, public health, counseling, and speech-language pathology. Writing a 300-word essay about one’s commitment to serving tribal communities is required.


Southwest Tribal NARCH Scholarships

5015 Prospect Avenue NE

Albuquerque, NM 87110

(505) 764-0036


Scholarship Link

19. USTA Southwest Tennis Foundation Scholarships

Deadline: March 31st

Valued at $1,500 each, the USTA Southwest Tennis Foundation grants four annual college scholarships for varsity tennis players graduating from high schools in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. The merit- and need-based program seeks applicants who excel academically, participate in USTA tennis events, admitted to U.S. senior colleges, and supported with three recommendation letters. Southwestern athletes could also gain the Sam Fields Junior Scholarship or Junior Activity Grant.


USTA Southwest Tennis Foundation Scholarships

7010 E. Acoma Drive Suite 201

Scottsdale, AZ 85254

(480) 289-2351


Scholarship Link

20. William M. Olson Scholarship Program

Deadline: May 2nd

The AVS Science and Technology Society’s New Mexico Chapter hosts the William M. Olson Scholarship Program yearly to present $3,500 to first-year freshmen who are pursuing STEM majors in the physical sciences or engineering. Southwest residents in the Mountain Time Zone, including New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Texas, are qualified. Applications must arrive with an official transcript, SAT/ACT score, one-page goals statement, and two endorsement letters from science teachers.


William M. Olson Scholarship Program

P.O. Box 5800, MS-1248

Albuquerque, NM 87185

(505) 844-8066


Scholarship Link

Affording a college education in the Southwest won’t necessarily make your bank account drier than the Sonoran Desert. Bargains can be found at inexpensive schools like New Mexico Highlands University where in-state tuition costs $5,400. Yet private, nonprofit institutions like Rice University charge upwards of $40,000 yearly. Luckily, financial aid opportunities are nearly as vast as the Grand Canyon to lower out-of-pocket tuition costs without racking up debt. Consider these 20 great scholarships in the Southwest along with state-based programs like the Texas Public Educational Grant or Arizona Post-Secondary Education Grant.

GCD Staff


This concludes our review of top Southwestern scholarships that can make your college tuition more reasonable.