Paying for college can be a daunting and downright scary task, but it’s not impossible to do! Scholarship money is out there. In fact, Debt.org reveals there’s almost $50 billion worth awarded in grants and scholarships each year. With that kind of money available, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get a piece of the pie for your college education, too.
Typically, scholarships are merit-based, meaning you earn them based on your performance in one or several areas (like academics, athletics, civic responsibilities, extracurricular activities and more). And the best part about scholarships? You don’t have to pay them back. They are often referred to as “gift aid” because that’s exactly what they are–gifts.
In your search for the perfect scholarships, you’ll find many sites to help. Some of them strictly provide a search tool, while others are more comprehensive and offer additional resources or blogs about college or financial aid in general. In addition, some sites collect your personal information (by creating a profile) to narrow your search and guide you to the perfect scholarships based on your characteristics. Others sites are more general–and give you thousands and thousands of scholarship options. Whatever path you pick, you’re bound to find something that sticks. After all, there are billions of dollars to give away.
To help you in your search to help pay for your college education, take a look at our list below of the best scholarship websites. They are listed in random order, not ranked in any way. Just a few minutes browsing the web could turn into a very practical way to pay for your schooling.
Let’s do this!
Based in Portland, Oregon, CollegeNet is a technology company that was the first to automate classroom scheduling for higher education. The company has since expanded to include online admission software, career services, recruitment, and management tools. College Net has a long list of prestigious clients like Stanford and Princeton Universities. While the technology CollegeNET provides is extremely important, especially in the ever-changing world of online education, the site also acts as a resource for college scholarships. CollegeNET operates Mach 25 scholarship search engine, which allows you to search for aid by keyword or other profile features. The company itself is a major contributor of scholarship monies, awarding over $2 million to students.
Scholarships.com has a simple mission: ‘you find money, and colleges find you.’ Their number one goal is to match you to awards that will help pay for your college–$19 billion worth available. All you have to do is create a profile, fill in some details, and get searching! You can even let the website do the work, and get matched with eligible scholarships through the information in your profile. This option can help you save hours and hours of online searching. Or–if browsing is your thing, you can utilize that feature, too, and look for scholarships that fit what you need. You can find scholarship options in a wide variety of characteristics, including academic major, athletics, art, ethnicity, first in family, GPA, minority, music, state, name, or type. The site also provides many resources for students from how to write a standout college scholarship essay to college application checklists and timelines. While you’re on their site looking at scholarships, you can also take a look at their college search tool, which will a variety of information about colleges (tuition, enrollment, programs/majors, admission requirements, and more!).
Niche.com is a little different than Scholarships.com, which only shares information on college scholarships. In contrast, Niche.com provides information on several topics, from places to live to K-12 schools to scholarships. You’ll even find college rankings and college search capabilities. Niche.com combines personal reviews and real experience with scientific data, research, and analysis to create in-depth profiles and rankings to help you find jobs, schools, and places to live. Even though it might have a little extra information, you can still find what you need in regards to financial aid for college! There are two ways to utilize this website for finding the money for college: (1) browse their scholarship categories or (2) set up a profile and get matched with potential scholarship opportunities. Choose one, or the other, or both! Categories include filters by state, major, niche-specific scholarships, minority scholarships, or easy-to-apply scholarships. Other categories include options for religion, sexual orientation, military service, disabilities, gender, and more.
Fastweb.com boasts itself as the ‘leading online resource in finding scholarships to help you pay for school.’ Not only do they help you find money for college, they make it easy to do. The website works in just a few easy steps. First, interested applicants will fill out a detailed profile and then you’ll immediately match with potential, targeted scholarships. The site has over 1.5 million scholarship options, which turns out to be over $3.4 billion dollars worth of financial aid funding. Yes, we know–that’s a lot. And you deserve some of that! One feature that makes this best scholarship website standout is its list organization. You can keep track of what scholarships you want to apply for, which ones you don’t, and which ones you’ve already completed. The website doesn’t stop there, though. You can find information on student loans–which are different than scholarships. Scholarships are ‘free money’ you don’t have to pay back, while you must pay back student loans, most times with interest. In addition, you’ll even get an extremely well-rounded plethora of information in other related areas like available internships and part-time jobs. One last unique feature is its student deal section which connects students to discounts on products like Dell computers or Priceline.com!
Sallie Mae considers themselves a ‘bank with a purpose’ whose goal is to help families plan/save for and pay for college. They offer private student loans to help families keep costs down. But–Sallie Mae is more than just a bank; they give back their communities and offer scholarships search tools to help students find gift-aid for their college education! Not only can you find applicable scholarships through their website, but you can also apply for one of their own scholarships. In 2018, Sallie Mae awarded $500,000 in monies through scholarships, contests, and sweepstakes.
Another scholarship website to check out is Finaid.org. Here you can search from over 1.5 million different scholarships worth $3.4 billion dollars. The site is connected to Fastweb’s search tool. One stand-out feature this website offers is that if you provide your email address, you can get email notifications when new scholarships have loaded that match your search. Like other best scholarship websites on this list, Finaid provides a list of scholarships by student characteristics, achievement, and interests. They even include a list of unusual scholarships–from scholarships for people who are tall, to vegetarians, to bowlers.
7. The College Board
The College Board has been committed to higher education for over a century. Founded at the turn of the 20th century, the College Board houses a membership association of over 6,000 schools. You might recognize the name College Board if you took a college-entrance standardized test like the SAT. And yes–it’s the same entity. They not only own the SAT but also are in charge of Advanced Placement (AP) courses, which allow high school students to take college courses while they are still in high school. But did you know that their reach goes beyond testing? That’s right–you can search for college scholarships on their website, too. Register for the SAT, take a practice test, and find money for college all in the same place. Search from over $6 billion worth of scholarships, and find what’s right for you!
Join over 12 million students who use Cappex.com as their college information resource. At Cappex, you’ll have access to scholarships worth $11 billion. Their scholarship search tool allows you to filter options to find the best fit for you! The website goes beyond just finding the money for college, though. The website is a hub for all things related to college, or as they call it, “your entire college search in one place.” Utilize advanced tools like:
- a Fit Score: a tool that helps you find colleges that match what you are looking for
- a calculating tool: an online tool that helps you calculate your chances of getting admitted into any school
- a major or career finder: a tool that helps you find the right major and career options
With the most current and complete college profiles in the business, Cappex uses advanced algorithms to match you with your best options. They will also get you connected to colleges directly!
At moolahSPOT.com, you can search from over 3.2 million scholarships and grants to find money to pay for your college education! Their scholarship tool will help any kind of student, from a high school senior to a current college student to a non-traditional or adult learner going back to school later in life. It doesn’t matter what kind of student you are–there are options out there for you, and moolahSPOT will help you find them. In addition, this best scholarship site will also help students of all income levels. Their database will display both need-based and merit-based options–most which won’t even take into consideration your family’s income. The website also features resources to help students find the right scholarship and earn it!
Scholarshipmokey.com makes it easy for you to search for college scholarships! You can try one (or more) of three ways:
- Create a profile! Don’t worry; it only takes a few minutes to set up. Once you set up your profile, you can complete a personalized search, tailored just for you!
- Search for various scholarships by keyword.
- Search for scholarships using their master list. Examples include scholarships for women, minorities, future nurses, religion, or major, just to name a few.
Scholarship Monkey’s user-friendly website makes it easy to find what you need–and makes it one of the best scholarship websites to use.
Back in 2006, a Princeton research project was born–and it eventually turned into a scholarship finding website called Zinch. But in 2011, as Chegg continued to expand and grow, they acquired Zinch as a part of their brand. So if you’re looking for Zinch–look here, at Chegg!
Chegg.com is an extremely user-friendly and comprehensive student website, with a scholarship finder as one of its main features. You can filter the options by your characteristics (like your high school grade or college year and your GPA) to help find the right scholarships for you. One unique feature that Chegg has to offer is its online tutors that will help you craft the perfect college scholarship essay. Services range from simple proofreading to creative ideas and development. And it’s all for one goal–to make you stand out in the crowd and get the money you need for your education!
Chegg also offers other services, too–not just a scholarship finding tool. On the site, you can find assistance with things like:
- Finding internships
- Writing help
- Test Prep
- Finding or renting textbooks (yes, you can rent textbooks from Chegg!)
- Get expert advice (even at 2 am!)
- Utilizing their flashcard search tool, which allows you to search from over 500 million online flashcards (or make your own) to help you on your educational journey!
As you can see, Chegg is way more than just a scholarship tool or place to find information on colleges. It will help you save money and be as successful as you can be while you are getting your education.
Career One Stop offers exactly what its name suggests–a one-stop place to find resources for your career. There are resources for just about any scenario, including laid-off workers, military and veterans, entry-level workers, workers with disabilities, and more. Before you start thinking, “what does this have to do with scholarships?” Career One Stop offers resources for that, too. Sponsored by the US Department of Labor, their FREE scholarship tool can help you find award opportunities within their database of over 8,000 listings, which are listed in order of nearest deadline. Their easy filter options also allow you to search for scholarships based on keywords, location, level of study, type of scholarship, and more. You can find financial aid for any level of study, including vocational training, Associate’s degrees, professional training, Bachelor’s degrees, and graduate-level degrees. This best scholarship website can help you fund your college education from the bottom up!
What stands out most on the Unigo.com site is its commitment to your personality. The world of college scholarships can get quite stiff–and so many of them are based on merit. But what if there were scholarships that were based on the unique qualities of you? Like humor, or your favorite things about yourself, or things you love. Have you ever wondered what would happen if the world was suddenly overrun by zombies? How would you survive? What if you had a chance to re-do a mistake in your life? Or what would you do if you were a superhero for a day? We know–it sounds like we’re in a creative writing class. But no–these are actual essay topics on Unigo.com that can get you money for college. Tap into the best parts about you, your goals, dreams, characteristics (even your humor!) and use them to your advantage for these scholarship applications. While some scholarships require you to be 18 years of age or older, many of the ones at Unigo only require you to be 13 years. Get started early and start collecting money for your college education. The site also offers monthly scholarship options, which require no essays, no fuss, and no long applications!
Petersons.com has a pretty straightforward goal: to help you “find, prep, and fund your college education.” On this best scholarship website, you can find information about any college or university (anywhere!) as well as utilize their free scholarship tool. The tool will help you find the right scholarships for you, but you can also search for other types of free financial aid like grants, prizes, fellowships, and forgivable loans–a database that holds over $10 billion in scholarship monies. Petersons is therefore one of the most comprehensive gift-aid scholarship sites out there. Search from almost 2 million scholarships and 4000+ providers to find the right aid for your college education! The site also offers additional features like test prep information and a guide for international students looking for US colleges.
15. Additional resources
In addition to all of the best scholarship sites listed above, there are still more options for you to explore. Don’t forget to also take a close look at these resources:
- your specific college’s website: if you already know what college you are attending, take a close look at their website. Many times–there will be college or program-specific scholarships available as well. If you can’t find anything, don’t be afraid to call the school and get a little bit more information. Each scholarship could be a potential money-saving opportunity.
- your high school’s (or district) website: if you are still in high school, you can take advantage of the resources available to you. Your high school might have specific scholarships (for academics, athletics, or extracurricular activities) just for you! If you can’t find anything, reach out to your high school counselor for help.
- your community or town’s website: it’s possible that your city could have a list of available scholarships or at least point you towards community or service organization that might have some as well. Though some of these scholarships might be smaller, every little dollar amount counts!
- from the federal agency website: while this website isn’t 100% dedicated to scholarships, it will discuss the different types of financial aid available, as well as get you started on your first steps like filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form.
- from your state grant agency: you can find more info on grants and forgiveness loans by searching your state grant agency’s website. No–they aren’t the same as scholarships, but they are still sources of free or forgiven money for your college education.
Now you have all the resources you need to help fund your college education. These best scholarship websites will direct you to college-specific, program-specific, usual, and personal scholarships. And hey–don’t not apply because you think the pool is too large. That’s the exact reason why you need to apply for these scholarships! There is so much money to give away–why not to you?
If you need help understanding financial aid itself, check out this article on How to Pay for College: a Guide to Understanding Financial Aid.
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