Scholarships for First-Generation College Students


Being the first person in your family to attend college can be daunting. The ever-increasing tuition of colleges and universities can put a lot of financial strain on both you and your family. Finding scholarships specifically for first-generation students is not the easiest. To help make the transition to college life just a little less stressful, we have scoured the internet and have found the top 25 scholarships for students who are low income and the first in their family to attend college.

First Generation Scholarships

The following scholarships are created specifically for first-generation students.

  1. APIA Scholarship Program : Scholarship awards range from one-time $2,500 grants to multi-year $20,000 grants. APIA Scholars provides scholarships to underserved APIA students with a particular focus on those who are the first in their families to attend college. To qualify you must be of Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity as defined by the U.S. Census, demonstrate financial need, and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7

  2. Coca Cola First Generation Scholarhip : The Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship program has awarded more than $19 million in scholarships to support students who are the first in their immediate families to go to college. Interested students should contact the school they are planning to attend to ask whether a Coca Cola First Generation Scholarship is in place, and if so, for the application.

  3. Dorrance Scholarship Programs : The Dorrance Scholarship Programs provide academic and financial support to Arizona’s first-generation college students. The programs support as many as 150 recipients at Arizona’s three public universities.

  4. First Generation Matching Grant Program : The First Generation Matching Grant Program (FGMG) is a need-based grant program available to degree-seeking, resident, undergraduate students who demonstrate substantial financial need and are enrolled in eligible participating postsecondary institutions. Participating institutions determine application procedures, deadlines, student eligibility, and award amount. This program is available at Florida state universities and Florida colleges.

  5. First In Family Scholarship: Farash Foundation created this scholarship to enable first-generation college students to graduate debt-free. This scholarship is available for students at institutions of higher education in Monroe and Ontario Counties: Finger Lakes Community College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Monroe Community College, Nazareth College, Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester Institute of Technology, St. John Fisher College, SUNY College at Brockport, and the University of Rochester.

  6. Fontana Transport Inc. Scholars Program : The Fontana Transport Inc. Scholars Program is open to underrepresented, low-income, and first-generation college-bound students. Students must be pursuing an undergraduate degree full-time in transportation, math, science, engineering, architecture, environmental design, PreMed, psychology, or Spanish language/literature.

  7. Mercedes-Benz Drive Your FutureScholarships: The Mercedes-Benz Drive Your Future Scholarship was created to help first-generation students afford the increasingly expensive costs of college. They offer over 100 $10,000 scholarship ($2,500 per year). To qualify, students must be a high school senior, the first in their family to attend college, demonstrate financial need, and have a GPA of at least 3.0.

  8. Nargis E. Ragab Scholarship for First Generation Immigrants and the Children of First Generation Immigrants: The Nargis E. Ragab Scholarship for First Generation Immigrants and the Children of First-Generation Immigrants is a $1,500 scholarship awarded to one student for their essay describing their experiences as an immigrant or the child of immigrants in this country.

  9. Patty & Melvin Alperin First Generation Scholarship : Rhode Island Foundation offers this scholarship to provide first-generation students with opportunities. The award is $1,000-$1,500 and renewable up to for years. To qualify, you have to be a Rhode Island high school senior, demonstrated financial need, and accepted or enrolled in an accredited two- or four-year college.

  10. Read Thread: Women of an international background, including international students, immigrants, and first-generation students, are eligible to apply for the Red Thread Scholarship Program. There are no GPA or U.S. residency requirements. The application consists of several short-answer questions, two essays, and two letters of recommendation.

  11. StudySoup: StudySoup supports students who are the first in their family to attend college. A scholarship of $2000 is awarded to one student who is looking for a leg-up in increasing their educational mobility. The winning student will be able to clearly demonstrate leadership qualities, commitment to their education, and a capacity to triumph over challenges.

  12. The First Generation Scholarship: The First Generation Scholarship empowers first-generation U.S. college students, and celebrate their individuality by awarding them with $1,000 to go towards continuing their education. The application is a 700-1000 word essay, describing your experience as a first-generation citizen. Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited community college, undergraduate, or graduate program and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

College Specific First Generation Scholarships

The following scholarships are created specifically for first-generation students. However, they are only offered by the college or university specified.

  1. Grand Valley State University : Grand Valley State University has an award called The Frederik Meijer Generation Honors College Student Scholarship. This award is a full-tuition scholarship for a select number of extraordinary first-year students who are the first in their immediate family to pursue a college degree. The scholarship is renewable up to a maximum of eight semesters.

  2. Iowa State University Allen, Benjamin and Patricia Scholarship : The Allen, Benjamin and Patricia Scholarship is for full-time freshman, sophomore, junior or senior students with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Preference is given to first-generation students. This scholarship is awarded on behalf of Benjamin and Patricia Allen in honor of their dedication to the College of Business.

  3. St. John Fisher College Odyssey Scholarships : St. John Fisher College offers this first-generation scholarship program. It provides financial assistance to high school students who exhibit a high degree of motivation and academic potential, and whose parents did not graduate from college. Applicants must be first-generation college students, high school seniors attending Fisher in the fall, and have demonstrated academic motivation and success.

  4. Texas A&M Regents’ Scholars Program : The Regents’ Scholarship is designed to assist first-generation college students in achieving their educational goals at Texas A&M University. Students entering the fall of 2020 or later will receive up to $6000 per year for up to four years.

  5. UC Berkeley Miller Scholarship Program: The George A. Miller Scholars Program is for ten low-income, first-generation outstanding community college transfer students. Students are selected based on their leadership potential, academic excellence, and commitment to community service and education. Scholars are in the program for two years and receive individualized personal attention and guidance that helps them transition to Berkeley, succeed academically, and develop skills to ensure long term success. They receive up to $5000 in scholarship for Fall/Spring and up to $2000 for the summer between year one and year two.

  6. University of Chicago Odyssey Scholarships : The University of Chicago offers this scholarship. The Odyssey Scholarship program provides enhanced academic, social, and career support to students from lower-income families or who are the first in their families to attend college. Students selected as Odyssey Scholars usually have family incomes under $90,000.

  7. University of Colorado Boulder First Generation Grant : The First Generation Grant is awarded to undergraduate Colorado residents admitted before 2020-21 who have financial need and whose parent(s) or legal guardians do not have a bachelor’s degree.

  8. University of Hawaii Foundation : Up to ten eligible students will receive need-based scholarships of $8,000/year to attend UH Hilo. Awards will be renewable for a total of eight semesters of funding, and additional cohorts of scholars will be added in subsequent years. To qualify, you must be a first-generation student who will graduate from an accredited Big Island high school and have a GPA of at least 3.0 and demonstrate financial need.

First Generation/Low Income Scholarships

The following scholarships are for students who have low incomes. First-generation students with demonstrated financial need can apply to the following scholarships.

  1. Burger King Scholarship: Burger King McLamore Foundation assists students in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada in continuing their education. The program has awarded more than $40 million in scholarships to more than 36,000 deserving students. To qualify, you must be a high school senior, have a GPA of at least 2.5, and either be an employee or a dependent child of an employee at Burger King.

  2. Courage to Grow : Courage to Grow gives a $500 scholarship each month to a high school junior or senior who demonstrates their courage to grow. The scholarship requires you to complete a 250-word essay. To qualify, you have to have a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

  3. National Leased Housing Association: The National Leased Housing Association awards education grants and scholarships to low-income individuals residing in federally assisted rental housing owned, managed, or administered by members of the National Leased Housing Association. They offer four types of scholarships, one in recognition of one of the nation’s largest affordable rental housing providers and three are in memory of three dedicated housing professionals and active NLHA members.

  4. Patsy Takemoto Mink Educational Foundation : Patsy Mink worked tirelessly for civil rights, women’s rights, economic justice, civil liberties, peace, and the integrity of the democratic process. The Foundation aims to carry on some of Mink’s most ardent commitments: educational access, opportunity, and equity for low-income women, especially mothers; and educational enrichment for children. The award of up to $5,000 assists low-income women with children who are pursuing post-secondary education.

  5. Talent Incentives Program Grants : Talent Incentives Program Grants aid low-income and disadvantaged Wisconsin students with additional college funding to help reduce the student’s amount of loan, work-study, or unmet need. Funding varies from year to year, depending upon the number of continuing students. The TIP grant ranges from $600 to $1800 per school year.

Devon Feuer
Devon Feuer