First-generation or “first in family” scholarships are awarded to individuals who are the first in their immediate family to study at some type of college or university, typically for the pursuit of a four-year degree. Many such scholarships are set aside for those of a particular cultural heritage or ethnicity or for women, and many such scholarships have academic or financial needs requirements as well.
If you’re the first in your immediate family to attend college or are looking for financial aid for your son or daughter, check out some of the most well-known first-generation scholarships for which you might be eligible. Be sure to note any added requirements before narrowing down your choices or applying so you know you choose the right scholarship opportunity for you!
1. The Sallie Mae Fund and Hispanic College Fund
Partnered with the Hispanic College Fund, the Sallie Mae First in Family Scholarship promotes access to secondary schooling for those of Hispanic culture. The scholarship is awarded on needs-based criteria, and an applicant must be a U.S. citizen, enrolled fulltime in the accredited school of their choice, be pursuing an undergraduate degree, and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. The scholarship is awarded in amounts of $500 to $5000 per student.
2. The Mercedes Benz Drive Your Future Scholarship
The Mercedes Benz Drive Your Future Scholarship offers the first-generation opportunity for seniors in high school who are the first in their family to pursue higher education. This first-generation scholarship is awarded to those showing academic merit along with extracurricular activities and success. The scholarship also considers the financial need of students and expects that recipients serve as community volunteers or organizers, activists, advocates, or in other such work.
3. The Coca Cola Foundation First Generation Scholarships
The Coca Cola Foundation First Generation Scholarships are granted to various “first in family” undergrad and graduate students every single year. Over the past sixteen years, some $14 million in scholarship funds have been awarded! Applicants must show financial need as well as what the foundation considers reasonable academic achievements. Each scholarship recipient can receive up to $5000, to be used for tuition as well as college expenses.
4. The J. Craig and Page T. Smith Scholarship Foundation
The J. Craig and Page T. Smith Scholarship Foundation has a primary objective of sending Alabama students from disadvantaged families to college; while first-generation students are not the only ones eligible for this scholarship, they are typically given priority over other applicants. Applicants must maintain at least average grades and they are expected to keep up with chosen civic or special family activities, volunteer work, and the like.
5. The Farash Foundation First in Family Scholarships
The Farash Foundation First in Family Scholarships is limited to “first in family” secondary school students in Ontario and Monroe counties, in New York. While the payouts are limited to this small pool, they are also considered “full ride” scholarships, meaning that they are designed to pay all of a student’s expenses so that they can graduate debt-free. Community service or some type of nonprofit work is expected of the student during their course of study, which is considered a “return the favor” gesture for their scholarship funding.
6. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota First Generation Initiative Scholarship
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota First Generation Initiative Scholarship is meant for “first in family” students who have a demonstrated financial need. Preference is given to applicants with proven leadership abilities and who have shown a commitment to extracurricular activities in their school, religious setting, or other areas of the community.
7. Florida Department of Education
Private donors and other partners are matched with the Florida Department of Education to provide scholarships to various first-generation students. The department uses a one-to-one dollar match between private funding and public dollars, through what is called the First Generation Matching Grant Program. Applicants may be asked to submit their college admission test results and other similar requirements, depending on the institution granting their funding.
8. Highpoint University First Generation Scholarships
Highpoint University First Generation Scholarships is reserved for first-generation students within the city of Highpoint, North Carolina. Applicants are asked to submit a one-page essay on how being their family’s first college student has affected them, along with their application. The university offers more than one “full ride” scholarship annually, ensuring that students receive the funds needed to graduate debt-free.
9. Catawba College First Family Scholarship
To qualify for the Catawba College First Family Scholarship, offered through this North Carolina college, students start with an invitation to submit an application. The scholarship is reserved for those with the highest grades and academic achievements, and they are asked to submit test results as well as letters of recommendation from an instructor or administrator. Applicants are also required to submit a short essay on being the first in their family to attend secondary schooling. Recipients receive a full-tuition scholarship.
10. The University of Cincinnati Ohio First Scholarships
The University of Cincinnati Ohio First Scholarships offers a needs-based “first in family” scholarship, to promote diversity within their student body. The scholarship gives preference to females, minorities, and other such marginalized groups, and especially those looking to pursue studies in fields mostly occupied by white males. Applicants are also screened according to their primary school GPA and secondary school entrance exam scores. Each recipient is eligible for $4100 to $4500 annually.
11. The University of Hawaii Foundation
The University of Hawaii Foundation is partnered with the Dorrance Family Foundation to award ten scholarships of $8000 every year. The scholarships are limited to area students with a demonstrated financial need, and who have a 3.0 GPA or higher as well as acceptable college admissions test scores. Recipients are required to live on the university campus during their first two years of schooling.
12. Michigan Grand Valley State University’s Frederik Meijer Honors College
The Michigan Grand Valley State University’s Frederik Meijer Honors College is a full-tuition scholarship for exceptional college students. The scholarship can be renewed for a total of eight semesters. The scholarship is limited to honors students.
I hope that this list of first-generation scholarships was useful. If you want to, I highly suggest going to first-generation scholarships category.