Scholarships for Low Income Students in 2024

Scholarships for Low Income Students

In the past, pursuing a higher education presented difficulties for students from low-income families. They found it difficult to afford the expenses associated with attending high school and college. But, things have changed, and various educational institutions now offer scholarships to low-income students.

In addition, the government has intervened on behalf of gifted people who are struggling financially. All that is required is to meet the qualifying requirements and submit an application for these funds before the deadline. For individuals with the talent but not the finances, these options open doors to higher education.

In this blog, we have enlisted the best scholarships for low income students that can help students ease their financial burdens effectively. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Scholarships for low income students often help students pursue their education without worrying about the financial aspect of the course.
  • There are various reasons why scholarships for low income students are essential, such as reducing the fear of debt among students.
  • The top scholarships for low income students include the Horatio Alger National Scholarship, the Gates Scholarship, and Hagan Scholarship, among many others. 
  • Students can apply for low-income scholarships by visiting the website for Federal Student Aid, and college websites, and checking online scholarship databases.

Why are scholarships for low income students important?

Based on available statistics, a household with three members that is financially pressured makes an average of $24,860 per year. 

Simultaneously, the average annual cost of attending college in the United States for each student includes books, supplies, and living expenses. 

This comes to $36,436. By comparing these two numbers, it is easy to determine what the primary challenge is that students from low-income families have to deal with.

Here are a few more issues that are just as crucial:

1. Restricted options for colleges:

A high school graduate’s options for universities to apply to are restricted by their financial situation. This has an immediate impact on one’s future capacity to reach professional objectives. Low-income student scholarships can aid in resolving this issue.

2. Time constraints on studying:

The academic performance of young people is negatively impacted when they are forced to work part-time or even full-time in order to support their families or themselves. Low-income family scholarships can lessen this burden for incoming students.

3. Fear of debt:

While student loans are a dependable means of financing a degree, the worry that one day one’s low resources will prevent one from being able to repay the debt can deny impoverished students the chance to finance their education.

What are the resources for low-income college students?

In addition to paying tuition fees, a student from a poor household also has to tackle other equally critical concerns that demand significant cash. The following resources can assist disadvantaged students in meeting their fundamental needs:

1. Mentoring and guidance:

The tutoring or mentorship department at the educational institution is the best place to start if you need academic assistance. There, a low-income student can receive the required guidance and counseling at no cost. 

2. Housing needs:

Individuals from low-income families can apply for special housing programs offered by several institutions. It is worthwhile to find out about their availability by contacting the college’s or university’s official representative office. A young person experiencing financial troubles should also apply for federal Section 8 housing or look for trustworthy information.

3. Food services:

Students with limited funds can pay for meals with the assistance of special meal plans offered by food banks, college food pantries, or school cafeterias. One may apply for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) if necessary. They can get cheap meals with this method.

4. School materials and textbooks:

Taking textbooks out of the library is the most reliable method to save money on school supplies.

Top scholarships for low income students:

1. Horatio Alger National Scholarship:

Famous author Horatio Alger, Jr. gained recognition for his stories about young boys who, through perseverance and hard work, overcome poverty, a theme inspired by his own life experiences. One of the biggest need-based college scholarship programs in the US today is the Horatio Alger Scholarship Program. It provides 105 $25,000 national scholarships annually, honoring the spirit of Alger’s life.

  • Amount: $25,000
  • Eligibility:
  • Should be a high school junior
  • Should be committed to pursuing a bachelor’s degree
  • Should demonstrate critical financial needs
  • Should be involved in co-curricular and community service activities.
  • Demonstrate integrity and perseverance in overcoming adversity
  • Minimum 2.0 GPA
  • U.S. citizen

Application requirements:

  • Support from someone over 21 years old who is familiar with the challenges the applicant has faced
  • Proof of citizenship
  • Financial information

2. Gates Scholarship:

The Gates Scholarship
The Gates Scholarship

The very competitive Gates Scholarship is given to deserving minority high school students from low-income families. All the expected family contributions, as well as any college costs not covered by financial aid, are funded by this kind of scholarship scheme.

  • Amount: 100% of costs not covered by financial aid and family contributions
  • Eligibility:
  • Should be a high school senior
  • Should be an African American, Asian & Pacific Islander American, Hispanic American, and/or American Indian/Alaska Native (proof of tribal enrollment required)
  • Should be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Pell Grant eligible
  • Minimum 3.3 GPA
  • Planning to enroll full-time in a four-year degree program

Application requirements:

  • within the top 10% of their class upon graduation
  • Exhibited leadership through extracurricular involvement in volunteer work and community service
  • Possesses traits including drive, perseverance, and emotional maturity.

3. Hagan Scholarship:

The Hagan Scholarship is given out based on need as well as merit. Its goal is to enable participants to complete a four-year college degree and leave without incurring any debt. 

This program offers workshops, investment account management services, and free study abroad in addition to scholarship money. These extras help participants develop important life skills that are typically not taught in college curricula.

  • Amount: $60,000
  • Eligibility:
  • Should be a U.S. citizen
  • Planning to enroll at an eligible four-year college or university
  • Should work 240 hours annually
  • Gross household income less than $85,000

Application requirements:

  • Minimum 3.75 GPA
  • FAFSA SAR showing EFC

4. Ron Brown Scholarship:

Ron Brown Scholarship
Ron Brown Scholarship

The Ron Brown Scholarship pays tribute to its namesake by offering financial assistance to African American students who are financially disadvantaged, academically bright, and have a strong sense of community. 

High school seniors who are interested in the four pillars of Ronald Brown’s goal to uplift people of all races, cultures, and ethnicities, like public service, community participation, business entrepreneurship, and global citizenship, are eligible to apply for this very selective fellowship.

  • Amount: $40,000
  • Eligibility:
  • Should be a high school senior
  • Should be Black/African American
  • Exceptional academics
  • Excellent leadership
  • Should participate in community service
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident

Application requirements:

  • Transcript
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Two 500-word essays

5. QuestBridge College Match Scholarship:

The QuestBridge National College Match Scholarship is one of the most lucrative awards for students from low-income families. 

For this grant, which covers the entire cost of education, including tuition, room and board, books, supplies, and travel, QuestBridge teams up with some of the most prominent universities in the nation. 

The scholarship may involve student contributions through work-study, a summer employment, or student savings; however, it does not require parental contribution or student debt.

  • Amount: $200,000
  • Eligibility:
  • Should be high school senior
  • Planning to enroll in college
  • Ranked in the top 5-10% of the graduating class
  • Primarily A’s in challenging classes such as AP, IB, or honors
  • SAT scores are better than 1260
  • ACT composite scores above 27
  • Demonstration of strong writing ability, intellectual spark, and determination
  • Finalists typically come from households earning less than $65,000/year for a family of four

Application requirements:

  • Two essays and short answers
  • Two teacher recommendations
  • School Report from the high school counselor
  • High school transcript
  • School Profile 

6. Davis-Putter Scholarship:

Davis-Putter Scholarship
Davis-Putter Scholarship

Scholarships from Davis-Putter are awarded to students who actively participate in social and economic justice movements based on their needs. 

Although there is a $15,000 maximum grant, the Davis-Putter scholarship value is based on the applicant’s financial need and the amount of cash available.

  • Amount: $15,000
  • Eligibility:
  • Enrolled in a trade or technical program, or at a college or university
  • Organizers of progressive movements for social and economic justice, self-determination, and freedom in their communities who are both active and developing
  • Evidence of a financial need
  • Those who intend to continue working on these subjects in the United States after receiving their degrees are strongly preferred.

Application requirements:

  • 1,000-word personal statement or maximum four-minute video or audio statement
  • Transcript
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Student Aid Report (SAR) and/or Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA)

7. Jack Kent Cooke College Scholarship Program:

The goal of the Jack Kent Cooke College scholarship program is to enable deserving students who are struggling financially to enroll in and thrive at some of the most esteemed universities in the country. 

A significant portion of a student’s educational costs, such as tuition, accommodation and board, food, books, and fees, are covered by these kinds grants.

Recipients receive a monetary prize as well as individualized college counseling and programs designed to ease the transition from high school to college.

  • Amount: Upto $55,00
  • Eligibility:
  • Should be a high school senior
  • Enrolling in a four-year college
  • Demonstrated financial need
  • Applicants with a family annual gross income up to $95,000 are considered

Application requirements:

  • Minimum 3.5 GPA

8. Tzu Chi USA Scholarship:

Funded by the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, the Tzu Chi USA scholarship program is based on merit and need. Outstanding high school seniors who plan to attend college are given financial support through this prize.

  • Amount: $1,500
  • Eligibility:
  • Should be a high school senior
  • Enrolling in a four-year college
  • Demonstrated financial need

Application requirements:

  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Transcript
  • Documentation demonstrating financial need
  • Autobiography
  • Essay
  • Two teacher recommendations

9. Bezos Scholars Program:

Although the Bezos Scholars Program isn’t exactly a scholarship, it offers a great chance for awardees to enhance their college applications and local communities. 

Each year, a mere 17 scholars are selected from all around the United States and Africa to take part in workshops aimed at developing their skills, receive college coaching, and receive funding of $1,000 to carry out a project that improves their community. 

Additionally, a trip to Aspen, Colorado, to take part in the Aspen Ideas Festival is provided to recipients at no cost.

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility:
  • Should be a high school junior
  • U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or have DACA status
  • Attend a high school with a 30% or greater overall free and reduced lunch rate
  • Taken at least one advanced course, for example, Honors, AP, or IB.

Application requirements:

  • Short video responding to application prompts
  • Written short answers

10. Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Support Awards:

This prize, named for Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first woman of color elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, helps low-income women, especially mothers, have access to education by offering financial support. 

Every year, for the Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Support Awards, five prizes are given out. The selection of recipients takes into account their educational background, financial necessity, desired career route, and civic, activist, and service inclinations.

  • Amount: Upto $5,000
  • Eligibility:
  • Must be a woman
  • Must be at least 17 years old
  • Pursuing a first degree at a postsecondary level of education

Application Requirements:

  • Must be low-income with an annual family income less than:
    • $20,000 for a family of two
    • $24,000 for a family of three
    • $28,000 for a family of four

11. Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars:

In addition to a sizeable stipend to help with living expenses during their time in college, JRF Scholars receive career counseling, study abroad opportunities, internship and job placement assistance, and skill development. 

A staggering 98% of JRF Scholars graduate from college, demonstrating their exceptional achievement.

  • Amount: $35,000
  • Eligibility:
  • Should be a high school senior
  • Enrolling in a four-year college
  • Should be a minority
  • U.S. citizen
  • Demonstrated financial need
  • Academically excellent
  • Proven leadership potential
  • Dedication to community service

Application requirements:

  • Transcript
  • Recommendation
  • Four essays
  • Test scores

12. Engebretson Foundation Scholarship:

One high school senior who is graduating is given a $5,000 scholarship each semester by the Engebretson Foundation. Recipients have shown a need for financial assistance in addition to their extraordinary academic ability.

  • Amount: $10,000
  • Eligibility:
  • Should be a high school senior
  • Enrolling in a four-year college
  • In need of financial assistance to attend college

Application requirements:

  • Scored 1240 or higher on the SAT or a 28 composite score or higher on the ACT
  • Minimum 3.75 GPA and/or in the top 5% of graduating class
  • Transcript
  • Resume
  • Teacher recommendation
  • Two essays
  • Student Aid Report (SAR)

Where can the scholarship for low-income students be found?

For low-income students looking to finance their college education, there are plenty of free sites available to search for grants and full scholarships. To name a few, these are as follows:

1. Website for Federal Student Aid (FSA):

The Federal Student Aid website of the US Department of Education is a valuable starting point for low-income students to look for scholarships.

2. College websites:

On their websites, a lot of colleges and universities offer immediate access to information on grants and scholarships.

3. Websites of non-profit institutions:

Numerous charitable organizations and nonprofits provide grants and scholarships to underprivileged children. Numerous chances are provided by organizations like the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, United Negro College Fund (UNCF), and Gates Millennium Scholars.

4. Online scholarship databases:

Scholarships for needy students who meet certain situations can be found on platforms like Fastweb,, and These are invaluable resources.

How to get a scholarship for low-income students?

1. Fill out the FAFSA form:

Navigating the financial aid process can be challenging. The completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form guarantees the awarding of federal and other forms of financial aid. 

Completing your FAFSA form entitles you to other assistance, including grants and scholarships, even if you decide not to apply for any low-income college scholarships

Thousands of students each year are assisted in affording education via low-income and need-based grants. Assistance for need-based scholarships is only accessible after submitting an FAFSA and receiving a Student Aid Report (SAR). 

2. Don’t miss a deadline:

It won’t help you to write the essays and complete the low-income college scholarship application if you don’t submit it by the deadline. To ensure you don’t forget the deadlines, make a calendar or add them to your planner. 

To guarantee there are no problems, we advise submitting them at least one week before the low-income scholarship deadline. Since many of these low-income college scholarships are given out every year, you can even set up a reminder to apply for them. 

3. Follow the scholarship rules:

Every low-income college scholarship has its own requirements for applicants to meet, including eligibility and criteria. To increase your chances of success, keep the odds in your favor and abide by the low-income scholarship requirements. 

You’ll be shocked at how many applications are disqualified for no other reason than that they did not adhere to the regulations. 

4. Never stop applying:

Applying for many scholarships and not getting any is depressing. Don’t let it bother you if you don’t receive the scholarships you want; tens of thousands of students apply for them. 

Don’t stop at low-income college scholarships; keep applying to all the scholarships for which you qualify. Some grants for tutoring low-income students are not the same as scholarships. This opens up various options for students when they are applying for financial assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What is the easiest type of scholarship to get?

Certain universities, particularly those that are private, provide every candidate with automatic consideration for a merit-based scholarship that is given out during the acceptance process. Since these scholarships don’t require a separate application, they are frequently the simplest to receive.

2. What is a Need-Based scholarship?

One kind of financial aid that is given to students according to their proven financial needs is a need-based scholarship. Need-based scholarships take into account the financial situation of the student and their family, in contrast to merit-based scholarships, which are given out based on extracurricular or academic accomplishments.

3. Is the basis for all scholarships financial?

There are numerous financial assistance options available to students regardless of their financial situation, even though many scholarships are designed expressly to assist low-income students. You will still be qualified for a large number of scholarships, even if you do not require financial assistance. 

4. May a typical student apply for a scholarship?

Not every student achieves academic excellence or becomes an athletic champion. All students, though, possess a special gift or a strong desire to complete their course. 


Making the transition to a better life is not simple. Adolescents raised in impoverished households may find this task particularly challenging. 

But like we stated at the beginning of the piece, people who are prepared to put in the necessary effort and have a goal will undoubtedly succeed. 

A degree can become a realistic goal with the abundance of grants and scholarships accessible to low-income students. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds should seize these chances and make the most of them.

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