Top Need Based Scholarships in 2021
While some scholarships are focused on supporting students based on specific talents or achievements, other scholarships aim to support students who have demonstrated financial need. These need based scholarships sometimes also include a merit or academic component, but will always require students to demonstrate financial need.
If you are a low income student or even a middle income student, you may qualify for one of our top need based awards.
Jump ahead to:
- Top need based scholarships
- How to apply for need-based financial aid
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Summary of need based scholarships
- Expired scholarships
Keep on reading for more information about the specific scholarships, eligibility, and deadlines, as well as a mini-guide on applying for need-based financial aid.
Here are the top need based scholarships for students to win:
- Eligibility: Open to current high school and undergraduate students studying in the US who face financial challenges in paying for their education
- Amount: $20,000 (four scholarships are awarded!)
- Deadline: June 30, 2021
- Eligibility: Mothers over the age of 35 either accepted to or a attending technical, community, or four-year college/university
- Amount: $1,000
- Deadline: June 1, 2021
- Eligibility: Students enrolled in eligible technical programs
- Amount: $2,500
- Deadline: April 15 for high school seniors, and August 15 for community college students
- Eligibility: Males currently/planning on majoring in one of the following STEM fields: Engineering, Chemistry, Physics or Mathematical Sciences
- Amount: $3,000
- Deadline: TBD: Opens in May 2021
- Eligibility: Awarded to a talented Black student at any level of education or field of study on the basis of their ambition, talent, and drive, as well as on the impact that additional support would have for them
- Amount: $1,000
- Deadline: May 16, 2021
How to apply for need based financial aid
In addition to applying for need based scholarships, you should also take advantage of all other need-based financial aid opportunities. In addition to need-based grants that don’t need to be repaid (like the Pell Grant), students will be able to access federal student loans, and work study.
Remember, you will need to apply for financial aid by the appropriate CSS Profile and FAFSA deadlines. If you apply for financial aid and are accepted to the college, you will receive a financial aid award letter that outlines the various types of aid available to you.
Frequently asked questions for low income students
Does my family income qualify me for need-based scholarships or financial aid?
It depends! Every scholarship will have a different requirement for income and who is eligible. Many need-based scholarships will provide a specific income or range that eligible student must fall in-between.
For need-based financial aid, it will also depend. Each college will use a formula to determine how much money your family can afford to pay (this is also known as the Estimated Family Contribution or EFC).
What’s the difference between a need based and merit based scholarship?
The primary difference is that a need based scholarship will be taking into account a student’s financial situation and will focused on supporting the students who need financial support the most. A merit based scholarship will be focused on supporting students with specific talents or “merits” as defined by the scholarship committee.
Summary of need-based scholarships
- $20,000 JuJu Foundation Scholarship
- $1,000 “Mom to Scholar” Scholarship for Mothers
- Horatio Alger Career & Technical Scholarships
- Hubertus W.V. Willems Scholarship for Male Students
- Undiscovered Brilliance Scholarship for African-Americans
- Eligibility: High achieving high school juniors with demonstrated financial need
- Amount: All expenses for the Program are covered, including transportation, lodging, meals, and all passes for the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado. Also includes opportunities to apply for $1,000 seed grants to design and implement ideas
- Deadline: January 11, 2021
- Eligibility: High school juniors and seniors who are participating in a Michael & Susan Dell Foundation approved college readiness program.
- Amount: $20,000, a laptop credit, textbook credit, and on-going mentoring
- Deadline December 1, 2020 (opens in October)
- Eligibility: Open to high school seniors
- Amount: Up to $50,000
- Deadline November 5, 2020
- Eligibility: High school seniors of African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian & Pacific Islander American, and/or Hispanic American who are Pell-eligible
- Amount: Full funding of all costs not covered by financial aid and family contribution
- Deadline: September 15, 2020
- Eligibility: High school seniors with demonstrated financial need who reside in Colorado, Georgia, Illinois or North Carolina
- Amount: $22,000 over four years
- Deadline: December 2, 2020
- Eligibility: High-achieving high school seniors living in rural areas of the US who have demonstrated financial need
- Amount: $48,000
- Deadline: December 1, 2020
- Eligibility: Enrollment full-time as a high school senior with financial need in the United States with plans to enter college no later than the fall following graduation
- Amount: $25,000
- Deadline: October 25, 2020
- Eligibility: Open to high school seniors with demonstrated financial need
- Amount: Full funding (including tuition, living expenses, books, and other required fees for four years)
- Deadline October 20, 2020
- Eligibility: Open to high school seniors from minority backgrounds.
- Amount: up to $30,000 over 4 years
- Deadline February 1, 2021
- Eligibility: Current community/two year college students at sophomore level. Applicants must have a 3.5 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) and unmet financial need
- Amount: Varies according to need
- Deadline: January 6, 2020
- Eligibility: Women who are 35 or older with financial need
- Amount: Up to $10,000
- Deadline: February 26, 2021
- Eligibility: Open to high school seniors
- Amount: Up to $2,500
- Deadline December (Postponed for 2020)
- Eligibility: Open to minority students who are high school seniors or currently attending college. Applicants must be interested in studying criminal justice.
- Amount: Up to $2,000
- Deadline: June 1, 2020
- Eligibility: U.S. college bound/college students of Greek heritage
- Amount: Varies
- Deadline January 31, 2021
- Eligibility: Applicants must be qualified for admission to full-time graduate study and working toward graduate degrees in an accredited college or university in the United States or Canada. Students who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States or Canada are not eligible
- Amount: $12,500
- Deadline: December 15, 2020
- Eligibility: Open to high school seniors who have demonstrated financial need (while Questbridge is not exclusive to first generation students, 70% of finalists are first generation students)
- Amount: Full funding (including tuition, room, and board) for four years
- Deadline: September 26, 2020
- Eligibility: High school achieving Black/AfricanAmerican students with demonstrated financial need
- Amount: $10,000 per year for a total of $40,000
- Deadline: January 9, 2021
- Eligibility: Students currently enrolled in higher education programs (two- or four-year college, university or vocational-technical school)
- Amount: Winners receive awards ranging from $5,000 to $15,000. Awards are renewable up to three additional years or until a first bachelor’s degree is earned, whichever occurs first, on the basis of full-time enrollment, satisfactory academic performance, and availability of funding. Each year of eligible renewal, the award will increase by $1,000.
- Deadline: October 15, 2020
- Eligibility: High school seniors with a minimum GPA of 3.0
- Amount: $1,000 (renewable for four years)
- Deadline: April 30, 2021