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    What’s the Average Amount of Scholarships That Students Win?

    By Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman

    Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman is a content editor and writer at Scholarships360. He has managed communications and written content for a diverse array of organizations, including a farmer’s market, a concert venue, a student farm, an environmental NGO, and a PR agency. Gabriel graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in sociology.

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Updated: May 2nd, 2024
    What’s the Average Amount of Scholarships That Students Win?

    Lots of students wonder how much they can win in scholarships, but the answer is complicated. The average amount of scholarships that students can win is a difficult figure to pinpoint; there are thousands and thousands of scholarships available which range from a few hundred dollars to full ride scholarships.

    In this article, we will provide insight into the average amount of scholarships that students win. We examine scholarships from several different levels of funding and describe what their applications entail.

    What are the top sources of scholarships?

    Let’s start by discussing where the scholarships you might be applying for will come from. Scholarships are offered by:

    Specific colleges and universities as well as individual people offer scholarships. Depending on the funding and priorities of an organization, it could choose to distribute a large number of small scholarships or just a few full ride scholarships.

    The Education Data Initiative estimates that students receive about $14,890 in grants and scholarships annually, but your scholarship award total will vary widely based on your financial situation and how aggressively you apply for scholarships.

    Average Pell Grant award

    The Pell Grant program is specifically designed to support low income students. The grant is awarded by the federal government, and applicants are considered for it automatically when they submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In the 2023-2024 school year, the average amount awarded to undergraduate students for the Pell Grant is $7,395

    This is just another reason why it is important to fill out your FAFSA on time and ensure that your information is correct. It instantly puts you in the running for a substantial award that can help provide aid in funding your college education.

    But while the Pell Grant is a good start, students should still be on the hunt for other scholarships!

    Next Step: Learn all about Pell Grant eligibility 

    Small scholarships can add up

    Smaller scholarships with amounts ranging from about $100 to $2,000 are a great opportunity to help fund your higher education. Every dollar counts, and applying to a breadth of small scholarships can be very helpful in funding your degree.

    Oftentimes, the application process for small scholarships is easier than that of larger ones. This can be helpful because it allows you to apply to many of them in a short period of time. You can consult our list of the top easy scholarships to find some scholarship opportunities that don’t require a ton of time to apply.

    Regional Scholarships

    Other small scholarships are offered by regional organizations such as community foundations. These programs usually offer small scholarships but this is no reason to pass them over. Regional scholarships typically have small applicant pools, which means that you will have a much better chance of winning the scholarship. Check out our state scholarship guides to find some regional scholarships in your area.

    Niche Scholarships

    Even small scholarships with more involved application processes can be worthwhile, especially if they cater to a niche audience. Complicated applications usually deter other candidates, so if you have the time to fill them out, you may end up in a small applicant pool and increase your chances of winning the award.

    Larger scholarships

    Medium scholarship awards ranging from about $2,000 to $20,000 usually have more in-depth application processes than small scholarships. Though they may require more work, they are a great resource for funding your education. 

    These awards can provide substantial aid and are typically easier to obtain than larger scholarships. Start by looking up our scholarships lists that are sorted by field of study. There, you can find some medium scholarships that suit your major. Larger scholarships tend to be offered by larger organizations and are not as common in regional or city-wide competitions.

    Related: Top essay and writing scholarships

    Full ride scholarships

    Full ride scholarship awards cover the entire cost of your education, but let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of full ride scholarship applications! 

    Pros

    • The full cost of tuition is covered
    • You do not have to fill out multiple applications
    • Some of these scholarships come with additional benefits, such as leadership workshops and additional resources to complement your studies

    Cons

    • They often entail a very intensive application process and can be very difficult to obtain
    • They are usually heavily competitive

    Because these scholarships have such intensive application processes, it’s a good idea to ensure that you are a good fit before applying. We don’t want to deter you from applying to full-ride scholarships, but we do want you to be aware that securing one can be difficult.

    You can contact someone at the organization and see if you fit the qualifications listed on their website. This can be a great way to make a good first impression as well.

    Individual institutions offer merit-based full ride scholarships that you are automatically considered for when applying. Applying to schools with a lower average GPA can raise your chances of being offered a sizable merit-based scholarship by an institution.

    A quick note about FAFSA

    As a next step, you should make sure to complete your FAFSA. Remember, if you’re a current student, you’ll need to renew your FAFSA. You can also start your scholarship search today with our scholarship search tool. This way you will maximize the average amount of scholarships that students can win! Good luck in your scholarship searching, and remember to cast your net far and wide! 

    Key Takeaways

    Key Takeaways

    • The amount of scholarship aid you receive will be based on how many opportunities you apply for
    • Every student will need a different amount of aid, which means that some sources of scholarships or grants will be better fit for some students than others
    • Make sure to explore all levels of scholarships, whether they be from local organizations or nationwide organizations
    • Most importantly, don’t get discouraged by the scholarship application process, it can be hard at times, but your work will pay off
    Key Takeaways

    Frequently asked questions about the average scholarship amount that students win

    What’s a good scholarship amount?

    A good scholarship amount depends on a lot of things. First, you should assess how much time you think the scholarship will take you to apply for. If a scholarship application is going to take you a long time, but only offers a minimal award, it may not be worth your time. Second, you should look at how much money you need for school. If you need a large amount of money, you should go after some larger scholarships before going to small more minimal awards.

    How rare is it to get a full scholarship?

    Unfortunately, receiving a full ride scholarship is not all that common. You may be able to secure enough funding from multiple sources to cover your college costs, but that is not the same as a full ride. There is no one way of funding that is better than the other. Whether you fund your degree through one scholarship or many, the goal is to just do your best to graduate without any debt!

    Can you get too much scholarship money?

    Yes, you can have an excess of scholarship money! However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will just pocket that money. If you receive more than enough scholarships and grants, your college’s financial aid office will give you that money in a refund check, if in fact your scholarship and grant money went directly to the college and not you. You should pay careful attention to if you will need to pay taxes on any excess scholarship money.

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