20 Scholarships for First-Generation College Students in 2020-21

Being a first-generation college student is a huge accomplishment. First-generation means you’re the first in your family to pursue a post-secondary education. Some of our parents, grandparents, etc. understandably might not have had the opportunity, the funding, or the time to attend college. Now, there are first-generation scholarships students can apply for to help ease the costs of college tuition.

First-generation scholarships

1. HSC Scholars Program

Amount: Varies

Provider: Hispanic Scholarship Consortium

Requirements: Must be of Hispanic/Latino heritage, plan to enroll in an accredited two-year or four-year college or university in the United States on a full-time or part-time basis, hold a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale, reside in Texas (U.S. citizenship not required).

2. TMCF & Coca-Cola Foundation First-Generation HBCU Scholarships

Amount: $2,500 per semester

Provider: TMCF and the Coca-Cola Foundation

Requirements: Must be a first-generation college student, graduating high school senior, accepted and enrolled as a full-time incoming-freshman student at one of TMCF’s 47 member-schools, have a high school grade point average of 2.5 or higher, recommendation letter from a high school counselor, demonstrate outstanding financial need, demonstrated leadership ability through a variety of measures, U.S. Citizen or legal permanent resident with a valid permanent resident card, high school transcript, Student Aid Report, essay.

3. Fontana Transport Inc. Scholars Program

Amount: Varies

Provider: Fontana Transport Inc.

Requirements: Must be graduating high school, will pursue a full time undergraduate degree in the United States at any 4 year university by the fall, and plan to study in any of the following concentrations: Transportation Management, Math, Science, Engineering ( Any field of engineering), Architecture, Environmental Design, Pre-Med, Psychology, Spanish, Language/Literature.

The scholarship awards underrepresented, first-generation students to provide financial assistance for their education.

4. Central California Asian Pacific Women

Amount: Varies

Provider: Central California Asian Pacific Women (CCAPW)

Requirements: The applicant must identify as an API woman (Asian and Pacific Islander), provide a social security number or tax ID number if selected as a scholarship recipient, current resident at the time of completing the application or must originally be from the following 8 counties: Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tulare, must be an entering/continuing undergraduate, entering/continuing graduate, or re-entry student in a post-secondary educational institution.

The CCAPW celebrates API women pursuing college degrees. Priority will be given to first-generation students who demonstrate academic achievement, leadership, and contribution to the community.

5. TMCF & Walmart Foundation First-Generation Scholarship 

Amount: Varies

Provider: Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and the Walmart Foundation

Requirements: Be a first-generation college student, be a graduating high-school senior, be accepted and enrolled as a full-time freshman student at one of TMCF’s 47 member-schools, must have a high school grade point average of 2.5 or higher, must be recommended by a high school counselor, answer the following essay prompt: What would it mean to you and your community to be the first person in your family to earn a college degree?


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6. HACU IES Abroad Scholarship (Spring)

Amount: Varies

Provider: HACU

Requirements: U.S. citizen or permanent resident, Apply to/ accepted to and enroll in a summer, semester or academic year IES Abroad program, Demonstrate financial need, Priority will be given to first generation college students and/or Federal Pell Grant recipients. Please visit the scholarship website for more information.

This scholarship provides funding opportunities for students currently attending a Hispanic-Serving Institution. The institution must be a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities.

7. HACU IES Abroad Scholarship (Summer)

Amount: Varies

Provider: HACU

Requirements: U.S. citizen or permanent resident, Apply to/ accepted to and enroll in a summer, semester or academic year IES Abroad program, Demonstrate financial need, Priority will be given to first generation college students and/or Federal Pell Grant recipients. Please visit the scholarship website for more information.

8. HACU IES Abroad Scholarship (Fall)

Amount: Varies

Provider: HACU

Requirements: U.S. citizen or permanent resident, Apply to/ accepted to and enroll in a summer, semester or academic year IES Abroad program, Demonstrate financial need, Priority will be given to first generation college students and/or Federal Pell Grant recipients. Please visit the scholarship website for more information.

This scholarship provides funding opportunities for students currently attending a Hispanic-Serving Institution. The institution must be a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities.

9. Rene Hernandez Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

Provider: Austin Community Foundation

Requirements: Must be Hispanic, must be a graduating senior in Travis and Williamson counties in Texas, among the first generation to attend college, GPA of 3.0 on 4.0 scale or 4.0 on 5.0 scale.

10. W.E. Manning Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

Provider: University of Arkansas Global Campus

Requirements: Must complete the scholarship application and essay, preference will be given to first-generation higher education seekers and Arkansas residents.

This scholarship is awarded to up to 20 recipients in undergraduate and graduate online degree programs. Students must apply through the U of A Academic Scholarship Office.

11. Patty & Melvin Alperin First Generation Scholarship

Amount: Up to $1,500

Provider: Rhode Island Foundation

Requirements: Parents did not graduate from college, student must be accepted or enrolled in an accredited two- or four-year college, demonstrate financial need.

12. First Generation Matching Grant Program

Amount: Varies

Provider: Florida Department of Education

Requirements: Must be a Florida resident and a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, must not owe a repayment or be in default under any state or federal grant, loan or scholarship program unless satisfactory arrangements to repay have been made, must be accepted at a Florida state university or Florida college (public community college) and enroll in a minimum of 6 credit hours per term as a degree-seeking undergraduate student, must be a first generation college student.


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13. First in the Family Humanist Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Provider: Black Skeptics Group Los Angeles

Requirements: Preference will be given to students who are the first in their families to go to college. Students who are (or have been) in foster care, homeless, undocumented and/or LGBTQ are encouraged to apply. Applicants must have a record of service to and participation in school and/or community-based organizations, provide a letter of recommendation from an advisor/teacher and complete the two-paragraph essay below, and must provide an admission letter to a 2 or 4 year college.

This scholarship is awarded to students of color (African American, Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American) who identify as agnostic, atheist, humanist and/or secular.

14. The Cynthia E. Morgan Memorial Scholarship Fund

Amount: $1,000

Provider: The Cynthia E. Morgan Scholarship Fund

Requirements: Must be a current resident of the state of Maryland, must be a junior or senior at a Maryland high school, or currently attending (or plan to attend) an accredited Maryland post-secondary school (college, university, trade school, or medical school), must be the first person in his/her immediate family who will be attending a Maryland accredited post-secondary school (as defined above). “Immediate family” is defined as consisting of direct family lineage, such as brothers/sisters, mothers/fathers, and grandparents on either mother’s or father’s side. Must be planning to enter a medical or medical-related field.

First-generation scholarships

15. Advantage Iowa Grant

Amount: Varies

Provider: University of Iowa

Requirements: Must be an incoming, non-resident student at the University of Iowa, must

demonstrate financial need, maintain continuous full-time UI enrollment (12 hours) each semester (if a student withdraws during a semester, they are not maintaining continuous full-time enrollment), maintain a 2.0 GPA, must continue to pay non-resident tuition and fees.

Students may receive the Advantage Iowa Grant for up to eight semesters, or until they receive their bachelor’s degree.

16. Dale A. Boutin Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Provider: Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC)

Requirements: Must be among the first generation in your family to attend college, be an independent student from a single-parent household seek an undergraduate degree, enroll full time, reside in Burlington, Barton, Glover, West Glover, Orleans, Irasburg, or Newport, Unified Scholarship Application, recommendation letter, essay.

This is one of many first-generation scholarships from the VSAC. Please check the scholarship website and this document for a full list of opportunities.

17. Billings, Barrett & Bowman First in Family Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Provider: Billings, Barrett & Bowman 

Requirements: Must be a first-generation student and have a 3.0 GPA.


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18. Full Circle Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Provider: American Indian College Fund

Requirements: Must be a U.S. citizen, first-generation student attending a tribal college/university.

19. The Dorrance Family and the Scholarship Program

Amount: $12,000

Provider: Dorrance Scholarship Programs

Requirements: Must be a resident of Arizona, senior in good standing who will graduate from an accredited Arizona high school, first-generation to attend college (neither parent/stepparent holds a four-year degree), minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA, accepted by one of Arizona’s three state universities, demonstrated leadership and volunteer service.

20. First in Family Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Provider: George Rogers Foundation

Requirements: Must be a South Carolina or North Carolina resident, must be a First in Family student – defined as a student who will be the first person in their family to attend a 2 or 4 year college, graduating high school senior.

First-generation scholarships

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