If your hardworking teenager will be the first member of your family to attend a four-year college, you may be concerned about how to pay for it. Where will the money for tuition, room and board, and books come from? This list of scholarships for first-to-college students — aka first-generation or first-in-family scholarships — are a great place to start. Multiple sources, including corporations, philanthropists, colleges, and state agencies, have scholarships for aspiring kids like yours. Once you’ve perused this list (and had your child apply to as many as possible), ask the high school counselor to provide you with a relevant list of scholarships your child may be eligible for, too.
Billings & Barrett First in Family Scholarship
Who’s eligible: Students who are the first member of their family to attend college, who have a 3.0 GPA.
Black Skeptics of Los Angeles First in the Family Humanist Scholarship
Amount(s): Four winners will receive $2,500 (four available)
Who’s eligible: High school seniors who will be the first in their immediate families to go to college. Preference given to students of color who are (or have been) in foster care, homeless, undocumented and/or LGBTQ, and who identify as atheist, agnostic, humanist and/or secular.
Coca-Cola’s First Generation Scholarships
Where: The beverage giant gives 150 students $20,000 for college through their Scholars Program Scholarship. They also give dozens of first-generation student awards annually in partnership with more than 30 colleges. Some examples of college-based awards for first-generation students include:
- $8,400 given to 23 African-American women through the Coca-Cola Foundation Scholarship for First Generation African American Females at Delgado Community College in New Orleans
- $5,000, renewable for four years, is given to first-generation students through the Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship at California State University Long Beach
- $5,000, renewable for four years, is given to 12 students through the Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship at University of Alabama
- $1,125 per semester is given to 40 students through the Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship at University of Houston
- $5,000, renewable for four years, is given through the Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship at University of Georgia
- $5,000, renewable for up to three years, is given through Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship with United Negro College Fund/UNCF (Spelman College, Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University of the Interdenominational Theological Center)
Amount(s): Varies. Every year 150 Scholars Program winners receive $20,000 and hundreds of first-generation college students are awarded thousands through their college.
Who’s eligible: First-generation college students.
Mercedes-Benz’s Drive Your Future Scholarship (Only available on the Mercedes-Benz website when the company is accepting applicants in the fall of each year.)
Amount: $10,000 ($2,500 per year for four years) is given to more than 100 students each year.
Who’s eligible: High school seniors who are first in their family to attend college, who demonstrate financial need, and who have a 3.0 GPA or higher. Preference is given to students from underprivileged backgrounds who have shown triumph over adversity.
TELACU Education Foundation’s College Success Program
Where: Applicants must be residents of specific underserved communities in California (specific communities in Los Angeles County, Orange County, and San Bernardino County), Texas (San Antonio, Austin, Laredo, Edinburg, or Rio Grande City), Illinois (Greater Chicagoland Area), and New York (anywhere in the state of New York).
Amount(s): $500 to $5,000. Also provides one-on-one guidance, career development, mentoring, and preparation for workforce entry, graduate school, and internship opportunities.
Who’s eligible: First-generation college students with a 2.75 GPA or higher. Priority is given to applicants majoring in the fields of Business and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
Thurgood Marshall College Fund and Walmart Foundation’s First Generation Scholarship Program
Where: Any of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s 47 member schools. [https://www.tmcf.org/about-us/our-schools].
Amount(s): Up to $6,200
Who’s eligible: First-generation students who demonstrate financial need, have a minimum 2.5 GPA.
The Frederik Meijer First Generation Honors College Student Scholarship
Where: Grand Valley State University Honors College in Allendale, Michigan [https://www.gvsu.edu/honor/]
Amount(s): Full-tuition scholarship for a select number of first year students, renewable for up to eight semesters
Who’s eligible: Students who are first in their immediate family to pursue a college degree; must compete in the scholarship competition and be accepted into the honors college by mid-February.
Carrie Parker Taylor Scholarship
Where: Indiana University
Who’s eligible: First-generation sophomores, juniors, or seniors with demonstrated financial need; must also be members of OVPDEMA (Office of the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs)
The Benjamin and Patricia Allen Scholarship
Where: Iowa State University
Who’s eligible: Students enrolled full-time as a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior with a minimum GPA of 3.0; Preference is given to students whose parents are not college graduates
Cynthia E. Morgan Scholarship Fund
Who’s eligible: Residents of Maryland who are the first person in his/her immediate family attending an accredited Maryland post-secondary school and who are planning to enter a medical or medical-related field.
Fannie & Sam Constantino First Generation Scholarship Program — St. John Fisher College
Where: St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY
Amount(s): 24 students will receive up to 50 percent of their tuition and on-campus room and board espenses, depending on financial need.
Who’s eligible: Students whose parents did not graduate from college and who are planning to attend Fisher College the following fall semester, and who have a high school GPA of B/B+ and a SAT score of 1080 or higher.
First in Family Scholarships from the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation
Where: New York (University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, SUNY College at Brockport, Nazareth College, Roberts Wesleyan College, Finger Lakes Community College, Monroe Community College)
Amount(s): Full tuition, room and board, textbooks, and mandatory fees for up to five years, enabling first-in-family students to graduate debt-free.
Who’s eligible: Students at institutions of higher education in Monroe and Ontario Counties, New York. (University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, SUNY College at Brockport, Nazareth College, Roberts Wesleyan College, Finger Lakes Community College, Monroe Community College)
Patty & Melvin Alperin First Generation Scholarships
Where: Rhode Island
Amount(s): $1,000 per year for up to three years
Who’s eligible: Students who are residents of Rhode Island who demonstrate financial need and whose parents did not graduate from college
First Generation Matching Grant Program
Amount(s): This grant does not provide initial funds, but it matches money gained from private sources. Funds donated by relatives, money earned from a part time job, and small scholarships are matched.
Who’s eligible: First-generation college students who are Florida residents and who are enrolled in a Florida state university or college.
First in Family Scholarship from the George Rogers Foundation
Where: North or South Carolina
Who’s eligible: South Carolina or North Carolina residents who are the first person in their family to attend a two- or four-year college and who have a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Regent’s Scholars Program
Where: Texas A&M University
Amount(s): 900 incoming freshmen will receive $5,000 per year for up to four years
Who’s eligible: Students whose parents do not have a bachelor’s degree, whose family income is less than $40,000 per year, who live on campus freshman year, and who participate in an academic success program.
Smith Scholarship Foundation
Amount(s): Full tuition up to $15,000 plus study abroad, graduate, and professional school opportunities.
Who’s eligible: Alabama high school seniors seeking to attend Alabama colleges, with a minimum C+ grade average. Civic involvement and/or special family responsibility is required. Priority is given to disadvantaged student and first-generation students who have one or two parents who have not received a baccalaureate degree.
Tom Edd Wilson First in the Family Endowed Scholarship
Where: Chattanooga State Community College in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Who’s eligible: First-generation college students with a minimum 2.5 GPA.
The Villa Esperanza Scholarship from the Hispanic Scholarship Consortium
Where: An Austin-area college or university (University of Texas at Austin, St. Edward’s University, Concordia University, Huston-Tillotson University, Texas State University, Southwestern University, Austin Community College)
Amount(s): $2,000, which can be renewed for four years or until graduation
Who’s eligible: First-generation immigrant college students who have great financial need and a 3.0 GPA or higher
CLAS First Generation Scholarships
Where: Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Amount: Nine winners will receive between $650 and $1,900
Who’s eligible: First-generation college students with a 2.5 GPA who are or will be enrolled full-time
Dorrance Scholarship Program
Where: One of Arizona’s three residential public universities (Arizona State University-Tempe, Northern Arizona University-Flagstaff, University of Arizona-Tucson)
Amount(s): Up to $12,000 annually, renewable for up to 4 years
Who’s eligible: First-generation college students who graduated from an Arizona high school with a minimum 3.0 GPA and who have demonstrated financial need.
First Generation Award Program
Where: Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado
Amount(s): Up to $4,000 annually, with the possibility of renewal
Who’s eligible: First-generation college students who are incoming freshmen with a high GPA and who demonstrate significant financial need; priority is given to applicants who enhance diversity.
First Generation Grant
Where: University of Colorado Boulder
Amount: Up to $2,000 for students living off-campus or up to $4,000 for students living on-campus, renewable for up to 10 semesters
Who’s eligible: Undergraduate Colorado residents who have financial need and whose parents do not have any education or technical training beyond high school.
Meldrum Family Scholarship
Where: University of Utah
Who’s eligible: First-generation college students with demonstrated financial need. Preference is given to members of a federally recognized American Indian tribe or applicants who have at least one parent who is a member of a federally recognized American Indian tribe.