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First Generation College Student Scholarships

Several scholarship providers donate scholarships for students who are the first in their family to go to college, also known as first-generation college students. These scholarships all have their own deadlines, and we encourage you to search year-round for opportunities.

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Scholarships for First-Generation College Students

These scholarships include scholarships that are limited to first-generation college students and scholarships that target first-generation college students for special consideration.

In addition to these scholarships, several colleges have scholarships for first-generation college students attending their schools. Here are some examples of these scholarships/grants:

  • Arizona State University First-Generation Scholarships
  • Benjamin and Patricia Allen Scholarship (Iowa State University - Ivy College of Business)
  • First Generation Grant at the University of Colorado at Boulder
  • The Frederik Meijer First Generation Honors Scholarship at Grand Valley State University
  • The George Miller Scholars Program at UC Berkeley
  • Regents’ Scholars Program at Texas A&M University

Definition of First-Generation College Student

There are several different definitions of a first-generation college student:

  • Neither parent has obtained a bachelor’s degree or a more advanced degree
  • Neither parent has obtained an associate degree or a more advanced degree
  • Neither parent has obtained a college degree or certificate
  • Neither parent nor a sibling has ever enrolled in or attended college

Paying for College as a First-Generation College Student

It may be hard to navigate through the financial aid process when you don’t have someone to ask at home, but we’re here to offer some help.

A top priority in paying for college is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). You want to complete this application in October for your upcoming fall semester. This application is used not by only the federal government, but also your state and school to determine what types of financial aid are available for you.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) uses the least restrictive definitions to be inclusive of all possible definitions of a first-generation college student. If you need help getting through the application, we have a FAFSA guide to help you and your parent(s) through the questions.

After completing the FAFSA, you will want to determine if the school you are applying to (or attending) requires you to complete any additional financial aid forms, like the CSS Profile™.

Those are the common forms required to receive financial aid from your school. Our advice? Get them done as soon as possible once they become available in October. Some financial aid from states or your school could be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you are not an U.S. citizen, you may find it challenging to find scholarships to help you. We have a great resource of scholarships for undocumented students to help you find additional funds to help you pay for school.

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