Scholarships for First-Generation College Students

Several scholarship providers sponsor scholarships for students who are the first in their family to go to college, also known as first-generation college students.

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’s 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

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) uses the least restrictive of these definitions to be inclusive of all possible definitions of a first-generation college student.

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 the colleges. Examples include the Benjamin and Patricia Allen Scholarship for first-generation college students at Iowa State University, the First Generation Grant at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the Frederik Meijer First Generation Honors Scholarship at Grand Valley State University, the Ingrid Saunders Jones Endowed Scholarship Fund at Michigan State University, the Fannie & Sam Constantino First Generation Scholarship  at St. John Fisher College, Student Support Services Scholars Academy (SSS) and the George A. Miller Scholars Program at UC Berkeley and the Regents’ Scholarship at Texas A&M University.

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