The University Network

Scholarships For High School Seniors

With college costing an average of $32,889 per year, there’s no question that affording a degree can seem like an unachievable feat. Fortunately, thousands of companies and organizations offer private scholarships to help deserving students pay for college.

In this article, we at The University Network (TUN) break down what we believe are some of the best scholarships out there for high school seniors.

Here are 12 of the best scholarships for high school seniors:

Cameron Impact Scholarship

The Cameron Impact Scholarship is a merit-based, four-year, full-tuition scholarship offered annually to 10-15 high school students who’ve “demonstrated excellence in academics, extracurricular activities, leadership, and community service.” Winners are selected based on their commitment to positive impact and desire to contribute to the greater good. 

To apply, applicants must fill out an online application, send in two required letters of recommendation, and submit an academic transcript. After reviewing the applications, the selection committee selects 100 candidates for face-to-face interviews. 

Application Deadline: TBD (deadline for Class of 2021 was May 22; applications for Class of 2022 opens in February) 

Award: 4-year, full-tuition (10-15 awards)

Eligibility: 

  • Must have minimum GPA of 3.7 on a 4.0 scale
  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must be a high school senior planning to an accredited four-year institution full time
  • Must show excellence in extracurricular activities, exhibit leadership skills, and actively participate in community service

Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship

Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarships are annual awards offered to high school seniors who, in addition to being all-stars in the classroom, are committed to making a significant impact in their schools and communities. Each year, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation awards 150 students with $20,000 scholarships. Over the past 32 years, the Foundation has provided more than $73 million to students pursuing degrees in higher education. 

To apply, applicants must submit an application that asks for information about courses, grades, extracurriculars, finances, class rank, and awards. 

Application Deadline: October 31

Award: $20,000 (150 awards)

Eligibility: 

  • Must be a graduating high school senior in the United States on track to attend an accredited U.S. post-secondary institution
  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must not be a child or grandchild of a current Coca-Cola employee or a former employee receiving benefits 

Equitable Excellence Scholarship 

Formerly known as the AXA Achievement Scholarship, the Equitable Excellence Scholarship is  annually awarded to students who “work hard to make a positive and lasting impact in their communities and beyond.” Hundreds of scholarships, ranging from $2,500-$25,000 are awarded each year to students from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

To apply, those interested must fill out an application, write an essay, and submit a letter of recommendation. First and foremost, judges will look at applicants’ essays and recommendation letters to gauge their social impact accomplishments and goals. However, applicants will also be evaluated on their academic records, leadership skills, participation in school and community activities, and work experience. 

Application Deadline: December 15 or upon receipt of 10,000 applications

Award: $2,500, $10,000, or $25,000 

Eligibility: 

  • Must be a graduating high school senior in the U.S. on track to attend an accredited U.S. post-secondary institution
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident in one of the 50 states, Washington, D.C., or Puerto Rico

Davidson Fellows Scholarship

Each year, Davidson Fellows Scholarships are awarded to high-achieving high school students who have completed a significant piece of work in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, literature, music, philosophy, or “outside the box,” that the judges think is meaningful and could positively contribute to society. 

To apply, applicants must first send in a detailed form outlining their projects. Applicants will also need to find two non-family-members to “nominate” their projects. Although the scholarships go to students under the age of 18, the judges are looking for works that are at the college graduate level. 

Application Deadline: March 10

Award: $50,000, $25,000, and $10,000 awards 

Eligibility: 

  • Must be under 18 years of age
  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must be able to prove that your project is original 
  • Must be able to attend, with at least one parent or guardian, the awards reception in Washington, D.C.

Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Program

The Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Program rewards student-athletes who show exceptional academic abilities and strong leadership skills in sports, in their schools, and in their communities. Applicants don’t have to be MVPs or valedictorians, but they must be role models who positively impact the lives of those around them. 

Judges evaluate applicants based on moral character, academic integrity, community involvement, ambition, and diversity, among other factors. All 20 winners receive $20,000 to help fund their education. 

Application Deadline: January 8

Award: $20,000 (20 awards)

Eligibility: 

  • Must be a graduating high school senior in the United States on track to attend an accredited U.S. post-secondary institution
  • Must be involved in high school sports, intramural sports, or community-based sports
  • Must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must not be employed by Foot Locker or the immediate family member of a Foot Locker employee

GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship

GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarships are annual awards that go to high school seniors who show “exemplary leadership, drive, integrity, and citizenship.” Each year, the Foundation awards numerous students with $10,000 scholarships that can be renewed up to three additional times for a total of $40,000. The money can be used for any education-related expenses, including tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, and board. 

To apply, all students have to do is fill out an application. Those who are selected as semifinalists, however, will have to send in a recommendation letter and additional documentation to verify transcripts and parents’ tax returns. 

Application Deadline: January 5

Award: Up to $40,000 

Eligibility: 

  • Must demonstrate attributes of leadership, drive, integrity, and citizenship
  • Must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must be a high school senior in the United States planning to attend an accredited four-year institution

Gucci Changemakers Scholarship

Gucci, the luxury fashion brand, offers annual scholarships to diverse students interested in fashion who need extra money to pay for college. The scholarships awards are based on unmet financial need, and are open to students interested in design, marketing, art, film, communications, fashion law, merchandising, and other fashion-related fields. 

Special consideration will go to students who are currently attending or plan to attend a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) and those who currently live in or go to school in one of Gucci’s 12 “Changemaker Cities,” which include Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto, and Washington, D.C.. 

Application Deadline: January 29

Award: Up to $20,000 

Eligibility: 

  • Must be a U.S. citizen, refugee, asylee, Cuban-Haitian entrant, or Humanitarian parolee
  • Must be a high school senior or currently enrolled undergraduate student attending an accredited two-year community college or four-year college or university
  • Must express interest in a fashion field
  • Must be a person who is African-American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, or a member of an Indigenous Population

The Gates Scholarship

The Gates Scholarship is a highly-selective award granted to minority high school seniors from low-income families who are at the top of their respective graduating classes. Each year, 300 students receive the award, which pays for the entire cost of attendance that has not already been covered by financial aid or expected family contribution. 

In addition to providing funding, the Gates Scholarship will make sure that students receive further support so that they have access to the resources and services they need throughout college.

Application Deadline: September 15

Award: Full cost of attendance (300 awards)

Eligibility: 

  • Must be a high school senior
  • Must be Pell-eligible
  • Must be African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian & Pacific Islander American, and/or Hispanic American
  • Must have a minimum GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale

Horatio Alger Scholarship Award

The Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program is designed to help high school seniors who have experienced significant adversity afford a college education. The need-based scholarship is awarded to students who come from families with an adjusted gross family income of less than $55,000 per year. 

To apply, those interested must submit an extensive application that must include a number of documents that highlight academic performance and family income. 

Application Deadline: October 26

Award: $25,000 (106 awards)

Eligibility: 

  • Must be a high school senior in the United States planning to an accredited institution immediately after graduation
  • Must be on track to attend an accredited four-year institution (students may start at an accredited two-year institution)
  • Must come from a household with a gross annual income of less than $55,000
  • Must “be involved in co-curricular and community service activities”
  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Must “display integrity and perseverance in overcoming adversity”

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program is available to high-achieving high school seniors who demonstrate financial need and aim to attend and graduate from one of the nation’s top institutions. 

In addition to providing students with up to $40,000 per academic year, this highly competitive scholarship program helps students navigate the college admissions process. Scholarship recipients receive personal guidance to help them select a college and maximize financial aid. Once they are in college, recipients are connected with a community of scholars and alumni who can help position them for a successful career. 

Application Deadline: October 30 

Award: Up to $40,000 per year

Eligibility: 

  • Must be a high school senior in the United States planning to an accredited four-year institution immediately after graduation
  • Must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale
  • Must come from a family with a gross annual income of less than $95,000

Taco Bell Live Mas Scholarship

The fast-food giant Taco Bell runs a unique scholarship program that rewards students for being passionate. Those who apply aren’t measured on what they’ve accomplished in the classroom, on the court, or on the field. Instead, they’re awarded for their unique skills, talents, and ambition. This year, Taco Bell is awarding $7 million in scholarships. 

To apply, all interested students have to do is create a two-minute-long video describing their passion and how they will use it to make a difference. Grades, essays, and test scores do not matter. 

Application Deadline: January 20

Award: From $5,000-$25,000 

Eligibility: 

CIA Undergraduate Scholars Program

The CIA Undergraduate Scholarship Program is a financial-needs-based scholarship and employment opportunity for high school seniors and undergraduate college students. Winners will be granted an annual scholarship worth up to $18,000 per year, be hired as CIA interns, and earn a salary. 

To apply to this competitive program, those interested must submit a detailed application that includes family financial documents, academic transcripts, a resume, and an acceptance letter from a four-year college or university. 

Application Deadline: TBD

Award: Up to $18,000 per year, internship and salary 

Eligibility: 

  • Must be 18 years of age by date of application
  • Must come from a family with a gross annual income of less than $90,000
  • Must have a score equal to or greater than a 1,000 on the SAT or 21 on the ACT
  • Must be accepted to or enrolled at an accredited four-year institution and take 12 or more credit hours per semester
  • Must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Must be able to work at least one 90-day summer internship prior to graduation
  • Must be willing to work for the CIA after graduation

For more scholarships, check TUN’s scholarship engine.