Many different colleges, organizations, and other companies offer financial support to first generation college students. These entities understand the difficulties that first generation college students face, from searching for the right fit to financing a college education. Below are some of the scholarships programs that first generation college students can apply to for funding:
Sallie Mae First in Family Scholarship is offered through a partnership with Sallie Mae and the Hispanic College Fund. In order to be eligible for this award, students must be the first member of their family to attend a four-year college and must also demonstrate financial need. Furthermore, all applicants must be of a Hispanic background and be a citizen of the United States. Only students who are pursuing their first undergraduate degree and those who enroll full-time at an accredited college or university are eligible. All applicants must have at least a 3.0 grade point average. The amount of the awards ranges from $500 to $5,000.
The I’m First! Scholarship provides awards worth $4,000 to first generation college students. These awards are given out annually to 10 graduating high school seniors. Winners must attend one of the partner institutions, which are listed at this website: http://www.imfirst.org/partners/college-partners/college-partners-list/. Students who demonstrate the following abilities are strongly encouraged to apply: excellent writing skills, experience blogging, a background of engaging in community service, strong leadership skills, and a desire to help other first generation college students. The website notes that undocumented students are indeed eligible to apply for the award.
The First-Generation College-Bound Scholarship provides awards worth $500. Students must have graduated within the top 50% of their high school class. Furthermore, students must enroll at an accredited college or university.
The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation offers a number of scholarships that are available only to first generation college students. These awards are provided through specific universities, such as California State University at Long Beach (http://web.csulb.edu/divisions/students/scholarships/search/display.php?sID=1241). This specific award provides $5,000 and it may be renewed for up to four years. Only six of these awards are given out and are earmarked for students whose parents did not attend college. Students must attend on a full-time basis and maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average. Applicants are required to compose a personal statement that addresses their career plans, motivation for embarking on a path that leads to a degree, and to describe their financial need. Furthermore, students must provide a copy of their transcripts.
Many individual universities offer specific scholarships that are solely for students who are the first in their family to attend college. For example, the University of Hawaii Foundation offers 10 scholarships worth $8,000 to first-generation students. These awards are renewable and are open only to local high school students who show academic promise. Catawba College, University of Cincinnati, and Florida State colleges also offer scholarships for first generation students.