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I don’t know about you, but during my college admissions process, there were a ton of names of programs I heard in conversations here and there… and I sort of recognized them after a while, but I really had no clue what they were. QuestBridge I knew about, of course, because I applied. But Gates? Posse? What the heck were those? Were they for me—was I eligible? Was it too late to apply? I was stumped. A lot of my other friends were applying to these programs, but I was left in the dust (apparently I didn’t know what Google was or something).

So here you go, self from last year: A guide to some of the more well-known scholarships for first-gen and/or low-income college students, and then some more discreet scholarships and programs that you may not have heard about yet. Since, of course, all of you reading this probably already know about the larger scholarships, unlike me, those might actually be useful for y’all smarty pants.

1. Information about QuestBridge, The Gates Milennium Scholars Program, and The Coca-Cola Scholars Program can all be found in this awesome TP article!

2. The Posse Foundation

What: The Posse Foundation is a program found in cities like Boston, Houston, and New York (among others) across the nation.

Who: Public high school seniors from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York and Washington, D.C..

When to Apply: You should start researching during your junior year, but the application process takes place during fall of your Senior year (testing starts in September). Also, a nomination is required to apply, so look into that, too!

3. I’m First

What: Well, the support program is awesome and you should join! But the anual scholarship is renewable every year for $2,000!

Who: Any and all first-generation college students in the U.S who will be attending an I’m First partner college. Undocumented students CAN apply to this scholarship!

When to Apply: Spring of Senior year. The deadline is normally in mid-late May.

4. Dell Scholars Program

What: The Dell Scholars Program is a scholarship program in which the student is awarded $20,000, “technology, a private scholar networking community, resources, and mentoring” to complete their undergraduate degree.

Who: U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are seniors in high school with a minimum 2.4 GPA and have participated in approved college readiness program (e.g. AVID, Breakthrough Austin, Upward Bound, etc.) for at least two years.

When to Apply: Mid-January of Senior year.

5. Coca Cola First Generation Scholarship

What: This scholarship is hosted by individual colleges and universities, not so much the actual Coca-Cola Foundation. Students will need to contact the schools they’re applying to and ask if this scholarship is available at their institution, and if so, how to apply.

Who: First generation college students attending certain colleges.

When to Apply: Spring of Senior year, when your college decisions have been made. You can continue to apply for the scholarship through your senior year of college though, if it is offered at your college.

6. Dorrance Scholarship Programs

What: A $10,000 scholarship, woo!

Who: Arizona accredited high school seniors who will be first-generation college students at one of Arizona’s public universities. Students must also have a 3.0 GPA, ACT composite score of 22, or SAT combined score of 1040. Demonstrated financial need, community service, and leadership are a must.

When to Apply: Spring of Senior year. The deadline is usually in mid-late February.

7. Scripps College Academy–SCA Scholars Program

What: The SCA Scholars Program is a  free multi-year pre-college program which offers a summer residential program, year-round academic enrichment, tutoring, and college planning: “Through a rigorous summer residential experience followed by monthly programming throughout high school, SCA Scholars develop the confidence and skills to be well-prepared college applicants, successful college students, and professionals who create positive, lasting change.”

Who: High-achieving, first-generation college females from the greater Los Angeles area and the Inland Empire.

When to Apply: Spring of freshman or sophomore year in high school.

Of course, these are not the only scholarships available for first-gen students. Look around! To be honest, the possibilities are endless. There is no way I could feature every scholarship in this article because there are so many. So I suggest starting your scholarship search locally, since many scholarships are only for regional students. Good luck!

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the author

Jasmine is a Computer Science major at Scripps College in sunny Claremont, California. Besides writing and editing for The Prospect, Jasmine works as a copy editor for [in]Visible Magazine, a writer for Persephone Magazine, and a communications intern for Whirlpool Corp. When she's not binge watching Grey's Anatomy, she enjoys not wearing shoes (no matter the weather), petting strangers' dogs, and jamming on her ukulele. She can be reached by email at

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