The value of a college degree is undisputed. A 2010 report from the College Board estimates that, among full-time workers, high school graduates earned a median annual income of $33,800; workers with an associate’s degree, $42,000; and, workers with a bachelor’s degree, $55,700.

Chapter 5 | Beyond Federal Aid

The information included on this webpage was excerpted from Chapter 5 of College Access and Success for Students Experiencing Homelessness: A Toolkit for Educators and Service Providers, available in its entirety at

types of scholarships - merit-based, need-based, student-specific, career-specific, college-specific

basics thought bubbleChapter 5, Part 2 | Types of Scholarships
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Understanding the Options

When seeking funding for college beyond what is provided through federal aid, it is important to understand the different types of scholarships available, and to encourage students with whom you are working to explore all appropriate avenues. The types of scholarships available include:

  • Merit-based scholarships: As the name suggests, these scholarships are given to a student based on a student’s demonstration of a particular merit. Often, merit-based scholarships are given based on a student’s academic performance, but also may be awarded on the basis of other merits, including excellence in artistic or athletic pursuits, community service, or student leadership.
  • Need-based scholarships: These scholarships are given to a student based on a student’s financial need. Many agencies granting need-based scholarships use the information submitted on a student’s FAFSA to determine the extent of a student’s financial need. However, private organizations awarding need-based scholarships may use their own criteria for determining need.
  • Student-specific scholarships: These scholarships are granted based on criteria particular to the individual student, including gender, race, religion, or nationality. Scholarships for minority groups are the most common kind of student-specific scholarship.
  • Career-specific scholarships: These scholarships are given to students who plan to pursue a specific field of study. Often, higher-dollar scholarships are awarded to students pursuing careers in high-need areas, including education, nursing, or STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).
  • College-specific scholarships: These scholarships are offered by individual institutions of higher education to highly qualified applicants. These scholarships, given on the basis of academic excellence and/or personal achievement, range in size from covering a portion of tuition to providing a full ride to the college.

By understanding the different types of scholarships that are available, students have the best chance of securing the broadest possible financial support for their college education.

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web series navigationUp Next: Part 3 | Scholarship Search Strategies

Web Series Navigation | Chapter 5
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Web Series Homepage | Table of Contents

NAEHCY 2018 Conference
Anaheim, CA
October 27-30, 2018
The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015
Homeless Students in ESEA Reauthorization
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