8 Types of Scholarships for Students

Monday, January 15, 2024

Pursuing higher education can be an exciting and transformative journey, but the financial burden of tuition, books, and living expenses can be overwhelming. Scholarships serve as a beacon of hope for many students, offering not only financial assistance but also the opportunity to fulfill their academic dreams. In this blog, we will explore eight different types of scholarships that are available to college students.

Whether you're looking for college scholarships for high school students to apply for or you're a current college student seeking ways to ease your financial burden, this guide will help you navigate the diverse world of scholarships and open doors to educational opportunities you may not have thought possible.


1. Need-based scholarship

Need-based scholarships are designed to provide financial assistance to students who demonstrate a significant financial need to cover the costs of their education. These scholarships take into account your family's financial situation, including income, assets, and the number of dependents. 

To apply for need-based scholarships, you typically need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or a similar financial aid application. Many colleges and universities use this information to determine your eligibility for need-based aid, which can include grants, scholarships, and work-study opportunities.

2. Merit-based scholarships

Merit-based scholarships are awarded to students based on their academic achievements, such as high GPA, standardized test scores, or outstanding achievements in extracurricular activities. These scholarships recognize and reward your hard work and dedication to your studies and other pursuits. 

Many colleges and universities offer merit-based scholarships to attract high-achieving students to their institutions. Additionally, numerous private organizations, foundations, and corporations provide merit-based scholarships that can be applied to various educational expenses. The application process can be competitive, so you must put your best foot forward. If you successfully secure a scholarship, you will be notified of the amount of money you have been awarded. 

3. Athletic scholarship

Athletic scholarships are awarded to student-athletes who excel in sports such as football, basketball, soccer, and many others. These scholarships are often offered by colleges and universities to recruit talented athletes who can contribute to their sports teams' success. 

To be eligible for athletic scholarships, you'll need to demonstrate exceptional athletic ability, maintain a certain level of performance, and meet the eligibility criteria set by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) or other governing bodies.

Relay runner

4. Scholarships for Minorities

Minority scholarships are specifically designed to support underrepresented minority groups in higher education, including African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, and other minority students. These scholarships aim to promote diversity and inclusion on college campuses and provide financial assistance to minority students pursuing their academic goals. Many minority scholarships are offered by advocacy organizations, foundations, and corporations that are committed to advancing educational opportunities for underrepresented communities. 

5. Religious Scholarships

Religious scholarships are available to students who wish to study at a religious institution or for those who want to learn a particular religion. There are many types of religious scholarships, so it is essential to research the options and requirements before applying. Some religious scholarships may require that the applicant be a member of a certain faith, while others may be open to all students regardless of their religious affiliation. 

6. Scholarships for Women

Several scholarships focus specifically on women. For example, there are scholarships for single mothers and scholarships for women who were victims of violence. These scholarships can be a great way to help offset the cost of attending college, and they can also help to provide support and motivation for women who may have faced challenges in their lives.

Girls Friendship

7. Scholarships related to Community Service

Community service and volunteer scholarships recognize the importance of giving back to the community and supporting those who actively engage in service work. These scholarships are awarded to students who have demonstrated a strong commitment to volunteering, community involvement, and making a positive impact on their local or global communities. 

To qualify for these scholarships, applicants often need to document their volunteer hours, provide letters of recommendation from organizations they've served, and write essays about their community service experiences. These scholarships not only help students further their education but also reinforce the value of civic engagement and social responsibility. They are typically offered by nonprofit organizations, foundations, and colleges that value community service as an essential component of a well-rounded education.

  • The American Red Cross offers a scholarship for those who have performed volunteer work with the organization.
  • The First United Methodist Church offers scholarships for students who have participated in mission trips or other service projects.
  • Many colleges and universities offer scholarships for students who have performed community service. For example, Duke Divinity School offers the Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Scholarship, awarded to students who have demonstrated a commitment to community service

8. Creative Arts Scholarships

Creative arts scholarships cater to students with exceptional talents in fields such as music, visual arts, theater, dance, and creative writing. These scholarships recognize and reward artistic creativity and achievement. 

Whether you're an aspiring musician, painter, actor, dancer, or writer, there are scholarships available to help you pursue your passion and receive an education in your chosen creative field. These scholarships for writers and artists may require auditions, portfolio submissions, or other demonstrations of your artistic abilities.

Your Roadmap to the Best Scholarships

With so many scholarships available, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we created this comprehensive guide to the eight types of scholarships most commonly offered to students. Whether you’re interested in academic, athletic, or creative scholarships, or scholarships for extracurriculars, we have all the information you need to get started.

And don’t forget – NSHSS members can apply to even more scholarship opportunities. So what are you waiting for? Start your scholarship search today and join the thousands of high school students who have already benefited from our programs.