Scholarships for Students Who Don’t Qualify for Financial Aid

While you would appreciate that financial aid for your studies, unfortunately, not every student qualifies for it. Many students are left out either due to family income, residency status, or the type of program they are enrolled in. In this post, we will be looking at 15 scholarships for students who don’t qualify for financial aid. Brace up if you are in a similar situation.

I have seen a high school freshman whose dream of going to college has been cut short due to funding issues. His situation was unique, and the student would not take out student loans. He was one of five children in a family with a lot of debt, so obviously, his parents couldn’t afford to pay for college. Now, the problem with getting financial aid is that his father has a relatively high-paying job which prevents him from benefiting from many financial aid programs.

Many colleges do offer merit-based scholarships, which I always encourage students to work after. You will need to really focus on your grades and participate in extracurricular activities to boost your chances. IB or AP classes or your school’s equivalent do help as well because many colleges consider these classes and even offer college credits to those with good scores on their exams. But this isn’t why we are here—we are actually going to look at some scholarships you can apply for if you can’t get any financial aid.

Scholarships for Students Who Don’t Qualify for Financial Aid

1. B. Davis Scholarship

So, at number 1, we have the B. Davis Scholarship. B. Davis offers scholarships for students who don’t qualify for financial aid. If you win this scholarship, you will be informed via email, and your name will be put on the website.

The deadline for this scholarship is May 21, 2024. The scholarship amount is $1,000. Any high school junior or senior and anyone going to a college or university can apply. There’s no age limit. Also, when applying, remember to write your name and your current school, and where you plan to go next year. This scholarship is not about your grades. They just want to know about your current and future school plans. Therefore, you don’t need to send your school transcript or recommendation letters.

2. Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund

Students who don’t qualify for financial aid should check out the Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund. This fund helps students who are active in growing movements that strive for freedom, self-rule, and fairness in their communities. These students work against the large-scale influence of the US, fighting against things like capitalism, racism, male dominance, harming the environment, and other big issues of unfairness. The maximum grant available is $15,000 per year.

This fund started in 1961 and was named the Marian Davis Scholarship Fund, to remember a teacher and political fighter, Marian Davis, who passed away from breast cancer in 1960. Marian stood up for fair treatment of races and workers’ rights. She balanced her family life with teaching, protesting, and even being in jail for her beliefs. Since its start, the fund has given more than 1,500 scholarships to students who share Marian, Hockey, and Norton’s passion and dedication to peaceful and fair changes. So, make sure to apply for funding via the Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund.

3. NAACP The Herbert Lehman Education Fund Scholarship

The Herbert Lehman Education Fund scholarship program started accepting applications on November 30, 2023. The last day to apply for undergraduate scholarships is April 1, 2024, and for law school scholarships, it’s May 1, 2024. This scholarship is a nationwide, very competitive one that gives yearly awards to qualified, excellent students in undergraduate and law schools. It started in 1964, named after Herbert Lehman, a former Governor and Senator from New York. It honors his dedication and bravery in fighting for civil rights.

Originally, the Herbert Lehman Scholarships were given to help Black students go to 4-year colleges and universities in the South to increase the number of Black Americans working in law. Now, the goal of the Herbert Lehman Education Fund is to turn the idea of racial equality into real changes in society, economics, and politics. It does this by helping talented students who need financial support to stay in school and finish their bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate students who fit the scholarship’s requirements can apply for the Herbert Lehman Scholarships. Usually, these scholarships last no more than 4 years. The Fund also offers some scholarships for law school to students who want to work in public interest law. These scholarships also usually last no more than three years. Students who want to apply for these scholarships for students who don’t qualify for financial aid should carefully look at the eligibility requirements and program details before applying.

4. Momeni Foundation Financial Assistance Scholarship

At number 4, one of the scholarships for students who don’t qualify for financial aid out there is the Momeni financial assistance scholarship. This one is meant for high school students who are graduating and for college students at all levels (undergraduate, graduate, and PhD). It’s for applicants who are Iranian, no matter where you live or what your citizenship is.

5. Broom and Allen Scholarship

Another scholarship for students without financial aid qualifications is the Broome & Allen Fund. This fund was set up over 70 years ago by Sephardic businessmen who wanted to give many children a chance to enjoy a summer break away from the hot, humid summers in New York City. When there was less need for these summer vacations, the Fund started giving scholarships to college and university students with Sephardi backgrounds or those studying Sephardic Studies. Every person who gets a Broome and Allen Scholarship joins a special group from three continents, chosen for their excellent academic work and their help to their communities. Since 2004, they have given out over one hundred grants.

6. Point Foundation Scholarship

A lot of LGBTQ students do not qualify for financial aid. On that note, the Point Flagship Scholarship tends to support LGBTQ students who don’t qualify for financial aid but are getting their undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees at recognized colleges in the United States. Those who receive this Flagship scholarship receive financial help, can take part in various leadership programs, get mentorship or coaching, and are part of a community of scholars and alumni. The financial award depends on need and can be renewed for up to 4 years.

Eligibility criteria

  1. You need to be enrolled or planning to enroll in an accredited college or university in the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska.
  2. You must be openly identifying as a member of the LGBTQ community.
  3. If you are a community college student, you must be planning to transfer to a four-year college or university.
  4. You should be at least a senior in high school.
  5. You must be enrolled in a bachelor’s, graduate, or professional program that gives degrees. Programs after a bachelor’s or doctoral degree are not included.

Finalists will need to send in a recorded video presentation and a recommendation from a faculty member. If you are selected for this Flagship Scholar, you will have to go to Point’s National Leadership Conference in person in July.

7. Foster Care to Success Scholarship

The Foster Care scholarship is for students who were in foster care for 12 months straight before turning 18; OR were adopted or put into legal guardianship after turning 16, and are currently under 25 years old. You can apply from January 1st to March 31st every year. The scholarship amount is between $2,500 and $5,000, depending on both need and merit. This scholarship is renewable for up to five years, as long as you follow the program’s rules.

Eligibility requirements

  • You must have been in public or private foster care for the 12 months in a row up to and including your 18th birthday; OR have been adopted or put into legal guardianship after turning 16; OR have been an orphan for at least a year by the time you turned 18 and were not adopted after that.
  • You need to be younger than 25 on March 31 in the year you apply, unless you’ve already gotten this scholarship from Foster Care to Success.
  • You must have been in foster care or an orphan while in the United States. You don’t have to be a U.S. citizen.
  • You should be accepted or expect to be accepted into an accredited college or postsecondary school that is eligible for Pell Grants.

This scholarship is only for undergraduate studies.

8. Ayn Rand “Anthem” Essay Contest

For almost 40 years, the Ayn Rand Institute has been holding yearly essay contests about Ayn Rand’s novels. These contests are a way for students to deeply think about Rand’s ideas by reflecting on her impactful and deep novels. Students who join in will have to read the chosen book thoroughly, understand its complex ideas, and improve their writing skills. They hope that students will get a better understanding and interest in Rand’s stories and the philosophy behind them. The top prize is $2,000.

The Ayn Rand contest is open to 8th, 9th, and 10th graders all over the world. They need to write an essay about the book “Anthem” by Ayn Rand, based on one of the topics from the website. Essays are reviewed based on clarity, good structure, and logical arguments. The best essays will show a strong understanding of the philosophical meaning of “Anthem.” You don’t need to be a citizen of a specific country to enter. Essays have to be in English.

9. Ayn Rand “Atlas Shrugged” Essay Contest

At number 9, we have the Ayn Rand “Atlas Shrugged” contest for high school seniors, college undergraduates, and graduate students from anywhere in the world. To take part, they must read “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand and write an essay of 800 to 1,600 words on one of the topics from the contest website. There are no citizenship requirements for this contest, and essays must be in English. This is a contest-based scholarship. You win, you receive the scholarship—no financial aid requirements.

10. Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Foundation Scholarship (SHPE)

SHPE is making a big impact on the Hispanic community. This foundation provides scholarships for students who don’t qualify for financial aid in the STEM field. They’re the biggest group in the country for Hispanics in these fields. SHPE provides training, mentorship, and programs for their student and professional members. SHPE envisions a world where Hispanics are highly respected and influential as top innovators, scientists, mathematicians, and engineers.

11. Great Minds in STEM/HENAAC Scholars Program

We also have the Great Minds Program whose goal is to be a national leader in keeping America at the forefront of technology by promoting careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. This program provides scholarships for non-financial aid qualified students to inspire and motivate them. Great Minds in STEM/HENAAC particularly focuses on underserved backgrounds of people in careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). If you are Hispanic in STEM, this is a scholarship opportunity you should be looking into.

12. Freedom from Religion Foundation – Catherine Fahringer Memorial Award

Here is another fantastic scholarship option for students if you don’t qualify for financial aid. Freedom From Religion Foundation Catherine Fahringer Memorial Award is for high school students in the U.S. who are humanists, secular, etc. It’s for students who have been accepted into 2 or 4-year colleges.

13. Alex J. Ettl Grant – National Sculpture Society Scholarship

This scholarship is given every year to a sculptor who focuses on figurative or realistic art. You should have shown a strong commitment to sculpting and have impressive skills shown in your work. The Ettl Grant is meant for a developed collection of work; sculptures made in workshops or classes shouldn’t be submitted.

The National Sculpture Society (NSS) works to promote top-quality sculpture inspired by the natural world. This organization offers a range of programs like the Sculpture Quarterly magazine, SculptureNews e-bulletin, monthly online interviews and discussions, scholarships, grants, exhibitions, and contests. Its Sculpture Celebration Conference includes panels, demonstrations, info sessions, studio tours, and award ceremonies. These educational activities are just some of the ways NSS connects the public with sculptors, teachers, and collectors.

14. Ford Foundation Fellowship Program

At Ford, the belief is that true justice starts when inequality ends. This company supports groups that tackle the root causes of inequality and that match their worldwide program work. Ford Foundation support organizations that provide scholarships even for students who do not qualify for financial aid. Ford gives out about 1,500 grants yearly. While Ford usually picks where to give the grants themselves, they welcome proposals that fit their areas of focus. Each program has its own strategy and detailed selection process. Ford understands that the application takes a lot of time and effort. Thus, out of respect for your time, they don’t want to encourage applying if there’s no chance of receiving funding.

15. Support Creativity Scholarships

Finally, we will talk about the Support Creativity scholarships. This foundation is a nonprofit offering scholarships for students who are passionate and ambitious creative people.

Eligibility criteria

  1. Be enrolled in a college or graduate school in the New York area (NY, NJ, CT, or PA) for fall 2023.
  2. Be a student who is really passionate about creativity.
  3. Major in one of these fields: graphic design, illustration, motion graphics, videography, or web design.
  4. Apply online.

Who can apply?

Graphic Designers in fields such as:

  • Design
  • Digital art
  • Digital design
  • Digital media
  • Electronic art
  • Electronic media
  • Entertainment art
  • Visual communication

Illustrators in fields such as:

  • 3D Art
  • Cartooning
  • Digital Art
  • Electronic Art

Motion Graphics students focusing on:

  • 3D graphics
  • Animation
  • Broadcast design
  • Digital media
  • Electronic media
  • Electronic art
  • Visual effects

If you are a student in any of these categories, go ahead and apply for that funding from the Support Creativity group.


So, these are 15 scholarships for students who don’t qualify for financial aid. There are many of them available, and you just have to get your research right. Remember that some scholarships are merit-based while we also have others based on unique features, for example, being short, studying in a specific field (such as STEM), etc. Merit-based scholarships are typically more competitive but if you have really good grades, go for it.

Read AlsoCan I Get Paid to Go to School?

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