The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for .
One of the best ways to find scholarships is through scholarship search engines. These websites are databases that list millions of scholarships to help students pay for their education without needing student loans or borrowing as much in loans.
You may be able to find scholarships based on your financial need, merits, community service, heritage, gender, orientation and life experience. Some also benefit students who engage in unique hobbies.
You can typically search for scholarships and grants by category or even enter information about yourself and your activities, and the scholarship finder will match you with ones you might be able to get.
9 best college scholarship search engines
College students can find millions of scholarships with the help of scholarship finders. Here are some of the best scholarship websites to assist you in your search.
With Scholarships.com, you’ll get a comprehensive database of 3.7 million scholarships worth roughly $19 billion in financial aid. You can search the website’s directory without a profile, but you’ll need to create one to determine if you qualify.
To create a profile, enter your current year in school, birthdate, ZIP code and email address. Once set up, you can search for and get matched with scholarships based on your eligibility and interest.
Scholarships.com also provides information about student loans and other resources. You can even search for colleges if you’re not sure yet where you want to attend.
The Fastweb database includes 1.5 million scholarships worth more than $3.4 billion. Once you create an account, you can log in and discover matches based on the information you’ve shared. The site even allows parents to create separate accounts to maximize potential earnings.
If you can’t get enough funds to pay all of your educational expenses, Fastweb can also connect you with one of nearly 10,000 part-time jobs and internships. You can also search for deals and promotions that top retailers offer to college students.
The website also provides a college search function and lists resources about other forms of financial aid and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid for college students and their parents.
Cappex claims to have more than $11 billion worth of scholarship options available. Before you sign up, you can search the directory based on deadline, ZIP code, gender, ethnicity, school year and other factors. You can even weed out lower-paying scholarships by setting a minimum dollar amount for your search.
To apply for a scholarship, you’ll need to create an account, which requires basic information about yourself to help match you with scholarships. Cappex also provides resources to help you decide on your major, learn about transferring to a different school and apply for financial aid.
The Niche scholarship finder is unique because it rewards you simply for opening an account. As soon as you complete the process, you’ll be entered to win a $2,000 scholarship that doesn’t require an essay. Just provide your name, birth date, email address and year in school.
Scholarship categories are broken down into new or popular scholarships, aid based on your state or major, scholarships for minorities and more. Students and parents can also search for colleges, including graduate school, based on specialties, test scores, college type, student body size, acceptance rate and religious affiliation.
Backed by The College Board, the BigFuture scholarship database allows students to narrow their search in various ways, including their profession or career field of interest. While a free College Board account is needed to apply for awards, BigFuture retains application information and includes a data syncing option to make applications for multiple awards – and reapplication, when applicable – easy.
This site also offers tools for estimating your family contribution toward college costs and guides to qualifying for other types of financial aid.
Peterson’s is another scholarship website with a huge selection, housing over $10 billion in private financial aid. It also offers a $2,500 scholarship of its own called the World’s Easiest Scholarship.
In addition to scholarships, you can also search for grants, fellowships, forgivable loans and other prizes. If you want to get the details of the options you’re looking for you’ll need to create an account. An account requires the same personal details as some of the other best scholarship websites.
Peterson’s can also help you find a graduate school and get assistance with test prep — both to get into college or a graduate program and to enter various career paths. It also has resources for military members, adult learners, transfer students and international students.
In addition to a database of more than 3.6 million scholarships and grants, Unigo offers 14 scholarships to help college students pay for school.
You can get information about the various scholarships that are available and even save your answers to essay questions so you can get through applications more quickly and avoid having to rewrite the same essays. Unigo also offers resources to help you find a college, learn about student loans and get ready for your time in college.
Scholly uses artificial intelligence to provide scholarship matches and prioritizes them based on which ones you’re best qualified for. The platform also gives users access to exclusive scholarships that aren’t available anywhere else, so there’s less competition.
The site once charged a subscription fee for access to scholarship matching. As of October 2023, the site and app are available to use for free. Sallie Mae recently acquired Scholly.
Paid scholarship finder ScholarshipOwl offers a seven-day free trial, then charges $20 monthly. The website makes up for the cost by streamlining the application process, making it easier and faster to apply for scholarships. The more applications you can submit, the better your chances of getting the aid you need.
ScholarshipOwl provides several other services, including a long list of exclusive student discounts for its users, essay-writing assistance, webinars and automatic reapplications for recurring scholarships.
What types of scholarships can you apply for?
Scholarships are available to students from all walks of life. Regardless of your background, experiences, area of study or academic track record, there are likely scholarships available for you. Examples include:
- Law school scholarships.
- Pharmacy school scholarships.
- LGBTQ scholarships.
- Scholarships for women returning to college.
- Other scholarships for women.
There are also several bizarre scholarships you might not expect to see but can provide hundreds or even thousands of dollars in financial aid. Take the time to do the research necessary to find as many scholarships as you can that you are eligible for. The more free money you can obtain to help you pay for school, the less you’ll need to borrow.
Tips for applying for a scholarship
As you begin your search for scholarships to help you pay for school, here are some key tips that can make it possible for you to maximize your chances of success:
- Apply for as many scholarships as you can: The more scholarships you apply for, the greater your chances of earning them get. Don’t dismiss small awards, either. Several small scholarships can add up.
- Get second opinions on your essays: Ask a parent or school counselor to review your essays and give feedback before you submit them.
- Stay organized: Make sure you meet deadlines and keep track of the scholarships you have already applied for so you don’t miss opportunities. If you’re applying for many scholarships, keep a spreadsheet to track the scholarship names, deadlines and application statuses.
- Start early and keep looking: Start long before you need to make your first payment for school. Many scholarships become available once you’re in ninth grade. Once you’re out of high school, don’t stop searching for scholarships. Keep looking for opportunities while you’re in school.
- Use all available resources: To find scholarships that apply to you, use any resources you have available. Use multiple scholarship search engines, and check with your school’s financial aid office to see if any institutional or departmental scholarships are available. If you’re still in high school, ask your school counselor for help.
Don’t be afraid to ask for more tips from resources around you. Local universities and community colleges may offer scholarship workshops where you can learn more tips or have someone look over your essays.
The bottom line
With millions of scholarships out there, chances are you can find at least one that aligns with your strengths and interests. Using multiple search engines– and diligently exploring the many awards out there– can improve your chances of winning a scholarship award. Keep in mind that even if you do not win a scholarship one year, many accept applications on an annual or rolling basis, so reapplication may be both simple and worthwhile.
Frequently asked questions
Not necessarily. While scholarship search engines are a great place to start your search, they are not comprehensive. Some scholarships– especially local ones– may only be available through your institution’s financial aid office or directly through the organizations that fund the awards (such as local civic groups, like a Rotary or Lions Club).
There is no limit to how often you can search, and some scholarship search engines may alert you to new awards that may be a good fit for your profile. If you are enthusiastic about identifying and applying for awards, weekly (or even daily!) searching can unearth new opportunities throughout your time before and during school.