Some scholarships are so generous that they cover a big part of college costs. Every qualified student should consider applying to these scholarships. If they win one of these scholarships, they can afford to attend even the most expensive colleges and still graduate with little or no student debt. These scholarships eliminate cost as a barrier to college access.
Of course, the most generous scholarships are also among the most competitive, since hundreds of thousands of students apply for them. The odds of winning them may be as low as 1 in 500, if not lower.
Many of the most generous scholarships involve science, technology, engineering and mathematics, otherwise known as STEM. Like the arts and humanities, STEM majors are intellectually worthwhile fields of study. But, STEM fields often add practical utility, which contributes to a greater number of generous scholarships.
Scholarships offering $100,000 or more
Surprisingly, there are only four private scholarship programs with a top prize of $100,000 or more. These scholarships can provide the winners with a free ride to the college of their choice.
- Breakthrough Junior Challenge
- Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway
- Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
- Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS)
In addition to these scholarships, the QuestBridge National College Match Scholarships cover up to the full cost of attendance for low-income students.
Scholarships offering $50,000 to $99,999
There are ten scholarships that fall short of the $100,000 threshold, but nevertheless can significantly enhance college choice and reduce student loan debt at graduation.
- Burger King Scholars Program
- Davidson Fellows Scholarships
- Elks Most Valuable Student Competition
- Google Science Fair
- Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF)
- New Cosmic Frontiers International Science Essay Competition
- NIH Undergraduate Scholarship Program
- Phi Delta Kappa Prospective Educator Scholarships
- Sphinx Competition
- Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship
Other Famous scholarships
A scholarship that offers $25,000 to $49,999 is still worth the student’s time and effort. Even a scholarship worth $500 deserves an application, since every dollar won is a dollar less borrowed. There are many more scholarships at these award levels, but here are a dozen of the most famous scholarships.
- AXA Achievement Scholarship
- Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Scholarship
- Doodle 4 Google
- Harry S. Truman Scholarship
- Horatio Alger Association Scholarship
- National Retail Federation (NRF) Ray Greenly Scholarship
- NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship
- Odebrecht Award for Sustainable Development
- SME Education Foundation
- Taco Bell Foundation Live Más Scholarship
- U.S. Department of Defense STEM Scholarships
- Voice of Democracy Scholarship Program
There’s also the National Merit Scholarship. Most of these scholarships are worth a few thousand dollars, but a few are available at specific colleges for much larger amounts.
The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation Scholarships are also among the most prestigious programs.