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Are you the first student in your family to go to college? If so, funding agencies have realized the number of barriers that first generation students face. In an effort to reduce the financial barriers, these funding agencies have poured money into making a college education more accessible to first generation students. Students should first complete the FAFSA to determine whether they are available for any federal funding. Additionally, state funding may be available, depending on their FAFSA information. In addition, other private organizations provide money to help you further your education. See below for a list of some funding sources for first generation student scholarships:
Sallie Mae First in Family Scholarship provides scholarships ranging from $500 to $5,000 to Hispanic students. Applicants are chosen based on financial need and academic merit. In order to be eligible, students must be a first generation college student of Hispanic descent, show financial need, be a citizen of the United States, plan to enroll in an undergraduate program full-time, and hold at least a 3.0 grade point average.
The J. Craig and Page T. Smith Scholarship Foundation provides priority funding to students who are first generation college students. The funding agency seeks students who have overcome trying circumstances. In addition, they value community involvement and assisting your own family. Any high school senior in Alabama is eligible to apply as long as the student has at least a 2.5 grade point average. This award provides students with up to $15,000 which is renewable for four years. More information can be found at the following website: http://www.smithscholarships.com/#%21founder%27s-corner.
Farash Foundation First in Family Scholarships are available to first generation students from New York who live in either Monroe or Ontario counties. A total of nine colleges and universities in these two counties will each name one student as the recipient of this award. The aim of this scholarship is to allow high need students to graduate from college without debt. With that aim in mind, the Foundation provides assistance with covering tuition, room and board, student fees, and textbooks. Students are expected to engage in community service since all their expenses will be covered. More information about this award can be found at this website: http://www.farashfoundation.org/Default.aspx?RD=1295.
The Coca Cola First Generation Scholarship is open to students who are the first in their family to attend college. This award is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. Both financial need and academic merit factor into the award decisions. Approximately 400 awards worth $5,000 are offered each year. In order to be eligible, students must plan to enroll full-time and maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average. In order to apply, students should reach out to the financial aid office at the college or university they want to attend and inquire about the Coca Cola First Generations Scholarship. When applying, be sure to document both financial need as well as community involvement on the application form. Compared with other first generation awards, this award has few criteria that applicants need to meet.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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