Even if you’re not ready to apply to college just yet, exploring funding options now can help set your and your parents’ minds at ease about the college application process and may reduce the amount of work you have to do later. Most colleges and universities offer tuition assistance to students with financial need through a combination of school and government grants, campus jobs and student loans. However, outside scholarships can help bridge the gap between what the school provides and what your family can pay – as well as cover additional costs, such as rent, food, books, transportation, fees and other expenses. Corporations, private foundations, nonprofits, religious organizations, advocacy groups and other sponsors offer tens of thousands of dollars in college scholarships to incoming students every year. In fact, ECCLA even offers a small scholarship each year which students in our service area can apply for. (Learn more here.)
There is no limit to how many of these programs you can apply for, though each will have its own specific eligibility requirements which you should pay attention to. In order to give yourself plenty of time you have to find and apply for scholarships, we suggest you start your search the summer before your senior year of high school. However, many programs do not release application information until later in the year, and most scholarship applications are not due until the winter or spring.
Where to Look
Did you know there are websites specifically designed to help you find scholarships for college? These databases have information on billions of dollars worth of scholarship funding, and you can search based on academic program, financial need, grade level, background and other criteria specific to you. Watch out for scams though: you should never pay to get information about scholarships, or provide personal information such as your social security number. (See the U.S. Dept. of Education guidelines on avoiding scams while searching for scholarships.) Some sites may ask you for your zip code to help you find scholarships specific to your area.
Fastweb: Create a free profile and search over 1.5 million scholarships for programs that match your strengths and financial needs. Fastweb offers specific databases of scholarships for Hispanic, African-American and bilingual students, as well as application tips, financial aid and career planning resources. Fastweb also offers special membership for educators who want to engage their students in the scholarship and financial aid process.
College Board Scholarship Search: Scholarships, other financial aid and internships from more than 2,200 programs, totaling nearly $6 billion. Search by personal information, academic information, award type and affiliation; or browse by award sponsor name. Information based on the College Board’s Annual Survey of Financial Aid Programs.
CareerOneStop Scholarship Search: A U.S. Dept. of Labor-sponsored database of over 7,000 scholarships, fellowships, loans and other financial aid opportunities. Search by award type, residence preference, study level and affiliation; or by keyword.
In addition to these databases, remember to use existing resources in your community or school as you search for scholarship opportunities. Ask your teachers, counselor, coaches, youth group leader or fellow students if they know of any scholarships you could apply for. And don’t forget to do research on the specific college or colleges you apply to, to see what sort of scholarships and financial aid options they offer that you might be eligible for.
The following is a list of scholarship opportunities we have compiled specifically for Central and South Los Angeles students. The award amount and application deadline is provided for each scholarship listed, followed by a short description of the program. Some scholarships have specific eligibility requirements related to a student’s identity, background or anticipated area of study. Most require some degree of demonstrated financial need. This list is by no means exhaustive, and you are encouraged to do your own research in your community or by using the resources provided above. Remember, you should never have to pay to submit a scholarship application (though some may require you to submit an admissions application to a specific university or college, which usually requires a fee).
Scholarships are listed in alphabetical order. We will update this page regularly throughout the academic year with deadline information and new opportunities we hear about. Check back often!
Note: The scholarships listed and the organizations that sponsor them are not affiliated with ECCLA in any way. You should direct any inquiries or application materials to the sponsoring organization.
Award Amount: $1,000-$20,000 depending on scholarship program
Application Deadline: Varies, depending on scholarship program
The Asian Pacific Fund administers 12 scholarship programs that provide funding to undergraduate and graduate students, each with their own criteria. This includes programs tailored to personal interests (such as engineering, business or journalism), or backgrounds (such as children of farm or restaurant workers).
Award Amount: Up to $5,000 depending on college of attendance and financial need
Application Deadline: Rolling
If you are or were in foster care and have financial need, you may qualify for up to $5,000 a year for career and technical training or college. You can use your Chafee Grant at any eligible California college or university or career or technical school, as well as schools in other states. You may also be able to use your grant to help pay for child care, transportation and rent while you’re in school. The California Department of Social Services will verify your foster youth eligibility status. The Chafee Grant is renewable each year through your 23rd birthday.
Award Amount: Up to 20% of the mandatory systemwide tuition and fees
Application Deadline: March 2, 2016
The California Middle Class Scholarship is a program that provides undergraduate students with family incomes up to $150,000 and a maximum annual household asset amount of $150,000, a scholarship to attend University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU) campuses.
Award Amount: Varies
Application Deadline: May 2016
The California Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (CRAEF) awards a number of scholarships to students interested in pursuing higher education in the restaurant, food service and hospitality industries. High school seniors entering their first year of college must have a minimum 250 hours of industry-related work experience, paid or voluntary, in order to be eligible.
Award Amount: $500-$7,500
Application Deadline: March 2016
The Friends of the California State Fair Scholarship seeks to motivate well-rounded, high academic achievers in pursuit of their careers and life goals. A number of scholarships of varying value are available in different categories. Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of their personal commitment and goals established for their chosen field, leadership potential, civic accomplishments, as well as qualifications for the category entered and the completeness of the application packet
Award Amount: Determined based on financial need
Application Deadline: January 13, 2016
The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program was established in 1999 to provide outstanding African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American and Hispanic American students with an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education in any discipline area of interest. Award is renewable throughout undergraduate study for scholars maintaining satisfactory academic progress; and for graduate study in the areas of computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science.
Award Amount: $500-$5000
Application Deadline: April 2016
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund provides scholarships to assist students of Hispanic/Latino origin obtain a college degree. Scholarships are merit-based, however the final award amount is determined by the financial need of the recipient once selected. All majors and graduate areas of study are eligible; however the program places an emphasis on STEM fields. For complete eligibility information, see the FAQ.
Award Amount: $500
Application Deadline: July 2016
The Korean American Scholarship Foundation (KASF) provides scholarships to high-achieving Korean American students with financial need. California high school seniors should apply to the Western Regional Chapter and must be attending college in a designated Western region state (see website for details).
Award Amount: $100-$12,000 depending on financial need
Application Deadline: Applications accepted throughout academic year
The Law Enforcement Personnel Dependents Grant Program provides need-based educational grants to dependents and spouses of: California peace officers (Highway Patrol, marshals, sheriffs, police officers), Department of Corrections and California Youth Authority employees, and permanent/full-time firefighters employed by public entities who have been killed or totally disabled in the performance of duty. Grant awards match the amount of a Cal Grant award and are renewable for up to four years.
Application Deadline: May 2016
Each year, the Los Angeles Frontrunners (LAFR) awards two $1,000 scholarships to college-bound high school seniors who have participated in athletics and demonstrated a commitment to advancing the civil rights of LGBT people. Students can download the application from the LAFR website, and should submit it along with a personal statement and two letters of recommendation.
Award Amount: $6,000 per year and a laptop
Application Deadline: February 2016
The Achievement Award Program provides financial assistance and supportive programming to incoming, high-achieving Cal students with financial need. TAAP Scholars attend meetings and events throughout their their college career and participate in community outreach with pre-collegiate students. Prospective students file the UC application and can then apply online for TAAP beginning in December.