Scholarship Statistics

Report Highlights. Over 1.7 million scholarships are awarded annually.

  • However, only 7% of college students will receive a scholarship.
  • The U.S. Department of Education awards an estimated $46 billion in scholarship money annually.
  • The average scholarship is worth $7,400.
  • On average, first time undergraduates who receive government grants and scholarships at a 4-year college receive about $13,690 annually.

Related reports include Financial Aid Statistics | College Savings Statistics | How Do People Pay for College? | Average Student Loan Interest Rate | Student Loan Debt Statistics

Scholarship Aid by Income Level on Education Data Initiative

Scholarship Statistics for Public vs Private 4-year colleges

The terms grant and scholarship are used in close conjunction – almost interchangeably – in the data below. Government sources have occasionally referred to grants as needs-based scholarships.

  • On average, a student who receives a scholarship or grant at a private 4-year college will receive $7,834 more than a student in a public 4-year college.
  • The disparity in money awarded between public and private colleges is greatest among those families with the highest incomes.
  • The graph below uses the combined averages of non-profit private colleges and for profit private colleges.
  • The amount of aid awarded per student in the graph below comes from multiple scholarships and grants – a single scholarship averages $7,400.

Scholarship Aid by Public and Private Schools on Education Data Initiative

Private Scholarships

Private sources award over $7.4 billion in scholarship money annually. In 2003, private sources awarded an estimated $3.3 billion in scholarship money. In the 18 year gap, total private scholarship awards grew by $4.1 billion.

  • The Miss America Foundation awards up to $12,000 maximum per individual.
  • The United Negro College Fund provides funds for over 400 different scholarships.
  • The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation’s biggest scholarship award is worth $20,000.
  • In 2016, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) awarded 230 scholarships.
  • Those 230 scholarships amounted to $750,000 total that year.
  • The Center for Women in Technology (CWIT) offers scholarships from $5,000 to $20,000 annually for a maximum of 4 years.
  • In 2003, the average value of an undergraduate private scholarship was $1,982.
  • In 2003, 73% of private financial aid went to dependent students.
  • Meanwhile, 27% of private financial aid went to independent students.

Public Scholarships

Grants are typically awarded based on student need. Other public scholarships may include athletic based awards, program major specific awards, state residency based scholarships, and college specific scholarships.

  • The U.S. Department of Education awards an estimated $46 billion in scholarship money annually.
  • Pell Grants are reserved for students from families with an income below $25,000.
  • The average Pell grant award for undergraduates is $4,418.
  • The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) requires schools that participate in the program to contribute 25% of the aid awarded.
  • The FSEOG awards between $100 to $4,000 in scholarship aid money.
  • The table below uses statistics from 2016 – the most recent available.
  • In 2016, the total amount of federal grant money awarded was $41.7 billion.
  • In 2015, $2.9 billion in federal grant money went unclaimed because 47% of high school students did not complete a FAFSA.
Division of Total Federal Grant Money by College Major
Major Total Amount of Grant Aid Received
Humanities 16.3%
Social/Behavioral Sciences 7.0%
Life Sciences 7.5%
Physical Sciences 1.1%
Math 0.6%
Computer/Information Science 4.6%
Engineering 6.1%
Education 4.5%
Business/Management 15.9%
Health 18.4%
Vocational/Technical 3.2%
Other Technical/Professional 12.3%
Undecided 2.4%

Need-Based Scholarships by Race

The majority of federal grant money went to White students in 2016. The statistics below use public data from 2016 – the most recent available. The statistics below only include undergraduate students.

  • The majority of White students that received federal grant money received $2,100 to $3,599 in aid.
  • The majority of Black students that received federal grant money also received $2,100 to $3,599 in aid.
  • Most Hispanic students that were awarded federal grant money received between $3,600 to $5,699.
  • Most Asian students that were awarded federal grant money received anywhere between $5,700 to $46,000.
  • For American Indians and Alaskan Natives, the majority that did receive federal grant money received between $1 to $2,099.
  • For Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, the majority that did receive federal grant money received anywhere between $5,700 to $46,000.
  • Finally, for students in the two or more races category, the majority of them received between $3,600 and $5,699.

Division of Grant Money by Race on Education Data Initiative

Athletic Scholarships

Athletic Scholarships are divided based on Division rankings. There are no scholarships for Division III athletes – but other forms of financial aid are available. The award amount also varies by gender.

  • Athletic scholarships are offered to less than 2% of high school student athletes planning to attend college.
  • Yet, more than 180,000 students receive an athletic scholarship annually.
  • Division I and Division II scholarships amount to over $3.6 billion annually.
  • There are 177,559 athletic based scholarships.
  • In the table below, certain sports had scholarships for only one gender.
Average Athletic Scholarship Award By Sport and Gender
Sport Average Scholarship Award Amount (Male) Average Scholarship Award Amount (Female)
Baseball $13,220
Basketball $38,246 $36,758
Football — FBS $36,070
Football — FCS $20,706
Golf $12,066 $21,866
Gymnastics $18,191 $40,172
Ice Hockey $31,756 $41,693
Lacrosse $12,303 $12,884
Skiing $20,275 $19,084
Soccer $15,008 $17,766
Swimming & Diving $16,695 $18,794
Tennis $18,379 $32,630
Track & Field $11,260 $14,574
Wrestling $12,551
Equestrian $10,462
Field Hockey $18,331
Rowing $21,053
Softball $20,715
Volleyball $31,138
States-Affiliated Scholarship Programs
State Authority/Institution Scholarship Program
Alabama Commission on Higher Education Minority Doctoral Scholarship Program Link
Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education Alaska Performance Scholarship Link
Arkansas Department of Higher Education Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship Link
Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship Link
Law Enforcement Officers’ Dependents Scholarship (LEO) Link
Military Dependents Scholarship (MDS) Link
Arkansas Workforce Challenge Link
Arkansas Concurrent Challenge Link
Washington Center Scholarship Link
California Student Aid Commission Middle Class Scholarship ()Link
Colorado Department of higher Education Colorado Second Chance Scholarship Link
Connecticut Office of Higher Education Roberta B. Willis Need-Merit Scholarship Link
Delaware B. Bradford Barnes Memorial Scholarship Link
Charles L. Hebner Memorial Scholarship Link
Herman M. Holloway, Sr. Memorial Scholarship Link
Diamond State Scholarship Link
Florida State Board of Education Benacquisto Scholarship Link
Florida Bright Futures Scholarships Link
Mary McLeod Bethune Scholarship Link
Florida Farmworker Student Scholarship Link
Georgia Student Finance Commission HOPE Scholarship Link
Zell Miller Scholarship Link
Hawaii Link
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Idaho State Board of Education Idaho Opportunity Scholarship Link

Idaho Opportunity Scholarship for Adult Learners Link

Tschudy Family Scholarship Link

GEAR UP Idaho Scholarship Link

Idaho Postsecondary Credit Scholarship Link

Idaho Governor’s Cup Scholarship Link

Armed Forces/Public Safety Officer Dependent Scholarship Link
Illinois Student Assistance Commission Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Link

Minority Teachers of Illinois Scholarship Link

Nursing Education Scholarship Link
Indiana Commission for Higher Education Mitch Daniels Early Graduation Scholarship Link

Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship Link

William A. Crawford Minority Teacher Scholarship Link

21st Century Scholar Link
Iowa College Aid All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship Link
Governor Terry E. Branstad Iowa State Fair Scholarship Link
Robert D. Blue Scholarship Link
Future Ready Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarship Link
Iowa National Guard Service Scholarship Link
Kansas Board of Regents Kansas State Scholarship, Kansas Nursing Service Scholarship, Kanses Ethnic Minority Scholarship, Kansas Military Service Scholarship, Kanses National Guard Educational Assistance, Kansas Teacher Service Scholarship, Kansas ROTC Service Scholarship, Kansas Promise Act Scholarship, Kanses Osteopathic Medical Service Scholarship, Kansas Optometry Service Scholarship, Kansas Nurse Educator Service Scholarship, Kansas Dental Education Opportunities Program, Kansas Distinguished Scholarship Program Link
Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) Link
Early Childhood Development Scholarship Link
Teacher Scholarship Program Link
Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship Link
Work Ready Kentucky Dual Credit Scholarship Link
Dual Credit Scholarship Program Link
Osteopathic Medicine Scholarship Link
Optometry Scholarship Link
Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance Taylor Opportunity Program for Students Link
Rockefeller State Wildlife Scholarship Link
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Finance Authority of Maine Doctors for Maine’s Future Scholarship Link
Maryland Higher Education Commission State Delegate Scholarship Link
Senatorial Scholarship Link
Charles W. Riley Firefighter and Ambulance and Rescue Squad Member Scholarship Program Link
Hal and Jo Cohen Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship Link
2+2 Transfer Scholarship Link
Community College Promise Scholarship Link
Richard W. Collins III Leadership with Honor Scholarship Link
Teaching Fellow for Maryland Scholarship Link
Cybersecurity Public Service Scholarship Link
Edward T. and Mary A. Conroy Memorial Scholarship Program & Jean B. Cryor Memorial Scholarship Program Link
Veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts (VAIC) Scholarship Link
Graduate and Professional Scholarship Program Link
Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Christian A. Herter Memorial Scholarship Link
Agnes M. Lindsay Scholarship Link
Paul Tsongas Scholarship Link
Massachusetts High Demand Scholarship Link
John and Abigail Adams Scholarship Link
One Family Scholarship Link
Early Childhood Educators Scholarship Link
Moving to College Link
Michigan Fostering Futures Scholarship Link
Michigan Competitive Scholarship Link
Michigan GEAR UP Scholarship Link
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Michigan Reconnect Scholarship Program Link
Minnesota Office of Higher Education Minnesota Academic Excellence Scholarship Link
Minnesota Indian Scholarship Link
Minnesota Educational Assistance for War Orphans Link
Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid Nissan Scholarship Link
Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers & Firemen Scholarship Link
Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development A+ Scholarship Link
Bright Flight Program Link
Minority and Underrepresented Environmental Literacy Program Link
Kids’ Chance Scholarship Link
Dual Credit/Dual Enrollment Scholarship Link
Montana Office of Public Instruction, Montana University System, Reach Higher Montana United States Senate Youth Program Scholarship, Washington Week Program and College Scholarship Link
Montana University System Honor Scholarship Link
2 + 2 Honor Scholarship Link
Montana’s STEM & Healthcare Scholarship Link
Reach Higher Montana Scholarships Link
Nebraska’s Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education Access College Early (ACE) Scholarship Link
Nevada System of Higher Education Nevada Promise Scholarship Link
Governor Guinn Millennium Scholarship Link
New Hampshire Department of Education, State Treasury, Commission of Higher Education Higher Education Scholarships for Orphans of Veterans Link
Governor’s Scholarship Program Link
UNIQUE Scholarships Link
State of New Jersey, Higher Education Student Assistance Authority Governor’s Industry Vocations Scholarship for Women & Minorities Link
Governor’s Urban Scholarship Link
New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarship (STARS) Link
World Trade Center Scholarship Link
NJBEST Scholarship, Link
New Jersey Survivor Tuition Benefits Program & Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Scholarship Link
New Mexico Higher Education Department New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship Link
New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship Link
New Mexico Scholars Link
Competitive Scholarship Link
Graduate Scholarship Link
Athletic Scholarship Link
Fire Fighters & Peace Officers Survivors Scholarship Link
Teacher Preparation Affordability Scholarship Program Link
Grow Your Own Teachers Link
Wartime & Vietnam Veterans Scholarship Link
New York State Higher Education Services Corporation NYS Scholarships for Academic Excellence Link
NYS Math & Science Teaching Incentive Program Link
NYS Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Program Link
New York State Achievement and Investment in Merit Scholarship Link
Enhanced Tuition Awards Link
NYS Part-time Scholarship Link
NYS Child Welfare Worker Incentive Scholarship Link
Excelsior Scholarship Link
NYS Masters-in-Education Teacher Incentive Scholarship Link
Senator Patricia K. McGee Nursing Faculty Scholarship Link
Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive and Tribute (MERIT) Scholarship Link
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World Trade Center Memorial Scholarship Link
Flight 3407 Memorial Scholarship Link
Flight 587 Memorial Scholarship Link
NYS Memorial Scholarship Link
College Foundation of North Carolina NC Education Lottery Scholarship Link
NC Need Based Scholarship Link
UNC Campus Scholarships Link
North Dakota University System ND Indian Scholarship Link
ND Scholars Link
ND Academic Scholarship, ND Career & Technical Education (CTE) Scholarship, ND Scholarship Link
Dual-Credit Tuition Scholarship Link
ND Career Builders Link
Ohio Department of Higher Education, Ohio National Guard Choose Ohio First Link
Ohio War Orphan & Severely Disabled Veterans’ Children Scholarship Link
Ohio Safety Officers College Memorial Fund Link
Ohio National Guard Scholarship Link
Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Oklahoma’s Promise Link
Academic Scholars Link
Regional University Baccalaureate Scholarship Link
Future Teachers Scholarship Link
George and Donna Nigh Public Service Scholarship Link
Teacher Shortage Employment Incentive Link
Heroes Promise Link
Scholars for Excellence in Child Care Link
Oregon Office of Student Access and Completion Oregon Office of Student Access and Completion Scholarships (one application for 500+ scholarship programs) Link
Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Authority PA Ready to Succeed Scholarship Link
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Rhode Island Link
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South Carolina Commission on Higher Education Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Link
Legislative Incentive for Future Excellence (LIFE) Scholarship Link
SC HOPE Scholarship Link
South Carolina Workforce & Industry Needs Scholarship (WINS) Link
South Dakota Board of Regents Dakota Corps Scholarship Link
Critical Teaching Needs Scholarship Link
Jump Start Scholarship Link
South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship Link
Annis I. Fowler/Kaden Scholarship (in Elementary Education) Link
Marlin R. Scarborough Memorial Scholarship Link
Ardell Bjugstad Scholarship for Native American High School Seniors Link
Build Dakota Scholarship Fund Link
Tennessee Higher Education Commission & Student Assistance Corporation Tennessee HOPE Scholarship Link
Aspire Award Link
General Assembly Merit Scholarship Link
Tennessee HOPE Scholarship – Nontraditional Link
Ned McWherter Scholars Link
Tennessee Promise Scholarship Link
Dependent Children Scholarship Link
Tennessee STEP UP Scholarship Link
Texas Good Neighbor Scholarship Link
Texas Armed Services Scholarship Link
Fifth Year Accounting Student Scholarship Link
Utah System of Higher Education Opportunity Scholarship Link
Utah Promise Scholarship & T. H. Bell Education Scholarship (for future educators)
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Career and Technical Education Scholarships Link
Vermont Student Assistance Corporation VSAC-Assisted Scholarships Link
State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Granville P. Meade Scholarship Link
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Brown v. Board of Education Scholarship Link
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Washington Student Achievement Council College Bound Scholarship Link
American Indian Endowed Scholarship Link
West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission West Virginia Promise Scholarship Link
West Virginia Engineering, Science, & Technology Scholarship Link
Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars Link
West Virginia Nursing Scholarship Link
State of Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board Academic Excellence Scholarship Link
Technical Excellence Scholarship Link
Wyoming Department of Education Douvas Memorial Scholarship Link
Hathaway Scholarship Link

Sources

  1. Debt.org: Scholarships & Grants for College Students
  2. Debt.org: Athletic Scholarships for College Students
  3. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES): Table 331.30 – Average amount of grant and scholarship aid 2018-2019
  4. NCES: The National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS) 2016
  5. Institute for Higher Education Policy: Private Scholarships Count
  6. Next College Student Athlete (NCSA): Athletic Scholarships – Everything You Need to Know
  7. The Best Colleges: The 10 Biggest Scholarships in the World
  8. Alabama Commission on Higher Education, Student Financial Assistance