First-Generation Scholarships

  • Smith Scholarship Foundation
  • TELACU College Success Program Scholarship
  • Odyssey Scholarships
  • Fontana Transport Inc. Scholars Program
  • Benjamin and Patricia Allen Scholarship

Now more than ever, students who are the first in their families to attend college are enrolling and completing degrees at schools with help from first in family scholarships. First-generation college students often face a number of unique challenges, as many are ethnic minorities, the children of impoverished citizens or immigrants, and sometimes choose to further their education in order to help secure a better financial future for their families.

To help ease the psychological and financial stress of being a first-generation student attending college, many programs are available to help these individuals earn their degree, particularly if they are responsible for supporting other family members. Here are five scholarships that first-in-family students should consider.

1. Smith Scholarship Foundation

Students who are living and studying in Alabama, who have maintained at least a C+ average, and who have performed services in their communities are eligible for a scholarship administered by the Smith Scholarship Foundation. Each year, students must provide documentation that they are proceeding through their respective degree programs as expected, completing degree credits as required, and maintaining a C+ average at their university or college. The application opened in August 2017, and students must submit all documentation within two weeks following their final classes of the quarter or semester for that year.

2. TELACU College Success Program Scholarship

Created in 1983, the TELACU College Success Program Scholarship ranges from $500 to $5,000. It is available to all students who are starting their first year of college, and students are eligible to renew the award for up to four years after they first receive it. The application deadline is January 29, 2018 for new students and February 26, 2018 for renewing scholars.

3. Odyssey Scholarships

The Odyssey Scholarships are offered by the University of Chicago. These scholarships vary in amount and are administered to students on a need-based basis, taking into account family circumstances such as if the student is trying to financially provide for his or her family. In addition to the financial award, recipients are also guaranteed a summer internship and stipend for as long as they study at UChicago. Students who have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) when applying to the school are automatically considered for an Odyssey Scholarship.

4. Fontana Transport Inc. Scholars Program

This $5,000 scholarship is available only to first-generation, low-income, and/or minority students. Those who are interested should keep in mind that the application process is slightly more rigorous than others, considering the significant amount of the scholarship, and it is limited to full-time students earning degrees in mathematics, transportation, and several other majors. Citizenship is not required to receive this scholarship, and this year's deadline is set for March 15, 2018.

Resource: 50 Most Affordable Historically Black Colleges in the U.S.

5. Benjamin and Patricia Allen Scholarship

The Benjamin and Patricia Allen Scholarship is a varied-amount scholarship that gives first priority to students who are the first in their families to attend college. Both non-citizens and citizens are encouraged to apply, and the scholarship can be applied to any combination of majors and minors. The application deadline for this year's scholarship is scheduled for February 2, 2018.

These are just a handful of scholarships that are available to first-in-family students. First-generation students should research these options further and talk to professors, fteachers, and guidance counselors to learn how to apply to them. Not only is it intimidating to be the first in the family to attend college, but it can also be an enormous strain as well. However, these students can be financially prepared with first in family scholarships that can help to break down some of these barriers.