How to Get Need-Based Scholarships for College

Are you wondering how to pay for college without drowning in student loan debt? Need-based scholarships may be the answer! In this article, we will explore the various ways to find and apply for need-based scholarships.

Understanding Need-Based Scholarships

Need-based scholarships are awarded based on financial need. Unlike merit-based scholarships that focus on academic or extracurricular achievements, need-based scholarships take into consideration the financial situation of the student or their family.

Qualifying for Need-Based Scholarships

To qualify for need-based scholarships, you will need to demonstrate financial need. This typically involves filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which will determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Your EFC is the amount of money that your family is expected to contribute to your college expenses.

Types of Need-Based Scholarships

There are various types of need-based scholarships available, including:

Federal Pell Grants

Federal Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s or professional degree. The grant amount is based on financial need, cost of attendance, and enrollment status.

Institutional Scholarships

Many colleges and universities offer their own need-based scholarships. These scholarships may be based on a variety of factors, such as academic achievement, extracurricular involvement, or community service.

State Grants

Some states offer need-based grants to students who attend college within their state. These grants may have different eligibility requirements and award amounts.

Private Scholarships

There are also private organizations that offer need-based scholarships. These scholarships may be based on specific criteria, such as field of study, location, or personal characteristics.

Tips for Finding Need-Based Scholarships

Here are some tips for finding need-based scholarships:

Check with your college or university

Many colleges and universities have their own need-based scholarship programs. Check with your school’s financial aid office to see what options are available.

Use scholarship search engines

There are many scholarship search engines available that can help you find need-based scholarships. Some popular options include Fastweb,, and Cappex.

Look for local scholarships

Local organizations, such as churches, community groups, and businesses, may offer need-based scholarships to students in their area.

Check with professional organizations

Professional organizations related to your field of study may offer need-based scholarships to students pursuing careers in that field.

Tips for Applying for Need-Based Scholarships

Once you have found some need-based scholarships to apply for, here are some tips for putting together a strong application:

Follow instructions carefully

Make sure you read and follow all instructions carefully. This includes submitting all required documents by the deadline.

Highlight your financial need

In your application, be sure to explain your financial need and how the scholarship would help you achieve your goals.

Emphasize your strengths

Even though need-based scholarships focus on financial need, you should still emphasize your strengths and achievements in your application.


Paying for college can be overwhelming, but need-based scholarships can help ease the burden. By understanding how need-based scholarships work and following some tips for finding and applying for them, you can increase your chances of receiving financial aid.


  1. What is the difference between need-based and merit-based scholarships?
  • Need-based scholarships are awarded based on financial need, while merit-based scholarships are awarded based on academic or extracurricular achievements.
  1. Do I need to fill out the FAFSA to be considered for need-based scholarships?
  • Many need-based scholarships require the FAFSA as part of the application process.
  1. How do I know if I qualify for need-based scholarships?
  • Your eligibility for need-based scholarships will depend on your financial situation and the