6 Great Need-Blind Scholarship Options for Students

Scholarships aren't just for students who demonstrate financial need. You can find great awards no matter your family's economic status. Get started here!

A common misconception about scholarships is that they’re only for students who exhibit financial need. Most families with higher household incomes assume there are no scholarships their student(s) will qualify for and may never conduct a thorough scholarship search. This mistake can cost families thousands of dollars. Not only are there scholarships available for families with high household incomes, but the awards can be substantial. These private scholarships are referred to as “need-blind” (as opposed to “need-aware,” a financial aid admission policy in which a college takes a student’s ability to pay into consideration).

Need-blind awards are growing in quantity each year as companies, foundations, organizations, and individuals are choosing to honor and recognize students for their achievements, community service efforts, and career ambition—with no regard of a student’s socioeconomic status. And since private scholarships are not attached to a specific college or university, they can be stacked on top of awards being offered from an educational institution. The goal for all students, regardless of family income, should be to continue acquiring awards until their education is complete. Here are just a few examples of private need-blind scholarships to get your search started.

1. The Cameron Impact Scholarship

This scholarship from the Bryan Cameron Education Foundation is merit-based, as opposed to need-based. The foundation seeks to honor high school seniors with a GPA of 3.7 or above who plan to have a significant impact on the world. Scholarships of $20,000­–$50,000 per year are awarded, and the deadline is September 11.

2. DietSpotlight.com Scholarship

The DietSpotlight Student Essay Scholarship is open to students 13 years and older who are enrolled in a college, university, or trade school. The award for this scholarship is $3,000, and students are required to write an essay on a topic chosen for that year. The essay topic for the 2020 scholarship, for example, is climate change and global warming. The deadline for the DietSpotlight.com scholarship is December 31.

Related: The Ultimate List of Easy Scholarships

3. PixelPlex Bi-Annual Scholarship

PixelPlex’s biannual scholarship is a non-need-based award for enrolled college students who are studying STEM, business, or economics fields. The award is $2,000 for one student who impresses the scholarship committee with a strong essay. Deadlines for this scholarship fall on August 1 and December 5.

4. US Concerts Scholarship

The US Concerts Scholarship from Live Nation and the House of Blues Music Forward Foundation is a $10,000 award. It’s open to full-time college students who have completed at least 60 college credits. This scholarship is for students pursuing a long-term goal of working in the entertainment industry. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and an interest in concert or venue promotion, sponsorship and advertising, ticketing, e-commerce, or artist management.

5. We the Students Essay Contest

The We the Students Essay Contest scholarship from the Bill of Rights Institute is open to US students between the ages of 14 and 19 who are in grades 8–12. (Homeschooled students are eligible to apply as well.) Awards go up to $7,500, and the deadline is April 15. Last year’s essay prompt was, “What does civil discourse mean to you?” With a different prompt every year, students are allowed to re-enter this contest with a new essay submission even if they have won in the past.

6. Alpha Kappa Alpha Scholarships

Alpha Kappa Alpha scholarships are a great opportunity because although they do provide some financial need­–based scholarships, they also provide solely merit-based scholarships. They’re open to students pursuing both undergraduate and graduate degrees, requiring a minimum 3.0 GPA and demonstrated community involvement. The deadline to apply is May 15 for undergraduates and August 15 for graduate students.

Related: Easy No-Essay Scholarships You Need to Know About

Scholarship opportunities exist for every student. Discovering that many scholarships don’t have eligibility criteria based on financial need can be a game changer for many families. Make sure you research and apply to as many scholarships as you can to help pay for college—it’s never too early or late to start!

Start your hunt for need-blind scholarships on CollegeXpress using our Scholarship Search tool!

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About Jean O'Toole

Jean O’Toole is an educational consultant and author of the bestselling book Scholarship Strategies: Finding and Winning the Money You Need. Over the past 15 years, she has helped tens of thousands of students in the United States. Individuals collectively have been awarded millions of dollars by applying Jean’s scholarship strategies. In 2008, Jean co-founded Connections101, a company specializing in providing motivational tools for scholarship searching. It is her goal to empower students to design their paths to their future without college debt. Visit Connections101.com for more information, and follow Jean on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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Ana Sophia Garcia-Cubas Assemat

Ana Sophia Garcia-Cubas Assemat

$10,000 Scholarship Winner, 2020

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Leah Maciel

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me with all aspects of applying for college. The website is extremely easy to navigate and gives access to so many resources. I was able to research all of the colleges I was interested in, find out any information I wished to know about, and keep them organized in a list. I've also been able to research scholarships and save them as resources for later. I've used many websites in my college and scholarship search, and CollegeXpress has by far been my favorite one to use.

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Lydia Huth

Student, Campbell University; CollegeXpress Student Writer

I discovered CollegeXpress while embarking on my college search journey as an excited—but scared and way confused—high schooler without a counselor or college-bound sibling to give me advice. Let me tell you, I’m so glad that I stumbled on this community! CollegeXpress helped me find potential colleges and keep application deadlines straight. It gave me a great list of scholarships, and the blogs and emails made me feel like I wasn’t going it alone. Almost three years later and with freshman year of college down, I still love the CollegeXpress vibe so much that I’m writing for them. I’d recommend this site to anyone!

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Emilie Delgado

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2013

CollegeXpress has tremendously helped me in my search for financial aid opportunities as I enter my college career. It is easy to navigate and quickly narrowed down scholarships that I could apply for. Being awarded the scholarship will greatly help me in my finances regarding books and tuition. Thank you for this opportunity. Without CollegeXpress, it would have been more difficult to apply. I would recommend this site to everyone!

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Melanie Kajy

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me tremendously during my senior year of high school. I started off using the college search to find more information about the universities I was interested in. Just this tool alone gave me so much information about a particular school. It was my one-stop shop to learn about college. I was able to find information about college tuition, school rank, majors, and so much more that I can't list it all. The college search tool has helped me narrow down which college I want to attend, and it made a stressful process surprisingly not so stressful. I then moved to the scholarship search tool to find scholarships to apply for because I can't afford to pay for tuition myself. The search tool helped me find scholarships that I was eligible for. The tool gave me all the information I could ever need about a particular scholarship that was being offered. The CollegeXpress scholarship search tool is so much better than other tools offered, like the Chegg scholarship search. Thanks to CollegeXpress, I was able to apply to tons of scholarships in a relatively easy way!

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