The Best Scholarships to Apply for as an Online Student

There are a lot of scholarships out there for all types of students. Here are some great opportunities to start winning money for your online education.

Before the coronavirus, the number of students choosing to study online was growing. After the outbreak? That number has skyrocketed. But even if it wasn’t a student’s first choice, the benefits are clear. Online degrees are more flexible, allowing students to attend school from home, make their own schedules, and work while they get an education—potentially saving thousands of dollars on transport and other overheads for traditional and adult students alike. 

Still, being an online student isn’t always cheap. But there are some excellent scholarships for online students to help those who wish to complete their degrees online and need a way to fund their education. Here are some of the best scholarships that are available for online students (some are offered for on-campus study too!). Although some can only be used at certain colleges and universities, each scholarship listed below is a respectable award that aims to help students overcome the financial difficulties associated with obtaining a college degree.

Test Prep Insight $1,500 Scholarship

The Test Prep Insight $1,500 Scholarship is open to incoming and current college students with physical and mental disabilities. Applicants must submit an essay or video that answers questions about your disability, your ultimate goal/dream job, and how you plan to give back to the community and/or help future students achieve their academic goals. This scholarship is a one-time award, but winners may reapply each year.

Eligibility requirements

  • Be currently enrolled at or planning to attend a two- or four-year university, community college, or graduate school program in the United States
  • Have a medically recognized physical or mental disability
  • Have a minimum 2.5 GPA
  • Write an essay (no longer than 1,000 words) or create a short video (no longer than five minutes) that addresses the three posed questions
  • Apply via email by the November 30 deadline 

1,000 Dreams Scholarship

Female high school and college undergraduate students in the US may apply for the 1,000 Dreams Scholarships. Five $1,000 awards are given each year to applicants who demonstrate both financial need and high academic potential. The application requires two letters of recommendation and an essay explaining how the applicant will use the grant.

Eligibility requirements

  • Be a female US citizen
  • Be enrolled in or planning to attend an accredited higher education institution
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Have a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Apply by the March 25 deadline

Scholarships4Moms

Mothers who are pursuing a college degree are eligible for this $10,000 scholarship drawing from Scholarships4Moms. Applicants may complete an entry form once every seven days during the entry time frame, and the winner may use the scholarship at any school of their choice for educational expenses such as tuition and fees, room and board, books, computers, and school-related supplies. 

Eligibility requirements

  • Be a mother or an expectant mother
  • Be a legal US resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • Be currently enrolled or plan to be enrolled within the next three months at a college or university in the United States
  • Be at least 18 years of age at time of entry
  • Apply by the December 15 deadline

College JumpStart Scholarship

This $1,000 scholarship can be awarded to adult learners or high school students. The College JumpStart Scholarship is based on merit, and successful applicants should show that they’re committed to improving their lives through education. The recipient of the scholarship may use it for tuition fees, books, board, and other educational purposes.

Eligibility requirements

  • Be a high school sophomore, junior, or senior or an adult student
  • Be a legal resident of the US
  • Apply by either the April 15 or October 17 deadlines 

Angela Grant Memorial Scholarship

The Dr. Angela Grant Memorial Scholarship exists to financially support students with cancer who are trying to get a degree. The number of scholarships varies each year, and the candidates need to submit an application, essay, two letters of recommendation, and a CV that documents extracurricular activities, community service, and awards received.

Eligibility requirements

  • Be a cancer survivor or immediate family member of someone with cancer
  • Be a legal US resident
  • Apply by the May 1 deadline

Edward Gersich Distance Education Scholarship

Online students planning to study at Bemidji State University can apply for the Edward Gersich Distance Scholarships. Offering multiple scholarships for various types of distance education students, the University awards successful applicants $1,000 to pursue a bachelor's or master's degree. The application should include a personal statement describing how the financial assistance will assist them in achieving their academic goals.

Eligibility requirements

  • Be an online student attending Bemidji State University
  • Be age 25 or older
  • Have a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Be a resident of northern Minnesota
  • Apply by the February 1 deadline

Jeannette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund

Every year, the Jeannette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund provides nearly 90 scholarships to low-income women seeking their first degree. Successful applicants will seek to improve their lives through education and will need to confirm their status as a low-income woman, as defined by the Department of Labor.

Eligibility requirements

  • Be a US citizen or legal US resident
  • Be a low-income woman age 35 or older
  • Be pursuing first associate degree or bachelor's degree
  • Apply after the November opening

National University Transfer to Success Scholarship

The National University’s Transfer to Success Scholarship is offered to applicants applying to transfer to National University from community colleges in California or Nevada. Recipients can receive up to $5,000 to pay for their studies.

Eligibility requirements

  • Be a California or Nevada community college student enrolling in a degree program with National University
  • Have a minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Have completed a minimum of 30 credits at a community college

Penn State World Campus Scholarships

Several Penn State World Campus Scholarships are offered annually to online students seeking a bachelor's degree. Students can apply for each scholarship using a single application. Please visit the scholarship website for the required application and the full list of available scholarships.

Eligibility requirements

  • Be a Penn State World Campus undergraduate student
  • Have a minimum 2.5 GPA

P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education

Adult women receiving a diploma or certificate of advanced training through academic or technical courses, including online programs, are encouraged to apply for the Continuing Education Program to complete their degree or certification. This grant, which may total up to $3,000, may be used to pay for tuition, textbooks, or necessary fees, but not for living expenses. The number of scholarships awarded per year varies, and successful applicants will submit a formal application plus all requested documents.

Eligibility requirements

  • Be a female student
  • Be a citizen or legal permanent resident of the US or Canada
  • Be enrolled in a certification or degree program from an accredited institution
  • Be within 18 consecutive months of completing an educational program that will lead to employment or job advancement

Return 2 College Scholarship Program

Three times a year, an honored student currently seeking a college or postgraduate diploma receives the $1,000 Return 2 College scholarship. In addition to the required application, prospective applicants must submit an essay describing why they wish to pursue a degree.

Eligibility requirements

  • Be a college student currently in a two- or four-year undergrad or graduate program
  • Be a US citizen or permanent US resident
  • Be age 17 or older
  • Apply by the January 31 deadline

S.R. Education Group Scholarships

Each year, the Sexual and Reproductive Health Education Unit offers some significant scholarships. Two applicants are awarded $2,000 every month: one specifically for women and one specifically for a community college student. The application process involves answering three open-ended essay questions. Applicants may reapply each month if they’re not selected as a previous recipient.

Eligibility requirements

  • Be a female or community college student over the age of 16
  • Be a legal resident of the US
  • Be enrolled in an accredited post-secondary institution

Study.com Distance Learning Scholarships

Each year, Study.com offers $500 distance learning scholarships (listed at the bottom of their scholarships web page) to one student enrolled in an online undergraduate program and one graduate student pursuing a distance learning master’s degree. Unlike most scholarships, demonstrated financial needs aren’t considered when selecting a candidate. Successful applicants will show that they take their education and extracurricular activities seriously.

Eligibility requirements

  • Be a US citizen or legal resident
  • Be enrolled in or accepted to an accredited online undergraduate or graduate program
  • Have 30 semester credits or 45 quarter units left to complete
  • Apply by the April 1 deadline

Unigo $10k scholarship

The $10,000 Unigo Scholarship is awarded by the Director-General of UNESCO. It’s open to applicants age 13 or older and should be used at an accredited institution of higher education. To apply, applicants need to submit a basic application and write a short essay on a given subject.

Eligibility requirements

  • Be age 13 or older
  • Be a legal US resident
  • Apply by the March 31 deadline

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

Online learning opportunities are continually growing for students of all ages and backgrounds—especially in light of the pandemic. If you're ready to return to school and/or start distance learning but need help financing it, consider these scholarship options to get started!

Don’t like trudging through long scholarship applications? Check out our Ultimate List of Easy Scholarships or use our Scholarship Search tool to find even more great opportunities!

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Yuhlani Patterson

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CollegeXpress has helped me find so many scholarships that fit me. They match me to colleges I have specific interest in to make searching for colleges way easier and more efficient. CollegeXpress refers me to schools that have my major of interest and backup schools if I want to change my mind. CollegeXpress also gives out their own scholarships, so you have even more of a chance at gaining multiple scholarships. This website has helped me de-stress from the pressure of not being able to afford college, [of finding] what schools are right for me, and how to find easy access to scholarships that most people never knew existed.

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I found CollegeXpress when you partnered with Bold.org for a scholarship. I found your website, put my information in, and got connected. I only wanted to stay in North Carolina [for college] and not move far from home, but you all opened a door up for me. I started researching colleges you suggested for me. On your social media platforms, you also give really good test-taking tips that I used and suggested others to do the same. It helped me a lot on my exams, so thank you.

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