Scholarship sites provide students with access to databases of scholarships to help them pay for school. Some sites allow students to search for scholarships using keywords while others match students to scholarships based on their backgrounds and academic interests.
The best scholarship websites include many different scholarship types, including those based on major, grade point average, and student background. They also provide information on the application process and other subjects related to higher education.
Best Scholarship Websites of 2021
Best Overall : Scholarships.com
Scholarships.com offers a wide selection of scholarships and the most scholarship categories, which is why it earned our top spot overall.
Offers directory search and scholarship match
Less information on application process
Scholarships.com is free to use, and students do not need to register to gain access to the site's database of over 3.7 million scholarships and grants. Scholarships.com's 16 million registered users can access both merit-based and need-based awards through the site. They can also find awards based on gender, race, and other demographic criteria.
What makes the site stand out is its wide variety of scholarship categories. Scholarships.com's directory features 24 primary scholarship categories and an impressive array of subcategories. These include categories that few other sites feature, such as awards for undocumented students, single parents, and students who are homeless.
Students do not need to register to access Scholarships.com's directory. However, registration is required to read detailed information on scholarships and to use the site's matching service.
Best for High School Seniors : College Board
- Minimum GPA: None
- No. of Scholarships: Over 2,200 programs
- Type of Aid: Scholarships, internships, loans, federal aid programs, research grants
The College Board awards scholarship money to students who take specific steps to prepare for college, which is why it's the best scholarship website for high school seniors.
Scholarships for high school students
Automatic enrollment during standardized exams
Limited search function
The College Board was established in 1900, and it is best known for developing and administering standardized tests, including the PSAT, SAT, and CLEP exams. When students take these exams, they can opt into the College Board's student search service, putting them in contact with scholarship providers and educational programs across the country. The College Board also offers a free college planning tool that matches students to over 2,200 award programs.
To gain access to the College Board's scholarship database, you will need to enter personal information, such as sex, citizenship status, race, ethnicity, and religion. Not all of these categories are required, though the College Board encourages users to enter as much information as possible to improve matches.
The College Board also offers its own scholarships. Its Opportunity Scholarship program awards high school students $500 for each step they complete in the college preparation process. Steps include studying for the PSATs, creating a list of colleges to apply to, and filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Best for College Freshmen : FastWeb
FastWeb's massive scholarship database and college freshmen-specific scholarships make it our top choice for first-year college students.
Scholarships for college freshman
Internships also available
Students outside the U.S. cannot register
Registration required for full access
FastWeb features 1.5 million scholarships in different categories. To access FastWeb's complete database, you will need to register and create a profile.
FastWeb helps you stay organized during your scholarship search by keeping track of scholarships you're not interested in or to which you've already applied. You can search FastWeb's database for scholarships based on details such as the state you live in, your current or anticipated college major, and your year in school.
FastWeb includes scholarship listings specifically for college freshmen, making it a good choice for students in their first year of college. It also features listings for bilingual students, Jewish students, veterans, and many others. During Pride month, FastWeb highlights its listing of scholarships and internships for LGBTQ+ students.
Best for Veterans : Unigo
Unigo lists scholarships for veterans, active-duty military, and children of service members. It also provides information for current and former military on securing other forms of funding.
Wide selection of military scholarships
Scholarships rewarding creativity
Registration required for full access
Most Unigo scholarships require an essay
In 2007, the creators of Unigo set out to create a scholarship site that rewards students' creativity. For example, its $2,000 Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship asks students to write a brief essay describing how they would survive a zombie attack at their school.
In addition to offering its own scholarships, Unigo hosts a database of external scholarships and a student loan finder. The scholarship database is free to use, but you will need to register online and answer a series of questions to gain full access. Registration is also required to use the site's scholarship match service.
Unigo features scholarships for current and former military and military dependents. The site also provides information on state and federal aid programs for veterans, active-duty service members, and their dependents. There are currently over 26,000 scholarships for active-duty military and more than 24,000 scholarships for veterans listed on the site. Ungio also lists nearly 10,000 scholarships and grants for children of military personnel.
Best for Returning Students : Peterson's
- Minimum GPA: None
- No. of Scholarships: 1.9 million
- Type of Aid: Scholarships, grants, prizes, fellowships, forgivable loans
Peterson's lists hundreds of scholarships for returning students and provides helpful information on the process of going back to school.
Many different types of aid
No registration required
Resources for returning students
No scholarship match service
Peterson's is best known for its test preparation courses and study materials. However, the company also offers other resources for students, including a database of over 1.9 million scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial aid.
Adult and returning students often struggle to find scholarships for which they are eligible. However, when we typed "returning student" into Peterson's scholarship search tool, it retrieved over 800 scholarships. Searches for "non-traditional student" and "adult learner" pulled up additional scholarships for which returning students may be eligible.
Returning students seeking information on going back to school can access Peterson's Adult Learner Resource Center. The center features toolkits, blog articles, infographics, and guides. Peterson's scholarship search tool is free to use, and registration isn't required. However, students who register can win a $2,500 scholarship to attend either college or graduate school.
Best for Undergraduates : Cappex
Cappex includes scholarships for current college students and college students applying to grad school. The site also features other resources for undergrads.
Scholarships for undergraduates
Registration required for full access
Cappex helps students identify which colleges to apply to based on admissions criteria, cost, campus culture, and other factors. The site also hosts a massive scholarship database. Although Cappex doesn't specify how many scholarships it includes, it claims the database is the largest in the nation and worth billions of dollars in aid.
To access Cappex's scholarship database, students must register with the site and answer demographic and other questions. Although Cappex makes some scholarship listings available to students without registering, users must register to apply for scholarships through the site.
Users can search for scholarships based on gender, ethnicity, and other criteria. You can also identify scholarships based on your year in school, and scholarships are available for current college students. In addition, Cappex lists graduate school scholarships, making the site particularly useful for current undergrads applying to graduate school.
Best for Graduates : GoGrad
GoGrad only offers grad-school-specific scholarships along with detailed information on the scholarship application process.
Specifically for grad students
No registration required
Detailed information on the application process
No scholarship match service
GoGrad provides current and prospective graduate students with information on graduate exams, financial aid, and online master's degree and Ph.D. programs. It also offers information on graduate fellowships and scholarships.
You don't need to register to access GoGrad's scholarship database. Under the resources tab on GoGrad's website, you'll find information on four scholarship categories: LGBTQ scholarships, MBA scholarships, scholarships for women, and scholarships for veterans. Each page breaks these categories down into sub-categories. For example, the scholarships for women page includes information for women pursuing MBAs, women studying social work, and women seeking degrees in education.
GoGrad's scholarship database may be less comprehensive than some others on our list. However, the site provides detailed information on the scholarship application process, making it a valuable resource for current and future grad students.
Best for Multicultural Students : Sallie Mae
Sallie Mae's scholarship database includes a large selection of diversity scholarships. It also administers a scholarship program for minority students and students from underserved communities.
Large scholarship database
Scholarships for minority students
Limited ability to search by categories
Sallie Mae is a consumer banking corporation that issues private loans to students. Its website features articles on student loan borrowing, loan consolidation, and how to pay for college and graduate school through fellowships and grants.
Sallie Mae's scholarship database includes over 6 million college scholarships offering over $30 billion in aid. To access the database, students must register with the site and answer a series of questions. The site then matches students to scholarships in its database. Students who register also gain access to Sallie Mae's college planning calculator and are entered into a $1,000 sweepstakes.
Sallie Mae's minority scholarship page includes scholarships for African American, Native American, Hispanic, Asian American, and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students. Sallie Mae also administers a scholarship program called Bridging the Dream. Over the next three years, Sallie Mae will work with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to award 75 $10,000 scholarships to minority high school students and students from underserved communities.
There are many websites where you can find scholarships and apply for aid targeted to different demographics such as high school students, graduate students, and veterans.
Overall, the best scholarship website is Scholarships.com. The site includes over 3.7 million scholarships. Unlike some other sites, users can access the database by searching the directory or through Scholarships.com's scholarship matching service. Whereas other sites break down listings into only a few groupings, Scholarships.com includes 24 primary scholarship categories and many more subcategories, making the site easy to navigate.
Compare the Best Scholarship Websites
|Company||Cost||Directory Size||Types of Aid||Diversity Scholarship|
|Free||Over 3.7 million||Scholarships and grants||Yes|
Best for High School Seniors
|Free||Over 2,200||Scholarships, internships, loans, federal aid programs, research grants||Yes|
Best for College Freshmen
|Free||1.5 million||Scholarships and internships||Yes|
Best for Veterans
|Free||Over 3.6 million||Scholarships and grants||Yes|
Best for Returning Students
|Free||Over 1.9 million||Scholarships, grants, prizes, fellowships, forgivable loans||Yes|
Best for Undergraduates
Best for Graduates
|Free||Unspecified||Scholarships and fellowships||Yes|
Best for Multicultural Students
|Free||Over 6 million||Scholarships||Yes|
How to Choose the Best Scholarship Websites
There are several factors to consider when choosing a scholarship website. These include:
- Number of scholarships: Look for sites that offer a large selection of scholarships in different categories.
- Scholarship types: Many sites offer both need-based and merit-based scholarships. There are also scholarships for students in particular fields of study. The best scholarship websites include various scholarship types, giving you many different options to choose from.
- Cost: Some scholarship websites are fee-based, but many are free to use. Before paying for access to a scholarship website, consider free online options and resources at your school or local library.
- Legitimacy: Unfortunately, not all scholarships and student aid sites are legitimate. Avoid sites that list scholarships requiring payment from applicants and those that offer money-back guarantees.
Scholarship Websites vs. Student Loans
Some scholarship websites provide information on how to borrow money to pay for school. However, scholarships and student loans are not the same. Scholarships usually do not have to be repaid unless the recipient violates the award's terms and conditions. In contrast, student loans must be paid back, along with any interest the loans accrue.
Colleges, universities, and the federal government are the largest providers of scholarships and grants. However, nonprofit organizations, corporations, and individuals also offer scholarships to students. Students can apply for loans from the federal government or private lenders. Most states also offer students some form of financial aid.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Have to Pay to Use Scholarship Websites?
What Are the Best Scholarship Websites for Undergraduate Students?
Many scholarship websites include awards for current college students. However, some sites also boast unique features specifically for undergrads. For example, Cappex's site offers a College Transfer Center with resources for students considering transferring to another college.
Cappex identifies scholarships specifically for undergraduate students, as do Unigo, Scholarships.com, and many other sites. But the best scholarship websites for undergrads also provide other resources, such as information on college majors, the college transfer process, or how to apply for student loans.
How Do I Apply for Aid Using Scholarship Websites?
You can find scholarships online by searching a scholarship website's database or letting the site match you with eligible scholarships. When you click on a scholarship, the site will usually redirect you to the scholarship provider's site. There, you can complete the required steps to apply. Depending on the scholarship, you may be asked to write a response to an essay prompt, upload high school or college transcripts, or submit standardized test scores.
We reviewed nearly a dozen scholarship websites to find the best sites in the above categories. In our review, we focused on free sites with large databases. The sites we chose offer a wide variety of scholarships in multiple categories. They are updated frequently, easy to navigate, and provide detailed information on the scholarship application process. Many of the sites we chose also offer other services for students.