17 First-generation Scholarships for High School Seniors

First-generation college students are often seen and recognized as trailblazers, of course, you rarely see someone that decides to be the first in anything, and whoever does and succeeds, is not just a trailblazer, but also a leader and role model to admire in the family and society. 

However, being the first, is not easy, especially if you’re coming from a home that doesn’t have any regard for education, that means, you are likely not going to get any serious financial support from them, so you’re almost on your own, or are you?

The good news is that there are numerous first-generation scholarships for high school seniors that can help you fund your way through college or university. We would advise you not to limit your search, go further to apply for other scholarships maybe ones exclusively for your field of study like full-ride law scholarships or even agricultural scholarships.

And, if you’re good in any sport, especially one of the headcount athletes, we would advise you to allow your skill to fund your academics through an athletic scholarship

Also, if you want to explore more scholarships for first-generation students, and you’re intending to enroll in law school, one of these law scholarships might serve you right.

Before we list these scholarships, let’s first briefly explain those regarded as first-generation scholars.

What Are First Generation Scholarships for High School Seniors?

Different universities can come up with their own definition of first-generation students, but basically, first-gen scholarships are for students that are the first in their family (or neither of your parents went to university) to attend either a 2-year or 4-year college or university. Now let’s go straight to list these scholarships.

first-generation scholarships for high school seniors
first-generation scholarships for high school seniors

First-generation Scholarships for High School Seniors

1. HEEF Architecture and Engineering Scholarships

  • Amount: Varies

Just like the name, the Hispanic Education Endowment Fund is exclusively for first-generation high school seniors of Hispanic heritage. Applicants also need to demonstrate financial need through the completion of a FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application.

Financial need is not the only criterion for choosing scholars, you also need to have a good academic record, be involved in extracurricular activities, and also have participated in community volunteer work.

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2. StudySoup First in Family Scholarship

  • Amount: $2,000

This is among the first-generation scholarships for high school seniors that support a student that showcases both leadership qualities and commitment to education. Above all, the applicant also needs to prove he/she has the capacity to triumph over challenges to become the first member of their family to attend college with a scholarship.

The student needs to be at least 16 years old that is either currently attending high school and will be attending an accredited university/college or currently attending an accredited university/college.

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3. Fannie & Sam Constantino First Generation Scholarship Program

  • Amount: one-half the total cost of tuition and room and board

If you’re a high school student that has a strong motivation for academic success and have proven this during your high school days then this scholarship could be for you. Of course, you need to be a first-generation college student (parents did not graduate from a two- or four-year college) and be a high school senior intending to attend St. John Fisher University in the following fall semester.

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4. Burton First Generation Endowed Scholarship

  • Amount: $7,500 annually

This scholarship is for first-generation students that have faced hardships in either their personal lives or at home and may not otherwise be able to attend the University without financial assistance. Applicant needs to intend to study at the University of Alabama, be a resident of Alabama, and need to demonstrate financial need.

Besides the $7,500 awarded to recipients annually (equal to 70% of in-state tuition), they will still receive a one-time $1,200 allowance for technology.

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5. Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship Program

  • Amount: $5,000 (renewable)

This is one of the first-generation scholarships for high school seniors selected through a competitive interview process during their senior year of high school. Preference is given to candidates that have a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher.

6. Corinne Licostie Family Foundation Scholarship

  • Amount: $500

This scholarship is for high school students that are the first in their families to go to a four-year or two-year college or university. Their fund can be used toward tuition and fees to enroll in or attend an educational institution or for fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for your courses. 

7. Fontana Transport Inc. Scholars Program

This scholarship is for first-generation high school seniors who are underrepresented, need financial assistance, and are passionate about furthering their education as a means to help out their family, community, and themselves. Preference is given to candidates with a minimum GPA of 3.5 and who intend to study in a 4-year accredited university in the US (you must not be a US citizen to apply).

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8. Iowa State University – Debbie and Jerry Ivy College of Business

  • Amount: Varies

Iowa State University has a different approach to providing scholarships for first-generation college students, it provides a “OneApp” scholarship portal that allows students to submit scholarship applications in one system then the school can use the info to designate students to eligible scholarships. You won’t only be privileged to get a scholarship exclusively for first-gen high school seniors, but also other financial aid.

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9. North Shore Community College New Students Scholarships

  • Amount: $1,000 each

This community college provides 3 different scholarships for first-generation high school seniors which include;

  • Irving Adler Memorial Scholarship: preference is given to students with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • Richard and Margaret Bowen Family Scholarship: applicants need to demonstrate financial need.
  • Henderson Arthur Stern Scholarship: applicants need to be graduates of Lynn English High School, have successfully completed at least one course through the NSCC Early College program, have a minimum GPA of 2.8

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10. Oral Roberts University – Quest First Scholarship

  • Amount: Ranges; up to full-tuition

Besides being a first-generation high-school senior to be eligible, candidates also need to receive a nomination from a non-family member and complete their Quest Essay. Even though the awards run for the entire four years of recipients’ studies, they can still be suspended for a period of time or canceled if recipients do not remain in good standing with the University.

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11. APIA Scholarship Program

  • Amount: Ranges from $2,500 one-year awards to $20,000 multi-year awards

The Asian and Pacific Island American scholarship is provided to AANHPI undergraduate students attending any U.S.-accredited university or college. Preference is given to high school seniors that are the first generation in their family to attend college and live below or at the poverty line.

You also need to have a minimum GPA of 2.7 and also apply for federal financial aid to be eligible.

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12. Red Thread Foundation Scholarship

  • Amount: $1,000

This list of first-generation scholarships for high school seniors won’t be complete if we didn’t mention the Red Thread Foundation Scholarship because it is the only financial aid on our list exclusively for women. The scholarship can be used for any educational expenses including tuition, books, materials, and living expenses.

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13. Bold.org – First-Generation College Students Scholarship

  • Amount: $500

The amount might not be so much, neither is the requirement, you only need to register, be a first-generation college student, and be a high school senior or current undergraduate student to be eligible. No academic performance nor leadership qualities are needed, it’s more like a lottery scholarship.

14. Florida International University – First Generation Scholarship

This is a need-based scholarship awarded to undergraduate students whose parents or legal guardians have not earned a bachelor’s degree. Also, candidates need to be Florida residents and U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens who do not have a previous bachelor’s degree.

And, you don’t even need to have a high grade to be eligible, with just a minimum GPA of 2.0 you’re good to go.

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15. McLennan Community College – First Generation Scholars

  • Amount: up to $8,000

Twelve to fifteen incoming students are chosen annually to receive this scholarship, also additional Harry I. Harelik Book Scholarship worth $250 will be awarded to scholars.

Also, candidates need to have a cumulative high school grade of 3.0 GPA (80) or higher OR passing scores on each section of the GED or GED equivalent.

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16. Northern Arizona University – First Scholars program

  • Amount: $2,000

This is among the first-generation scholarships for high school seniors that don’t only provide financial support to their scholars, but also provide a range of academic and social activities from freshman to senior year. Also, they will receive peer and professional staff mentoring, service and volunteer opportunities, and access to free tutoring and counseling services.

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17. SmartCapitalMind – First Generation College Student Scholarships

  • Amount: $500

This scholarship is meant to support and encourage eligible students as they take on the biggest educational milestone thus far in their lives. 


You can see that there are several first gen scholarships for high school seniors, like we said earlier, don’t limit your search just to financial aid exclusively for first gen high school seniors. Go for as many scholarships as you’re eligible for.

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