8 Unusual Sources for College Scholarships

Isabel Grenci

In College Planning & Financial AidIsabel Grenci

It’s no secret that scholarships and grants can help reduce the need to take out loans to pay for college expenses. What remains a mystery is where to quickly find this “free money” when you’re already in school and preoccupied with attending classes, studying, extra-curriculars — and sleep. Since you can’t spend all your time searching for ways to pay your tuition, use this list to discover sources of aid that won’t appear in a typical online scholarship search.


  1. State Education Agencies

Your state’s higher education agency could be a wellspring of untapped scholarship and grant opportunities. This free financial aid source is separate from any federal aid you may have received through your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Visit the U.S. Department of Education’s State Contacts webpage to find agencies near you. You may need to meet residency and other eligibility requirements to receive aid.


  1. U.S. Department of Labor

The U.S. Department of Labor isn’t in the scholarship business. But they do sponsor CareerOneStop, a database that includes more than 8,000 scholarships, grants, and other financial award opportunities. This online scholarship finder is unique because it allows you to filter your search by deadline and level of study, along with other filtering options. You’ll also find unique opportunities reserved for the spouse or children of people who belong to specific organizations.


  1. The Tuition Exchange®

If your parent or spouse works at a college or university, you might already know about employee and dependent child tuition benefit programs. Some require you to attend school at your parent’s or spouse’s workplace to receive a reduced tuition rate. But if the school is part of The Tuition Exchange, a network of over 667 private and public not-for-profit colleges and universities around the globe, you may be able to attend a different school tuition-free.


  1. Your Parent’s Employer

Employer-sponsored educational assistance programs typically include tuition reimbursement options for employees. Some employers, like Wells Fargo and Raytheon Technologies, also offer scholarship programs for their employees’ children. Details vary by employer, so you must speak with someone at the company to learn how to apply.


  1. Religious Organizations

Start local — and contact your place of worship, as some offer grants and scholarships to members pursing higher education. If the organization has a national governing body, visit their website for potential scholarship opportunities. Aid eligibility may depend on your program of study.


  1. Scholarship Sweepstakes

You don’t always have to complete an essay or submit transcripts to receive free money for college. Niche, a K-12 school and college search website, holds monthly sweepstakes for college students. Winners receive $2,000, which can be used to cover any education-related expense. You’ll need to create an account to enter the sweepstakes. Monthly winners are selected at random.


  1. Financial Aid Office

While it’s not unusual to find sources of financial aid in your university’s financial aid office, digging deeper could uncover sources of free money you hadn’t considered. Many colleges offer in-school scholarships for undergraduate students who meet specific requirements. Scholarships aren’t only meant for incoming freshmen. Universities across the country award scholarships to students in particular majors who belong to certain school-sanctioned clubs or organizations.


  1. LendKey

Have you ever wondered what happens when the number of eligible scholarship applicants matches the number of scholarship awards available? You get a high applicant success rate.

For example, the South Carolina Department of Education recently offered five scholarship awards. Five students applied and five were awarded. That’s a high success rate – 100% to be exact.

LendKey’s Scholarship Search is an atypical online search tool that allows you to search and access over $10 billion in scholarships using “Applicant Success Rate” and other filters to help you quickly find money to pay for college.

If additional scholarships and grants don’t provide you with enough funds to cover your educational expenses, apply for a low-interest rate private student loan. LendKey offers variable and fixed rate student loans to help you achieve your higher education dreams. Apply today!


Please note that the information provided on this website is provided on a general basis and may not apply to your own specific individual needs, goals, financial position, experience, etc. LendKey does not guarantee that the information provided on any third-party website that LendKey offers a hyperlink to is up-to-date and accurate at the time you access it, and LendKey does not guarantee that information provided on such external websites (and this website) is best-suited for your particular circumstances. Therefore, you may want to consult with an expert (financial adviser, school financial aid office, etc.) before making financial decisions that may be discussed on this website.