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10 Iowa Scholarships to Save You Thousands on College

What’s Covered:


Iowa is often thought of as the breadbasket of the U.S. due to the fact that 90% of its land is devoted to farming. It’s not just corn that Iowa cultivates, however—the state also produces outstanding young students. Helping these students meet their academic goals and grow into well-educated adults are numerous scholarships. Young Iowans can find scholarships in Iowa covering everything from an interest in athletics to commitment to conservation to supporting passion projects.     


10 Iowa Scholarships


1. All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship (AIOS)


Amount: Maximum value of $4,772 

Deadline: March 1 

Eligibility: Iowa resident attending an eligible Iowa college or university as a first-time freshman 

Application Requirements: Iowa Financial Aid Application (IFAA), FAFSA, and an eligible Expected Family Contribution (EFC)—the eligible EFC range in 2021-22 was $0-$9,543


The AIOS is a state-funded award that’s renewable for up to eight full-time semesters or 16 part-time semesters. Iowa residency, attending an eligible Iowa college or university, and a qualifying income are required to earn this award. Priority is given to:


  • Applicants who have aged out of Iowa’s foster care system or the State Training School, and applicants who were adopted from Iowa’s foster care system after age 16
  • Children of deceased public safety workers—such as police, firefighters, sheriffs, and correctional officers
  • Applicants who participated in certain federal TRIO programs (Upward Bound, Talent Search, Educational Opportunity Center) while in high school 
  • Applicants who are graduates of alternative high schools or alternative high school programs
  • Applicants who participated in a Federal GEAR UP Grant program in Iowa


2. Aureon Scholarship


Amount: $1,000 to $3,000 

Deadline: March 1 

Eligibility: Residing in a home with active phone, internet, or TV from an Iowa Independent Telecommunications Company and accepted or planning to enroll in a STEM program at an Iowa-based four-year college or university, community college, or vocational/technical school 

Application Requirements: Minimum 3.3 GPA, essay, and a short summary of community service involvement


The Aureon Scholarship program awards $10,000 annually through a varying number of awards between $1,000 and $3,000. The program is focused on applicants pursuing a STEM education at Iowa-based institutions—no matter if they’re four-year colleges and universities, community colleges, or vocational/technical schools. Applicants are required to submit a 1,000-word (or less) essay on why they’re pursuing a STEM-related field with their application.  


3. Bright Scholars of Iowa 


Amount: Cost of attendance, less other gift aid (includ­ing Pell Grants, insti­tu­tion­al grants and schol­ar­ships, and pri­vate schol­ar­ships)

Deadline: Varies 

Eligibility: Current senior attending an Iowa high school who qualifies for a Pell Grant and has been accepted to one of the three state uni­ver­si­ties:

  • Iowa State
  • The University of Iowa
  • University of Northern Iowa (UNI)

Or these com­mu­ni­ty col­leges:

  • Indi­an Hills
  • South­west­ern Iowa

Application Requirements: Outstanding academic achievement, such as:

  • Top 10% or equiv­a­lent of high school grad­u­at­ing class
  • ACT score of 28 and above
  • 299 and high­er Regents Admis­sion Index (RAI) 


The Bright Scholars of Iowa is a need- and merit-based award established to ensure outstanding Iowa students have the financial support they require to complete their education and enable them to graduate debt-free. Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to learning and community service in the face of adversity, along with meeting certain benchmarks of academic achievement to earn an award. 


4. Brian Pearson Memorial Scholarship 


Amount: $1,000 

Deadline: April 4 

Eligibility: Iowa high school juniors and seniors  

Application Requirements: Two letters of recommendation, essay, and biographical information—including athletic achievements, community service, and Iowa Games participation  


The Brian Pearson Memorial Scholarship honors its namesake, a former Iowa State University basketball player who died of brain cancer. Two awards are given annually—one to a male and one to a female—to applicants who’ve participated in the Iowa Games. Scholarship recipients embody the qualities Brian Pearson valued, such as integrity, honesty, commitment, respect, sportsmanship, and hard work.   


5. Conservation Districts of Iowa (CDI) Scholarship 


Amount: $500 to $3,000 

Deadline: February 18 

Eligibility: Graduating Iowa high school students programs pursuing any field of conservation or agriculture 

Application Requirements: Transcript, letter of recommendation, SAT/ACT scores, and short-answer questions 


This great Iowa scholarship is aimed at students with an interest in pursuing a field of study related to conservation or agriculture. Nine scholarship recipients are chosen and receive varying awards:


  • First place receives $3,000
  • Second place receives $2,000
  • Third place receives $1,000
  • The remaining six winners receive $500 


Scholarship applicants are chosen using four criteria: involvement, leadership, and character; career; scholastic achievement; and conservation message.


6. Charlie Burkart Scholarship 


Amount: $1,500 per year for four years   

Deadline: June 18 

Eligibility: Graduating high school senior, or a previous graduate, residing within the boundaries of the Iowa PGA Section and the State of Iowa 

Application Requirements: Transcript, two recommendations, and personal statement 


Named after Charlie Burkart—a PGA member for 50 years and past President of the Iowa

Section of the PGA—this scholarship provides financial support to young Iowans with an interest in golf. Recipients are chosen by their interest in the sport of golf and their potential to make future contributions to the game, along with their involvement in their community. Additional consideration is given to the academic ability and financial need of an applicant. 


7. First Friday Breakfast Club (FFBC) Scholarship 


Amount: $3,000 

Deadline: March 15  

Eligibility: Iowa resident graduating from an Iowa high school who participated in significant activities to promote LGBTQ acceptance 

Application Requirements: Transcript, essay, short-answer questions, and a list of work and extracurricular experiences 


The First Friday Breakfast Club (FFBC) was founded in Des Moines in 1996 and is a club for gay, bisexual, and transgender men—but welcomes all supportive guests. To date, the FFBC has awarded over $328,000 in scholarships to Iowa students who have made significant efforts to counter homophobia, promote LGBTQ acceptance, and educate their schools/communities on LGBTQ issues. Past scholarship winners have:


  • Founded Gay/Straight Alliance or Diversity Clubs and provided them with leadership
  • Organized Day of Silence activities 
  • Wrote articles addressing LGBTQ issues in their community and school papers
  • Acted as a role model as an out and open LGBTQ student/ally


8. Governor Terry E. Branstad Iowa State Fair Scholarship


Amount: Up to $,5000 

Deadline: March1  

Eligibility: Graduating Iowa high school senior planning to attend an Iowa college or university who has participated in the Iowa State Fair  

Application Requirements: Essay, list of Iowa State Fair participation, and a summary of extracurricular and community service participation


One of the best scholarships in Iowa, the Governor Terry E. Branstad Iowa State Fair Scholarship provides financial support to students who have actively participated in the Iowa State Fair. The Iowa State Fair is the state’s largest event and one of the oldest and largest agricultural and industrial expositions in the country. More than a million people from across the globe attend the State Fair annually. The selection criteria for the award are: 


  • Exhibits/performances/participation in the Iowa State Fair (20%)
  • Financial need (20%)
  • Essay (15%)
  • Extracurricular and community activities (15%)
  • Community service/volunteerism (15%)
  • GPA (10%)


9. Helen Lemme Scholarship 


Amount: N/A 

Deadline: March 27  

Eligibility: African-American graduating high school seniors living within the toll-free calling area of Des Moines and Boone, Iowa 

Application Requirements: Minimum 2.5 GPA, transcript, two letters of recommendation, essay, and recent photograph (with consent to publish) 


This scholarship in Iowa honors the life of Helen Lemme, a civil rights and community leader in Iowa City, Iowa. To qualify for the award, students must identify as African American or Black on their transcript and reside within the toll-free calling area of Des Moines and Boone, Iowa. In addition to submitting all the required material, applicants will also need to participate in a Zoom interview as part of the application process. 


10. Herbert Hoover Uncommon Student Award


Amount: Up to $11,500

Deadline: June 26 

Eligibility: Junior attending an Iowa high school  

Application Requirements: Project proposal in the form of answering a series of questions and two letters of recommendation 


This unique scholarship in Iowa honors Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States, who was born in Iowa. The award identifies 15 projects that encompass the values Herbert Hoover demonstrated through his life of public service proposed by Iowa high school juniors. All 15 finalists will earn a $1,500 cash award and four of the 15 students are selected to receive a $10,000 scholarship in addition to the cash award. 


11. CollegeVine Scholarships


Amount: Up to $500

Deadline: Weekly

Eligibility: high school student and U.S. resident

Application Requirements: Create a free CollegeVine account 


Although not exactly a scholarship in Iowa, you’ll want to check out our CollegeVine Scholarships—we provide weekly awards of up to $500! To win, you just need to join our free admissions platform and earn Karma, the free CollegeVine “currency.” Karma is earned by reviewing essays through our Peer Review tool and answering questions in our Community Forums. You bid Karma to enter the scholarship drawings and if you don’t win, your Karma is returned so you can “spend” it on essay reviews and expert advice. Awards are paid out directly to students to help them cover any educational costs. Learn more about the CollegeVine scholarships.


3 Tips to Win Scholarships 


The competition for scholarships has grown increasingly intense in recent years. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to help secure an award. 


Institutional Aid 


Colleges and universities offer substantially more aid than private scholarships—about $175 billion (compared to $11 billion) annually. Because of this, schools themselves are generally the best source of significant funding for college. The most competitive schools often don’t offer merit aid—after all, they don’t need to entice students to attend—however, a school where your profile is particularly strong might offer considerable aid in order to make their school more attractive. 


Find Niche Scholarships 


The more general a scholarship is, the more applicants it likely receives. While broad-ranging scholarships are appealing, more focused awards—like those that are limited to students from a certain region, background, or interest—are generally less competitive. Be sure to make finding and applying to awards that you’re uniquely suited to part of your scholarship strategy.  


Apply for Lots of Awards 


Increasing the number of awards you apply for is a great way to improve your odds of winning a scholarship. Think of applying for scholarships as a job and set aside some time to research scholarships and complete applications every week.


Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.