10 Iowa Scholarships to Save You Thousands on College
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
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
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.
Amount: Cost of attendance, less other gift aid (including Pell Grants, institutional grants and scholarships, and private scholarships)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Amount: Up to $,5000
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%)
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.
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.
Amount: Up to $500
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.
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.