10 Pennsylvania Scholarships to Save You Thousands on College
It’s the site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, one of the original 13 colonies, and noted as “The Keystone State.” Pennsylvania is living history itself — and it has long perpetuated the tradition of educating the future. Home to an Ivy League institution — established in part by one of our founding fathers — and one of the nation’s “Public Ivies,” Pennsylvania is a place of opportunity.
Thanks to the state’s emphasis on education, Pennsylvania’s many organizations also offer an abundance of scholarships to help you attend college, in or outside the state.
10 Pennsylvania Scholarships
Amount: Equivalent to the value of one semester of tuition at Shippensburg University (student does not need to attend Shippensburg)
Eligibility: Graduating high school senior; must attend a Pennsylvania college, university, or career school full-time; must have a minimum 3.0 GPA
Application Requirements: Online application, resume, FAFSA, letter with information useful in determining financial need, essay, transcript, three personal reference letters
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives Scholarship Program helps Pennsylvania students with financial need attend a college or university in the state. Two students are recognized each year for their leadership skills, extracurricular activities, and commitment to their community. Scholarships may be applied to books and tuition and fees and are renewable.
Deadline: February 25
Eligibility: Public school juniors
Application Requirements: Essay
The Pennsylvania Society’s Benjamin Franklin Scholar Award gives students the chance to submit an original essay that discusses the modern relevance of a Benjamin Franklin quote. This year’s (2022) prompt was:
“Much of the Strength and Efficiency of any Government in procuring and securing Happiness to the People depends on Opinion, on the general Opinion of the Goodness of that Government as well as of the Wisdom and Integrity of its Governors.”
Eligibility: Must meet all additional PA State Grant eligibility requirements (except for financial need); must have completed at least one academic year and have a minimum 3.25 GPA; family income cannot exceed $110,000
Application Requirements: Nomination, FAFSA, PA State Grant Form
In combination with the PA State Grant Program, the RTSS program offers awards of up to $2,000 (full-time students) or $1,000 (part-time students) to be used toward tuition, books, fees, supplies, and living expenses. Students must be nominated by their institutions, and funds are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Deadline: May 6
Eligibility: High school seniors from Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler, Beaver, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland
Application Requirements: Essay, application
The Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania awards this scholarship to students applying to two- or four-year colleges to pursue a program in an environmentally-related field, such as Earth Science.
Deadline: May 26
Eligibility: Must be enrolled at one of the 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education with a 3.0 GPA and major in political science, journalism, or communications; must reside in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lebanon, Northumberland, Perry, or York counties
Application Requirements: Application, transcript, 2 letters of reference, essay
Honoring William (Bill) Greenlee, who made extensive contributions to the community, this scholarship assists Pennsylvania students with the cost of their education. As part of their application, students should write an essay response to the following quote: “Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.” (Theodore Roosevelt)
Deadline: June 1
Eligibility: Residents of Allegheny County age 24 and under who are experiencing or have experienced homelessness during their school attendance years
Application Requirements: Application, transcript, postsecondary program acceptance letter, two letters of recommendation
The Hope Through Learning Award helps youth who have experienced homelessness attend college or a career training program for the first time. Winners may use the award toward their tuition, living expenses, or other school-related expenses.
Deadline: August 31
Eligibility: Legally blind, full-time college students and graduating high school seniors
Application Requirements: Application, essay, letter of recommendation, transcript, interview, standardized test scores (high school students only)
The National Federation of the Blind of Pennsylvania awards up to two scholarships to legally blind, full-time Pennsylvania residents or students attending Pennsylvania schools. The scholarship is open to college and graduate students, as well as high school seniors who plan on attending college full-time. Finalists must attend the National Federation of the Blind of Pennsylvania.
Deadline: April 30
Eligibility: High school seniors in the specified nine-county area
Application Requirements: 3 references, proof of acceptance, application
The NTHA Community Forest Scholarship for High School Seniors helps students living in Bradford, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wayne, and Wyoming counties attend a postsecondary institution. Recipients must be accepted into a Community/Urban Forestry, Arboriculture, or related program at a technical school, college, or university.
Amount: Up to $5,000
Deadline: January 30
Eligibility: Female high school who reside in areas with zip codes beginning in 177-187 and 195-196
Application Requirements: Essay and activities form, evaluation form, transcript, copy of university acceptance letters (if available)
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) offers this scholarship to women who intend to major in engineering. Applicants are evaluated based on academic achievement, extracurricular and leadership activities, an evaluation form, and an original essay. Candidates may also submit supplemental materials if desired.
Deadline: December 31
Eligibility: York County residents who are or will be attending an accredited college or university
Application Requirements: Conservation District Application Form, written career goals and description of prior or current conservation activities and experiences, transcripts, recommendation letter
This scholarship is open to York County residents who are currently or planning on majoring in a conservation-related major, such as agriculture, environmental, natural history, or natural resource management. Two scholarships will be awarded.
Tips on Applying for Scholarships
1. Prioritize institutional aid
Your best source of financial aid is the college or university you ultimately attend. However, sometimes, financial aid packages, even those that include merit scholarships, aren’t enough to cover the cost of your education. That’s where external scholarships, like the ones listed above, enter the picture.
2. Apply for as many scholarships as possible
There’s no limit to how many scholarships you can apply to — although you should be aware that it may affect your institutional aid — so apply to as many as possible. Start early, in ninth grade if possible, so you can cast a wide net and get the legwork done before you’re bogged down with college applications.
3. Narrow your search to niche scholarships
At the same time, you should aim for niche awards that appeal to people of your demographics or with your unique talents. These awards can be substantial, and you will likely have an easier time winning them since the audience is smaller.