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10 Rhode Island Scholarships to Save You Thousands on College

What’s Covered:


The “biggest little state in the union” may be small in size, but in terms of educational opportunities, it has plenty to offer. Rhode Island is home to dozens of scholarships and universities, including several well-respected state institutions and one member of the Ivy League.


The Ocean State also wants its residents to be able to pursue higher education despite financial barriers, and that’s why it offers a number of awards for students from Rhode Island.


10 Rhode Island Scholarships


1. Patty & Melvin Alperin First Generation Scholarship


Amount: Up to $1,000

Deadline: April 25

Eligibility: High school seniors who will be first-generation college students; must demonstrate financial need

Application Requirements: Rhode Island Foundation application


For first-generation students (parents did not graduate from college), this scholarship offers the opportunity to contribute to tuition expenses. The scholarship is based on financial need and is renewable for up to four years. Students must be accepted to or enrolled in a two- or four-year college. 


2. New England Board of Higher Education Tuition Break


Amount: ~$8,200 (current average award)

Deadline: N/A

Eligibility: Permanent residents of a New England state who plan to attend a public college in New England

Application Requirements: N/A


NEBHE’s Tuition Break program enables New England residents to enroll in out-of-state public colleges and universities within Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Vermont—82 in total—at lower tuition rates. Students must enroll in an approved major or program to participate.


3. Timothy S. and Palmer W. Bigelow, Jr. Scholarship


Amount: Up to $,3000

Deadline: N/A

Eligibility: New England residents; must be enrolled in an accredited undergraduate or graduate landscape/horticulture program or related discipline at a two- or four-year institution and have a minimum 2.25 GPA

Application Requirements: N/A


Established in 1988, this scholarship assists New England students who are seeking a career in horticulture with the aim of ensuring the growth and development of the nursery and landscape industry. Preference is given to students who demonstrate financial need. 


4. Academic Advantage Scholarship Grant


Amount: $500

Deadline: April 15

Eligibility: High school senior from an RI high school

Application Requirements: Report cards, proof of community service and extracurricular activities, letter of recommendation


The Academic Advantage Scholarship is awarded to two Rhode Island students who have demonstrated strong participation in community service and extracurricular activities. Students must submit a letter of recommendation from a school staff member explaining why they are a good role model for their school. 


5. Transform Rhode Island Scholarship


Amount: $10,000-$25,000

Deadline: January 31

Eligibility: Rhode Island high school students of color

Application Requirements: Essay, video, or multimedia presentation


The Papitto Opportunity Connection offers three (1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place) scholarships to students of color to help them overcome financial obstacles to higher education. In an essay, video, or other multimedia work, students should respond to the following prompt:


If you were given $1,000,000 to better the lives of Rhode Island’s BIPOC communities either through education, job skills training, business, housing or healthcare, how would you do so?


6. Nursing Education and Practical Nursing Scholarships


Amount: Subject to funding availability

Deadline: June 1 (RN); April 1 (PN)

Eligibility: Students enrolled in a nursing program with a minimum 3.0 GPA (2.5 for practical nursing); must demonstrate financial need

Application Requirements: Essay, cover letter, transcript, 2 letters of recommendation


These scholarships are available to students enrolled in an undergraduate RN or PN nursing program with financial need. Students should demonstrate clinical proficiency, enthusiasm, and motivation in their studies of nursing. Preference is given to full-time students in the latter half of their nursing program and those enrolled in a Rhode Island nursing program.


7. The Sweet Feet Foundation Scholarship


Amount: $10,000

Deadline: N/A

Eligibility: High school senior or current undergraduates with a family income of $60,000 or less; must have a minimum 3.0 GPA (2.5 for undergraduates); open to students from Florida, Wisconsin, or the New England Area

Application Requirements: FAFSA, application


Low-income students may receive this scholarship to help them pay for their education at a college or university. Promising applicants must be involved in the community, volunteer, or have a job and/or play a sport. The Sweet Feet Foundation will “bridge the gap of the remaining funds that FAFSA does not cover for eligible students.”


8. Robert G. and Joyce Andrew College Scholarship Fund


Amount: N/A

Deadline: May 9

Eligibility: Rhode Island high school seniors or recent high school graduates (within the previous three years)

Application Requirements: Essay, application form, transcript, Financial Information Worksheet, SAR, Scholarship Resume Worksheet


Established to honor the late Bob and Joyce Andrew, who recognized the importance of education, this need-based scholarship enables students to attend select Rhode Island colleges and universities, including Providence College, the University of Rhode Island, Bryant University, Roger Williams University, Rhode Island College, and the Community College of Rhode Island. Students should demonstrate strong academic performance.


9. Martin Luther King Scholarship


Amount: N/A

Deadline: April 18

Eligibility: Rhode Island residents who are African-American/Black and demonstrate financial need

Application Requirements: Rhode Island Foundation application


Awarded to African-American/Black Rhode Island residents, the Martin Luther King Scholarship recognizes students who demonstrate academic and leadership success. Recipients must be accepted to or enrolled in an accredited post-secondary college or technical school within the U.S. The award is renewable


10. Rhode Island PBS Scholarship


Amount: $15,000

Deadline: April 4

Eligibility: Must be a resident of Rhode Island or Bristol County, Massachusetts; must be a graduating high school senior

Application Requirements: Rhode Island Foundation application, recommendation letter, transcript, financial aid report, scholarship resume worksheet, proof of residency


The scholarship benefits residents of Rhode Island PBS’s demographic market area who want to pursue a career and demonstrate promise in broadcasting, communications, and/or journalism. Applicants must plan to attend an accredited post-secondary institution.



Tips on Applying for Scholarships


1. Focus on institutional scholarships


The college or university you ultimately attend will be your best source of financial aid, including both merit and need-based scholarships. That’s why we suggest using institutional scholarships as a starting point, before filling in the gaps with external awards.


2. Look into niche scholarships


Niche scholarships, such as those listed above, are usually easier to win than those that attract a much larger pool of candidates. Look into awards for people with your qualifications and demographics.


3. Start early


We recommend beginning your scholarship search in early high school — ninth grade if you can. That way, you can formulate a strategy and plan for deadlines, getting your materials in order before you’re bogged down with college applications, too. Also, remember that some deadlines could be earlier than senior year — so start applying!

Short Bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.