Your Guide to COVID-19 Scholarships

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COVID-19 has had a dramatic effect on students of all ages, from disrupting in-person classes to eliminating many school activities. The pandemic has also had an enormous effect on the finances of many students and their families, as everything from lockdowns to furloughs to loss of employment wreaked havoc on workers in all kinds of industries. 

 

In response to the financial challenges brought on by the pandemic, scholarships—including COVID-19-specific scholarships—became increasingly important to many students’ plans to pay for their education. 

 

Emergency Federal Aid for Students

 

COVID-19 scholarships are just one way in which students can find financial assistance during the pandemic. The federal government has made an enormous amount of funds available to higher education students during the pandemic—$81.88 billion was allocated to support education in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), in addition to the $30.75 billion provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

 

Institutions that received funds through the CRRSAA and CARES Act are required to use at least 50% of it to pay for financial aid grants to students. Financial grants can be used to pay for the cost of attendance at a school—like tuition or room and board—and for any other expenses that arise due to COVID-19, such as the need for health care, mental health care, or child care. 

 

The government has also temporarily halted loan repayments, provided a 0% interest rate, and stopped collections on defaulted loans. If you’re experiencing food insecurity, you may be eligible for expanded SNAP benefits if you are eligible for state or federal work-study or if you have an expected family contribution of 0.

 

It’s also possible that students who formerly didn’t qualify for need-based federal aid programs, like Pell Grants and Work Study, are now eligible. If a student’s family has suffered a job loss or incurred medical expenses during COVID-19, they should update their FAFSA or contact their financial aid office to get a re-evalution of their award.  

 

10 COVID-19 Scholarships

 

1. National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) COVID-19 Impact Scholarship 

 

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: June 15, 2021

Eligibility: Students with learning disabilities or ADHD

Application requirements: Suffered a significant disruption due to COVID-19, such as: 

 

  • A change of enrollment from one school to another 
  • A change of financial aid/status  
  • A change in credit load that impacts financial aid and/or expected completion date
  • A loss of internship or career opportunity 

 

The NCLD is helping students with learning and attention issues who have suffered significant disruptions to their college and life plans due to COVID-19. This COVID scholarship is intended to support students who’ve had to change college plans, alter credit loads, and have missed internship or job opportunities due to the pandemic. A short 20-minute interview is required of finalists for the award. 

 

2. Scholarship America Dream Award

 

Amount: $5,000 to $15,000

Deadline: TBD

Eligibility:

 

  • 17 years of age or older
  • U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, or granted deferred action status under DACA
  • Received a high school diploma or the equivalent from a U.S. school
  • Completed or expect to complete a minimum of one full year of postsecondary education
  • Plan to enroll in full-time undergraduate study at the sophomore year level or higher at an accredited two- or four-year college, university, or vocational-technical school in the U.S.
  • Studying to obtain an Associate’s or first Bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale 
  • Demonstrate financial need

 

Application requirements:

 

  • A current, complete transcript 
  • A personal statement
  • An online recommendation from a teacher or counselor
  • Proof of Citizenship
  • 1040 Tax Forms

 

Although not specifically a COVID-19 scholarship, the Scholarship America Dream Award is an excellent opportunity for students affected by the pandemic—the emphasis of the award is on financial need and the ability to overcome challenges and barriers.  

 

3. Wize USA COVID-19 Student Support Scholarship

 

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: April 30, 2021

Eligibility: Enrolled in a U.S. high school, college, or university 

Application requirements: Complete a short survey 

 

Wize, an online prep company, is offering a $1,000 scholarship to support students financially in their academic pursuits during COVID-19. This is one of the easier scholarships to apply for—simply fill out a short online survey to enter the running for the award. 

 

4. CollegeVine Scholarships

 

Amount: Up to $500

Deadline: Weekly

Eligibility: High school student and U.S. resident

Application Requirements: Create a free CollegeVine account 

 

CollegeVine can help ease the financial challenges presented by COVID-19 with our weekly scholarships of up to $500. Awards are paid directly to students to help them cover any educational costs. 

 

Applying is easy—all you need to do is join our free admissions platform and earn karma, the “currency” of CollegeVine, by reviewing essays through our Peer Review tool and answering questions in our Community Forums. You can then bid that karma to enter the scholarship drawing. Karma is returned if you don’t win, so you can “spend” it on essay reviews and expert advice. Learn more about the CollegeVine scholarships and create your free account today!

 

5. Scholly COVID-19 Relief Fund 

 

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: May 9, 2021

Eligibility: Legal U.S. resident age 18 or older 

 

Scholly, the popular scholarship app, is giving away $1,000 to help ease the challenges presented by COVID-19—the money can be spent on everything from tuition to groceries to paying down debt. As a bonus, every eligible applicant who applies and opens a cash management account with the earth-friendly bank, Aspiration, receives $10 for free!

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6. United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Emergency Retention Grants

 

Amount: $1,000

Eligibility: Full-time students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents 

Application requirements: At risk of dropping out of college due to financial hardship 

 

The UNCF Emergency Student Aid (ESA) program generally awards grants for a variety of reasons, including food and housing insecurity, medical bills, and even travel to care for a sick parent. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UNCF expanded the scope of the program to include COVID-19. This is especially important, since studies show many racial and ethinic minorities are more greatly disadvantaged by the pandemic. 

 

7. Earnest Scholarship 

 

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: June 30, 2021

Eligibility: Enrolled full time at a college or university and a U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, or granted deferred action status under DACA

 

Although not primarily focused on COVID-19, Earnest, a fintech company focused on student loans, is awarding fifty $5,000 scholarships to help students pay for tuition, books, and other college costs, such as those incurred due to the pandemic. An easy award to apply for, there are no essays to write, no fees, and no minimum GPA requirements. 

 

8. Pulse of Perseverance Scholarship

 

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: Monthly 

Eligibility: High school and college students 

Application requirements: 

 

  • Read the book Pulse of Perseverance: Three Black Doctors on Their Journey to Success
  • Compose a 250-word essay incorporating themes from Pulse of Perseverance on how they are currently making a difference in their community
  • Proof of current enrollment
  • A short video (no longer than 60 seconds) on why the applicant possesses the #pulseofperseverance and what the scholarship will mean to them   

 

Pulse of Perseverance is a book about how three young Black men overcame the odds to become doctors. It is an inspirational tale for Black children who have big dreams. While not a pandemic-specific scholarship, this is an awesome opportunity for students who have defied the odds, including those presented by COVID-19. 

 

9. Carolina University COVID-19 Relief Scholarship

 

Amount: Up to $6,000

Deadline: March 1, 2022

Eligibility: Full-time online or on-campus students enrolling in an undergraduate or graduate program

Application requirements: Employees and their family members in following sectors: 

 

  • Airline
  • Hospitality
  • Food service
  • Tourism
  • Restaurant
  • Travel
  • Education (public, private, or higher education)
  • Entertainment
  • Medical
  • Recreation
  • Law enforcement
  • Military

 

Carolina University is helping to cement its reputation as a socially conscious university with their COVID-19 Relief Scholarship, which covers half the cost of tuition at the school. Furthermore, the COVID-19 Relief Scholarship is pairable with federal funding, student loans, grants, and other financial assistance from outside parties—turning the challenge of the pandemic into an opportunity to improve economic security. 

 

10. Beta Theta Pi COVID-19 Relief Scholarships

 

Amount: $250 to $1,250 

Deadline: January 31, 2021

Eligibility: Beta Theta Pi member or pledge

Application requirements: Resume and current grade report 

 

The Beta Foundation is responding to COVID-19 by awarding every one of their chapters $1,250 for distribution to the members most in need of financial assistance. The selection process varies from chapter to chapter, as does the division of award—it can be split and given to up to five brothers.  

 

How to Negotiate Financial Aid if You’re Impacted by COVID-19

 

Students who are struggling to pay for college due to COVID-19 can try to negotiate their financial aid package. Colleges are often willing to recalculate your award if your family’s financial situation has changed—for example, a student who has a parent out of work due to the pandemic.

 

You’ll need to take initiative and contact your financial aid office to start the financial aid appeal process. Be sure to gather documentation of changes in your finances. Learn more about negotiating financial aid to make sure you’re getting your maximum aid amount.

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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.

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