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10 College Scholarships for Christian Students

What’s Covered


With the cost of college rising, more and more students are looking to scholarships as a way to ease the expense. Increased interest also means a rise in competition, but one way students can improve their chances of winning a scholarship is by applying for smaller, more focused awards—for example, awards aimed at particular groups, like Christian scholarships (only about 70% of the U.S. is Christian) or even more specifically, Catholic scholarships (only a little over 20% of the U.S. is Catholic).     


Do Christian Scholarships Exist?


Not only do Christian Scholarships exist, but there are an abundance of them supporting students from a broad spectrum of denominations and offered by organizations and individuals ranging from churches to foundations to business leaders. The reasons for Christian scholarships are plentiful; for some organizations it’s a means to support members of their religious community, for others it’s a vehicle to promote their spiritual values, while others see it as a tool to develop their future leaders. 


Typical Requirements for Christian Scholarships


The requirements to earn a Christian scholarship are far-ranging, but one characteristic many have in common is that you need to show your religious affiliation. For some scholarships, this is done through membership, while others want a church leader to provide a recommendation. Another way to ensure only properly affiliated students receive scholarships is to make them good only at particular institutions, for example, an award will only be paid to Catholic colleges or universities. It’s also common for Christian scholarships to incentivize students to remain active with their church by binding the renewal of a scholarship to a recipient’s church attendance during the school year. 


*College-bound and current Christian-affiliated college students will want to explore the 10 Christian scholarships listed below. However, listing these awards is not an endorsement of them or their requirements, which are solely at the discretion of whoever is funding the scholarship. 


College Scholarships for Christian Students


1. Young Christian Leaders (YCL) Scholarships


Amount: $1,000  

Deadline: 15th of every month  

Eligibility: Active member of a local church; minimum 3.0 GPA; permanent resident of New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut 

Application Requirements: Official transcript 


The intention of the Young Christian Leaders scholarships is to support the next generation of Christian professionals. YCL scholarships are a monthly award and are available to high school seniors planning to enroll full-time as undergraduates and current full-time undergraduate college students. Recipients of the YCL Scholarships are selected based on four qualities: online voting, character, accomplishments/service, and need. 


2. Samuel Robinson Award


Amount: $2,000-$4,000 

Deadline: June 1, September 1, and December 1  

Eligibility: Juniors and seniors attending Presbyterian-related colleges or universities

Application Requirements: Membership in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and successfully reciting the answers to the Westminster Shorter Catechism from memory 


College juniors and seniors attending Presbyterian-related colleges who are hopeful of winning the Samuel Robinson Award will need to recite the answers to the Westminster Shorter Catechism from memory. The Westminster Shorter Catechism was written over 350 years ago, consists of 107 questions and answers, and has been at the foundation of Presbyterian families since its creation. Applicants can choose to write an optional essay for the opportunity to win a larger award. 


3. United Methodist Church GBHEM General Scholarships


Amount: Varies   

Deadline: March 24  

Eligibility: Active, full member of The United Methodist Church for at least one year; minimum 2.5 GPA; either a high school senior planning to attend college or a full-time undergraduate 

Application Requirements: Varies 


The United Methodist Church Greater Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) provides millions of dollars in scholarships annually. GBHEM administers 70 different scholarship programs, which are broken down into three categories: General Scholarships, Racial-Ethnic Scholarships, and Ministry as a Career Scholarships. One application is used to apply for all of the GBHEM scholarships, although individual requirements vary. 


4. Baptist Life College Scholarship


Amount: $1,000  

Deadline: May 1 

Eligibility: Insured on a premium-paying or paid-up Baptist Life certificate 

Application Requirements: Pastoral reference, personal statement, and transcript


The Baptist Life College Scholarships are provided by Baptist Life, a Christian organization that offers life insurance and annuity products. Awards are given to both undergraduate and graduate students who have achieved excellence in both their studies and personal lives. Selection criteria for Baptist Life scholarships include academic achievement, financial need, and an applicant’s ambitions and goals.  


5. Knights of Columbus Scholarships 


Amount: $1,500  

Deadline: April 1

Eligibility: High school seniors who are members of Knights of Columbus—or children of a member—planning to attend a four-year, undergraduate program at a Catholic college or Catholic university   

Application Requirements: Transcript, reference, 300- to 500-word essay 


The Knights of Columbus offer several awards to college-bound members planning on attending a Catholic college or university full time to pursue a bachelor’s degree. To receive one of these awards, the applicant is required to be a member of the Knights of Columbus, the child of a member, or the child of a deceased member.   


6. Italian Catholic Federation


Amount: $400-$1,000 

Deadline: March 15 

Eligibility:  Roman Catholic graduating seniors of Italian descent in Arizona, California, Illinois, and Nevada with a minimum GPA of 3.2

Application Requirements: Transcript and a personal statement 


The Italian Catholic Federation (ICF) has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships in support of more than 6,000 Catholic college students. Recipients are eligible to receive awards ascending in value as they progress in their college careers—with $500 available in their second year, $600 in their third year, and $1,000 in their fourth year. Recipients are evaluated on a variety of factors, including:


  • Academic achievement
  • Financial need
  • Leadership
  • Extracurricular activities and charitable work
  • Membership and participation in the ICF


7. National Presbyterian College Scholarship


Amount: Varies   

Deadline: May 15 

Eligibility: Rising freshman, member of the Presbyterian Church (USA), and demonstrated financial need  

Application Requirements: Pastor endorsement, transcript, and a secondary school report 


The Presbyterian Church (USA) awards between 25 and 35 of these scholarships annually to Presbetryian students in need of financial assistance with college. The National Presbyterian College Scholarship promotes leadership development and discernment of vocation. The scholarship is renewable, provided applicants maintain a 2.5 GPA, participate in a campus ministry or regularly attend church, and answer a series of essays that asks them to consider who God is calling them to be.


8. Christian Connector Scholarship


Amount: $5,000 

Deadline: May 31  

Eligibility: Enrolling as a first-time, full-time student at a Christ-centered Christian college, university, or Bible college  

Application Requirements: Complete a short questionnaire 


One of the easiest scholarships that Christian students can apply for, the Christian Connector Scholarship only requires applicants to complete a short survey on their college intentions. Winners are chosen at random, however, the scholarship is only valid for use at Christ-centered Christian colleges, universities, or Bible colleges—any school that is a member of the CCCU, NACCAP, or ABHE is a qualifying institution. 


9. Wischer Scholarship


Amount: $11,000

Deadline: January 12 

Eligibility: Texas residents enrolled as full-time undergraduates or graduate students with preference given to “applicants who are Christians and attend church regularly” 

Application Requirements: Essay and recommendation


Established in 2007 by the highly respected San Antonio businesswoman and philanthropist,  Mrs. Irene S. Wischer, this scholarship supports Texas college students. “Applicants who are Christians and attend church regularly” are looked on favorably. The value of the award varies depending on the recipient’s financial need, and the scholarship is renewable for up to four years. 


10. The Robert S. Simmons Christian Studies Scholarship


Amount: $1,000

Deadline: July 1 

Eligibility: Enrolled or accepted at a Christian college or university and have participated in community work 

Application Requirements: 1,000-word (minimum) essay 


The Robert S. Simmons Christian Studies Scholarship supports college-bound and current college students in the pursuit of their spiritual and academic education. The selection criteria is an essay that should explore how Christian education and business leaders can improve the moral fiber of the U.S. and how the applicant will benefit from a Christian education. 


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.