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10 Virginia Scholarships to Save You Thousands on College

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Virginia is closely tied to the nation’s capital—the state borders Washington, D.C., and the federal government is the state’s largest employer. Four of the first five U.S. Presidents came from the “Old Dominion State” and eight in total, more than any other state in the union. Helping Virginia develop world-shaping leaders are its great schools, including William and Mary in Williamsburg, the second-oldest college in the nation. Helping send Virginians to those schools are numerous Virginia scholarships. 


10 Virginia Scholarships to Save You Thousands on College


1. Esperanza Education Fund


Amount: Up to $20,000

Deadline: April 1

Eligibility: College-bound high school senior from Washington, D.C., Maryland, or Virginia who was born outside of the U.S. or whose parents were both born outside of the U.S. with financial need 

Application Requirements: Transcript, SAT/ACT scores (optional), two essays, and two letters of recommendation 


The Esperanza Education Fund is a need-based award that helps immigrant high school students fulfill their dreams of higher education, and 73% of scholarship winners are first-generation college students. In addition to financial support, recipients receive mentorship, professional development, and access to the community of fellow scholars. Recipients are selected based on three factors: academic achievement, extracurricular involvement, and distance traveled—that is, how much an applicant has achieved in light of the obstacles facing them. 


2. Dixie Youth Baseball Bernie Varnadore Scholarship

Amount: $1,250 

Deadline: April 1

Eligibility: High school senior who played Dixie Boys Baseball and is planning to pursue an undergraduate education at a college or university 

Application Requirements: Transcript, statement of participation in Dixie Boys Baseball, SAT/ACT scores, essay, two letters of recommendation, and photo 


Dixie Boys Baseball is a well-known youth baseball league found in eleven southeastern states that boasts more than 20,000 players. Dixie Baseball has an unpleasant history—it was formed to escape integration and no minorities were allowed—however, it’s long been integrated and is helping to do some good today through its scholarship program. The Dixie Youth Baseball Bernie Varnadore Scholarship aims to help former players with substantial financial need and proven leadership to pursue their college dreams. 


3. Virginia Society of CPAs (VSCPA) Undergraduate Accounting Scholarships


Amount: $1,500 to $3,000

Deadline: April 1

Eligibility: Have earned at least three credits in accounting, enrolled or enrolling in a Virginia college/university with the intent to pursue a CPA license, and a student member of the VSPCA 

Application Requirements: Minimum 2.7 GPA, short answer questions, letter of recommendation, and resume 


This great Virginia scholarship is provided by the state’s society of CPAs and is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. To qualify for this award, applicants must have completed three credits in accounting and plan to pursue a CPA license. Applicants are required to attend an accredited Virginia college or university and have a student VSCPA membership, which is free. The association recently increased the number of awards available to minority applicants and encourages them to apply. 


4. Leo Bourassa Scholarship


Amount: $500 to $3,000

Deadline: April 1

Eligibility: Virginia resident who has completed at least two semesters of undergraduate study and is attending full-time any accredited Virginia college or university while taking a curriculum related to water resources 

Application Requirements: Transcript, personal statement, and essay 


Virginia students interested in water management and the protection of water resources will want to explore this scholarship. Provided by the Virginia Lakes and Watersheds Association, the Leo Bourassa Scholarship supports students pursuing an educational pathway related to water resources, such as:


  • Biology
  • Conservation
  • Ecology
  • Engineering
  • Environmental science
  • Geology
  • Hydrology
  • Limnology
  • Stormwater management
  • Water quality
  • Wildlife studies.


Applicants are required to submit a statement detailing their experience with water resources and watershed management along with an explanation of why they believe they deserve the award. 


5. Virginia Commonwealth Award 


Amount: $2,400 to $5,200

Deadline: N/A

Eligibility: Virginia resident with financial need admitted into a Virginia public two- or four-year college or university

Application Requirements: FAFSA


The Virginia Commonwealth Award is a need-based program aimed at assisting undergraduate students in Virginia. Awards are proportional to need—that is, the students with the most financial need are given the largest awards. Awards are renewable, provided that the applicant maintains satisfactory academic progress and continues to meet eligibility requirements. Applications and awarding processes are administered by the schools themselves and procedures and deadlines may vary from institution to institution.  


6. The Roothbert Fund Scholarships


Amount: $5,000 to $7,000

Deadline: February 1

Eligibility: Undergraduate and graduate students (with preference given to applicants with one year of college completed) from Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia

Application Requirements: Transcript, three essays, and three letters of recommendation 


Not a Virginia scholarship per se, but the Roothbert Fund Scholarships are a great opportunity for Virginia students to earn a significant award for college. In addition to requiring applicants to come from specific states, Roothbert scholars must also demonstrate financial need and have their actions guided by spiritual motives. Approximately 10 to 15 of these scholarships are awarded annually. The scholarship is renewable, so long as recipients continue to pursue a degree. 


7. Western Virginia Better Business Bureau (BBB) Student of Integrity Scholarships 


Amount: $1,000

Deadline: January 31

Eligibility: Graduating high school seniors from the Western Virginia BBB service area

Application Requirements: Minimum 3.0 GPA, transcript, letter of recommendation, and an essay or video


The Western Virginia Better Business Bureau (BBB) Student of Integrity Scholarships are awarded to students who personify the organization’s ethics—trust, honesty, integrity, and commitment—through their leadership, community service, and actions. The Western Virginia BBB offers two different scholarships: an essay-based one and a video-based one. Essay-based applicants are chosen on the strength of their essay, extracurricular activities, and leadership. Video-based applicants are judged on their journey, their representation of the BBB’s values, and the clarity of their message.  


8. Mid-Atlantic Security Traders Association (STA) Foundation Scholarships


Amount: $2,000 to $5,000

Deadline: June 15 

Eligibility: High school seniors from Virginia and Maryland who have participated in the Stock Market Game or undergraduates majoring in business, finance, or economics enrolled at a four-year state-sponsored or private college or university in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C.  

Application Requirements: Transcript and essay 


This scholarship available to Virginia and Maryland students is provided by the Mid-Atlantic Security Traders Association (STA). The association awards two $2,000 awards, one to a student from Virginia and one to a student from Maryland. It also awards two $5,000 scholarships to candidates selected from the association’s member jurisdictions of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Applicants are required to submit a 500-word essay about how the securities markets affect everyone’s daily lives as part of their application. 


9. Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives (VMDAEC) Educational Scholarship Foundation  


Amount: $1,000

Deadline: April 1

Eligibility: Graduating senior from one of the 15 electric cooperatives served by the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives

Application Requirements: Transcript, electric bill, SAT/ACT scores, and a personal statement 


Although not specifically a scholarship in Virginia—it’s open to certain students in Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware—this is certainly an award Virginia students should consider. The scholarship is provided by the Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives with the intent of helping deserving students with financial need fund their post-secondary education. Scholarship recipients are determined based on financial need, academic achievement, and personal statement. 


10. Kids’ Chance of Virginia


Amount: Varies

Deadline: May 1 

Eligibility: Student between 16 and 25 who has a parent that has suffered a work-related injury or fatality which caused a significant decline in family income and circumstances

Application Requirements: Transcript, two letters of recommendation, a brief description of the accident, and supporting documentation 


Kids’ Chance of Virginia provides this scholarship to students who have had their circumstances suffer a decline due to a work-related injury or death of one of their parents. Applicants need to provide a brief description of the accident and supporting documentation such as an injury report and death certificate or medical reports with their application.



Tips on Applying to Scholarships


Virginia is for lovers…of superb scholarships. That said, competition for awards has grown in recent years, as the cost of college continues to climb. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to improve your odds of winning an award. 


Apply for Institutional Aid 


Colleges and universities simply have more funding for scholarships than other organizations and are the best place for scholarship-hungry students to focus their efforts. Colleges grant $175 billion in scholarships annually compared to just $11 billion in scholarships offered by other organizations. Before applying for outside awards, make sure you’ve maximized the amount of institutional aid available. 


College Currency 


Merit aid scholarships are awarded to students based on their performance in academics, athletics, or other extracurricular activities. Many of the nation’s most selective schools don’t offer merit aid—after all, they have no trouble attracting top applicants. However, many colleges and universities use merit aid to lure highly qualified applicants to their campuses. When building your college list, consider adding one or two “safety” schools where your profile is particularly strong and you have good odds of earning a substantial award. 


Apply to Private Schools 


Private colleges offer more merit aid than their private counterparts. For example, every school on our list of the top 50 schools that award the most merit aid is private. Also consider that according to CNBC, the average reported tuition at private non-profit four-year schools during the 2018-2019 academic year was $35,830, but the average net price of tuition and fees at those schools was just $14,610. The lesson is to not rule out attending a private college or university, because their generosity in handing out scholarships means students commonly pay far less than the sticker price.

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.