7 Incredible Scholarship Programs That Should Be On Your Radar

Paying for college in the United States can feel completely out of reach for many people. Fortunately, government agencies, non-profits, corporations, and professional organizations all offer some pretty terrific scholarship opportunities that you can use to help offset the cost of tuition and related expenses.

Some of these awards are purely need-based, so you don't even need great grades to get some of your applications approved. From a variety of STEM scholarships to programs that reward those who are committed to community activism, the seven scholarship programs on the list below provide some incredible options for those who are courageous enough to take advantage of them today.

1. The S-STEM Scholarship Program From the National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is tasked by the federal government with supporting the growth of science and engineering in the United States, so it makes sense that they would offer a variety of scholarships for students interested in those fields. Designed for students from low-income families, the S-STEM program provides academic aid for study in mathematics, physics, information technology, the geosciences, and related fields. This program has scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate studies, so students at all levels of study are encouraged to apply.

2. The Walmart Foundation's First-Generation Scholarship Program

Together with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Walmart Foundation awards $6,200 each to more than 60 first-generation college students across America every year. Scholarship students can choose from more than 45 Historically Black Colleges, and funding covers both tuition and expenses for textbooks. This scholarship program is open to any current university freshman or high school senior with a GPA of 2.5 or better and no family history of college attendance. Along with your current resume and transcript, you must also provide a letter of recommendation from a professor with your application package.

3. The Dell Scholars Program From the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

Even though billionaire Michael Dell dropped out of college when he was 19 to pursue his computer company full-time, he knows the value of staying in school and getting a great education. Open to all students who can demonstrate the need for financial assistance, the Dell Scholars program provides $20,000 for tuition, $500 in online credits to purchase textbooks, and a unique Scholars Resource Network to 500 aspiring students each year.

4. The Women Techmakers Scholarship Program From Google

Previously known as the Anita Borg Scholarship, Google's Women Techmakers Scholarship provides aspiring female engineers with online networking opportunities and a $10,000 grant to put towards undergraduate or graduate education in a tech-related field. In addition, current scholars get together for a special retreat each year to meet with Google mentors and complete professional development workshops. All in all, applying for the Women Techmakers Scholarship can be a great way to get your foot in the door at one of the world's hottest companies.

5. The Raytheon-FIRST Robotics Scholarship Program

The Raytheon-FIRST Robotics Scholarship is one of the more selective offerings on this list, and it is only open to high school or college students who have previously participated in one of the company's sponsored robotics competitions. The program has dispersed hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition aid to qualified students since its beginning in 2003, and becoming a Raytheon-FIRST Scholar can open the gate to summer internships and other opportunities.

6. The Nordson BUILDS Scholarship Program

In an effort to attract future engineers and scientists to the manufacturing industry, multibillion-dollar corporation Nordson offers between $2,000 and $10,0000 to several promising students each year. With that said, these scholarships are only open to students who live near a Nordson manufacturing facility and are planning to major in STEM-related subjects. Before you complete your application for the Nordson BUILDS Scholarship, you must first confirm your eligibility by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid from the federal government.

7. The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans Scholarship Program

With more than $1,000,000,000 awarded each year to students in need, the Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program stands out as a great option for those who qualify. Slightly over 100 students are selected for the program each year, and every winner receives a special trip to the National Scholars Conference in our nation's capital during their final year of college.

Unlike the STEM-specific scholarship programs on our list, this program does not place any requirements on which majors an applicant must be pursuing in order to apply. The program's selection committee focuses on community impact more than grades, so applicants are expected to have a track record of extracurricular activities and a demonstrated commitment to community service.

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