A scholarship supports your education, and most schools will look at certain things to see if you qualify. Often, schools will look at transcripts, standardized test scores, and a student’s grade point average (GPA), and it’s a standard way of measuring academic achievement in the United States. While many universities base scholarships on GPA, there are thousands of scholarships available for other reasons including aid for people from certain backgrounds, extracurricular interests or excellence, and those with unique or particular academic goals.
Since the status quo has been granting scholarships on GPA, however, many are concerned with the bottom line. “What is the lowest GPA to get a scholarship?”
It’s a myth that only students with a 4.0 GPA or students who graduated valedictorian of their class can get a scholarship. Scholarships accepting a GPA in the 3.0-3.4 range do exist; it will just take some extra hunting. In addition, there are actually scholarships that don’t require your GPA at all.
To entice students who don’t see college as part of their future, some organizations are taking steps to ensure that all high school students are eligible for scholarships. One such organization is a nonprofit called The College Board, which rewards initiative and effort versus merit. In fact, it’s open to all students and doesn’t require a minimum GPA. The program favors low-income youth, and at least half of the scholarship funds are designated for students whose families earn less than $60,000 annually. This particular scholarship is open to all 2020/2021 college students, regardless of citizenship.
Furthermore, since The College Board Opportunity Scholarship challenges the typical scholarship process because it doesn’t require a minimum GPA, it appeals to those who increasingly question the cost of education. The program awards scholarships ranging from $500-$40,000 based on a six-step process of completing the requirements for applying for college, including practicing for the SAT and trying to improve scores. The College Board is the nonprofit group that administers the SAT test after all.
Searching for scholarships will take some time and will require some organization, but the payoff can be enormous. There are countless free scholarship search tools online and even mobile apps to help with the process. Each scholarship will have application requirements, but sometimes information overlaps, so students can use some of the same materials to apply to several different scholarships. In addition, some scholarship databases or directories will have other bonus information like overviews of particular majors students might be interested in.
Looking into local scholarships could be a good option for students as well. Local scholarship amounts tend to be less, but the pool of applicants is too. School guidance counselors are good resources because they continually work with students to find scholarships and there may be resources available that are unique to a location. In this instance, GPA may be less important as well. Every penny counts and even small scholarship awards of $1000 or less are significant when paying for school.
Local scholarships could also be found through apprenticeship. Many high schools have academic and career planning courses or apprenticeship programs available while students are still in high school. Typical apprenticeships are one- or two-year programs that combine school and work-based learning. Students sometimes work with professionals in a field while earning high school credits and sometimes even earn an hourly wage. Youth apprenticeship partners are a good example of local supporters of education, and potential scholarship opportunities could exist there. Agriculture, finance, health services, manufacturing and construction are some industries where opportunity may exist.
It’s evident that the answer to the question, “What is the Lowest GPA to Get a Scholarship?” is not super cut and dry, but that’s a good thing. Opportunities are out there for students. Varying situations, new programs and incentives are available all the time. If students and their families take the time to commit themselves to finding scholarship opportunities, getting scholarship awards to pay for college could be a reality.