Today, 43 million Americans hold an average of nearly $40,000 in student debt each –– and that number continues to grow every year. Scholarships help students earn a degree with less debt. Instead of feeling saddled by student loans for decades, scholarship recipients enter the workforce with more financial freedom. As demand for tech professionals continues to grow much faster than average, scholarships help students complete their IT degrees.
Major tech companies, professional associations, and other organizations offer scholarships for IT students. These scholarships come with a variety of eligibility requirements and include need-based and merit scholarships. Many information technology scholarships also support groups that are underrepresented in IT, including women, Black, Latino/a, and Indigenous professionals.
This guide introduces a selection of the many information technology scholarships available for students.
How to apply for IT scholarships
Millions of students rely on scholarships to pay for college. But where can students find scholarships? And how can they improve their odds of receiving scholarship money?
Many organizations list scholarship opportunities. College financial aid offices also connect students with scholarship opportunities, as do high school counselors. Computer science majors can also check out our list of top computer science scholarships.
After identifying scholarship opportunities, students need to understand how to apply for information technology scholarships.
TYPICAL SCHOLARSHIP REQUIREMENTS
Before applying for a scholarship, applicants must meet the eligibility requirements. Many scholarship organizations set requirements based on the student’s enrollment status, major, and GPA.
- Common scholarship prerequisites include:
- A minimum GPA, often 3.0
- U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status
- Current or incoming college student
- Enrolled at an accredited U.S. college or university
- Full-time student status, for some scholarships
- Proof of financial need, for some scholarships
TYPICAL SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION COMPONENTS
Each scholarship requires different application materials. Some, such as letters of recommendation and essays, require a significant time commitment. Applicants should carefully review the requirements when applying for scholarships.
Common scholarship application materials include:
- Official transcripts, though some accept unofficial transcripts
- A resume
- Letters of recommendation
- A personal statement
- Answers to essay questions
- Evidence of leadership, volunteering, or extracurricular experience
- Membership in a professional organization for some scholarships
General IT scholarships
Technology students qualify for many scholarship opportunities. These scholarships help degree-seekers cover their educational expenses and graduate with less debt.
In addition to the scholarships listed below, research other scholarships through CareerOneStop, which lists over 8,000 scholarships. The federal student aid office and state departments of education also provide financial aid for college students.
The following IT scholarships accept applications from students majoring in computer science, information technology, software engineering, and other tech majors. Learn more about the award amounts, eligibility, and application process below.
Eligibility Limitations: Majors in computer science, computer engineering, or a related field can apply. The scholarship encourages applications from students in groups historically excluded from tech.
Applicants submit a resume, academic transcripts, and responses to three short essay questions. The scholarship fund supports undergraduate and graduate students.
Eligibility Limitations: Undergraduate and graduate students qualify for the scholarship opportunity, including students enrolled in associate degree programs.
About: The scholarship supports students in any technology field. Applicants provide an essay and the committee selects recipients based on the innovation and originality of the essay.
Amount: Up to $5,000
Eligibility Limitations: Undergraduate STEM majors, particularly from underrepresented populations or students with financial need, qualify. Applicants must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA.
About: The scholarship program awards up to 500 scholarships annually. The committee encourages dependents of Western Digital employees to apply.
Eligibility Limitations: Undergraduate and graduate students planning a career in healthcare information management systems qualify.
About: Designed for students in a variety of majors interested in healthcare and IT, the scholarship requires two letters of recommendation, a resume, and an application form.
Eligibility Limitations: Applicants must be full-time students at an accredited college. Recipients should be pursuing a career in education and hold a minimum 2.75 GPA.
About: The scholarship requires an essay on the importance of technology in education, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.
Eligibility Limitations: Applicants must be CompTIA student members to qualify. The membership comes with a fee.
About: CompTIA awards scholarships for aspiring tech professionals. The award supports student members seeking careers in technology, including those who contribute to their student chapter or local IT community.
Eligibility Limitations: Computer science, information technology, and related majors qualify. Applicants should be enrolled in full-time undergraduate programs with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
About: Named for computing pioneer Betty Stevens-Frecknall, the award supports students pursuing tech careers. Applicants must complete at least one semester of college before receiving the scholarship.
Eligibility Limitations: Applicants must attend a college in Wisconsin or Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Recipients must also be student members of CompTIA AITP.
About: The scholarship supports information technology students who demonstrate leadership skills. The committee looks for participation at AITP student meetings.
Eligibility Limitations: Students in cybersecurity or information assurance programs qualify. The scholarship requires a minimum 3.3 GPA. Online and part-time students qualify.
About: Applicants provide transcripts, one letter of recommendation, and a resume. The scholarship also asks several essay questions with a maximum of 250 words per answer.
Eligibility Limitations: Applicants must be at least second-year college students in a four-year program. The scholarship requires a minimum 3.0 GPA.
About: AFCEA offers several STEM scholarships with one application, including the cyber security scholarship. The scholarship supports degree-seekers in information security programs.
Amount: Full tuition plus stipend
Eligibility Limitations: Applicants must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and attend a regionally accredited U.S. school.
About: The SMART program offers scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students in STEM fields. Recipients guarantee a job offer from the Department of Defense after completing their degree.
Eligibility Limitations: Students studying security, information science, technology, or computer science qualify. The scholarship encourages applications from nontraditional students.
About: The scholarship supports learners interested in information technology careers. Recipients must enroll full-time as an undergraduate at an accredited school or technical school.
Identity-based IT scholarships
Members of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, veterans, and students with disabilities qualify for many information technology scholarships. This section lists some of the many IT financial options for students.
Amount: Up to $30,000
Eligibility Limitations: Latino/a students pursuing a STEM major qualify. Students must attend college or graduate from a high school in northern California.
About: The Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley offers the scholarship to support up to 100 students each year. DACA recipients qualify. Applicants should show financial need.
Eligibility Limitations: Students with disabilities pursuing a degree in computer science or a related major qualify. Applicants must be full-time students with a strong academic record.
About: Google supports students with disabilities through the Lime scholarship. In addition to evaluating applicants on their academic promise, the scholarship committee looks for leadership and passion for technology.
Eligibility Limitations: Student veterans seeking degrees in computer science qualify for the scholarship. Applicants must be full-time undergraduate or graduate students.
About: The scholarship supports veterans pursuing technology careers. Applicants submit a resume, transcripts, a letter of reference, and three short essays.
Eligibility Limitations: American Indian and Indigenous students can apply if they enroll as full-time students in computer science, computer engineering, software development, or a related field.
About: The scholarship supports American Indians and other Indigenous people seeking degrees in science or engineering. Applicants must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and provide proof of tribal citizenship.
Eligibility Limitations: American Indians and other Indigenous people qualify for the scholarship. Majors in computer science, earth sciences, and engineering can apply.
About: The scholarship supports students committed to the energy field. Full-time undergraduate and graduate students can apply with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Eligibility Limitations: Black high schoolers planning to earn a bachelor’s in engineering, computer science, or a related program qualify. The scholarship also requires a minimum 3.3 GPA and proof of financial need.
About: The BAM Scholarship supports Black students studying technology. Applicants provide two letters of recommendation, a resume, a transcript, and two essays.
Eligibility Limitations: Applicants must meet different major and degree-level requirements, depending on the scholarship opportunity.
About: NACME offers several scholarships to support minorities pursuing engineering careers. Some scholarships include school or region restrictions.
Palantir Future Fellowship
Eligibility Limitations: Applicants must identify as Black, Latino/a, or Indigenous. They must also major in computer science, software engineering, or a closely related field.
About: Palantir offers 10 fellowships each year. Recipients participate in a six-week remote program to launch their software engineering careers.
IT Scholarships for Women
Many organizations offer information technology scholarships for women, including tech companies, professional associations, and private organizations. This section introduces a few of the many scholarship opportunities for women in tech.
Eligibility Limitations: Women currently attending high school or college qualify. The scholarship does not set a minimum GPA or a required major.
About: The scholarship supports women intending careers in fields that use technology to improve the world. Applicants submit an essay on their interests, skills, and career goals.
Eligibility Limitations: Women studying computer science, cybersecurity, IT, and related careers qualify. Applicants must attend a degree-granting program. The scholarship requires a minimum 3.0 GPA.
About: The scholarship evaluates applicants based on their GPA, responses to the application’s essay question, and the applicant’s participation in community service or extracurricular activities.
Eligibility Limitations: Women pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree quality. The scholarship also requires a STEM degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA
About: The scholarship encourages women in STEM fields. The committee evaluates applicants based on their essay or video essay and looks for an original voice with interesting ideas.
Eligibility Limitations: Women enrolled as full-time undergraduates at accredited schools qualify. Applicants must study computer science, computer engineering, or a related field.
About: The award encourages undergraduate women to consider careers in computing. Applicants submit three essays for consideration. Dotcom-Monitor awards one scholarship each year.
Eligibility Limitations: Applicants must identify as female and currently enroll in an undergraduate or graduate program. The scholarship requires a computer science, computing engineering, or related major.
About: The scholarship supports women studying artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, computer science, or mobile/web development. Adobe aims to increase gender diversity in tech with its scholarship.
How can IT students spend scholarship money?
Scholarship money helps IT students cover tuition, fees, textbooks, room and board, and other educational expenses. Depending on the scholarship, recipients may face limits on how to spend the money. For instance, some scholarships only pay for tuition. Scholarship organizations may also send the funds directly to the financial aid office, which applies the money toward the student’s expenses. IT students can also apply for specialized scholarships to cover textbook costs.
CAN YOU USE SCHOLARSHIP MONEY FOR IT CERTIFICATIONS?
Many scholarships set eligibility requirements that do not include coding bootcamps or certifications. Some require accreditation, which bootcamps typically do not hold. However, tech students can seek out scholarships with more flexible requirements. For example, many bootcamp and certificate programs offer institutional scholarships for learners.
4 tips for applying to IT scholarships
Submitting scholarship applications requires time and effort. But that effort pays off when applicants receive scholarship awards. This section walks through four tips to increase your chances of winning information technology scholarships.
START EARLY AND STAY AHEAD OF DEADLINES.
Scholarship deadlines fall throughout the year. As a result, students need to start early to manage those deadlines. Asking for letters of recommendation, requesting official transcripts, and writing essays can take several weeks. Starting early ensures applicants will not miss out on opportunities because of a missed deadline.
2. STAY ORGANIZED.
Applying to multiple scholarships––or even one scholarship––requires strong organizational skills. Create a scholarship calendar with deadlines for drafting essays, revising personal statements, and submitting the finished applications. A spreadsheet or planner also helps applicants stay organized.
3. CHOOSE WHICH SCHOLARSHIPS TO PRIORITIZE.
IT majors may qualify for dozens of scholarships. Choose your top priorities based on the award and the deadline date. Students may also want to prioritize smaller scholarships where they have a strong chance of winning based on their qualifications.
4. GET FEEDBACK.
An essay that does not answer the question or an empty box on a scholarship application can mean missing out on money. Ask a friend or family member for feedback on every part of the application. Correcting small grammar or spelling errors can help the application stand out.
Other IT financial options for students
Nearly all students use some form of financial aid to pay for school. In fact, 86% of undergraduates rely on financial aid. In addition to scholarships, degree-seekers may qualify for grants, work-study programs, or fellowships.
Unlike scholarships, some forms of financial aid require repayment. For example, borrowers must repay student loans after graduation. As a result, learners should prioritize scholarships, grants, and other forms of aid that do not require repayment.
Federal grants: The federal student loan program awards grants such as the Pell Grant to students. On average, federal grant recipients receive $5,179 per year. IT students qualify for grants by filling out the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, each year. More than $2 billion in student grants go unclaimed every year.
State grants: In addition to federal grants, many states offer higher education grants for students. These grants may come with eligibility requirements, including proof of financial need or a certain high school GPA. IT majors should research grants in their state.
Fellowships: Fellowships cover educational expenses without repayment requirements. Offered by universities and private organizations, fellowships generally fund graduate students rather than undergraduates. Some institutional fellowships come with a stipend and tuition remission.
Loans: Students can take out loans from the federal government or private lenders. These loans come with different terms, repayment options, and interest rates. Before borrowing money to pay for school, research the borrower’s responsibilities and watch out for predatory rates. In general, federal loans offer lower interest rates and more repayment options than private loans.
Work-study programs: Work-study programs connect students with part-time jobs on campus or in qualifying organizations. Students receive a salary for their work while also gaining professional experience. The FAFSA qualifies students for the federal work-study program.
Military aid: The military offers several forms of education benefits, including through the GI Bill. Military service members and veterans should reach out to the Veterans Affairs office for more on these benefits.
What GPA do you need to get a full scholarship?
Scholarship requirements vary depending on the scholarship. Many require a minimum 3.0 GPA to qualify, while others assess applicants based on financial need rather than academic performance.
How hard is it to get a scholarship?
Over half of college students use scholarships to pay for school. By researching scholarships and understanding how to apply, students increase their chances of receiving a scholarship.
How can I improve my chances of getting a scholarship?
Applicants increase their odds of winning a scholarship by applying for multiple scholarships, writing strong essays, and putting together a solid application.
By Genevieve Carlton | ZDNet