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Last updated on June 21, 2024

Top Scholarships in California to Apply for in 2024

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60 SCHOLARSHIPS
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  1. Otto Bear Memorial Scholarship

    Funded by
    Dave Schmotzer and Lynette Fricke
    This scholarship seeks to pay forward the love, kindness, and joy that Otto brought to the world by supporting young women pursuing STEM.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Gender: Female-identifying
    • Field of Study: STEM
    • State: California, Washington, or Oregon
    • Education Level: High school senior
    • GPA: 3.0 or higher
    Amount:$10,000
    Deadline:Jul 31, 2024
    One Click Apply
    1
  2. Mark Caldwell Memorial STEM/STEAM Scholarship

    Funded by
    Rick Caldwell
    This scholarship is intended to honor the memory of Mark Caldwell by encouraging students with financial need to work toward STEM or STEAM careers.
    All students are eligible
    Amount:$1,000
    Deadline is Approaching! 8 days left
    One Click Apply
    2
  3. CF Boleky Scholarship

    Funded by
    Benjamin Lague
    This scholarship aims to honor CF Boleky by supporting students who have a strong relationship with their best friends.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: Undergraduate student
    • State: California
    Amount:$1,500
    Deadline:Jul 29, 2024
    One Click Apply
    3
  4. Electric Cycle Studio Student Athlete Scholarship

    Funded by
    Electric Cycle Studio
    This scholarship seeks to support student-athletes who embody dedication, perseverance, and a strong commitment to both academics and athletics.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: High school senior
    • State: California
    • Background: Athlete
    Amount:$500
    Deadline:Aug 30, 2024
    One Click Apply
    4
  5. Jorge Campos Memorial Scholarship

    Funded by
    1540 Productions Ltd.
    This scholarship seeks to honor the life of Jorge Campos by supporting students who share his commitment to kindness and community.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: High school student
    • State: California
    • Background: Demonstrated commitment to community service and leadership
    Amount:$2,500
    Deadline:Sep 15, 2024
    One Click Apply
    5
  6. Kathleen L. Small Teaching Scholarship

    Funded by
    Chris Small
    This scholarship aims to honor the legacy of Kathy Small by supporting students who share her love for education.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: Undergraduate or graduate student
    • Field of Study: Education
    • State: California
    Amount:$500
    Deadline:Oct 01, 2024
    One Click Apply
    6
  7. Rev. and Mrs. E B Dunbar Scholarship

    Funded by
    Donald Dunbar
    This scholarship will support a minority student.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Race/Ethnicity: BIPOC
    • State: Kentucky or California
    Amount:$1,000
    Deadline:Nov 01, 2024
    One Click Apply
    7
  8. Madison Victoria Keith Nursing Scholarship

    Funded by
    The Cave Family
    This scholarship seeks to honor the memory of Madison Keith by supporting female students who share Madison’s calling to nursing.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: Undergraduate student
    • Gender: Female-identifying
    • Field of Study: Nursing
    • State: California
    Amount:$3,000
    Deadline:Mar 02, 2025
    One Click Apply
    8
  9. Coach Ray Memorial Athletic Scholarship

    Funded by
    Derek Jindra
    This scholarship aims to honor the legacy of Coach Ray by supporting deserving athletes who excel in the classroom and in athletics.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: High school senior
    • Sport: Basketball
    • Gender: Female
    • State: California
    • GPA: 2.8 or higher
    Amount:$500
    Deadline:Mar 17, 2025
    One Click Apply
    9
  10. Lori Nethaway Memorial Scholarship

    Funded by
    Stacey Sprenkel
    This scholarship will support a female high school senior in California.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: High school senior
    • State: California
    • Gender: Woman
    • Background: First-generation college student
    Amount:$1,000
    Deadline:Apr 01, 2025
    One Click Apply
    10
  11. D’Andre J. Brown Memorial Scholarship

    Funded by
    Cindy Brown
    This scholarship aims to honor the life of D’Andre J. Brown by supporting students who have overcome adversity or hardship in their lives.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: High school senior
    • State: California
    • GPA: 3.0 or higher
    Amount:$555
    Deadline:Apr 01, 2025
    One Click Apply
    11
  12. Faatuai and Fatilua Memorial Scholarship

    Funded by
    Fatilua Family
    This scholarship will support a Pacific Islander college student.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • GPA: 3.0 or higher
    • Education Level: Undergraduate or graduate student
    • Race/Ethnicity: Pacific Islander
    Amount:$1,000
    Deadline:Nov 25, 2025
    One Click Apply
    12
  13. Chief Lawrence J. Nemec Jr. Memorial Scholarship

    Funded by
    Michael Bosch
    This scholarship seeks to help five students who are volunteer firefighters or EMTs afford their college education.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Experience: Volunteer as a firefighter or EMT
    Amount:$16,000
    Deadline:Aug 10, 2024
    One Click Apply
    13
  14. Cat Zingano Overcoming Loss Scholarship

    Funded by
    Cat Zingano
    This scholarship will be awarded to one high school or undergraduate student who is fighting through their own loss of a close family member, legal guardian or loved one, and is in need of financial support for their education as they move forward.
    All students are eligible
    Amount:$10,000
    Deadline is Approaching! 28 days left
    One Click Apply
    14
  15. First-Generation College Students Scholarship

    Funded by
    wiseGEEK
    The First-Generation College Students Scholarship is meant to support and encourage these students as they take on the biggest educational milestone thus far in their lives.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Background: First-generation college student
    • Education Level: High school senior or current undergraduate student
    Amount:$500
    Deadline is Approaching! 23 days left
    One Click Apply
    15
  16. Raquel Merlini Pay it Forward Scholarship

    Funded by
    raquel Merlini
    This scholarship is designed to support one divorced woman or a single mother with an opportunity to pursue the education she deserves.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Marital Status: Single Mother and/or divorced
    • Pending major: Pursuing or considering pursuing a degree in the medical field
    Amount:$1,000
    Deadline is Approaching! 2 days left
    One Click Apply
    16
  17. Carlos F. Garcia Muentes Scholarship

    Funded by
    The Pride Resource Network
    In honor and memory of Carlos Fredy Garcia Muentes, this scholarship will support immigrant students that have a passion for learning and want to create a better life for themselves, their families, and their communities.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Immigration status: First or second-generation immigrant
    • Legacy Status: First-generation college student
    Amount:$500
    Deadline:Aug 22, 2024
    One Click Apply
    17
  18. CapCut Meme Master Scholarship

    Funded by
    Bold.org
    This scholarship seeks to celebrate humor and creativity by showcasing your funniest CapCut memes!
    All students are eligible
    Amount:$500
    Deadline is Approaching! 9 days left
    One Click Apply
    18
  19. Frederick and Bernice Beretta Memorial Scholarship

    Funded by
    Beretta Family
    This scholarship seeks to honor the memories of Frederick and Bernice Beretta by supporting students who are trying to better themselves through education.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • State: California
    • Background: Financial need
    • Education Level: High school, undergraduate, or trade school student
    Amount:$2,500
    Deadline:Jun 17, 2024
    One Click Apply
    Scholarship is in review
    19
  20. Brent Haines "Make it Happen" Scholarship

    Funded by
    Haines Family
    This scholarship seeks to honor the life of Brent Haines by supporting motivated, community-minded students who are following in his footsteps.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: Undergraduate student
    • School: San Diego State University
    • GPA: 2.5 or higher
    Amount:$4,000
    Deadline:Jun 23, 2023
    One Click Apply
    Scholarship is awarded to
    2 winners
    20
  21. Fernandez Scholarship

    Funded by
    Adam Fernandez
    This scholarship aims to make higher education more accessible by supporting students who are preparing to make the transition from high school to college.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: High school senior
    • State: California
    Amount:$2,000
    Deadline:May 20, 2024
    One Click Apply
    Scholarship is awarded to
    2 winners
    21
  22. WTFintech? No-Essay Scholarship

    Funded by
    Bold.org
    This scholarship is perfect for anyone interested in entrepreneurship, tech, and finance news.
    All students are eligible
    Amount:$1,000
    Deadline:Oct 01, 2022
    One Click Apply
    Scholarship is awarded to
    1 winner
    22
  23. Dan Leahy Scholarship Fund

    Funded by
    Dan Leahy Scholarship Fund
    This scholarship seeks to honor Dan Leahy’s legacy by supporting high school and community college students so they can afford higher education.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: You must be a high school or community college student to apply
    • Extracurricular Involvement: Speech and debate or mock trial
    Amount:$3,000
    Deadline:May 27, 2024
    One Click Apply
    Scholarship is awarded to
    3 winners
    23
  24. Bruin Pride - UCLA No-Essay Scholarship

    Funded by
    Bold.org
    This scholarship aims to reward students at UCLA for their school spirit and passion so they can reduce their need for student debt when paying for college.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • School: UCLA
    Amount:$10,000
    Deadline:Oct 31, 2022
    One Click Apply
    Scholarship is awarded to
    1 winner
    24
  25. Tim Watabe Doing Hard Things Scholarship

    Funded by
    Joleene Watabe
    This scholarship aims to honor the life of Tim Watabe by supporting students who have overcome their own hardships, and now intend to make the world a better place.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • States: CA, OH, UT
    • Education Level: High School Seniors, Undergraduate and Graduate
    Amount:$3,000
    Deadline:Feb 15, 2023
    One Click Apply
    Scholarship is awarded to
    6 winners
    25
  26. Ron Johnston Student Athlete Scholarship

    Funded by
    Johnston Family
    This scholarship will support a high school senior or undergraduate student athlete.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: High school senior or undergraduate
    • Involvement: Athletics
    • State: CA
    Amount:$5,700
    Deadline:Jun 13, 2023
    One Click Apply
    Scholarship is awarded to
    3 winners
    26
  27. Hindsight 20-20 Essay Scholarship

    Funded by
    Stephanie Hadley
    This scholarship seeks to support California students and assess how well their grade school education prepared them for college.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: Undergraduate pursuing a 4-year degree
    • State: California
    Amount:$500
    Deadline:May 31, 2022
    One Click Apply
    Scholarship is awarded to
    1 winner
    27
  28. Advantech Intelligent Planet Scholarship

    Funded by
    Advantech
    This scholarship seeks to support innovators who are determined to complete their degrees through higher education.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: High school senior
    • State: California, Ohio, Kentucky or Indiana
    Amount:$10,000
    Deadline:May 01, 2023
    One Click Apply
    Scholarship is awarded to
    4 winners
    28
  29. San Marino Woman’s Club Scholarship

    Funded by
    San Marino Woman’s Club
    This scholarship seeks to support students who are committed to serving others so they can afford to pursue their academic goals.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Education Level: High school senior
    • GPA: 3.5 or higher
    • State: California
    • Background: Volunteering and/or community service experience
    Amount:$5,000
    Deadline:May 07, 2024
    One Click Apply
    Scholarship is awarded to
    2 winners
    29
  30. Loreen K. Odemu Memorial Nursing Scholarship

    Funded by
    Shawn Da Silva
    This scholarship honors the life of Loreen K. Odemu by supporting the next generation of nurses.

    Eligibility Criteria:

    • Field of Study: Nursing
    • GPA: 3.0
    • Education Level: High school senior, Undergraduate or Trade school
    • State: California
    Amount:$700
    Deadline:Apr 10, 2024
    One Click Apply
    Scholarship is awarded to
    1 winner
    30
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About Scholarships in California 

As a California resident, looking for California scholarships may be an effective way to work towards paying for a college education. The average cost of an undergraduate degree in America has almost doubled since the 1990s, with public schools increasing costs more than the typical private college. A degree from an accredited college can open the door to a multitude of opportunities for young adults, but it’s difficult to afford.

California Student Debt

California is home to many ambitious students. However, the steep costs of modern education are reflected in the fact that nearly 4 million California residents are struggling with student debt. Together, citizens in California with residual student debt owe almost $142 billion in 2020. Student loans continue to be an issue that affects many scholars in California.

California has the most student loan borrowers in the nation. More than 500,000 students are in default on their student loans, revealing the extent to which California students are finding it difficult to pay back the costs of their education.

In-state students pay a discounted rate for tuition, encouraging California high school students to remain in-state for their college education. Evidently, the geographical location of where you choose to attend school can also impact how your financial need is met by your institution of choice.

California Colleges

California's colleges stand at the forefront of innovation, diversity, and academic excellence, offering a wide array of programs that cater to a multitude of interests and careers. From the sun-kissed campuses of the University of California and California State University systems to the dynamic environments of private institutions and community colleges, students are immersed in a rich educational atmosphere.

Renowned for cutting-edge research, especially in technology, environmental science, and the arts, these institutions not only prepare students for the challenges of the modern workforce but also foster a spirit of inquiry and creativity.

California has a wide range of colleges and universities with different specializations, tuition costs, and acceptance rates. When looking for a school that fits your financial needs and interests, considering the average financial aid and tuition cost is important. Many schools are willing to provide at least some aid to students that demonstrate financial need.

Stanford University, one of the more prestigious universities in California, has an acceptance rate of just 3.9% in 2021. The school estimates that 70% of Stanford students will receive some form of financial aid to meet their demonstrated financial need. The aid received from the school varies based on the income bracket the student’s family falls into.

Attending a California community college like Pasadena City College may be a more affordable option for students pursuing higher education. The tuition cost for California residents attending Pasadena City College averages around $46 per unit

Many students at Pasadena City College receive financial aid. Both staying in-state for your undergraduate degree and applying for scholarships in California can greatly affect how much tuition costs.   

California College Graduates

Graduation rates have seen a steady increase, with many institutions reporting higher completion rates, particularly among STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. The employment outcomes for these graduates are equally optimistic, with a significant percentage entering high-demand sectors such as technology, healthcare, and renewable energy, reflecting California's leading industries.

The average starting salary for California college graduates varies by field but generally aligns with or exceeds national averages, underscoring the value of a degree from the state's institutions. Additionally, California's commitment to diversity in higher education is evident in the demographic makeup of its graduates, showcasing a broad representation across different ethnicities and backgrounds.

The Best Scholarships for California Students

Applying to scholarships in California can help California students increase their chances of winning money by restricting the applicant pool by location. Below are some California scholarships students should consider.

Scholarships for High School Students in California

There are also many scholarships available for California high school students, particularly high school seniors. It can be beneficial to begin planning for your educational journey earlier rather than later. Below are some scholarships that high school students are eligible to apply for.

  1. Scholarships for High School Freshmen
  2. Scholarships for High School Sophomores
  3. Scholarships for High School Juniors
  4. Scholarships for High School Seniors
  5. Scholarships for High School Students

Scholarships for Undergraduate Students in California

Undergraduate students make up a majority of the college student population at accredited schools in California. As students begin to incur more expenses, such as textbooks and other necessities, applying for scholarships during and after their freshman year of college can be financially helpful.

  1. Undergraduate Scholarships
  2. Scholarships for College Freshmen
  3. Scholarships for College Sophomores
  4. Scholarships for Community College
  5. Scholarships for College Students

Scholarships for Graduate Students in California

There are scholarships in California available to a wide range of students, including graduate students. Applying to scholarships in a continuous process is a good way to continue to make smart financial decisions in college. 

  1. Scholarships for Graduate Students
  2. MBA Scholarships
  3. PhD Scholarships
  4. Scholarships for College Students
  5. Master's Degree Scholarships

How Do I Apply for California Scholarships?

Consider using tools like Bold.org to help you find and apply for scholarships as you begin or continue to pursue higher education. By creating a free profile with Bold.org, you can access and browse hundreds of scholarships for various students. 

Information you enter in your profile will help you determine which scholarships you are eligible for based on your background information, education level, and academic interests. From there, you will be able to apply for many scholarships with one click. For other scholarships, you may need to write a short essay relating your experiences to the theme of the scholarship. 

Applying for scholarships on Bold.org is designed to be as easy and low-stress as possible. Students from all education levels can find scholarships they are eligible for, from high school seniors to graduate students.

When Can I Apply for California Scholarships?

There's no right or wrong time to start applying for scholarships. It may be prudent to begin applying earlier rather than later. However, both high school students and college students can choose to find opportunities to supplement their financial need at any time in their educational journey.

Some scholarships are made specifically for graduating high school seniors. This is because high school seniors are one of the groups most concerned with beginning their college life and finding a way to pay for university. Though there are fewer opportunities available for high school students before their senior year, current high school juniors and underclassmen may still be able to find some opportunities to meet their financial need. It's also worth researching scholarships ahead of time even if you don't plan on applying for scholarships until later in high school.

Eligible students should apply to the scholarships they meet the requirements for sooner rather than later. High school senior students should take advantage of their status and apply to scholarships exclusively for high school senior students since after a year they will no longer be eligible for these scholarships.

Similarly, undergraduate students should apply to as many undergraduate scholarships as they can even if they plan to attend graduate school. They will always be able to apply for graduate scholarships later in their academic careers, but after graduation, they will no longer be able to apply for undergraduate scholarships.

Graduate students and even those who are recently entering the workforce may also be able to find some financial opportunities. No matter where you are in your academic career, it's never a bad idea to apply for scholarships. Even if you have already received federal financial aid or support from family members, scholarship funds can help pay for textbooks and other college expenses not included in the cost of tuition.

What Scholarships Can I Apply For?

Most scholarships will list the requirements for applying in the information section. Some restrictions can include financial background, education level, academic achievement, and more. For example, some scholarships will only be available if students can demonstrate financial hardship or financial need. High school senior students cannot apply for graduate student scholarships, and vice versa. In regards to academic achievement, certain opportunities may require students to have a minimum GPA to apply, and so on.

In addition, other factors such as extracurricular activities or your future plans may play a role in whether you are eligible for a scholarship or not. Some scholarships are only available to students who have participated in community involvement and volunteer work. Alternatively, some scholarships are exclusively for students planning to attend community colleges or enroll in trade school.

When looking to supplement your financial need with scholarships, consider using filters or other tools to find opportunities that you are eligible for. First-generation students or students pursuing a specific field, like art or coding, can select the appropriate filters to help them narrow down their scholarship search.

As you search for scholarships that match your needs, consider what aspects of your living situation and personal life may qualify you for scholarships.

First-generation students and underrepresented students should look for scholarships committed to making education more accessible since not all students will be able to apply for these opportunities. Doing this can help increase your chances of winning money. Similarly, look for scholarships that match your interests or intended major, as this will decrease your competition.

Remember to apply for a wide range of scholarships. Applying to scholarships based on your family background, as well as applying to scholarships that are restricted by major and other factors, will give you a greater chance of receiving money.

You can and should apply for any scholarships that you fit the requirements for. Apply to a wide variety of scholarships to increase your chances of winning.

Are California Scholarships Taxable?

Whether your scholarship money is taxable depends on what you use the money for, but in most cases, scholarships are not taxed.

As long as your scholarship money only covers qualified educational expenses, your funds will not be taxed. Qualified educational expenses are expenses that are required for you to complete your degree. These include textbook fees, mandatory course fees, and mandatory tuition or enrollment fees.

Housing, travel expenses, and meal plan costs are not included in qualified educational expenses. However, most scholarship donors will not label your funds for a particular expense, meaning you can use the money however you see fit. Alternatively, if the scholarship money is sent to the financial office of your school instead of to your personal bank account, your financial aid office will automatically apply the money to qualified educational expenses on your behalf.

Lastly, if your scholarship funds exceed the total amount of qualified educational expenses you must pay during your time in college, the extra money must be reported in your tax forms. However, this is relatively unlikely due to the high cost of college.