According to the Arizona College Scholarship Fund, the average income of a 25-year-old in Arizona who earns a bachelor’s degree increases by 111 percent over that of a 25-year-old Arizonan who has only a high school diploma.
However, the ACSF also reports that only 15.6 percent of all low-income Arizonans attend college. At the same time, the cost of college tuition in Arizona has doubled over the past five years. It is therefore vitally important that Arizona students who want to pursue postsecondary education are able to do so.
Luckily, college grants and scholarships for Arizona’s student population are available from a wide variety of resources.
The Arizona state government offers a variety of need-based grants and merit-based scholarships to students within the state. Most programs are administered by the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education (ACPE). All ACPE grants and scholarships are limited to students who are legal residents of Arizona.
For example, the Arizona Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership, or Arizona LEAP Grant, provides up to $2,500 worth of support per year to low-income students, and is awarded on the basis of need. This program provides support for undergraduate students only; both half-time and full-time students are eligible.
The Arizona Special Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Grant, or SLEAP Grant, is a related program that provides up to $2,000 to sophomore, junior or senior undergraduates pursuing degrees in fields related to science, technology, engineering or mathematics.
The Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education provides assistance to community college graduates transferring to private four-year colleges through the Private Postsecondary Education Student Assistance Program, or PFAP Grant. The PFAP Grant awards up to $2,000 per year for up to two years, is awarded on the basis of financial need, and may be used to defray the costs of tuition, educational fees or textbooks.
The Postsecondary Education Grant Program, or PEG Program, provides up to $2,000 per year for up to four years to an Arizona student pursuing a bachelor’s degree at a private four-year institution located within the state.
The Arizona College Access Aid Program, or ACAAP Grant, is available to low-income Arizonans pursuing an undergraduate education and as with other ACPE grants is awarded on the basis of student need. Recipients are eligible for up to $2,000 per year through the program. Students pursuing an associate’s degree are eligible, as are those seeking a baccalaureate degree. Both half-time and full-time students qualify for this program. First-year students are ineligible.
Arizona students who graduate from high school at least one semester early are eligible for support through the Early Graduation Scholarship Grant Program, also administered by the ACPE. To be eligible, a student must enroll at a postsecondary institution within the state on at least a half-time basis, and must achieve a qualify score on the Arizona Instrument to measure Standards, or AIMS test.
Students who graduate one semester early may be eligible for up to $1,500, and those who graduate at least one year early may be eligible to receive up to $2,000. Unlike most ACPE programs, this scholarship is not based on financial need.
Each year, applications for ACPE programs become available in July. Because funds are limited and administered on a first come, first served basis, it is recommended that you submit your application as early as possible. Students may apply electronically for all ACPE grants through the AZGrants website.
The Arizona Department of Education offers tuition assistance to high-achieving students through the Arizona Board of Regents High Honors Tuition Scholarship, also referred to as the AIMS Scholarship.
To be eligible, a student must be a graduate of an Arizona high school, and must complete the following 16 core competencies with a grade of at least a B: 4 units of English, 4 units of math, 3 units of a lab science, 2 units in the social sciences, 2 units of foreign language and 1 unit in fine arts. A student must also have either a grade point average of at least 3.5 in the 16 core competencies or graduate within the top 5 percent of their class.
Lastly, a student must exceed two of three standards on the Arizona AIMS test, and, starting with the graduating class of 2013, score at least a 28 on the ACT or 1300 on the SAT. Eligible students graduating in 2012 will receive a full-tuition scholarship to a public university within the state. Eligible students graduating in 2013 and after will receive a scholarship valued at 25 percent of the in-state tuition rate.
The Arizona College Scholarship Fund (ACSF) is the state’s largest single pool of private scholarship dollars. The ACSF Scholars Program is supported by donations from a variety of sources, including the Helios Education Foundation, the BHHS Legacy Foundation, United Student Aid Funds, Inc., former vice president Dan Quayle and philanthropist William Carstens.
Students selected as ACSF Scholars receive up to $6,000 per year for up to four years. In addition, recipients are eligible for on-campus mentoring services through the ACSF program.
To be eligible, you must be a graduate of an Arizona high school planning to pursue an undergraduate degree within the state, and must be able to demonstrate financial need. In addition, you must have been involved with an ACSF partner organization for a minimum of three years and must have been nominated by that partner organization.
The following organizations are ACSF partners: Achieve a College Education, the Aguila Youth Leadership Institute, Arizona Quest for Kids, the Be A Leader Foundation, the Diversity Leadership Alliance Youth Council, Educational Talent Search, Flagstaff Educational Support Programs, Hispanic Mothers and Daughters, Jobs for Arizona Graduates, MESA, NAU-GEAR UP, TRIO and Upward Bound.
All scholarship applications must be submitted by the end of march in order to be eligible for consideration.
Arizona’s network of community foundations, organized under the auspices of the Arizona Community Foundation, administer over 100 scholarship funds and provide assistance to Arizona residents in all areas of the state.
The Arizona Community Foundation itself manages and awards the azcentral.com Centennial Scholars Program, valued at $6,000 per year for up to four years. Students in western Arizona may be eligible for support through the Yuma Community Foundation or the San Luis Community Fund.
Organizations serving students in northern Arizona include the Flagstaff Community Foundation, the Hopi Foundation, the Page/Lake Powell Community Foundation and the Sedona Community Foundation. The Yavapai County Community Foundation serves students residing in the north central region, and residents of the south central region of the state may be eligible for scholarship funds available through the Tempe Community Foundation.
Organizations serving the southeastern part of the state include the Bisbee Foundation, Cochise Community Foundation, Patagonia Regional Community Foundation and the Gila Valley Community Foundation. All scholarship programs open for application in January.
In addition to scholarship and grant programs awarded by region, the Arizona Community Foundation has partnered with the Dorrance Family Foundation to offer three separate scholarship programs.
Re-entry students attending a campus in the Maricopa Community Colleges system may be eligible for the Dorrance South Mountain Community College Scholarship, which provides up to $4,000 per year for up to three years.
The Dorrance Continuing Education Scholarship is available to community college students who, upon attaining an associate’s degree, go on to pursue a bachelor’s at an Arizona public university. This award is valued at $5,000 per semester for up to six semesters, a total award value of $30,000.
Lastly, graduating high school seniors who will be the first in their family to attend college and are planning to attend a public university within the state may be eligible for funding through the Dorrance Family Scholarship Program. Recipients are eligible for up to $10,000 of support each year for up to four years, and receive additional benefits such as a Dorrance adviser and free mentoring and tutoring services.
To be eligible, an applicant must be a first-generation college student, must hold a high school grade point average of 3.0 or higher and have scored at least a 1040 on the SAT or composite ACT score of 22, must have demonstrable financial need and must be accepted for enrollment at Arizona State University in Tempe, Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff or the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Approximately 25 Dorrance Family Scholarships are awarded to incoming freshmen each year.
The Community Foundation for Southern Arizona operates outside the Arizona Community Foundation system and provides additional scholarship opportunities for residents of Cochise, Pima and Santa Cruz counties, and the parts of Maricopa, Pinal, Yuma, Graham and Greenlee counties that are south of the Gila River.
The General Scholarship Program is open to graduating area high school students who have a demonstrable financial need. Other scholarship programs administered by the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona include:
Applications for all CFSOAZ scholarships become available in January of each year.
Each year, the Flinn Foundation provides full-tuition scholarships for 20 Arizona students who wish to study abroad. In addition to full tuition, recipients also have all room and board paid for; the estimated value of this award (above and beyond tuition) is $54,000.
To be eligible, you must have been a resident of Arizona for at least two years, must be a U.S. citizen and must be pursuing a degree at the undergraduate level. In addition, you must have graduated in the top 5 percent of your high school class, must have a grade point average of 3.5 or better and scored a 29 or better on the ACT or a minimum of 1300 on the SAT. Applications are due by mid-October of each year.
If you belong to a minority student population and are pursuing a college degree in Arizona, you may be eligible for one of a few programs that offer scholarship money specifically to minority students.
For example, AAA Arizona offers the Si Se Puede Scholarship for graduating high school seniors of Hispanic origin. To be eligible, you must be planning to attend college within the state, must be an Arizona resident and United States citizen, must have graduated with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and must have a clean driving record.
Five scholarships of $1,000 are awarded each year. Applications must be submitted by April 16 to be eligible for consideration.
The organization Chicanos Por La Causa also provides scholarships to Arizonans of Hispanic or Latino origin who are attending Arizona State University or the Maricopa County Community College. Students attending the University of Arizona College of Medicine are also eligible for a $5,000 scholarship from CPLC.
The Northern Arizona Native American Foundation offers scholarships ranging in value from $250 to $2,000. Native American first-year students in northern Arizona who are entering college, trade school or are in any way continuing their education beyond high school are eligible to apply. Electronic applications are available for download on the organization’s website.
If you are a woman attending school in Arizona, consider applying for scholarships and grants reserved specifically for female students, as this will cut your competition for scholarship dollars in half. Many organizations headquartered in Arizona offer scholarship programs limited to female applicants.
The Arizona Business and Professional Women’s Foundation makes several programs available to Arizona women attending college:
To be eligible, applicants must be 25 years or older, and must be returning to school after an absence. The annual deadline for application falls on March 1. Electronic applications may be downloaded from the Arizona BPW foundation website.
Women pursuing degrees related to engineering may be eligible for support through scholarship funds offered by the Phoenix section of the Society of Women Engineers.
Each year, the Phoenix SWE offers two or three scholarships valued at $1,000 to female students in any engineering discipline attending one of the following universities: Arizona State University, DeVry University, Northern Arizona University or Embry Riddle University. Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to apply.
The organization Arizona Press Women offers the Arizona Press Women Annual Journalism Scholarship to graduating high school seniors within the state planning to major in journalism. You must be planning to attend school within the state in order to qualify; both university and community college students are welcome to apply.
The Arizona Press Women Annual Journalism Scholarship is valued at $1,000. All applications and supporting materials must be received by the annual submission deadline of April 9.
The Arizona Women Lawyers Association makes scholarship assistance available to women pursuing a law degree at either the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona or the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. The Mary Anne Richey Scholarship is awarded on the basis of an applicant’s demonstrated commitment to public service.
Scholarships and grants for women of specific races are available from some organizations headquartered within the state. For example, the Black Women’s Task Force offers scholarship assistance to African American women pursuing a college degree in southern Arizona.
You must demonstrate financial need in order to qualify. Students attending universities, community colleges, business schools and vocational schools are all eligible to apply. Black Women’s Task Force scholarships are typically valued at between $750 and $1,000.
If you are a Muslim woman pursuing a degree in Arizona, consider applying for scholarship funds made available by the American Muslim Women’s Association of Arizona. AMWAAZ scholarships are offered in amounts that vary by each applicant’s specific circumstance. The annual deadline for application falls in June, and awards are announced at the annual AMWA General Body Meeting in the fall.
Several organizations in Arizona make scholarships available to students from specific backgrounds. For example, the Arizona Cowpuncher’s Scholarship Organization makes college grant money available to Arizonans with a parent who is either an employee or owner of a ranch.
The organization Arizona Families for Home Education offers scholarship assistance to students who have been homeschooled; Arizona Homeschool Scholarship Fund awards are valued at a minimum of $500.
Kids’ Chance of Arizona offers scholarships to some students between the ages of 16 and 25 whose parent was killed or permanently disabled in a workplace accident.
The 100 Club of Arizona offers scholarships to the families of active, retired, injured or deceased public safety officers or firefighters.
Students between the ages of 18 and 23 who are the dependent children of highway patrol officers and have a grade point average of 2.5 or higher may be eligible to receive a scholarship of up to $1,500 through the Arizona Highway Patrol Association.
The Horatio Alger Association, together with the Walter and Suzanne Scott Foundation, offers 10 $5,000 scholarships each year to graduating high school seniors from Arizona who have overcome adversity.
Current or former wards of the state of Arizona may be eligible for support through the Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation. Students pursuing vocational training or attending a community college may receive up to $1,000 per semester through the program, while students attending a four-year university may be eligible for up to $2,500 each semester.
Arizona foster children who are graduating high school seniors and plan to attend Northern Arizona University, the University of Arizona or Arizona State University may also be eligible for the McLaren Scholarship. This award is valued at $10,000 per year and is also administered by the AFFCF.
Many professional organizations in Arizona offer scholarships to students in specific majors or disciplines. Applying for scholarships limited to your actual or intended major is a smart way to raise more scholarship dollars.
One organization offering discipline-specific scholarships and grants to Arizona students is the Arizona Nurses Association. Arizona Nurses Association scholarships range in value from $500 for associate degree students, $1,000 for nursing students pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing or a master’s degree, and up to $2,500 for a student pursuing a doctorate.
Scholarships of up to $499 are available to Arizona residents enrolled in the Kaplan Licensure Preparation Course through Kaplan online university. Students who already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field and are pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing at Brookline College may be eligible for the Brookline Scholarship, which pays for all of a student’s tuition, as well as books and uniforms.
The annual deadline for the Brookline Scholarship is August 5, and the biannual deadlines for all other Arizona Nurses Association scholarships are March 1 and October 1.
Several scholarship programs are available to Arizona students pursuing engineering degrees. For example, the Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute offers the annual RMCMI Arizona Engineering/Geology Scholarship to Arizona residents majoring in engineering and planning to pursue a career in coal mining.
This scholarship is valued at $2,500 per year and may provide up to two years of support. To be eligible, an applicant must be entering his junior or senior year.
The Phoenix Post of the Society of American Military Engineers offers scholarships valued between $1,500 and $5,000 to freshman and sophomore college students pursuing degrees related to engineering. To be eligible, you must be a United States citizen and resident of Arizona and must also have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. The annual deadline for application is April 15.
The American Society of Safety Engineers offers the William C. Ray, CIH, CSP Arizona Scholarship each year. Eligible applicants must be full-time undergraduates; preference is given to a resident of Arizona who is also a dues-paying member of the ASSE.
Students of horticulture and related fields planning to pursue a career at a plant nursery may be eligible for scholarship support through the Arizona Nursery Association Foundation. AZNA scholarships are awarded in amounts ranging from $500 to a maximum of $3,000.
You must be a resident of Arizona to be eligible, and must have a record of involvement in extracurricular activities related to the nursery industry. The annual deadline for submission is April 15.
The Arizona Farm Bureau administers several scholarships available to students pursuing degrees related to agriculture, including the Angus Foundation Scholarships ranging in value from $1,000 to $5,000, the Arizona National Livestock Show Scholarship and the $1,500 Charles P. Lake/Rain for Rent Scholarship.
Many Farm Bureau scholarships are also available to residents of the following Arizona counties: Cochise, Coconino, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Pinal and Yuma.
If you are pursuing a degree related to communications or journalism, consider applying for one of the following scholarships.
The Valley of the Sun chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists offers one annual scholarship to a journalism student, with preference given to student members of the SPJ.
The Arizona Press Club makes scholarship assistance of up to $1,000 available to writers, photographers and designers.
The Arizona Broadcasters Association offers several annual scholarships to communications and journalism majors, including the $2,000 Ken Heady Scholarship.
Don’t forget to apply for scholarships offered by the school you plan to attend. Public universities, private universities and community colleges across the state offer myriad scholarship opportunities limited to attending students.
Arizona State University offers a variety of scholarships to incoming freshmen through the New American University Scholarship Program. Continuing undergraduates are eligible for many scholarship programs ranging in value from $1,000 per year to $12,000 per year.
Colleges and Departments at ASU and other Arizona schools offer additional scholarship and grant opportunities for students pursuing specific majors or programs. Talk to your advisor or visit the financial aid office at your school for a list of available opportunities.