Scholarships for HomeschoolersJanuary 23, 2023
Last Updated on May 31, 2023
Homeschooling is becoming more and more popular. According to the National Home Education Research Institute, there were approximately 3.1 million students in kindergarten through 12th grade that were homeschooled. That’s up from just 2.5 million in 2016.
Many universities and non-profit organizations offer scholarships and grants specifically designed for homeschooled students to make a college education more accessible. By taking advantage of scholarships for homeschoolers, you can reduce your out-of-pocket expenses.
Top College Grants and Scholarships for Homeschoolers
When it comes to homeschool scholarships and grants, awards fall into the following categories:
- Merit: Merit-based scholarships are awarded based on the student’s achievements, such as their academic or athletic performance.
- Need: A need-based award is granted to students with limited financial means.
- Service: Some homeschool grants and scholarships are service-based, meaning they’re given to students who go above and beyond in terms of community service.
- Faith: A faith-based homeschool scholarship is awarded to students from specific religious denominations who are active in their faith communities.
Gift aid, including scholarships and grants, can come from various sources, including government agencies, schools, non-profit organizations, and private companies. Below are leading examples of college scholarships for homeschooled students.
1. Pell Grant
A Pell Grant isn’t specifically for homeschooled students, but it’s a valuable grant that homeschooled students can utilize to pay for some of their education costs. Pell Grants are federal grants awarded to undergraduate students based on financial need. As of the 2022-2023 academic year, the maximum Pell Grant award is $6,895.
2. State-Specific Scholarships
Many organizations and government agencies offer grants and scholarships to homeschooled students. These awards have strict residency requirements, so they’re only available to students that live and attend school within the state. For example:
- Washington: The Washington Homeschool Association provides scholarships to homeschooled students within the state. Eligible students can get up to $1,000 to pay for school.
- North Carolina: Homeschooled students in North Carolina may qualify for scholarships from the North Carolinians for Home Education. Since the program’s launch, it has issued over $170,000 in scholarships.
- Wisconsin: Each year, the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation awards $10,000 scholarships to 100 Wisconsin homeschooled high school graduates.
3. School-Issued Scholarships
Homeschooled students are eligible for the same scholarships as others, including those based on grades or test scores.
However, some schools have scholarship programs specifically for homeschooled students. In general, colleges that have homeschool scholarships are smaller private colleges, and the scholarships are usually awarded based on academic merit or community service. For example:
- Regent University: Homeschooled students attending Regent University may qualify for a $4,000 Homeschool Scholarship.
- Washburn University: At Washburn University, homeschooled students may be eligible for the $1,000 Homeschool Presidential Scholarship.
- Weber State University: Weber State University has several scholarship opportunities for homeschooled students. One of the most substantial awards is the Presidential Scholarship; eligible students will receive an award that fully covers all in-state tuition, with an approximate value of $25,000.
Talk to your school’s financial aid office to find out what opportunities may be available.
4. Organizations and Companies
Grants and scholarships can also come from private companies and non-profit organizations. These are two valuable scholarship opportunities for homeschooled students:
- Sonlight College Scholarships for Homeschoolers: Homeschooled students that have utilized Sonlight’s curriculum can qualify for up to $5,000 per year in scholarships.
- Home Education Recognition Organization (HERO): HERO operates several scholarship programs, such as:
- Craig Dickinson Memorial Scholarship: Academically strong students can qualify for a one-time $1,000 scholarship.
- State of the Arts Scholarship: Homeschooled students that plan to study performing or visual arts — including dance, music, theatre, and studio art — can qualify for a $1,000 scholarship.
How to Qualify for Homeschool Grants and Scholarships
To maximize your odds of getting grants or scholarships for homeschoolers, follow these tips:
Some scholarships and grant opportunities have application deadlines six to 12 months before your semester start date. Start researching available awards early to qualify for as much aid as possible. Giving yourself plenty of time to work on your applications will allow you to polish your essays and collect letters of recommendation.
Fill Out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Although the FAFSA can help you qualify for federal grants and student loans, it has other uses too. Many organizations and colleges use the information from the FAFSA to determine your eligibility for other forms of financial aid, including scholarships and grants. Filling out the FAFSA as soon as possible will allow you to get all the aid you’re entitled to based on your family’s financial situation.
Do Your Own Research
Although your selected college’s financial aid office can be invaluable, it’s important to do your research. There are thousands of grant and scholarship opportunities available nationwide, and you can find them by using tools like The College Board’s Scholarship Search tool and the FastWeb scholarship database.
Highlight Your Achievements and Interests
Many scholarship programs determine winners based on the student’s overall application, not just their GPA or standardized test scores. When you’re applying for scholarships, highlight all of your achievements, service, and interests.
For example, the following factors could influence your application’s success:
- Your community service history, such as time spent volunteering at the local animal shelter, food bank, or library
- Your connection to your religious center, such as your membership with the church youth group or participation in the choir
- Your talents and extracurricular activities, such as playing the cello or competing in gymnastics
Scholarship and grant programs can be highly competitive, so awarding organizations rarely review applications they receive after the deadline. To give yourself the best chance of winning an award, mark down deadlines — set reminders on your phone! — and submit before the deadline arrives.
Paying for College
With an increasing number of students being homeschooled and going on to college, more schools and organizations provide scholarships for homeschoolers. By researching available options and applying to multiple awards, you can qualify for gift aid and reduce the total cost of attendance.
If you need help covering the remaining balance, student loans can help. Federal student loans are a good place to start due to their low rates and flexible repayment options, but private loans can be useful tools if you reach federal borrowing maximums or aren’t eligible for federal financial aid.