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12 last-minute scholarships to consider

Apply as late as August 31st to help pick up the slack when other aid falls through.

While you’ll have the most options when you apply for scholarships during your senior year of high school, you still have options even if the semester is about to start. These likely won’t cover your entire tuition, but they can make a dent if other financial aid falls through and your only other option is student loans.

Our methodology: How we picked these scholarships

When compiling our top picks for last-minute scholarships, we put the most weight on the application deadline and how easy it is to apply. We also took into consideration factors like scholarship amounts and eligibility requirements.

Red Cross Leaders Save Lives Scholarship

  • Amount: $1,000 to $2,5000
  • Eligibility requirements: Student in high school, college, technical school, trade school or community college; legal US resident; high school students must plan on attending school directly after their senior year, while other students must have at least one semester left
  • Deadline: August 31, 2022

The Red Cross offers this scholarship as an incentive program to bring in more blood donations. To qualify, you have to host a Red Cross blood drive. After the drive, the Red Cross enters your name into a lottery to win one of its 10 scholarships. How much you qualify for depends on how many pints of blood you collected at your drive.

Lower collection amounts are eligible for one of the six $1,000 scholarships, while higher amounts can get you entered for one of the two $1,500 or $2,500 scholarships. Winners are selected on January 21, 2023.

AFSA 2nd Chance Scholarship

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility requirements: US citizen or legal resident, have a high school diploma or equivalent, plan to attend a Title IV school in Spring 2022, not a relative of an AFSA staff member or national board member, not a past recipient
  • Deadline: August 31, 2022

Each year, the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) awards five $1,000 scholarships to college students. Unlike other scholarships based on academic merit or need, this award goes to randomly selected applicants.

To apply, all you need to do is fill out a quick online form. You’ll find out if you win within two weeks of the deadline.

SSA scholarships

  • Amount: $1,000 to $3,000
  • Eligibility requirements: Secular Student Alliance (SSA) member; enrolled full time at a US high school, college or university; meet other criteria for the specific scholarship you’re applying for
  • Deadline: August 31, 2022

The Secular Student Alliance offers four scholarships to student members who are in college or about to enter. These include:

  • SSA Student Activist Scholarships. Get between $1,000 and $3,000 if you’re involved in secular activism in your school. One of the $1,000 scholarships is reserved for a student attending an Historically Black College or University.
  • Florida Humanist Association Scholarships. In partnership with the SSA, the Florida Humanist Association (FHA) offers two $1,000 scholarships to students enrolled full time at a Florida college or university.
  • Humanists of Sarasota Bay Scholarship. Also in conjunction with the SSA, the Humanists of Sarasota Bay offers one $1,000 scholarship to a student who hails from Sarasota, Tampa or Ft. Meyers.
  • Secular High School Student in California Scholarship. If you haven’t graduated high school yet — or just finished — and you live in the Golden State, you might be eligible for this $1,000 award.

Apply for all four of these scholarships through the Secular Student Alliance website.

Hasbrouck scholarships

  • Amount: $1,000 to $2,000
  • Eligibility requirements: College student entering their second year or higher. Additional requirements may apply depending on the scholarship.
  • Deadline: August 31, 2022

The Hasbrouck Family Association is a historical organization that specializes in Huguenot history in the US. It offers four scholarships to students who are the decedents of or studying Huguenot immigrants to the US. These include:

  • Charles J. Hasbrouck Memorial Scholarship. The Hasbrouck Family Association offers $1,000 to an undergraduate studying historic preservation, architecture, manuscript and artifact conservation or the education of the public about local Huguenot history in the US.
  • Kenneth E. Hasbrouck, Sr. History Scholarship. This $1,000 award goes to one undergraduate or graduate student studying similar fields as the Charles J. Hasbrouck scholarship. You can also qualify if you’re studying the impact of Huguenot immigrants and their descendants on American culture and language or the history of Ulster County, New York between 1600 and 1800. However, unlike the other scholarships available through the Hasbrouck Family Association, this one is only offered every other year.
  • Lucille Stoeppler Baker Scholarship. One junior or senior majoring in historical anthropology receives this $1,500 award each year. You must have an average GPA above 3.5 for the past two years to qualify.
  • Gertrude E. Hasbrouck Memorial Scholarships. Two students of New Paltz Huguenot descent are eligible to receive this $2,000 award.

Pedestrian Education Video Scholarship

  • Amount: $1,000 and $2,000
  • Eligibility requirements: Long Island resident, high school junior or senior or college freshman or sophomore
  • Deadline: August 31, 2022

Walk Safe Long Island, a pedestrian safety organization, offers two scholarships of $1,000 and $2,000 to students who submit the best short video about New York State traffic laws for pedestrians. It should also describe why pedestrian and traffic safety awareness is important for Long Islanders to understand.

Members of the Walk Safe Long Island coalition will select winners, who will receive their scholarship after attending an award ceremony in September.

K-9 Carts Social Influencer Micro-Scholarship Program

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility requirements: Undergraduate or graduate student studying veterinary medicine or a related field at any accredited US university or college, 2.5 GPA or higher
  • Deadline: August 31, 2022

K-9 Carts is a company that makes products like wheelchairs and slings for pets with a disability. Each year, it offers one scholarship to an undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in a degree program related to veterinary medicine. To enter, you must make a short YouTube video highlighting your volunteer work or community service and write an essay on a veterinary-related topic.

    How else can I pay for school at the last minute?

    Didn’t qualify for enough scholarships to cover your full cost of attendance? Here are a few other options to consider:

    • Talk to the financial aid office. If your financial situation suddenly changed before the beginning of the semester, your school might be willing to adjust your package — and offer more grants.
    • Get a part-time job. Don’t have work-study as part of your financial aid package? Check your school’s career center to find an on- or off-campus job to cover your personal expenses during the semester.
    • Apply for federal aid. If you’re about to start the semester — or have already started — you can still fill out the FAFSA to apply for federal student aid, which includes loans, grants and work-study.
    • Take out a private student loan. After you’ve maxed out federal funding and free aid, you can take out a student loan from a private lender to cover your remaining cost of attendance.

    Bottom line

    A last-minute scholarship probably won’t cover your entire cost of attendance. But it can help reduce how much you have to borrow if you suddenly need more funding when classes are about to start. Find more free aid by reading our A-to-Z list of college scholarships.

    Frequently asked questions

    Where does the scholarship money go if I win?

    Most scholarship programs send the funds directly to your school, though it depends on the program. If you aren’t sure, reach out to the scholarship administrator to learn how funding works. In some cases, your school will give you a check for any funds left after you’ve covered your bill — but not always.

    How do I actually win a scholarship?

    That depends on the scholarship program. Typically, you’ll need to have good grades and a strong essay to win a scholarship — though that’s not always the case. Many are geared toward specific types of students based on factors like your area of study or where you’re from, so make sure you meet the requirements before you apply.

    Can I get a full-ride scholarship at the last minute?

    Probably not — most full-ride scholarships are highly competitive, and you typically need to apply far in advance to be considered.

    Written by

    Anna Serio

    Anna Serio was a lead editor at Finder, specializing in consumer and business financing. A trusted lending expert and former certified commercial loan officer, Anna's written and edited more than 1,000 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. Her expertise and analysis on personal, student, business and car loans has been featured in publications like Business Insider, CNBC and Nasdaq, and has appeared on NBC and KADN. Anna holds an MA in Middle Eastern studies from the American University of Beirut and a BA in Creative Writing from Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, CUNY. See full profile

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