The Best Scholarships in California

Applying for a scholarship can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you don’t know what your options are in the state of California. Studying with a scholarship can help to take off financial stress during the college experience, but it also means that you have to study hard and be committed to your studies.

There are a number of Cal grants and scholarships for a variety of careers in California, and you may be surprised to find your desired degree to be available to you, even if you don’t have the financial means to cover the costs. You may be able to qualify for complete or partial student aid or grants in California.

1. Joel Garcia Memorial Scholarship

If you are Hispanic and want to study a career in journalism, you may qualify for this Cal financial aid scholarship. Potential students must be committed to studying the chosen career, have the financial need for a scholarship, are aware of their community and interested in it, and show dedication and achievement in their previous studies. You may qualify for anywhere from $500-$2,000 scholarships, as long as you commit to studying full-time the first year at a California college and live in California.

You can learn more about the Joel Garcia scholarship here

2. College Fee Waiver Program

This scholarship is ideal for you if one of your parents has served in the military. This veteran dependents program helps children of veterans be able to study with financial aid in the state of California. Before you jump for joy, there are some requirements attached to this student aid option. You must present some proof of relation to a disabled veteran, either through marriage or a birth certificate proving you’re their son or daughter.

If you are currently employed, you can qualify if you are earning no more than approximately $11,000 a year.What this College Fee Waiver program covers is college tuition and fees at a State of California community college or other California-born campuses. Keep in mind that the cost of books, parking, and room will still need to be paid.

You can learn more about the College Fee Waiver Program here.

3.LAF/CLASS Fund Landscape Architecture Program

Are you already committed to studying architecture and enrolled in a program in the state of California? You may qualify for this scholarship. While it isn’t a one-size-fits-all scholarship and is only awarded to students who show promise in the field who have financial need, you may apply if you are already studying horticulture or architecture. It is a $500 scholarship, but only ten are given out for students that decide to study at a specific California college, such as Berkeley, University of California, or Cal Poly Pomona.

You can learn more about the LAF Landscape Architecture Scholarship here.

4. Ken Innouye Scholarship

If you are of an ethnic minority, you have the possibility to qualify for one of California’s scholarships with the Ken Innouye Scholarship. The Ken Innouye Scholarship is available for students who are already enrolled in a journalism program for a four-year degree in the state of California. If you are not enrolled in a journalism program in your school, you need to provide a reference letter from a member of the Society of Professional Journalists that states that you fully intend to become a journalist and that you have the potential.

You also have to have completed a sophomore year in college, as well as be a resident of Los Angeles, Orange County, or Ventura. You can apply as a graduate student, and you are allowed to apply even having had applied to other scholarships, but you will only be awarded one scholarship.

You can learn more about the Ken Innouye Scholarship here.

5. Child Development Grant Program

For anyone who wants to study child development to be able to work in a childcare facility, there are student aid programs that you can apply to through your school. If you have the need for financial aid and plan to commit to employment in a childcare location, in relation to the years that they receive grant money. For example, if you receive a grant for one year, you will be expected to work for a year in a childcare facility and must sign service agreements when you receive student aid.

You can learn more about the Child Development Grant here.

6. Association of California Water Scholarship

If you are a California resident who wants to continue to study in a California college, you may qualify for this unique $3,000 scholarship. If you plan on studying something related to the field of water resources, the ACWA may be able to provide you with a highly attractive scholarship. The requirements for receiving the scholarship are the following:

  • Must be a California resident
  • Be studying in a California college
  • Be a junior or senior in a college when the scholarship is applied
  • Committed to completing studies
  • Must show scholastic achievement
  • Financial need for student aid or scholarship

​If you plan on studying anything having to do with agriculture, urban water supply, and engineering, and you show a keen interest in studies about water resources, you may be in luck.

You can learn more about the California Water Scholarship here​.

7. L. Gordon Bittle Memorial Scholarships

Teaching scholarships are offered on a regular basis to the continuous demand for teachers. If you live in California, and you are looking for Northern California scholarships or Southern California scholarships, you may qualify for the L. Gordon Bittle Memorial Scholarships.

What do you need to be able to receive this $2,000 scholarship? You have to be a part of the Student California Teachers Association, and you must be studying for a career in public education. If you want to receive this scholarship, you have always to be enrolled in some approved teacher program, proving your desire to achieve a degree in the field.

You can learn more about the L. Gordon Bittle Memorial Scholarship here.

8. Orange County Hispanic Education Endowment Fund Scholarship Program

If you live in Orange County, there is the Orange County Hispanic Education Endowment Fund Scholarship Program that can award you anywhere from $500 to $2,500 when they can prove financial need in order to study the desired program. This scholarship program allows potential students to apply to a variety of scholarships, although the varying programs may have extra requirements for qualification.

You can learn more about the Orange County Hispanic Education Scholarship here.

9. Larry Acterman Public Education Award

If you are a high school senior who is from the Long Beach School District and you plan on studying for a public education degree, the Larry Acterman Public Education Award is available for people like you. You must be committed to studying a four year degree associated with teaching in the State of California, and show a keen interest and desire to become a teacher in a K-12 school in the state.

You must present two referral letters from someone who has been involved on an academic level in your school and your studies, as well as from a person who is not related to you that you know outside of the scholastic community through some other sort of activities.

You can learn more about the Larry Acterman Public Education Award here.

10. Butrimovitz Family Endowment Fund

This is a very specific scholarship for a select demographic. Designated for anyone who is in need of financial aid who wants to study traditional Jewish education, whether as an undergraduate, graduate, or in a school setting.

You can learn more about the Butrimovitz Family Endowment Scholarship here

11. Anne Trabue Scholarship

If you are a resident of Southern California, are due to complete your high school no later than September 1st of this year, play golf, have a 3.2 GPA, and are enrolled as a full-time student in a college dedicated to completing a four-year degree. You must also play golf and be female, so if you are young man considering this scholarship, you will need to look elsewhere.

The Anne Trabue Scholarship is a highly interesting option for any high school student who plays golf and seeks to further their education.

You can learn more about the Anne Trabue Scholarship here

12. California Wine Grape Growers Foundation

California scholarships are as varied as they come and one such college scholarship that may be of interest for children of vineyard employees is the California Wine Grape Growers Foundation. If your parent has been employed at a California vineyard for at least two years, you could very well be eligible for a $1,000 or $2,000 scholarship for any desired studies at any California state university or community college. High school seniors must be graduating in the same year that they apply for the scholarship.

You can learn more about the California Wine Grape Growers Foundation here.

13. Charles Lopinsky Memorial Scholarship

If you are an Orange County resident in California, you could qualify for a large amount of a $3,000 scholarship towards studying a degree in project management. If you are planning on or have already started studying towards any level of degree from Bachelor’s to Doctoral, this scholarship may be available to you.

You can learn more about the Charles Lopinsky Memorial Scholarship here

14. Dorothy and Robert Debolt Scholarship

This scholarship is available to students who were adopted from the California state foster system who seek to further their education. If you were adopted, you may be eligible for a $2,000 scholarship to enable you to study at a college in California. Depending on the amount of funds raised towards this scholarship each year, there are typically many scholarships available. There are also often lower amount scholarships available for those may not be able to receive the $2,000 scholarship.

You can learn more about the Dorothy and Robert Debolt Scholarship here.

15. Queer Asian and Pacific Islander Pride Scholarship

The Queer Asian and Pacific Islander Pride Scholarship Fund is available for those who are 22 years old or younger, who are gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, or in the process of figuring out personal sexuality, and who live in the San Francisco Bay area. If you are finishing high school, or have already finished, have completed a GED, are already in college, and you can prove that you need financial aid, you may qualify.

You can learn more about the Queer Asian and Pacific Islander Pride Scholarship here.

16. Heef Engineering and Architecture Scholarships

Have you maintained a 3.5 GPA throughout high school? Are you accepted into any post-secondary architecture program or an engineering program? You may qualify for this scholarships. Similarly if you are already studying a four or five year degree and have started your second year with a minimum of a 3.2 GPA, you could also apply. The great thing about this scholarship is that it is renewable depending on academic performance, which means that if you keep your grades up throughout the duration of your studies, you may receive a lot of financial aid in the state of California.

You can learn more about Heef Engineering and Architecture Scholarships here.

17. Golden State Minority Foundation Scholarship

This scholarship is available for anyone in an ethnic minority that is not overly represented, such as Native American, Black, or Latino. You must be a California resident, have a GPA ranging from 3.0 to 4.0 and be enrolled in a college. You can hold a job to receive this scholarship, but your work hours shouldn’t pass the 28 hour a week limit. If you have been involved in any community service, this will help you greatly towards receiving this scholarship.

The average amount of this scholarship is around $2,000. Whether you are college junior, college senior, or doctoral-level student, you could qualify for this scholarship if you meet the above requirements.

You can learn more about the Golden State Minority Foundation Scholarship here

18. Capture The Dream, Inc.’s Single Parent Scholarship

Just because you are a single parent, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to study. The Capture The Dream, Inc.’s Single Parent Scholarship provides single parents with the possibility to receive a $1,000 scholarship whether they are enrolled in a college already or are high school seniors. You must be a California resident to receive this scholarship.

You can learn more about the Capture The Dream, Inc's Single Parent Scholarship here

19. California Retired Teachers Association – Division 16 Scholarship

California Retired Teachers Association – Division 16 ScholarshipAre you already studying at Shasta College in California and have been for at least two years? Are you involved in extracurricular activities at Shasta? Do you have a financial need and could benefit from financial aid? If you answered yes to the above questions and are studying a career geared towards education, you may very well be able to qualify for this scholarship. While the amount of the scholarship varies every year, it definitely helps. You should be maintaining a GPA of at least 2.5 in order to qualify.

You can learn more about the California Retired Teachers Association scholarship here

20. Oliver Goldsmith, M.D Scholarship

There is always a need for doctors and that is why this scholarship awards $5,000 to help students finish medical school. If you are currently enrolled in a California college and are in your third or fourth year of studying medicine, you may qualify. Any student who has financial needs yet who is determined to finish their studies can greatly benefit from this scholarship.

You can learn more about the Oliver Goldsmith, M.D Scholarship here.

21. Christopher Mark Pitkin Memorial Scholarship

If you are dealing with hemophilia and the complications that come with it, you may qualify for the Christopher Mark Pitkin Memorial Scholarship. Whether you personally suffer from it or someone in your family has it, the scholarship is designated to help you out. Depending on what you want to study, how committed you to seeing your studies through to fruition, if you are involved in extracurricular and community activities, have a decent GPA, and if you are intent on studying in California at a post-secondary school, you could be able to receive this scholarship.

You can learn more about the Christopher Mark Pitkin Memorial Scholarship here

22. Craef Scholarship

Are you in high school with a desire to study a culinary program in the state of California? You could qualify for the Craef Scholarship, as long as you have had a GPA of at least 2.5. All you have to do is submit an essay to the scholarship program stating why you think that you qualify for the program and why you think you are the best candidate. Take your time to ensure the quality of your essay as this will be taken into account in your application.

You can learn more about the Christopher Craef Scholarship here

23. Law Enforcement Personnel Dependents Grant Program

While nothing can make up for the loss of a loved one who committed their life to fighting crime, it does help that there are scholarships available for their children or spouses. If you fall into this category, you may qualify for a grant of $100 to $12,192 for up to four years of post-secondary education.

You can learn more about the Law Enforcement Personnel Dependents Grant Program here

24. Association of Women in Architecture

If you are a woman who is a resident of California looking for scholarship to be able to study architecture, the AWA may be able to award you with a $1,000 to $2,500 scholarship. You will need to already be enrolled in a qualifying major to be able to receive the scholarship, as well as have completed 18 units when you apply.

You can learn more about the Association of Women in Architecture here

25. Louise Snyder Scholarship for Re-Entry Women

Are you returning to study after having left your studies hanging? Are you a California resident? The Louise Snyder Scholarship of $500 is intended for women who have decided to continue their studies and have re-entered the education system. You must have a minimum of 3.0 GPA and be between the ages of 25-55 to qualify.

You can learn more about the Louise Snyder Scholarship for Re-Entry Women here

26. Lois Olsen Memorial Scholarship

The Lois Olsen Memorial Scholarship of $250 is for any Fortuna High School female athlete who has maintained a minimum GPA of 2.75 or more and who is going to study a two to four year degree and shows a need for financial aid.

You can learn more about the Lois Olsen Memorial Scholarship here

27. Wilson Wade Memorial Scholarships

This scholarship varies in the amount awarded to the student. If you are a female student in the state of California, are graduating from high school soon, have had a GPA of 3.0 or more, and are planning on attending school for a four year college degree starting in the following autumn, and are a California resident, you may qualify for this scholarship. You must submit an essay stating your goals and scholastic achievements, as well as information on your background and prove a financial need for studying. Submitted paperwork should also include a FAFSA financial aid application, SAT scores, and proof of the last income tax return filed by parents.

You can learn more about the Wilson Wade Memorial Scholarships here

28. Women Health Care Executives

This $5,000 scholarship is designated for women who are graduate level students dedicated to their studies in public policy and public health and who have shown great potential in becoming leaders in the health care community. It is provided by the Women Health Care Executives.

You can learn more about the Women Health Care Executives here

29. M. R. Bauer Foundation Continuing Nursing Studies Scholarship

If you are a resident of Los Angeles County and you are looking into continuing your nursing studies, the M. R. Bauer Foundation Continuing Nursing Studies Scholarship may be able to award you an amount of $500-$2,000 towards your studies.

You can learn more about the M. R. Bauer Foundation Continuing Nursing Studies Scholarship here

30. SFSB Fleischman & Floro Awards Scholarship

If you have shown remarkable progress in your academic achievements, you could very well qualify for this valuable scholarship of $1,000-$5,000 towards your studies. Financial need is not critical to be eligible for this scholarship, but you do need to be a resident of Santa Maria, Orcutt, Guadalupe, and Los Alamos. You need to have taken the SAT or ACT and also have maintained a GPA of at least 3.0. You also have to have had studied at a Santa Barbara school from grades 7-12.

You can learn more about the SFSB Fleischman & Floro Awards Scholarship here

31. Telacu Scholarship Program 

Are you a student in high school or college who could really use some financial help to further your studies? The Telacu Scholarship Program may be just what you need. The program offers a variety of means of assistance from mentoring to leadership activities and more and is available to students in California and elsewhere. If you can prove that you have a financial need, you can be eligible to receive scholarship money towards your studies.

You can learn more about the Telacu Scholarship Program Scholarship here

32. Latin American Professional Women’s Association Scholarship

As a Hispanic female student, you could very well be able to qualify for the Latin American Professional Women’s Association Scholarship. If you have been out of high school for around 5 years, are above the age of 23 years old, and are a non-traditional student, as well as a Los Angeles resident, you can apply to receive the $500 scholarship.

You can learn more about the Latin American Professional Women’s Association Scholarship here

33. Louis Armstrong Jazz Scholarship Honoring Duke Ellington

If you are an undergraduate studying at the University of California and are studying jazz composition, this scholarship is specifically for you. While scholarship amounts vary according to students and their financial needs, you may very well be eligible for a fair award towards your tuition.

You can learn more about the Louis Armstrong Jazz Scholarship Honoring Duke Ellington here

34. Ray Dale Memorial Scholarship

The Ray Dale Memorial Scholarship is designed to help students who are enrolled in Physician Assistants Programs. The student who wishes to receive the one-time $1,000 scholarship must show good standing with the California Academy of Physicians.

You can learn more about the Ray Dale Memorial Scholarship here

35. Joseph T. Desilva Scholarships

​If you are a child of members of UFCW Local 770 or a spouse or parent, you may be eligible for the Joseph T. Desilva Scholarships. In order to receive this scholarship, you must be a student enrolled at the University of California, and do well on your essay, GPA, interview, and show interest and involvement in your community and extracurricular activities. Those who receive the scholarship can expect $20,000 in funds towards their education.

You can learn more about the Joseph T. Desilva Scholarships here