The Best Scholarships in New York

​Colleges and universities in New York are regarded as some of the best in the country and include two Ivy League institutions, two leading technology schools, and dozens of two-year and four-year, public colleges and universities. It should be noted, however, that New York's higher education prestige comes at a steep price. Many studies estimate that New York has one of the most expensive public tuition rates in the nation, along with some of the most expensive private schools anywhere in the United States.

The solution to growing higher education expenses is to pair federal financial aid programs, like Pell Grants and Stafford Loans, with scholarships that reward academic merit, leadership skills, and financial need. There are many options for the New York college student who is looking to make the state's colleges and universities just a bit more affordable.​

1. Ascend Educational Fund Scholarship

One of the most generous awards for immigrant students in New York City, the Ascend program provides as many as three scholarships each year that cover $20,000 in tuition and fees. To be eligible for this opportunity, applicants must be first-generation immigrant children attending a public high school in the boroughs of New York City. Additionally, applicants must intend to study at a public or private institution within the state of New York after they finish high school. Applications are due each winter; winners are announced in the spring.

You can learn more about the ​Ascend Educational Fund Scholarship here

2. Candice's Sickle Cell Disease Scholarship

Three scholarship winners are selected each year for Candice's Sickle Cell Disease Scholarship, sponsored by Candice's Sickle Cell Fund. The program is open only to students who suffer from sickle cell anemia. The application requires a minimum 250-word essay about how sickle cell anemia has affected the applicant's life and how they intend to use a college education to overcome those challenges. The award is worth $1,500 and cannot be renewed. Previous recipients are, however, eligible to reapply annually until they complete an undergraduate degree.

You can learn more about the ​Candice's Sickle Cell Disease Scholarship here

3. Financial Service Centers of New York Scholarship

Sponsored by some of the biggest banks in New York City, this unique scholarship opportunity picks seven winners at the end of each academic year. A single grand prize winner receives $7,500; three first place finishers receive $4,000, and three other applicants receive awards of at least $2,000 toward an undergraduate degree. To qualify, applicants must attend public or private high school in the greater New York City metropolitan area, demonstrate outstanding academic achievement, be involved in the community, and demonstrate leadership skills.

You can learn more about the ​Financial Service Centers of New York Scholarship here

4. John A. Maderer Memorial Scholarship

The Maderer Foundation makes this scholarship available to students graduating from high school in the western New York communities of West Seneca, Orchard Park, Alden, and Batavia. Established in honor of John Maderer, who died in 2004 of asbestos-related complications, the scholarship primarily emphasizes academic achievement, community involvement, and an interest in public health. The program awards four scholarships annually, each of $500. The scholarship is for one year only and does not allow previous recipients to reapply.

You can learn more about the John A. Maderer Memorial Scholarship here

5. Joseph H. and Mildred C. McManus Scholarship

The McManus family, long established in suburban Dutchess County outside New York City, established this scholarship in honor of the late Joseph and Mildred McManus. The scholarship is open only to students who are graduating from a public or private high school in Dutchess County. Applicants must also intend to study at a college or university within the state of New York. A single scholarship applicant is selected each year for the $3,000 program. Because the scholarship is only for graduating high school seniors, recipients cannot reapply, and the award is nonrenewable.

You can learn more about the ​Joseph H. and Mildred C. McManus Scholarship here

6. Judy Corman Memorial Scholarship and Internship from Scholastic

Scholastic, one of the leading educational publishing companies internationally, offers this combined internship and scholarship program to students with a demonstrated interest in communications. Students must either be active or declared major in a communications-related field, like journalism, public relations, English, film, or broadcast media. The program is highly competitive and selects only those students with extensive leadership and communications experience. Applicants must have and maintain a high GPA in order to qualify for the $10,000 scholarship and take part in the exclusive internship at Scholastic.

You can learn more about the ​Judy Corman Memorial Scholarship and Internship from Scholastic here

7. Nancy and Harry Koenigsberg/Textile Study Group of New York Scholarship

Students enrolled in an art school, or technical program will be most likely to qualify for this unique financial aid opportunity in New York State. The program centers on "fiber art," defined as art made with flexible materials. Students apply and submit a portfolio of their artwork. If chosen, the scholarship recipient receives $1,500 and the opportunity to present their fiber art to the annual TSGNY meeting in New York City each June. Recipients must be enrolled in a public or private university within the New England or Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The award does not renew.

You can learn more about the ​Nancy and Harry Koenigsberg/Textile Study Group of New York Scholarship here

8. New York State HESC Tuition Assistance Program

The full-time TAP program is open to all students in an undergraduate program in New York State, provided their first-time undergraduate students and maintain a 2.0 GPA or better on a 4.0 scale. The TAP program only applies to in-state programs at public or private universities based in New York. As this is a program based on the recipient's financial need, the annual award amount may vary each year. Students are eligible for TAP funds for a maximum of five years in an undergraduate program.

You can learn more about the ​New York State HESC Tuition Assistance Program here

9. New York Water Environment Association Scholarships

The New York Water Environment Association advocates for a greater emphasis on environmental study, sustainability, and preservation. To that end, the organization offers an annual scholarship to students who are pursuing either a B.S. or B.A. in an environment-related field of study. Applications, due each February, require the submission of a brief essay, a formal transcript, and a letter of recommendation. As many as 8 scholarship winners are chosen each year for a $10,000 scholarship. While the award does not renew, previous recipients are urged to reapply each year.

You can learn more about the ​New York Water Environment Association Scholarships here

10. New York Women in Communications Inc. Foundation Scholarship Program

Based in New York, the Women in Communications Foundation sponsors an annual scholarship program for students who are residents of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Applicants must be studying, or planning to study, a communications-related field in one of those states and must have at least a 3.2 GPA on a 4.0 scale in order to apply. Eligible majors include communications, marketing, journalism, creative writing, English, new media, and public relations. Up to five non-renewable awards of $10,000 are granted each academic year.

You can learn more about the ​New York Women in Communications Inc. Foundation Scholarship Program here

11. NLEAFCF - Victoria Ovis Memorial Scholarship

The National Law Enforcement and Firefighters Children's Foundation sponsors this scholarship for children of law enforcement officers or firefighters who were either killed or permanently disabled on the job. One applicant in the state of New York is awarded this scholarship each year; the award amount varies based on the student's demonstrated need and record of academic achievement. Applicants must have a GPA of at least 2.7 on a 4.0 scale to be considered for the program. The award does not renew, but the previous recipient can reapply each year.

You can learn more about the ​NLEAFCF - Victoria Ovis Memorial Scholarship here

12. NLEAFCF General Scholarship

Another scholarship for children of police officers and firefighters who were killed or disabled in the line of duty, this "general" scholarship program is less need-based than the Ovis Memorial Scholarship. Financial need is still considered alongside factors like community involvement, leadership activities, and academic merit, however. The $20,000 award is issued to one student in the state of New York each year. Unlike the Ovis scholarship, the organization's General Scholarship renews at an amount of $20,000 for four up to consecutive years.

You can learn more about the ​NLEAFCF General Scholarship here

13. NYSHESC Regents Award For Children of Veterans

Provided through the New York Higher Education Services Corporation, the official financial aid arm of the state's Department of Education, this award is available to students whose parents served in the military during times of "great need." To qualify, applicants must file their annual FAFSA and submit the Children of Veterans Award web supplement form. There is no cap to the number of awards issued each year. Each qualifying applicant will receive $450 toward the cost of attending a New York University.

You can learn more about the ​NYSHESC Regents Award For Children of Veterans here

14. Casella Environmental Scholarship

Awarded only to students who are graduating seniors at an Ontario County high school in western New York, this program was approved by county supervisors in an effort to increase interest in environmental studies programs. Each year, the county awards up to eight scholarships, each in the amount of $2,500, to students attending public and private New York universities. Eligible applicants must be accepted to a university in New York state, declare a major in an environmental field, and demonstrate excellent academic merit.

You can learn more about the ​Casella Environmental Scholarship here

15. PMI New York City (NYC) Chapter Scholarships

The New York City chapter of the Project Management Institute developed this award to recognize at least one outstanding student each year who is enrolled in a project management program. Up to two awards, each in the amount of $1,000, can be issued each year if the committee finds two applicants to be equally exceptional. In selecting recipients, the program's first preference is to award New York City residents who attend a college in metro New York. Second choice is applied to New York City residents attending a college or university outside the metro area.

You can learn more about the ​PMI New York City (NYC) Chapter Scholarships here

16. Stony Wold N1 Herbert Fund Direct Service Grants

The Stony Wold fund, which was founded to research and advocate for people with pulmonary defects and disorders, sponsors this scholarship program for students who have been diagnosed with a pulmonary irregularity. The program issues 30 scholarship awards each year, though amounts vary based on student need and demonstrated academic merit. Applicants must either live in New York City or within 50 miles of the city to qualify. Though the award does not renew, former recipients can reapply during each year of their undergraduate enrollment.

You can learn more about the ​Stony Wold N1 Herbert Fund Direct Service Grants here

17. Susan W. Freestone Education Award

The Susan W. Freestone Education Award honors a tireless advocate for the Junior Grange program in the state of New York. The scholarship committee selects one or two applicants each year to receive the $1,000 award. In order to apply, students must show excellent academic achievement, maintain membership in the Junior Grange organization, and submit a formal application with a few short essay questions. Award selections are revealed each spring. The program does not renew the scholarship, and former recipients cannot reapply.

You can learn more about the ​Susan W. Freestone Education Award here

18. Thomas G. Labrecque Smart Start Scholarship Program

J.P. Morgan oversees this unique scholarship and internship program for high school seniors at public or private schools in New York City's five boroughs. In addition to demonstrating outstanding academic achievement in high school, successful applicants must be studying business, computer science, social sciences, liberal arts, communications, or engineering, and must be accepted to one of 12 private or public universities participating in the program. Ten selected applicants receive an exclusive internship at J.P. Morgan as well as a generous scholarship for their first year of college.

You can learn more about the ​Thomas G. Labrecque Smart Start Scholarship Program here

19. Write A Play! New York City Playwriting Contest

UR14 Postcard Front

A single writer is awarded a $1,000 scholarship each year, courtesy of Young Playwrights. In order to earn this distinction, applicants must write and submit their play as part of their application. Plays will be judged by a committee through several competitive rounds, with one winner and three runners-up chosen each spring. All applicants will be invited to attend the formal awards ceremony for the program when the scholarship winner and runners-up are formally honored.

You can learn more about the ​Write A Play! New York City Playwriting Contest here

20. The Virginia W. Smith Scholarship

Established in 2004 to honor the memory of Virginia W. Smith, this scholarship fund is sponsored by the North Country Garden Club and the Garden Club of America. Each year, two applicants are chosen to receive a $2,500 scholarship to be used toward the cost of tuition and fees at a public or private university in New York. Eligible applicants include New York residents studying horticulture, agriculture, or another environment-related field at an in-state university. The program's funds do not renew, but prior-year winners are invited to reapply each year.

You can learn more about The Virginia W. Smith Scholarship here

21. New York State: Flight 3407 and Flight 587 Memorial Scholarships

Designated specifically for children whose parents died in two tragic New York State plane crashes in 2001 and 2009, these two scholarships are fully renewable and cover the full cost of tuition at a public or private university in the Empire State. To qualify for this program, students whose parents were lost in either flight must submit their FAFSA as well as a supplemental form that documents the death of one or both parents in these accidents.

You can learn more about the ​New York State: Flight 3407 and Flight 587 Memorial Scholarships here

22. Math and Science Teaching Incentive Scholarship

Designed to help ease a shortage of highly qualified math and science teachers in the state of New York, this state-funded program pays the full cost of a four-year degree in math or science education at a the State University of New York institution. All recipients of this award must be New York residents, graduates of New York high schools, and enrolled at a SUNY institution on an in-state basis. Additionally, recipients must agree to teach math or science in the state of New York for a minimum of five years after graduation.

You can learn more about the ​Math and Science Teaching Incentive Scholarship here

23. Achievement and Investment in Merit Scholarship (NY-AIMS)

Created to award some of New York's most distinguished high school graduates, the New York AIMS program provides between $500 and $5,000 to students across the state each year on a merit basis. The program requires that students graduate in the top 15% of their class, or receive an honors diploma, or have earned honor roll status consistently throughout their high school career. Students are chosen based on their FAFSA information and a supplemental New York AIMS application filed during the spring.

You can learn more about the ​Achievement and Investment in Merit Scholarship (NY-AIMS) here

24. New York State Scholarships for Academic Excellence

An extension of the New York AIMS program for current college students, the New York State Scholarships for Academic Excellence program rewards undergraduate students who earn a high GPA during their first two years of study in any degree program. In order to qualify for this distinguished opportunity, students must be enrolled in at least 12 credits each semester, earn a GPA of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale, and submit the supplemental application required by the program. The FAFSA is also required. Awards range from $500 to $1,500 per year.

You can learn more about the ​New York State Scholarships for Academic Excellence here

25. Ferdinand Torres AFB Scholarship

Sponsored by the New York City chapter of the American Foundation for the Blind, this scholarship opportunity is available exclusively to graduating high school seniors or current undergraduate students who are blind. Though the program is open to all New York residents and recent immigrants, preference is given to those students who are residents of New York City's five boroughs. Both academic merit and financial need are taken into consideration when awarding this $1,000 scholarship. The program does not renew, but students can reapply each year.

You can learn more about the ​Ferdinand Torres AFB Scholarship here

26. Carolyn Kohn Memorial Scholarship

Sponsored by the American Occupational Therapy Foundation, this scholarship is only offered to students who are in a master's degree or professional program in the state of New York. The AOTF requires that all applicants to this program be in their second, third, or fourth year of post-graduate and professional study. Furthermore, applicants must be enrolled in a program that requires a dissertation. One award in the amount of $1,000 is made available each academic year.

You can learn more about the ​Carolyn Kohn Memorial Scholarship here.

27. AOTF New York Scholarship

A second scholarship offered by the American Occupational Therapy Foundation, the New York scholarship is far less specific than the Kohn Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship committee considers all applicants who are in their first or second year of graduate study, allows applicants from programs that don't require a dissertation, and permits academic study outside the state of New York as long as the applicant was originally a New York resident. The award amount varies each year, largely based on fundraising success, and does not renew.

You can learn more about the ​AOTF New York Scholarship here

28. Leopold Schepp Foundation Scholarships

The Leopold Schepp Foundation focuses on leadership and charitable works around the world, with a headquarters in New York City and a significant interest in the achievement of New York students. To that end, the foundation offers scholarships to students enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs at New York state universities. Recipients must be under the age of 30 and maintain a 3.2 GPA. A personal interview in New York City is required. Applicants who are denied for the scholarship cannot reapply in the future.

You can learn more about the ​Leopold Schepp Foundation Scholarships here

29. NTS Aid to Native Americans

New York's Higher Education Services Commission offers this unique grant opportunity to a student with Native American ancestry. In order to be eligible for this scholarship, applicants, and their families must have Native American lineage that coincides with one of several named tribes in the state of New York. Awards are granted for students in two-year or four-year degree programs. Scholarship amounts range from $2,000 to $8,000 based on the student's intended college or university as well as their financial need.

You can learn more about the ​NTS Aid to Native Americans here.

30. Jackie Joyner-Kersee Minority Internship

Emphasizing women's leadership in athletics and in life, the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Minority Internship program provides students with an exclusive internship at the Women's Sports Foundation, a stipend for the duration of that course, and a small scholarship toward the continued study of women's issues, leadership, or athletics. Eligible applicants include women of color who are undergraduate students, graduate students, or those who are in the midst of a career change and retraining program.

You can learn more about the​ Jackie Joyner-Kersee Minority Internship here.

31. Robert Benov Memorial Scholarship

Given to LGBT students each year, the Robert Benov Memorial Scholarship is open to any student who is a resident of New York State and self-identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Applicants must also demonstrate an interest in the LGBT community, show a history of activism for LGBT rights and causes, and commit to a college or university based in the state of New York. The scholarship is given to one applicant each year and totals $5,000.

You can learn more about the ​Robert Benov Memorial Scholarship here. 

32. JFEW Eleanor Roosevelt Scholarship

This scholarship, sponsored by the Jewish Foundation for Education of Women, is a need-based program available to Jewish women throughout the state of New York. In addition to providing a scholarship of at least $500 to selected applicants, the JFEW Eleanor Roosevelt Scholarship also includes an exclusive internship with the foundation during the summer months. All applicants should demonstrate excellent academic merit, leadership potential, and an interest in issues of leadership. The award does not renew, and previous recipients cannot reapply.

You can learn more about the ​JFEW Eleanor Roosevelt Scholarship here

33. Albert E. Wischmeyer Scholarship

Created to promote the fields of manufacturing and engineering, which have long been central to the New York economy, this scholarship program is open to students studying manufacturing engineering, manufacturing management, or another field related to manufacturing. All applicants must be New York residents who are either graduating high school seniors or currently enrolled at a university in the state of New York. The program is strictly merit-based, with no consideration of financial need, and requires a minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.

You can learn more about the ​Albert E. Wischmeyer Scholarship here

34. UJA Federation of New York Rose Biller Scholarship Program

The Rose Biller scholarship program is offered to Jewish students located within 35 miles of the New York City metropolitan area. Applicants must be permanent residents of New York and must be studying at a New York State college or university. The program provides several scholarships each year in the amount of $5,000. In order to be eligible for this scholarship program, Jewish applicants must be at least in their sophomore year of an undergraduate program. Though the scholarships do not renew, previous recipients are encouraged to reapply each year.

You can learn more about the UJA Federation of New York Rose Biller Scholarship Program here

35. New York State Higher Education Services Corp

New York's TAP program is one of the largest need-based scholarship funds in the entire state, and the part-time version of the program is the most popular. This program, based on financial need as determined by the FAFSA, provides a yearly grant for students who are first-time freshmen, maintain a "C" or better average, and enroll in no more than 12 credits per semester. Because this is a state-funded, need-based program, scholarship funds will technically "renew" each year. Award amounts may be adjusted each year, however, based on fluctuations in the student's demonstrated financial need.

You can learn more about the ​New York State Higher Education Services Corp here

​We've worked hard to include a variety of scholarship opportunities within our list. If you have any suggestions on additional scholarships, please feel free to leave them in the comments section.