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School-specific scholarships are special funds for students at certain colleges or universities. They are called “school-specific” because you must be at a certain school to get them.

While there might be additional eligibility requirements, such as declaring a major in engineering, qualifying for financial need, or being a full-time student, the main thing is that you attend the right school.

These scholarships can help pay for your school costs, like classes, books, and living expenses.

Since these scholarships are only for students at your school, there are fewer people you are competing against. This means you have a better chance of landing an award.

So, if your search strategy is only focused on finding private scholarships, you might be missing out on these great chances at your own school. Let’s take a closer look at these opportunities.

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Types of School-Specific Scholarships

Entrance scholarship awards: If you’re a graduating high school student who accepts an offer of admission from a college or university, it’s a good idea to examine potential entrance scholarships you can apply for. Some postsecondary institutions offer these to students automatically, but other schools require an application. This is a great way to get your scholarship journey off to a good start.

Scholarships by major, level of study, or merit: Some school-specific scholarships have eligibility criteria beyond just enrolment. For example, there may be prizes for undergraduate students who are in their third of fourth year majoring in finance. There may also be academic scholarships based on academic excellence, which are known as merit scholarships. Merit scholarships are a great option if you have strong academic achievement and a high cumulative GPA. The thing to know is that school-specific scholarships can have diverse eligibility criteria.

Student-specific scholarships: Another major category of scholarships awarded by colleges and universities are those that are student-specific. This is typically based on criteria related to personal characteristics like gender or race. For example, your school may offer scholarships for women in STEM. Availability of these prizes will differ from school to school.

Scholarship funds for student aid: Many schools offer scholarships and grants in the form of financial aid awards. Often, students may have to qualify for financial need, which is based on personal or family income.    

Graduate Student Scholarships: Many universities invest heavily in graduate student research. There also tends to be many endowment scholarships at the graduate level, which present great opportunities for masters or doctoral students (there are lots of university endowed scholarships for undergraduates, too!).

Eligibility Criteria

Given that there are many types of scholarships you can qualify for at your school, it’s crucial to understand scholarship eligibility requirements and associated terms and conditions. Some postsecondary scholarships may require you to maintain fulltime status or a stated GPA.

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Proven Strategies to Find School-Specific Scholarships

Here are some expert tips on how and where to find school-specific scholarships for post-secondary education.

Registrar or Financial Aid Office

In addition to your own personal efforts, you should consider reaching out to your college or university’s registrar or financial aid office. You can start by visiting their webpage, but it would likely help if you booked an appointment, too.

College and university registrars and financial aid offices are equipped with lots of knowledge about how to apply to school-specific scholarships. If you can’t find a list of scholarships to apply for or if you just want more information on the topic, financial aid counselors can help in a big way. These are the individuals who will know what scholarships your school offers like the back of their hands.

So, why not ask? It will likely only take a moment of your time, and it may later result in some scholarship money.

Check In Periodically

It’s important to know that you may qualify for school-specific scholarships at different points in your undergraduate journey. For this reason, it’s important to be thorough in your research of these prizes and check in with your school’s financial aid and scholarships office periodically. There may be prizes with deadlines approaching that you didn’t qualify for last year. Or perhaps, you’re in the sweet spot to qualify for a scholarship only offered to students studying in your particular year.

So, try to make a point of scheduling time to find school-specific prizes a couple times per year. You may find a great option that can land you some scholarship money.

Check Your Department for Exclusive Opportunities

In addition to the broader university scholarships, it’s crucial not to overlook the gems hidden within your own department. Departments often have their own set of scholarships, funded by donors who wish to support students pursuing specific fields of study. These awards can be particularly beneficial as they’re tailored to your major or area of interest, potentially reducing the pool of competitors even further.

University Prizes Not Always Advertised Well

It’s not always the case, but sometimes school-specific prizes can be poorly advertised. This means that they are harder to find. However, if you’re willing to spend some time finding these scholarship opportunities, it could mean a big win for you. When postsecondary scholarship competitions are hard to find, that usually means that competition will be less. It makes sense, right? 

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Discover Scholarships and Bursaries from Your School’s Financial Aid Office

Click on your province in our interactive map to quickly access a list of financial aid offices at colleges and universities in your area. In short, this simple tool enhances your search for both province-wide and school-specific financial aid. It’s an efficient way to connect with the funding you need for your education.

Overview: Your Path to Finding School-Specific Scholarships


  • Explore Entrance Scholarships: Check if your future college or university offers scholarships for new students. Some are automatic with your admission, while others need an application.
  • Understand the Variety: Look for scholarships specific to your major, year, or based on merit. Eligibility can vary, including academic achievements or personal characteristics.
  • Seek Student-Specific Awards: Investigate scholarships based on gender, race, or other personal attributes.
  • Contact the Financial Aid Office: Reach out to your school’s financial aid or registrar’s office for comprehensive information on available scholarships and application advice.
  • Regularly Check for Opportunities: Scholarship eligibility can change throughout your college or university journey. Regularly consult with the financial aid office to discover all the awards you qualify for.
  • Explore Department-Specific Scholarships: Where applicable, engage specifically with your academic department for scholarships offered exclusively to students in your field (your department is not your financial aid office). These opportunities are often funded by donors interested in supporting specific areas of study, potentially offering a narrower applicant pool and higher chances of success.

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