Private/Outside Scholarships

Students don’t need to look hard for scholarship opportunities—they just need to look. Information on such scholarships is often available at your local library, the guidance office at your local high school, community organizations or numerous web-based scholarship searches. We encourage all RWU students to pursue as many outside scholarship opportunities as possible.

Outside Scholarships are funded by private entities which have various criteria, due dates, scholarship amounts and renewal requirements. Every semester, scholarship search programs help thousands of students pay for school by matching them to scholarships, grants, and internships. You could win a scholarship for a number of reasons, including grades, athletics, volunteer work, ethnicity, personal interests, and more. Since you do not have to pay back a scholarship, it is the best type of aid to help you pay for college. And don’t think that just because the award is only a couple hundred bucks it’s not worth applying. A bunch of little ones combined can make a huge difference in covering college costs.

Be cautious when searching for scholarships. All legitimate scholarship searches should be free and should not ask you to provide any credit card or bank information. If you are unsure of the legitimacy of a scholarship offer or search, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Financial Aid or the Better Business Bureau. Explore tips for applying for private scholarships!

Any outside scholarship that a student receives will be applied first to any unmet financial need. In some cases, outside scholarships may necessitate an adjustment to your financial aid package. If there is no unmet financial need, we will first reduce federal work study, then loan(s), and lastly grant money.

Roger Williams University recommends the following search engines:

  • BigFuture Scholarships
    This webpage from the College Board allows students to browse over 10,000 scholarships, with more than $4 billion scholarship dollars yearly. 
  • Campus Pride LGBTQ Scholarship Database 
    Campus Pride serves LGBTQ and ally student leaders and campus organizations in the areas of leadership development, support programs and services to create safer, more inclusive LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities. It exists to develop, support and give “voice and action” in building future LGBTQ and ally student leaders.
  • Disability Scholarships
    Disability scholarships are funded by a variety of scholarship providers with different requirements. They can be intended to help students with a specific disability, or they can be aimed at a wider range of students who have physical or mental issues. 
  • Fastweb!
    Fastweb! is an excellent online resource for paying and preparing for college. Fastweb provides students with the resources to realize their educational pursuits, from the time they begin their college search in high school to the day they land their first job after graduation. Fastweb members are matched to relevant scholarship opportunities completely free of charge. With roughly 1.5 million scholarships worth over $3.4 billion, there are scholarships for every student's educational goals, activities, and interests. 
  • The Smart Student™ Guide to Financial Aid is the most comprehensive source of student financial aid information, advice, and tools, both on and off the web. Access to FinAid is free for all users and there is no charge to link to the site. The site includes a webpage dedicated specifically to the scholarship search process. 
  • Foster Care to Success (FC2S): Scholarships and Grants
    This FC2s webpage provides links to various sources for higher education scholarships for current and former foster youth.
  • Horatio Alger Association National and State Scholarship Programs
    The Horatio Alger Association offers college scholarships to homeless and at-risk students. The Horatio Alger Association provides approximately 1,000 scholarships each year to eligible students who have overcome adversity in their lives.
  • International Student
    International Scholarship search tool was created specifically for students who want to study outside their home country but need help finding funding. Current and potential international students have free access to nearly 2,000 awards that provide over $1,000,000 in funding in our search tool. A variety of scholarships, grants, and fellowships are available to students who want to study in the USA and around the world.
  • Knowledge4College
    Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) gives away $100,000 a year in our Knowledge4College Scholarship which does not require an essay and is available to the student or the parents and or guardian of the students.
  • My Undocumented Life
    My Undocumented Life provides up-to-date information and resources to undocumented students, their families, and allies (including educators, counselors, and administrators). My Undocumented Life posts scholarship opportunities that are open to undocumented students, navigating the educational system while undocumented, information on how to apply for DACA, key upcoming immigration-related events, news on immigration policies, and much more.
  • RI Scholarships
    Through the RISLA College Planning Center, students can search through hundreds of local scholarships.
  • Scholarship America
    Explore a variety of scholarships and prizes on Scholarship America. In 2020, they served over 100,000 students and distributed over $273 million.
  • has over 3.7 million college scholarships and grants worth about $19 billion in financial aid. Get matched to scholarships that fit you.
  • Student Training & Education in Public Service (STEPS) Scholarships
    Students majoring in public service fields can take advantage of a wide variety of funding opportunities, especially scholarships dedicated to particular fields of study. This guide helps aspiring police officers, teachers, social workers, and related public service professionals find the necessary funding for their specialized college education. There are also direct links for minority students, students with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ students, Jewish students and catholic students majoring in a public service field.
  • United Negro College Fund, Inc. (UNCF)
    UNCF is among the nation’s largest private scholarship provider to minority group members. Each year, UNCF awards more than $100 million in scholarships to students attending more than 1,100 schools across the country.

Roger Williams University provides the information and links for the following scholarships as a courtesy to our students. However, the University has no direct affiliation with these entities. Therefore, any issues or concerns regarding these scholarships should be directed at the awarding organizations.

Other Funding Opportunities:

Scholarship checks received by our office will be divided equally between fall and spring semesters unless otherwise indicated in writing by the donor.  It’s important to notify the Office of Financial Aid of any outside scholarships you receive, so the appropriate adjustments can be made. Scholarship checks should be mailed to:

Roger Williams University
ATTN: Bursar’s Office
One Old Ferry Road
Bristol, RI 02809