Alumni and Legacy Scholarships

Have you ever considered attending the same school that your parents or grandparents attended?Here’s an incentive to do so that you may not know about: legacy scholarships.

Legacy scholarships—which are sometimes known as alumni scholarships—are awarded by a college or a university to students whose parents and grandparents attended at one time. Sometimes, these awards are also given to students with other relatives who attended the school as well, such as a sibling or aunt or uncle.Often, students are only are eligible for alumni or legacy scholarships if the relative is an active member of the alumni association.

These are competitive scholarships that students must apply for (i.e., you don’t automatically get them simply because your parent attended this school).These scholarships can range from small awards of a few hundred dollars—in which case, they’re probably less competitive and are awarded to many students—to significant awards that are awarded to only one or a few students.

People sometimes associate the term “legacy scholarship” with elite institutions like Ivy League schools. While these schools do award legacy scholarships, less prestigious schools do as well. In fact, most colleges and universities offer scholarships of this kind. As an example, see the alumni scholarship program at Bemidji State University in Minnesota (a lovely campus, if not the most famous one).As is typical of an alumni scholarship, this is a competitive scholarship only available to students with family members at this institution.

Because alumni scholarships are so common, it’s worth your time to investigate what kinds of scholarships of this kind are available to students at the schools attended by your parents and grandparents (and perhaps other family members as well). Obviously, this shouldn’t be your only criteria in choosing a school—but it’s information that you’ll want to consider.