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7 Scholarships for Texas Students

June 30, 2016
Loans, Student Loans
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There are scholarships out there for pretty much everyone, including students who hail from the Lone Star State. We’ve combed through lists of scholarships and found top scholarships for Texas students.

In addition to checking out the options below, be sure to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You have to submit the FAFSA if you want to be considered for federal, state and school-based grants and scholarships, work-study opportunities and federal student loans.

For students who want to apply to a range of scholarships at once:

1. COMMUNITIES FOUNDATION OF TEXAS SCHOLARSHIPS

This organization manages more than 50 scholarship funds, and you can be considered for many of them by filling out one online application. The general application requires a resume and letters of recommendation. After the general application, you may have to answer additional questions depending on the specific awards you’re matched with.

For Houston students:

2. HOUSTON LIVESTOCK SHOW AND RODEO SCHOLARSHIPS

This nonprofit group gives out more than 700 scholarships each year to graduating high school seniors in Texas who are planning to attend college in the state. Requirements vary based on the specific scholarship, but most of the awards are for $18,000. To be eligible for most awards, you need to complete the FAFSA, have an SAT score of at least 950, and have an ACT score of at least 19. Some awards also require that you’re in a certain top percentage of your high school class.

For Dallas students:

3. THE DALLAS FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIPS

This organization manages more than a dozen scholarship funds, each with different requirements and application processes. The awards include scholarships for graduating high school seniors pursuing journalism careers; African-American males graduating from a high school in Dallas County; and high school students in North Texas with physical, intellectual or emotional disabilities.

For Dallas students or students studying agriculture:

4. STATE FAIR OF TEXAS YOUTH SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

This program is available for graduating seniors at Texas high schools who are attending a Texas college. There are two different awards, both for $6,000 disbursed in $1,500 increments each year. One is for students graduating from one of five Dallas high schools, and the other is for students who have competed in youth livestock events at the state fair and are studying agriculture-related topics in college. You have to keep at least a 3.0 grade point average to maintain either award.

For Austin students pursuing a career in health care:

5. ST. DAVID’S NEAL KOCUREK SCHOLARSHIP

This award is for graduating high school seniors in the Austin area who are attending a Texas college to pursue a career in health care. Recipients get up to $7,500 a year for up to four years, or up to $4,000 if they’re attending community college. You qualify if you live in Travis, Hays, Williamson, Bastrop, or Caldwell counties. The awards are based on financial need and academic merit.

For students studying civil engineering:

6. TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION CONDITIONAL GRANT PROGRAM

This award could be for you if you’re pursuing a civil engineering degree and can agree to work for the Texas Department of Transportation for at least two years after graduating. Recipients will get up to $3,000 per semester, depending on their financial need. To qualify, your family’s income must be no more than 225% of the federal poverty level, and you have to be attending or planning to attend a college in Texas. The application requires a one-page essay.

For students pursuing a culinary career:

7. TEXAS RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION W. PRICE JR. MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP

The Texas Restaurant Association awards seven $2,000 scholarships each year to Texas residents who are attending or planning to attend a culinary program in any state. The application requires an essay and two letters of recommendation.

More ways to pay

Scholarships, which don’t need to be paid back, are an ideal way to pay for college. But it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to fund the entire cost of tuition through scholarships alone. To be eligible for federal grants, work-study programs and student loans, and additional scholarships, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA.

Once you’ve maxed out all initial payment options, including federal loans, consider private loans to cover additional costs. Private loans tend to carry higher interest rates than federal loans. They also have fewer protections and forgiveness options. Shop around and compare private student loans before choosing a lender.

Teddy Nykiel is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: teddy@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @teddynykielNishita Shetty and Joseph Audette contributed reporting.

This article was updated June 30, 2016. It was originally published on Feb. 28, 2013, and previously updated on Jan. 22, 2015.