December 8 — 3:14 pm, 2015

How to pay for college? A list of scholarships to lighten the burden

If you have a child who is headed to college, you’re probably thinking, “How am I going to pay for this?”

I don’t have to tell you about rising college costs and the outrageous amount of student loan debt that U.S. students are saddled with each year. So here’s some good news for Philadelphia students. As rich as this city is in history, culture, and cheesesteaks, we are almost as rich in scholarships for high school students.

Here’s a list of some of Philadelphia’s best scholarships for college-bound students.

1. The Philadelphia City Scholarship Program – This program provides $1,000 per year, up to four years, for high school seniors who will be attending colleges and universities in Philadelphia and surrounding counties. Applicants must be in their final year of high school at the time of application.

Deadline: Feb. 19, 2016

2. CORE Scholarships – College Opportunity Resources for Education (CORE) is an organization that provides scholarships and college prep assistance to Philadelphia high school and college students. It provides four main scholarship opportunities: Promise, RISE, S2P2, and CASA.

Deadline: Varies depending on type of scholarship.

3. The Philadelphia Foundation – Awards more than 50 scholarships each year to students across various fields of study who are attending schools nationwide. You can search the database for scholarship workshops that are held throughout the city.

Deadline: Varies depending on the type of scholarship.

4. The Urban League of Philadelphia – Last year, the organization’s Community Scholarships Program awarded 73 scholarships to local students, totaling $145,000. These scholarships cover a range of academic majors and college choices. The 2016 application period is now open.

Deadline: Jan. 31, 2016

5. CCP’s 50th Anniversary Scholars Program – For 2016 Philadelphia high school graduates, Community College of Philadelphia is offering a “last dollar” scholarship to help students achieve a degree debt-free. CCP also offers other scholarships to local students.

Deadline: June 1, 2016

6. Drexel Liberty Scholars Program – Designed to eliminate economic barriers for Philadelphians, this scholarship is awarded annually to 50 incoming freshmen. The scholarship covers 100 percent of tuition and fees, and it is renewable.

Deadline: Students must submit applications for admission and scholarship applications by Jan. 15, 2016.

7. Temple University 20/20 Scholarship – Reserved for students from Philadelphia, this scholarship is available to residents at the top of their senior class. Temple applicants will be considered based on zip code or counselor recommendation. The $5,000 award is renewable.

Deadline: Students must submit applications for admission to Temple by March 31, 2016.

8. The Mayor’s Scholarship (University of Pennsylvania) – Awarded to University of Pennsylvania’s students who demonstrate financial need and graduated from high schools in Philadelphia, Bucks, Delaware, or Montgomery Counties. The scholarship amount varies, depending on what the student’s family can afford to contribute to their college education.

Deadline: Students must submit applications for admission to University of Pennsylvania by Jan. 1, 2016 and complete the Mayor’s Scholarship application by March, 2016.

Remember that scholarship success starts with the right strategy. Have your son or daughter carve out time to look for and apply to scholarships each week. Create a scholarship calendar and make a list of what’s needed for each application. For applications that require essays, here’s my best advice on how to write a winning scholarship essay

Parents, if you have a question about college preparation or scholarships, email your questions to


Melissa A. Rowe, M.Ed., is founder of Capture Greatness! – A Scholarship Writing & College Coaching Initiative. As a writer, education advocate, and college counselor, she teaches students how to use the power of their personal stories to earn scholarships and get to college. 


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