In addition to searching the
FastWeb scholarship database,
students should also search at least one of the other large
scholarship databases. It will take you only a few minutes to search
each database, and you can then be certain that you've found all the
scholarships for which you qualify. You'll notice a significant amount of
overlap among the databases - they all use similar methods to compile
their listings - but each database includes a few awards not listed in
On the other hand, if you're only going to search one database,
the FastWeb scholarship search
is clearly the best. It is updated more frequently, has the tightest
match, and lets you apply online for many awards.
The following list of scholarship search sites does not include any
that charge a fee to search their database. FinAid's analysis of
scholarship database match quality
(match precision and match recall) has found that the paid scholarship
search sites are no better than the free scholarship search sites. So
why pay money to search a scholarship database, when you can get as
good or better results from searching the free scholarship databases?
Warning: Some scholarship databases
include awards that charge application fees. FinAid does not recommend
applying to any scholarship that charges an application fee. The only
database that currently excludes such awards as a matter of policy is the
FastWeb scholarship database.
Note that many of these sites make bogus claims as to the
number and dollar amount of
scholarships included in their databases.
Highest Quality Free Scholarship Search Sites
FastWeb Scholarship Search
The FastWeb Scholarship Search is the largest, most accurate and most popular
free scholarship search site, with more than 35 million registered
users. It is also the most frequently updated and provides automatic
email notification of new scholarships that match the student's profile.
The FastWeb Scholarship Search was the first scholarship database
available for free on the web and is the most innovative and
student-focused of all the scholarship search sites.
College Board's FUND FINDER
The College Board's FUND FINDER scholarship database lists scholarships and other types of financial aid programs from 3,300 national, state, public and private sources. The database is updated annually.
The Scholarships.com database has good coverage of awards and a fairly
precise match, but some of
the scholarship entries in the Scholarships.com database appear to
contain old information.
Scholarship Search Sites Owned by Education Lenders
Peterson's Award Database
The Peterson's scholarship search lists awards from about 2,000
sponsors. This is the same database used to update Peterson's
Scholarships, Grants and Prizes book.
The web site was a little slow and the match precision very low,
forcing one to dig through a lot of irrelevant awards. Otherwise the
coverage of available awards was very good.
Peterson's was acquired by Nelnet, an education lender, in July 2006.
Student Scholarship Search
Edvisors Network provides a free scholarship matching and application
tracking service. The site also includes topic-focused lists of
scholarships compiled by students who use the site, such as
scholarships for women,
and international scholarships.
In addition, Edvisors Network gives away more than $100,000 in
scholarships each year through its
Edvisors Network was acquired by College Loan Corporation in 2013.
offers a free scholarship search as a loss leader to attract students
to their student loan products and services.
Their scholarship search is based on the scholarship database
formerly known as
The search results lists each named award from the same award program
separately, leading to a large number of matches that correspond to a
single application form.
ScholarshipExperts offers a free online scholarship search and college search
(ScholarshipExperts dropped their membership fee in December 2005.)
The size claims for this database appear to be exaggerated by about a factor
of 5 (number of awards) to 10 (total dollar amount of awards). The award
listings include detailed information about the awards and also allow one
to look at a separate list of expired awards.
The web site is supported by advertising. ScholarshipExperts was
acquired by Goal Financial, an education lender, in May 2006.
The BrokeScholar scholarship database appears to overlap with the
Peterson's scholarship database and may include a licensed subset of that
database. The award listings have minimal information, making it
difficult to tell whether the student actually matches the
scholarship's eligibility requirements. The number of matches was also
very low, suggesting either a small database or too tight of a
scholarship matching process.
BrokeScholar is owned by Collegiate Funding Services, an education
lender that was acquired by JPMorgan Chase in December 2005.
The CollegeData scholarship database appears to use a licensed subset
of the Peterson's scholarship database. Their site uses a simple
one-page profile with keyword search. As a result, the scholarship
match is not as precise as the other scholarship databases. Although
one initially does not need to create an account to see summary
information about matching scholarships (e.g., name, amount, GPA,
residency, heritage/ethnicity and area of study), for detailed
information one must be logged in. Registration is free and involves
completing a two-page profile.
CollegeData is owned by 1st Financial Bank USA, an education lender.
Wintergreen/Orchard House Scholarship Database
Most other sites that offer a free scholarship search do not compile
their own database, like the sites listed above do,
but instead license the
Wintergreen/Orchard House (WOH) scholarship
database. Although the WOH database is updated quarterly, most
of the sites that license it update their copy
only once a year. Most of the sites also implement their own engine for
searching the database, with varying degrees of tightness in the
match. Most offer a very loose match, presumably because it means they
initially can claim to provide more matching awards, even if those
awards don't really match the student's profile. The WOH database
lists awards from 1,924 sponsors.
Some of the more well-known sites that offer free scholarship matching
services based on the the WOH database include
Note that the CollegeNet MACH25 interface to the WOH database is more a
browsing interface than a true search engine. As such,
most students will not find it helpful in quickly identifying the
awards for which they qualify. CollegeView, on the other hand, offers
a profile-based scholarship search
in addition to the
CollegeView scholarship directory.
More Specialized Scholarship Databases
In addition to the scholarship databases listed above, there are also several other free scholarship databases listed on FinAid. These databases are smaller, but also more tightly focused. The list of Major-Specific Databases provides information for specific majors or career interests, such as art, computer science, journalism, or nursing. FinAid also provides pages describing scholarships and other forms of aid available.