Scholarships and Grants

Scholarships and grants are “free” money—you do not have to pay them back, unlike student loans.


A scholarship is generally based on merit rather than demonstrated financial need—based on past grades, test scores, achievements, or experiences, including personal qualifications such as athletic ability, skills in the arts, community or volunteer experiences, and so on. Don’t make the mistake of thinking scholarships go only to students with high grades. Many scholarships, for example, honor those with past leadership or community experience or the promise of future activities. Even the grades and test scores needed for academic scholarships are relative: a grade point average (GPA) that does not qualify for a scholarship at one college may earn a scholarship at another. Never assume that you’re not qualified for any kind of scholarship or grant. There are a variety of scholarships you should consider:

  • External and Private Scholarships: These are provided by organizations not specifically associated with MSU Denver. They can come from charitable organizations, unions, memorial scholarships, the state and local governments, etc. Look within the your local community, profession, or club to see if they offer any opportunities you may qualify for.
    • Foundation Scholarships: These are provided by the MSU Denver Foundation, a charitable organization associated with MSU Denver. These scholarships are created from private donations made to the foundation. See more below on when and how to apply for these scholarships.
    • Institutional Scholarships: These come directly from MSU Denver and are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis each year. See more below on when and how to apply for these scholarships.


A grant also does not need to be paid back. Most grants are based on demonstrated financial need. A grant may be offered by the college, a federal or state program, or a private organization or civic group. At MSU Denver, there are several types of grants you should consider:

  • Indigenous and Native Peoples’ Grant: These grants are provided by MSU Denver through a combination of federal, state, and institutional grants to ensure Indigenous students’ tuition and mandatory published fees are fully covered beginning Fall 2022.

Where to Find Scholarships and Grants

A good place to start is the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship; they maintain a list of different kinds of scholarships available to MSU Denver students.