All About Scholarships

Finding and Applying for Them Just Got Easier

Scholarships are one of the most popular forms of financial aid because they’re “free” money you don’t have to pay back.

Many people think scholarships are just for students with amazing grades or athletic skills. While those students often qualify, many others do, too. You can qualify for scholarships based on various qualities you possess. For example, you may be able to get scholarships for:

  • Serving your community
  • Pursuing a specific field of study (art, nursing, etc.)
  • Being the first person in your family to attend college
  • Participating in extracurricular activities
  • Being from a traditionally underrepresented group
  • Pursuing particular interests or hobbies
  • Having a family member who’s affiliated with a community club, church, labor union, or other organization
  • Living in a particular Michigan city or county

What is a scholarship?

How Do I Find Scholarships?

With thousands of scholarships available, how do you find those where you have the best chance of success? The rest of this page helps guide you, with a special focus on:

  • Scholarship Universe, a scholarship matching service provided by OCC
  • Scholarships in your community
  • Scholarships of special interest to OCC students
  • National Scholarship Databases

Scholarship Universe

OCC has teamed up with Scholarship Universe to provide easy access to thousands of internal and external scholarship opportunities. Scholarship Universe can match you with scholarships provided by:

For more information, see How to Use Scholarship Universe

Scholarships in Your Community

The community where you live can be a great source for scholarships. Businesses, labor unions, community organizations, churches, and others may provide scholarships to local residents. These scholarships typically have much less competition than state or national scholarships.

You can learn about community scholarships from your high school guidance counselor. You also should check MI Student Aid, a service of the Michigan Department of Treasury. Simply select the county where you live from the pull-down menu. The site returns a list of local scholarships with links for more information.

Scholarships of Special Interest to OCC Students

Each year OCC, the OCC Foundation, and various state agencies in Michigan provide hundreds of scholarships to OCC students. While many scholarships listed here are included in Scholarship Universe, it’s helpful to know about some of the most important scholarships available to OCC students: 

Michigan Achievement Skills Scholarship: If you graduated from high school or earned a GED in 2023, plan to study an eligible career training program and you have not earned an associate or bachelor’s degree, you may qualify for up to $4,000 over two years.

  • Chancellor’s Scholarships: High school seniors in Oakland County who meet GPA requirements can receive this $4,000 scholarship, which honors academic excellence. You apply through Scholarship Universe
  • Summer Momentum Scholarship: This OCC scholarship covers your tuition for up to six credit hours and your Student Support Fee for the summer semester. You may qualify if you complete, at least, 16 credit hours during the previous fall and winter semesters while maintaining a 2.0 Cumulative GPA or better. You apply through Scholarship Universe.
  • OCC Foundation Scholarships: Thanks to gifts from generous donors, the OCC Foundation awards hundreds of scholarships each year to OCC students. Most of the scholarships are awarded based on criteria set by the donor. You apply through Scholarship Universe.
  • Michigan Competitive Scholarship: High school graduates who score at least 1200 on the SAT and have financial need can get up to $1,500 per academic year. The scholarship is open to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and approved refugees.
  • Michigan Achievement Scholarship: Students who graduate from high school in Michigan or earn a GED in 2023 or later and have financial need can receive up to $2,750 per year for three years to attend OCC.
  • Michigan Reconnect: Qualifying students who have not yet completed a college degree can get free in-district tuition to earn a degree or certificate. 
  • Fostering Futures Scholarship: Students who were in foster care in Michigan after age 12 and have financial need can receive up to $3,000 per academic year.
  • Michigan Echo Scholarship:  The Michigan Equity, Courage, Hope, and Opportunity (MI ECHO) Scholarship is for people who hold immigration statuses that prevent them from accessing federal financial aid.

National Scholarship Databases

While OCC’s Scholarship Universe is a great tool for matching you to relevant local, state, and national scholarships, it’s a good idea to search other national scholarship databases, too. They offer a variety of methods for finding scholarships matching your background.

The national databases listed here are among those most commonly cited for being excellent scholarship sources. You can find other national databases with an Internet search. All of these sites offer at least some free information, and most are entirely free: