The Idaho Opportunity Scholarship is open every year to Idaho high school graduates or people who've earned a GED in the state of Idaho. Applicants must have a 2.7 cumulative GPA, and complete a FAFSA application along with an application from the State Board of Education. Awards are capped at $3,500 per year.
Idaho Opportunity Scholarship
The Idaho Opportunity Scholarship awards up to $3,500 to eligible college students in the state of Idaho and can continue for up to four years. Applicants must be graduates from an Idaho high school (or have a GED completed in Idaho). Students need to have a cumulative grade point average of 2.7 and be a current Idaho resident.
The simple requirements for the scholarship involve nothing more than being an Idaho high school graduate with at least a 2.7 GPA. Applicants need to submit two applications by March 1 of the year – the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (or FAFSA) and the State Board of Education Scholarship Application.
Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and the state legislature instituted the Opportunity Scholarship to ensure Idaho has educated workers.
Idaho taxpayers can contribute to the scholarship fund by checking the box on your yearly state tax return indicating you want some of your refund to go to the fund. The donation will enable hundreds of students to get a better education and better jobs. The scholarship fund will help Idaho develop a strong economy.
2017 Opportunity Scholarship Report
A large number of students receiving scholarships in 2016 resulted in a 59% increase in renewals in 2017. In 2016-2017, Idaho high school seniors saw a 21 percent reduction in Opportunity Scholarship awards. Undergraduates currently attending college experienced a 60 percent decrease in new scholarships.
Applicants receiving the highest ranking are awarded the scholarship. In 2017, as in previous years, the Board ranked applicants by combing their GPA and estimated family contribution (EFC) to school expenses. The EFC is given more consideration than GPA in determining who will receive the award.
A record number of recipients were awarded the Idaho Opportunity Scholarship in 2017. High school seniors received 982 awards, and college undergraduates received 480 awards. There were 2,179 renewals.
Statistics showed that students eligible for free lunches and minorities were more likely to apply for the scholarship. The numbers for 2017 showed that 33 percent of ranked applicants with a 3.0 GPA were eligible for free or low-cost lunches, while 25 percent of applicants were not eligible for reduced or free meals.
Hispanics accounted for 35 percent of ranked, 3.0 GPA applicants. Asian Americans consisted of 22 percent of applicants, and African-Americans made up 32 percent of applicants.
Students who were offered the scholarship were more likely to attend college than pole who didn’t receive it. The report states that college students with financial need were nine percent more likely to attend college than eligible students who didn’t receive the scholarship.
Students with a GPA of 3.0 and an EFC of below $2,500 received the award in 2017, while students with an EFC below $10,000 and a 4.0 GPA won the award.
The Idaho Opportunity Scholarship for Adult Learners is open to Idaho resident studying for their first undergraduate degree. Applicants must earn 24 credits before a lapse in enrollment and must spend 24 consecutive months without attending classes in any post-secondary school.
You must have a cumulative GPA of 2.7 and complete the FAFSA application for financial aid. Maintaining excellent academic progress is necessary for the continuation of financial aid. This opportunity scholarship awards up to $3,500 for eligible students.
The awards are given to recipients every year. You need to re-apply each year to receive, or continue to receive, an award. Students can receive the award for a total of four years.
Increase in Funds
The Idaho State Board sought an increase in funds for the Opportunity Scholarship in 2017. The legislature sought to boost the funding from $10 million per year to $15 million per year. The scholarship gains popularity each year, and there's a waiting list of eligible students due to insufficient funding.
The current applications cap off at 5.200, but only 3,700 students took advantage of the monetary awards last year.
Other Idaho Scholarships
The State of Idaho offers several other scholarships for eligible students. These scholarships include:
Idaho Post-Secondary Credit Scholarship
This merit-based award has open enrollment. This scholarship is offered to students with ten or more college credits when they graduate from high school. The student must also have an industry-based merit scholarship. You’ll need to complete a renewal application to continue receiving the award.
Eligible applicants will be Idaho high school graduates or high school graduates with an associate degree. If you don’t have an associate degree after graduating high school, you must have ten or more post-secondary credits upon high school graduation.
You must have a matching scholarship in an academic subject from a business or organization that represents a particular industry. The matching award can be in an industry such as nursing or engineering, or from a society or chamber of commerce representing a particular field or industry.
Tschudy Family Scholarship
This scholarship is limited to graduates of Emmet High School. The award is merit and need-based and requires a 2.6-grade point average. Recipients get $2,500 per year and can renew the award for up to five undergraduate years and two graduate years.
Applicant must be an Idaho resident and a graduate of Emmet High School within seven years of completing the applicant, or a recent graduate of the school. You also need to enroll for at least 14 credit hours at Idaho State University, Lewis-Clark State College, Boise State University or the University of Idaho to receive this scholarship.
Idaho Governor’s Cup Scholarship
This merit-based scholarship requires a 2.8 GPA and community service involvement. Applicants must be seniors graduating from an Idaho high school. You must enroll in a technical or academic program at an Idaho university college. You must take the SAT or Act if enrolling in academic courses.
Applicants need to write a 500-word essay about their goals and attend the first semester of college immediately after high school graduation. Candidates with ample public service, volunteer and leadership experience will have an edge in attaining this scholarship.
The award has a limit of $3,000 per year and is renewable for up to four academic years or three years for a technical program. The Governor's Cup is awarded to approximately 25 students per year.
General Application Tips
The Opportunity Scholarship and other Idaho scholarships are relatively easy to understand and apply for when compared to other awards in more populous states. Follow a few basic guidelines when applying for the scholarship to avoid mistakes and delays.
Be careful when preparing and filling out your online application and you’ll
have a better chance of receiving an award. Take time to gather all your school information and double-check it before entering it into the federal system (for financial aid) or any Idaho State Application for college admission or awards.
The Idaho State Scholarship Program, unlike many other state scholarship programs in the U.S., offers phone numbers and email address for contacts on their website, so you'll get a personal touch you won't get in busy, highly populated states.
Include your Social Security Number and e-mail address on all your applications. (Scholarship winners are notified by e-mail.)
If writing an essay is part of the application, work on several drafts if you’re not quite sure what to say, and return to the essay after a few days to look at with a fresh attitude. You’ll find that putting it aside for a few days will give you a better perspective on what to write.
Never write what you think administrators want to read in a scholarship essay. Be true to yourself and your goals, and you’ll have a better chance of receiving a scholarship.
Other Financial Resources
Idaho offers the Idaho College Savings Program or Ideal account. It is a 529 College Saving Plan to help all students save for college, regardless of their family's financial situation. The minimum investment is $25. The plan has professional investment management and tax-deferred growth.
You (or your family member) will open an online account and invest in a Fixed Asset Allocation Portfolio, Savings Portfolio or Age-Based Option. You can transfer funds from your savings or checking account or use Payroll Deduction through a participating employer.
Anyone with a Social Security Number regardless of age can be an account beneficiary. You can make secure withdrawals online at any time. You can invite people to gift money to your IDeal account using the Ugift online feature.
Upromise is a program that helps you save for college with everyday purchases, from buying groceries to eating in restaurants. A percentage of your purchase price will be placed in your Ideal account when you sign up for this program.
Idaho colleges include the following small but academically excellent educational institutions:
- College of Idaho
- College of Western Idaho
- College of Southern Idaho
- Lewis-Clark State College
- Boise State University
- University of Idaho
- Northwest Nazarene University
- Brigham Young University (BYU)-Idaho
Several of the schools listed above have technical as well as academic programs. The College of Western Idaho offers electrical training, for example.
Eastern Idaho Technical College has a Trade and Industry Division, and the emphasis on technical education overall is quite strong in Idaho, especially in automotive, electrical and construction fields.