Student with graduation cap on.

Can Transfer Students Get Scholarships?

When you’re transferring to a new college or university, there are a lot of details to think about. One of the most important is how your move will affect your finances. 

As a transfer student, you’ve already been through the financial aid process at least once before. But you might be wondering how it works when you are switching schools instead of starting out as a freshman. In particular, many wonder whether they can still get scholarships.

Fortunately, the answer is ‘yes.’ Scholarships for transfer students are available.

In this post, we’ll first give an overview of what you should know about financial aid as a transfer student and then provide some details about the scholarships that may be available to you.   

What should you know about financial aid as a transfer student?

First, it’s helpful to know that the financial aid process is similar at almost all accredited higher ed institutions in the U.S. The school to which you’re transferring will need your FAFSA plus any other application materials. They will then provide you with an offer that will include federal sources of aid (like grants, loans, and work-study) as well as any institution-specific scholarships and grants. 

It’s important to recognize that the aid you currently have at the college you’re currently attending will not transfer with you. This includes federal sources of aid. You will need to go through the process of reapplying for aid at your new institution.

The one possible exception to this is if you have scholarships or grants funded by an external organization, like a foundation, service organization, or corporation. If you have this kind of funding, be sure to find out if there are any rules that would prevent you from keeping your funding if you transfer.

Here are four things to pay special attention to as you make your transition:

  • Let your current school know your plans. You should communicate with the financial aid office where you are presently studying to let them know your plans to transfer. They can help you make sure your account is in good standing and that you cancel any upcoming aid disbursements, if necessary. 
  • Update your FAFSA. You will need to update your FAFSA form to include information about your new college or university. 
  • If you have federal loans, request deferment. Once you leave your current institution, any federal loans you have will enter repayment. To avoid having to pay these loans while you are still in school, you can apply for deferment.
  • Watch your deadlines. You’ll want to make sure you understand the process and deadlines for any application you need to submit for aid at your new school.

What scholarships are available for transfer students?

There are two kinds of scholarships you should keep in mind as a transfer student. Both can be robust sources of funding for your studies.

Internal Scholarships

These are scholarships offered by the school to which you’re applying. What’s available and how generous the support is for transfer students will vary depending on the program you’re interested in. 

Some schools have few transfer students and focus their aid resources on incoming freshmen. On the other end of the spectrum, there are schools that have designated scholarships specifically for those coming in as transfers.

You will need to investigate schools on your list to see the types and amounts of aid that might be available to you. 

External Scholarships

There is also a large number of scholarships out there offered by organizations other than colleges. Though many scholarships are oriented towards those just beginning their college career, there are still plenty of opportunities for upperclassmen. 

Try searching databases provided on sites like BigFuture, Fastweb, and

Explore transfer student scholarships at Athens State.

At Athens State University, transfer students are our focus. We’re one of the few universities in the country that exists to help students who have begun their education elsewhere finish strong.

That means we’re experts at helping transfer students transition smoothly. We also dedicate significant resources to make completing your degree as affordable as possible. 

If you would like to finish your degree with us, you’ll have numerous scholarship opportunities available, including:

  • Excellence Scholarships: Up to $2,000 annually and open to those with a cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Assist Scholarship Program: Support to cover tuition, books, housing, and transportation and open to those majoring in STEM
  • Honors Program: Full tuition scholarship plus unique opportunities, including an honors project, and open to those with a GPA of 3.5 or higher
  • Empowerment Scholarships: Up to $2,000 annually, an expected family contribution (from the FAFSA) no greater than $5,500, and open to those with a GPA of 2.0
  • Foundation and Alumni Scholarships: Over 100 different endowed scholarships with varying awards and criteria

In addition to scholarships, we’ll also help you take advantage of the numerous federal and state grants that can help put your education within reach. 

Interested to see what we have to offer? Explore our programs or get in touch for more information.