Courage to Grow Scholarship

The Courage to Grow Scholarship is an annual scholarship program that provides financial assistance to students who have faced challenging life circumstances. With awards ranging from $500 to $5,000, this scholarship helps recipients cover the costs of tuition, books, and other educational expenses.

In this complete guide, we will cover everything you need to know about the Courage to Grow Scholarship, including eligibility requirements, how to apply, application timeline, selection criteria, and tips for crafting a strong application.

Overview of the Courage to Grow Scholarship

The Courage to Grow Scholarship was established in 2012 by Courage to Grow, a nonprofit organization that provides academic, emotional, and financial support to student survivors. Each year, the scholarship is awarded to several students across the United States who have displayed courage in overcoming adversity.

Some key facts about the Courage to Grow Scholarship:

  • Awards between $500 – $5,000 to help cover educational costs
  • Open to students who have faced challenging life circumstances or adversity
  • Must be enrolled in or accepted to a technical school or accredited undergraduate or graduate program
  • Selection based on application, essays, references, and interview
  • Renewable annually for up to 4 years

The Courage to Grow Scholarship aims to help resilient students who have persevered despite difficult circumstances pursue their academic dreams. For many recipients, this scholarship provides crucial financial assistance that allows them to focus on their studies rather than worrying about how to pay for school.

Eligibility Requirements for the Courage to Grow Scholarship

To be eligible for the Courage to Grow Scholarship, applicants must meet the following criteria:

Faced Adversity

Applicants must demonstrate that they have faced and overcome a challenging life circumstance or adversity in their background. This could include:

  • Abuse
  • Homelessness
  • Human trafficking
  • Family crises/instability
  • Medical issues
  • Disabilities
  • Life-altering tragedy
  • Other difficult circumstances

The scholarship is intended for survivors who have shown dedication to rebuilding their lives through education, despite the trauma or instability they experienced. Applicants will be asked to describe their personal story of resilience.

Accepted to or Enrolled in Accredited Program

Applicants must be accepted to or enrolled in an accredited technical school or undergraduate/graduate program at an accredited college or university within the United States. All fields of study are eligible.

GPA Requirements

  • High school seniors must have a minimum 2.5 GPA
  • Undergraduate students must have a minimum 2.5 GPA
  • Graduate students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA

U.S. Citizenship

Applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal residents living in the United States. International students studying in the U.S. are eligible.

Financial Need

Applicants must demonstrate financial need and explain how the scholarship funds would help them achieve their educational goals.

How to Apply for the Courage to Grow Scholarship

Courage to Grow Scholarship

Students interested in applying for the Courage to Grow Scholarship must submit the following:

Application Form

Complete the scholarship’s application form. You will need to provide biographical information, contact details, education history, and a brief summary of any challenges you’ve faced.


Write two personal essays on given prompts describing your story of adversity and how you demonstrated courage, resilience, and dedication to growth. Each essay should be 500-800 words.


Provide two academic or professional references who can speak to your strengths, abilities, and character. References should submit letters of recommendation directly to Courage to Grow.


Submit your most recent academic transcripts showing your cumulative GPA. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable. Graduate students must provide undergraduate transcripts.


If selected as a scholarship finalist, you will need to participate in a phone, video, or in-person interview.

Application Timeline for the Courage to Grow Scholarship

Here are the key dates for the Courage to Grow Scholarship application process:

  • October 1: Application opens
  • February 1: Application deadline
  • March-April: Interviews conducted with finalists
  • May 1: Recipients notified of scholarship awards
  • August: Scholarship funds disbursed for fall semester

Students must reapply each year by February 1 if they wish to renew the scholarship. Awards may be renewed for up to 4 years.

Selection Criteria for the Courage to Grow Scholarship

The Courage to Grow Scholarship selection committee reviews all applications holistically based on the following criteria:

Degree of Adversity Overcome

How much adversity, trauma, or instability has the applicant faced in their life? How vulnerable were the circumstances they were in? The more challenges an applicant has surmounted, the stronger their application.

Demonstrated Resilience and Growth

How has the applicant demonstrated resilience, perseverance, and dedication to rebuilding their life after facing difficulties? How did they find the courage and motivation to persist in pursuing their education? Strong applicants show personal growth.

Financial Need

How much financial need does the applicant have? How would the scholarship funds help them attain their academic goals? The scholarship prioritizes students with significant unmet financial need.

Academic Performance

Applicants should be in good academic standing with at least a 2.5 GPA for high school and undergraduate applicants or 3.0 GPA for graduate applicants. Strong performance reflects potential for achievement.

Strength of Essays and Interview

The applicant’s essays and interview responses will be assessed for quality of writing, grasp of personal story, clarity, thoughtfulness, and sincerity. Strong essays and interview skills are key.

Tips for Applying for the Courage to Grow Scholarship

Follow these top tips when applying for the Courage to Grow Scholarship:

Share Your Story Openly

Be honest and open in describing the adversities you have faced in your background. Explain the vulnerabilities and instabilities you endured and how they affected you. Demonstrating authenticity is critical.

Highlight Your Resilience

Discuss the personal strengths, motivations, and supports that enabled you to persist when facing challenges. Emphasize how you found the courage to pursue education despite difficulties.

Clarify Your Financial Need

Detail any hardships you’ve faced paying for school thus far and why additional support through this scholarship is essential. Be specific on the difference the funds would make.

Follow Instructions Carefully

Closely adhere to the given instructions for the essay prompts and word counts. Stay within the guidelines to demonstrate ability to follow directions.

Start Early

Give yourself plenty of time to brainstorm essay topics, write drafts, gather transcripts, and request references. Don’t wait until the last minute!

By telling your authentic story, highlighting your resilience, and demonstrating financial need, you can craft a compelling Courage to Grow Scholarship application. With some hard work, your courage and dedication to personal growth can really shine through.

We hope this guide provides helpful information as you consider applying for the Courage to Grow Scholarship. This is an excellent opportunity to earn funding and support if you have faced adversity but strived to rebuild and pursue your educational dreams. With courage and determination, you can achieve your goals despite the challenges life has presented.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about the Courage to Grow Scholarship:

Who is eligible for the scholarship?

The scholarship is open to U.S. citizens/residents who have faced and overcome adversity and are accepted to or enrolled in an accredited undergraduate, graduate, or technical degree program. All majors are eligible.

What challenges are considered “adversity” for this scholarship?

Applicants must have faced difficult life circumstances such as abuse, homelessness, family crises, medical issues, disabilities, human trafficking, or other traumatic events or vulnerabilities.

How much does the scholarship award?

Awards range from $500 to $5,000 annually. The award amounts are determined based on the recipient’s financial need and selection committee results.

How can the scholarship funds be used?

The award money may be used to cover any accredited educational expenses including tuition, fees, books, supplies, housing, and transportation. Funds are sent directly to the recipient’s school.

Is this scholarship renewable?

Yes, the Courage to Grow Scholarship is renewable annually for up to four years as long as recipients continue meeting eligibility criteria. Students must reapply each year by February 1.

What is required for the application?

Applicants must submit the online form, two essays, transcripts, references, and complete an interview if selected as a finalist. See the “How to Apply” section above for details.

What are the key application deadlines?

The application opens October 1 and the deadline to apply is February 1. Award recipients are notified by May 1 annually.

Who selects and reviews applications?

A scholarship selection committee consisting of Courage to Grow staff, partners, and donors reviews applications and selects recipients. The committee may include survivor advocates and educators.

How are recipients selected?

Recipients are chosen based on degree of adversity overcome, demonstrated resilience and growth, financial need, academic record, and strength of essays/interview. See the “Selection Criteria” section above.

When are funds awarded?

Scholarship funds are disbursed in August prior to the start of the fall semester. Funds are sent directly to recipients’ accredited colleges or universities.

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