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Scholarships & Private Loans

There are other sources available to students beyond what the federal and state governments can offer, which include financial assistance from private organizations and businesses not affiliated with the university and are often considered "Outside Resources" in the form of scholarships, loans, or fee waivers. The student is responsible for informing the financial aid office of all other resources received by submitting the Action Request Form through the Student Forms portal.

Humboldt Scholarships

Cal Poly Humboldt has many scholarships that could assist you in paying for your education.  Amounts vary from $500 to $4000 annually, and some are renewable.  Humboldt awards approximately $600,000 in scholarships annually.

When selecting the "Full list of Scholarships" link below, please note, there are known accessibility barriers with the use if this product. Cal Poly Humboldt is actively committed to increasing the service usability of all the products we implement and improvement work is ongoing. If you need accommodations to search, view and/or apply through this portal, please contact the Financial Aid team.

Full list of Scholarships

For the 2024-2025 School Year: The online application opens on November 15th, 2023 and closes on March 4th, 2024. Apply for Scholarships by clicking the Quick Link on myHumboldt

Cal Poly Humboldt is a member of the California Collegiate Athletic Association, NCAA Division II Athletic Conference, offers athletic grants-in-aid to selected athletes. Contact the Humboldt Athletics Department for further information.

Humboldt First Scholarship

Begins Fall 2020.

$1000 per year to First-time freshmen, graduated from a high school in Humboldt, Del Norte, Mendocino or Trinity Counties. Up to four years total.

  • Must enroll in full time units at Cal Poly Humboldt.
  • Funds will be disbursed $500 each fall and spring terms.
  • Can pay any educational expenses. Will disburse into Student Account and pay any charges due. If no charges due, funds will be refunded to student.
  • Student must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Stackable with housing and other scholarships.

Private Scholarships

Free money is a great way to fund your education! There are a number of scholarships available and awarded every year for qualifying students. Some scholarships for college are merit-based. Other scholarships are based on financial need. Many scholarships are geared toward particular groups of people; for instance, there are scholarships for women or high school seniors. And some are available because of where you or your parent work, or because you come from a certain background (for instance, there are scholarships for military families).

A scholarship might cover the entire cost of your tuition, or it might be a one-time award of a few hundred dollars. Either way, it's worth applying for, because it'll help reduce the cost of your education. Try these free sources of information about scholarships:

  • a high school or TRIO counselor
  • find a FREE scholarship search engine by searching the internet (such as Federal Student Aid & CollegeBoard)
  • your library's reference section
  • foundations, religious or community organizations, local businesses, or civic groups (like Humboldt Area Foundation for local students)
  • organizations (including professional associations) related to your field of interest
  • ethnicity-based organizations
  • your employer or your parents' employers


Tips for your Scholarship Search: 

  • Scholarship deadlines vary so start your research early and pay attention to application due dates. Many scholarships require additional information such as personal essays, letters of recommendation and interviews. Be sure you fulfill all entry requirements to improve your chances of earning scholarship prizes.
  • Be prepared to take notes and/or make copies of scholarship announcements. Remember to list the name of the organization, contact address, deadline and specific requirements.
  • Study all information in the announcement carefully. If only female descendants of Confederate soldiers are considered for the award, it may not be worth applying. However, if there is some indication of eligibility, you should inquire further.
  • Libraries are another good source of financial aid opportunities. Information found in libraries generally reflects national and statewide organizations. The Cal Poly Humboldt library has a variety of books in the reference section including additional sources.
  • When reviewing links to scholarship databases, we DO recommend you read carefully and avoid sites that may charge a fee. There are many FREE searches available.
  • Keep your search broad. Don't limit yourself to scholarships for history majors, but look for awards related to career tracks. Inquire with current and past employers, parents' employers, unions, clubs and other organizations. Many have funds designated for educational endeavors.
  • Make sure that the time you invest is time well spent. Neatly print or type applications; complete them thoroughly, and submit them on time. Pay careful attention to grammar and spelling. Incomplete applications are generally discarded in favor of well‚–done and complete applications.
  • Take the time to represent yourself well. Don't just hope for an opportunity, work for one.

The student is responsible for informing the financial aid office of all scholarships received by submitting an Action Request form through the Student Forms portal.

Private (Alternative) Education Loans

Private loans may be an option, if additional funding is needed. The Humboldt Financial Aid Office certifies private loans using various lenders to help bridge the gap between the cost of attendance and the amount of Financial Aid awarded or when federal loans are no longer an option. These loans are available through various lending institutions and eligibility depends on many factors. A wide variety of loans are available, with many different costs, policies and procedures. We do not recommend alternative loans in most cases, unless absolutely necessary, as they do not have the beneficial aspects of the Direct Loan programs. For more information, check out the infographic for Comparing Federal and Private Student Loans.

The Financial Aid Office does not maintain a preferred lender list for these alternative loans, nor do we receive any incentives of any kind from these lenders. If you plan to pursue a private loan and do not have a lender in mind, see below for tips on selecting a lender. While our office places no restrictions on a borrower's choice of lender, we do want you to make a wise choice. Always, proceed with caution and be a savvy borrower by researching the best loan products, and knowing exactly what the short and long-term impact of borrowing will be.

Tips & things to consider when selecting a lender:

  • Alternative loans, along with other aid and educational resources, can never be more than your total cost of attendance.
  • If you plan to borrow alternative loans for successive academic years, it is wise to stay with the same lender for simpler repayment after graduation.
  • Financial Aid Advisors are available to discuss general information about alternative loans and options.
  • Comparison shop:  internet search  (i.e. sites with .org as part of address)
  • Select an established lender with a good track record
  • Ask about their loan servicing after disbursement and whether or not your loan may be sold
  • Ask about interest rates ‚– most private loan interest rates are variable and generally based on LIBOR or PRIME index plus a percentage
  • Ask about loan fees ‚– these can vary and may affect the total cost of the loan
  • Ask about how often the interest rate can change and if there is a "cap" on the rate.
  • Ask about prepayment penalties or fees.
  • Customer Service ‚– you want the representative you speak with to be knowledgeable and be able to access your information online.
  • Co-signer - Most private loans will require a co-signer. The stronger the credit rating of the co-signer, generally the lower the interest rate and fees are.
  • Repayment - Ask when repayment will begin, what kind of plans are available and any incentives.

Please keep in mind that the educational loan, along with other aid and educational resources, can never be more than your total cost of attendance. Once the student is approved by the lender, our office will provide you with an Alternative Loan Acknowledgment Statement. Please keep this statement for your record, it is to ensure that the student understands the terms and conditions of the loan for which they are applying.  Funds from the lender must be received by the school before we disburse funds.