The Earnest Scholarship

Your essay can win you cash for school

The Earnest Scholarship awards five $5,000 merit-based scholarships—read below for details.

Why the Earnest Scholarship Exists

At Earnest, we believe the fundamental role of lenders is to help people realize their hopes and dreams. This is why we have built best in class student loan refinance, private student loan, and personal loan products.

And since our founding in 2013, we’ve combined better data, design, and service to bring people a fast, affordable, and personalized financial experience. We know how confusing and expensive education financing can be, so we’ve created a scholarship to award five college students who best articulate how their college education will enable their dreams. 

Scholarship Amount

$5,000 each to 5 winning applicants


  • All applicants must be enrolled, or due to be enrolled, as a full-time student at an accredited U.S. college or university for the semester that they are applying to receive the scholarship. 
  • Applicants are not required to have a minimum GPA. 
  • Applicants are not required to have a specific Major.
  • Domestic, international, and undocumented students may apply.
  • Students attending online universities are welcome to apply.

Required Application Details 

  • An 800 to 1,000-word essay answering one of the following questions:
    • How will your college education help you achieve your goals?
    • How has your education contributed to who you are today?
  • Proof of enrollment or an acceptance letter to an accredited learning institution. We will accept a recent transcript, acceptance letter, or tuition bill. Please note: if you are in the process of applying for colleges and universities, please indicate your current school and submit a document with the schools you have currently applied to. If you are selected for the scholarship, we will ask you to provide proof of enrollment for your college or university at that time.
  • Completion of the Earnest Scholarship form below.

How to Apply 

2019 scholarship now closed. Please stay tuned for 2020 scholarship application details.

Application Deadline

All applications must be submitted by December 31, 2019. 

Winner Announcement

Winners will be selected and notified via email by January 15, 2020. 

Additional Scholarship Details 

  • The winning candidates will be selected by a panel of judges not affiliated with Earnest.
  • The scholarship is available on a yearly basis and is non-renewable. 
  • Questions about The Earnest Scholarship can be directed to [email protected].
  • The scholarship funds provided by Earnest will be sent via check to the college or university.
  • Funds are to be applied to pay for qualified college expenses (tuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance, or fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for courses) for the current academic year.

Privacy Policy 

By submitting an application, we are granted permission to send applicants information regarding their application only, via their submitted email address. The winner will be asked if they will grant Earnest permission to post their name, school, photo (if submitted), and their essay on or in other communications relating only to the scholarship program.

Student Protections

  • The Earnest Scholarship is open to the general public, subject to the eligibility requirements described above.
  • Being an Earnest customer is not required and will not affect your chances.
  • Aside from the school eligibility requirement above, attending a specific school will not affect your chances.
  • Essays will be judged on a blind basis.
  • No applicants will be contacted regarding anything other than their application.
  • Information pertaining to pending applications can be destroyed at the applicant’s request, except for records that we are required by law to maintain.
  • Information (proof of enrollment, essays, and email) relating to non-winning applicants will be destroyed after a winner is paid, except for records that we are required by law to maintain.
  • Applicants’ contact information will not be used for any marketing purposes or sold to third parties. 
  • Applicants will not be asked to provide any sensitive information for their application or to claim their award if they are to win the scholarship.
  • There is no fee to apply for this scholarship or for the winning applicants to claim their award.
  • Except for any permission you explicitly grant to us, applicants retain all intellectual property rights to their essay.

Terms & Conditions

All submitted essays must be original work of the applicant. Only one submission may be entered per student. Duplicate entries will be disqualified. All scholarships are non-renewable. By submitting an application to The Earnest Scholarship, you certify that all the information you have provided is original, accurate, and complete.

Scholarship Resources

The Federal Student Aid website has important information that may help you on your scholarship journey. 

If you are unsure if your school is accredited, you can use the U.S. Department of Education’s search tool to see if your school appears on their list.