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How to Win a Walmart Scholarship: Strategy Guide

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Feb 26, 2017 2:50:00 PM

Financial Aid





Walmart offers a couple of scholarship opportunities for its employees and employees' dependents. These scholarships are meant to cover college or vocational school expenses for those who have financial need.

I'll talk about eligibility requirements and the application process first; if you're already familiar with this information, you can skip to the second half of the post. This is where I'll give tips and strategies for increasing your chances of winning a Walmart scholarship. 


What Are the Walmart Scholarships? 

Walmart has two scholarship options; both are geared to assist Walmart employees and their families who might not otherwise be able to afford a college education. If you win either scholarship, you can renew the award throughout the length of your degree program without having to re-apply. If you happen to be eligible for both scholarships (for example, if you and your parent both work at Walmart), you'll unfortunately only be able to win one. 


Associate Walmart Scholarship

The Associate Scholarship is available to Walmart employees who have worked full-time or part-time with the company for at least 6 consecutive months before the application deadline. 

The scholarship can be renewed for up to 6 years, or until the end of the funded degree program (whichever comes first), with a maximum funding limit of $16,000 per degree program. 

Your level of funding depends on (1) your enrollment status, and (2) the type of school you're attending. Here's an outline of the funding levels per award period: 


American Public University

2-Year Institution (Community College/Certificate Program)

4-Year Institution/Graduate Institution

3-6 credit hours = $500

3-6 credit hours = $500

3-6 credit hours = $750

7-11 credit hours = $750

7-11 credit hours = $750

7-11 credit hours = $1,125

12+ credit hours = $1,000

12+ credit hours = $1,000

12+ credit hours = $1,500



Dependent Walmart Scholarship

The Dependent Scholarship is available to dependents of Walmart employees who have worked full-time or part-time with the company for at least 6 consecutive months before the application deadline. In other words, if you're a child or dependent of a Walmart employee, you're eligible for the Walmart scholarship even if you haven't worked there yourself. 

The scholarship is renewable, and can be used for up to 4 years of continuous, full-time enrollment, with a maximum funding limit of $13,000 per degree program. Awards are disbursed, or given out, $1,625 at a time. 


How Do You Know If You're Eligible? 

Unfortunately, neither the Associate nor the Dependent Scholarship is open to the public. In order to be eligible, you have to be a Walmart employee or the dependent of a Walmart employee. 

The Associate and Dependent scholarships have slightly different eligibility requirements, which I've outlined below. 


Associate Scholarship Eligibility Requirements

In order to be considered for the Associate Scholarship, you must meet all of the following criteria: 

  • Must be either a US citizen or permanent legal resident of the US
  • Must be employed with Walmart at least 6 consecutive months before the application deadline
  • Must have a high school diploma or GED, or be a graduating high school senior who is planning to enroll in college after graduation
  • If you're applying for the scholarship as a high school senior, you must wait to apply until you're within 6 months of starting college classes 
  • Must be able to demonstrate financial need (I'll discuss how you do this in the section on applying for the scholarship)


Dependent Scholarship Eligibility Requirements

In order to be considered for the Dependent Scholarship, you must meet all of the following criteria: 

  • Must be either a US citizen or a permanent legal resident of the US
  • Must be the dependent of a Walmart employee who's actively worked with the company for at least 6 consecutive months before the appropriate application deadline. Dependents of Board of Directors or officers are not eligible to apply. 
  • Must be high school or homeschooled graduating senior, or earning a GED
  • Must be able to demonstrate financial need (I'll discuss how you do this in the section on applying for the scholarship)
  • Must have a high school GPA of at least 2.0
  • Must enroll for the fall semester as a full-time freshman/1st year student at an accredited two- or four-year college or university; does not include military academies.
  • To renew your funds, you must be enrolled full-time, with a minimum 2.0 GPA, and attending a 4-year college by your 3rd year



You don't need a perfect report card to apply for this scholarship (not that it would hurt!)


What Information Do I Need to Apply? 

You'll need to gather some materials and information, especially around your family's financial situation, in order to complete your scholarship applications. I'll list everything you need to have before you start for each scholarship. 


Associate Scholarship Materials

To apply for the Associate Scholarship, you'll need:

Financial Information

  • If a family member has claimed you as a dependent, you'll need an electronic copy of your most recent family income tax return. If you claimed yourself, you'll need a copy of your most recent tax return. 
  • Your family adjusted gross income
  • Your Expected Family Contribution, or EFC. You can estimate your EFC using the FAFSA4caster; get clear instructions on using the FAFSA4caster here. To get an official EFC, you'll have to submit a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Use this guide to get step-by-step instructions on submitting a FAFSA. 

Other Information

  • A comprehensive list of volunteer or service activities you've participated in within the last 4 years
  • Name and contact information for your high school
  • Name of the college or vocational school you're planning on attending
  • Your Walmart facility # - ask your manager if you don't have this information


Dependent Scholarship Materials

To apply for the Dependent Scholarship, you'll need: 

Financial Information

  • Current US federal income tax return from the individual who's claimed you as a dependent
  • Current federal Student Aid Report (SAR). A SAR is generated when you submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. If you submit your FAFSA online, it'll take about 3 days to receive your SAR. Get step-by-step instructions on submitting a FAFSA here.

Other Information

  • High school transcript showing your grades and GPA through your first semester of senior year. This does not need to be an official transcript. 


How Do You Submit an Application?

You can submit an application for both the Associate and Dependent scholarships online here. Register online and take the appropriate Scholarship Eligibility Quiz to gain access to the application. If you fail to meet eligibility requirements, you won't be able to submit an application. When your application is submitted, you'll receive an email verification. 

The Associate Scholarship application has several application windows throughout the year. Here are the upcoming application periods:

Application Launch Date Application Due Date Scholarship Award Notification Date
May 1, 2017 June 1, 2017 July 15, 2017
August 1, 2017 September 1, 2017 October 15, 2017
November 1, 2017 December 1, 2017 January 15, 2018
February 1, 2018 March 1, 2018 April 15, 2018


The Dependent Scholarship application window for 2017 is January 5, 2017 - April 1, 2017. The application window for 2018 will likely be January-April of 2018. 


When Do You Find Out Whether You've Been Selected? 

Notification for Associate Scholarship depends on the application deadline (see chart above). Typically, applicants are notified 6 weeks after the deadline. 

Dependent Scholarship applicants were notified in May for this past application cycle; the notification date for the next cycle will likely be in May 2017. 


How Can You Use Walmart Scholarship Money? 

If you're offered either scholarship, you'll need to submit a Scholarship Acceptance Agreement online before any funds are disbursed. Scholarship checks will then be mailed directly to your school. The scholarship money can be applied to charges for tuition, fees, books, and on-campus room and board. 

Associate and Dependent Scholarship funds must be used at an accredited school (check out a full list of schools here). Unfortunately, you can't use Walmart scholarship funds at a military academy. 


Strategies: How to Increase Your Chances of Winning a Walmart Scholarship



Use these strategies to submit your very best scholarship application!


There's a lot of overlap between the Associate and Dependent Scholarships, so first I'll give advice that applies to both programs. Where there are differences between the scholarships, I'll give specialized advice. 

All scholarship applications are evaluated by an independent, impartial selection committee. Everyone with a complete application who meets all eligibility requirements will be considered. Financial need is considered as a primary criterion for both scholarships; there's not much you can do to change your family's financial situation, but you'll have a chance to explain financial hardships or difficulties in the application. 


General tips and strategies:

  • Make sure you meet all eligibility requirements before beginning the application process. If you don't meet the requirements and answer the Eligibility Quiz honestly, you won't even have access to the application. 
  • The applications ask about your employment history with Walmart. If you or the person who's claimed you as a dependent is in good standing, you'll likely have better chances of receiving the scholarship. 
  • The applications ask about your parents' levels of education. First-generation college students may be more likely to receive the scholarship. 
  • The applications give you the opportunity to discuss "special circumstances." This is a chance to set yourself apart from other eligible applicants. 
    • Touch briefly on any financial hardships without sounding too self-defeating. Be matter-of-fact, and explain how a Walmart scholarship could help you achieve your academic and professional goals in light of your financial limitations.
    • One Walmart scholarship winner noted that he was grateful for the assistance in funding his education because it will improve his family's future. Will winning this scholarship affect anyone besides you in a positive way? If so, discuss that in your application. 
    • Discuss any extraordinary hardships or events that have challenged you. An evaluation committee will be impressed with any individual who has overcome significant obstacles to further pursue their educational and career goals.


Associate Scholarship Applications

This scholarship is very competitive - only about 10% of eligible applicants receive the award. As such, it's important to dedicate significant time and energy to your application. In addition to financial need, an important criterion considered by the evaluation committee is the applicant's level of community involvement

Tips and strategies:

  • The application gives you the option of discussing up to three volunteer experiences that you’ve participated in within the last 4 years. Examples given include hospital volunteering, drug/teen/homework helplines, and outreach programs. Based on these examples, it seems that this program is looking for applicants who have worked with disadvantaged or marginalized populations. 
  • Talk about your passion for helping others. Do not repeat information about your volunteer activities, but discuss your future educational plans and how they will help you to help others.
  • Emphasize any similar volunteer activities that you've participated in. If you're currently looking for volunteer opportunities and may apply for this scholarship in the future, seek out a volunteer position where you can demonstrate community involvement. For example, volunteer at a nursing home, refugee center, or low-income school. 

As you can tell, Walmart likely wants to maximize its impact on the community, which means if it funds students who have also contributed to the community, Walmart's impact is magnified. Your goal is to show Walmart that you'll be able to use its help and improve the community as a Walmart representative. 


Dependent Scholarship Applications

This scholarship is fairly competitive, with only about 25% of eligible applicants receiving the award. In addition to financial need, an important criterion considered by the evaluation committee is your past academic performance

Tips and strategies: 

  • If you're a younger high school student, one of the best things you can do to increase your changes of winning the scholarship is keeping your grades up. A 2.0 GPA is the minimum to apply, but the selection committee will undoubtedly be more impressed with a high-achieving student
  • Talk about your academic passions and interests. Explain how this scholarship will assist you in achieving concrete career or educational goals based on your academic interests. 
  • If you meet the minimum GPA requirement but have rough patches in your academic record, use your application to explain why. Be matter-of-fact, but don't make excuses. Discuss any hardships that may have affected your academic performance (e.g. maybe you took on a job to help support your family, you missed school due to illness/injury, or other personal circumstances affected your grades). 

Walmart has millions of employees, and to maximize the impact of its scholarship funds, it wants to find the dependents of those employees who are most likely to get the most out of their education. A good predictor of this is the student's academic performance - show Walmart that you'll utilize its scholarship funds well to empower your own future.


What's Next? 

There are a lot of scholarship opportunities out there, even if you're not a Walmart associate or dependent. The National Merit Scholarship is one great option; you can also get guaranteed scholarships if your standardized test scores are high enough! 

If you want to explore all your financial aid options - not just scholarships - learn more about the Pell Grant and Federal Direct Loans


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Francesca Fulciniti
About the Author

Francesca graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and scored in the 99th percentile on the SATs. She's worked with many students on SAT prep and college counseling, and loves helping students capitalize on their strengths.

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