Scholarships at The Cliff

By choosing Briar Cliff University as the place to continue your academic career, we know that you are making a significant investment in your education; an education that will help propel you faster and farther in your future profession. With the culture of generosity that lives within our alumni and donor community, we are proud to offer you a wide variety of scholarship opportunities to assist you in achieving your academic aspirations and shoulder the costs of the upcoming school year. 

Choosing to invest your time today has the potential to save your future self thousands.  While the qualifications and the amounts awarded vary based on each individual scholarship opportunity, we recommend that every traditional and transfer undergraduate student apply to improve your financial aid award package through scholarships.

Incoming students should apply for institutional aid.

Apply for Presidential and Bishop's Scholarships

Apply for Donor Scholarships. Use your BCU email to create a password and see what you qualify for!

Returning/Current Students

Apply for Donor Scholarships

Prospective/Incoming Students

Merit and Situational Scholarships

Look to better afford your experience. Explore the opportunities available to all undergraduates.

 Presidential Scholarships | Full Tuition 

The Presidential Scholarship is the highest honor and largest scholarship available at Briar Cliff University. Scholars awarded will receive compensation for the full cost of their Briar Cliff tuition for all four years (8 semesters). Each year, the scholarship is awarded to four incoming undergraduate students who have exemplified academic excellence, outstanding contributions to their community, and extraordinary leadership thus far in their education careers. We believe a demonstrated strong work ethic, along with a willingness to contribute and learn, is a positive indication of an individual’s ability to further develop leadership skills, while also contributing to our campus culture. Four additional “Gold” Scholarships are awarded following the interviews; each valued at $10,000 ($40,000/8 semesters) as well as four “Blue” Scholarships worth $5,000 ($20,000/8 semesters). All students who interview will receive a $1,000 scholarship as well.

Please read the requirements below to determine if you are eligible to apply for this unique opportunity

  • Minimum high school GPA of 3.75 
  • Applicants must provide two letters of recommendation that describe strengths, weaknesses and characteristics that would help us judge the applicant’s ability to succeed, be involved, and become a leader at Briar Cliff University.
  • A resume that displays a history of academic effort, leadership experience, and volunteerism in the community. 
  • A video submission in which applicants offer thoughtful responses to the essay questions provided in the scholarship application.
  • Applicants must maintain a 3.0 CGPA for scholarship to be renewable.
  • Applicants must apply by Monday, October 16th, 2023 to be considered for the interview process that will take place on Friday, October 27th, 2023. The spring deadline is Monday, January 15th, 2024 with interviews taking place on Friday, January 26th, 2024.

Each candidate must be a part of the in-person committee interview process in which our committee members finalize and select recipients for that given year. If you qualify to participate in the interview portion, the time and date will be communicated to you following your application. This scholarship will help future Chargers, who are promising leaders, continue to build on their successes and become ethical leaders in their future careers, communities, and the world.

 Board of Trustees Promise Scholarship | $29,500 

Future Chargers who plan to stay involved in extracurricular clubs and organizations at BCU, but are not a student athlete, should take advantage of Briar Cliff University Board of Trustees Promise Scholarship. 

The Board Promise Scholarship is awarded to:

  • high school seniors, with a minimum 3.0 GPA and 22 ACT,
  • who are non-athletes and will participate in student organizations on campus.
  • recipients must maintain a permanent address in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, or Minnesota. 

This $29,500 scholarship increases annually; freshman award of $5,000, sophomore award of $6,500, junior award of $8,000, and a senior award of $10,000, as long as the scholar maintains a minimum CGPA for 3.0. With this scholarship, extracurriculars and academics truly help you stand out. 

Bishop’s Scholarship | $29,500

Bishop’s Scholarships to Briar Cliff University are awarded to graduating high school seniors who belong to a Catholic parish in the Diocese of Sioux City. Students who attend either Catholic or public high school in the diocese are welcome to apply. Qualified applicants model leadership in their parish, school, and community. They also live an active faith life, have a strong work ethic, and demonstrate high academic performance. These are qualities that will shape individuals to become future leaders in their communities, living out the values of the Catholic Church.

This total $29,500 scholarship award increases annually with a freshman award of $5,000, a sophomore award of $6,500, a junior award of $8,000, and a senior award of $10,000.  Scholarship recipients must maintain a minimum college GPA of 3.0.  One of the scholarships is designated to a student majoring in education who plans to teach at a Catholic school within the Diocese of Sioux City.

Bishop Walker Nickless is pleased to support Briar Cliff University through these scholarships and looks forward to getting to know award recipients during their college years. 

To be eligible for the Bishop’s Scholarship, applicants must:

  1. Be a verified member of a parish in the Diocese of Sioux City
  2. Have a minimum 3.0 GPA on 16 credits of core coursework
  3. Answer application essay question(s)
  4. Provide a letter of reference from your pastor or a leader in your parish or Catholic school who has been instrumental in your faith formation
  5. Apply by February 5, 2024
  6. Meet with the review committee on February 12th for an interview 



 Academic Scholarship | Awards Vary

Academic scholarships are awarded based on academic performance in high school and/or ACT/SAT test scores. The amount will vary based on the qualifying thresholds met when applying to Briar Cliff. This scholarship is renewable each year, provided the scholar maintains a minimum CGPA of 2.0 Annual and Endowed Scholarships.

 Annual and Endowed Scholarships | Awards Vary

All annual and endowed scholarship opportunities are awarded to full-time, undergraduate students. Many of these scholarships are non-renewable, therefore it is recommended that all students complete the application each academic year.

 Multicultural Leadership Scholarships  | Awards Vary

The Multicultural Leadership Scholarship Program supports the recruitment, retention, academic success and career preparation of underrepresented, and first-generation undergraduate students. Briar Cliff is committed to maintaining a diverse campus community where all students have equitable opportunities to succeed in their academic and professional goals. These leadership scholarships are awarded to future and current Chargers on a yearly basis. 

 Legacy Scholarships | $2,000

As an additional incentive to families with a proven history of commitment to supporting our mission, Briar Cliff University started the Legacy Scholarship program. Legacy scholarships are awarded to future and current Chargers who have family members who are current Briar Cliff students or proud Briar Cliff alumni. This scholarship is renewable each year, provided the scholar maintains a minimum CGPA of 2.0.

 Transfer Scholarships | Awards up to $14,000

Briar Cliff University transfer scholarships are only available to first-time transfer students who are entering our student body with a minimum transfer CGPA of 2.0. The total scholarship amount awarded will be allotted throughout your time at Briar Cliff University,  provided a minimum CGPA of 2.0 is maintained.

 Phi Theta Kappa Scholarships | $4,000

Only transfer students who are a member of Phi Theta Kappa are eligible to receive a renewable Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship. The total scholarship amount awarded will be allotted throughout your time at Briar Cliff University,  provided a minimum CGPA of 2.0 is maintained.

 Franciscan Heritage Scholarships | Awards Vary
The Franciscan Heritage Scholarships are funded by an endowment started in 1982 by alumni and friends of the college in the name of a Sister of St. Francis. The Franciscan Heritage Scholarships are awarded only to current full-time students in good standing (minimum cumulative CGPA of 2.0) who have a financial need and are involved in activities that carry on the Franciscan tradition of service, or activities that help to make a difference in the lives of others. 
 Sisters of St. Francis Scholarships | Awards Vary
The Sisters of St. Francis Scholarships were established by the Sisters of St. Francis of Dubuque, Iowa, the founders and sponsors of Briar Cliff University.  This scholarship assists students who have experienced/are experiencing socioeconomic disadvantages in their lives and in their academic careers.  Some examples of circumstances of socio economic disadvantage are income falling under the poverty guidelines, a minority student, an international student, a single parent and much more. The Sisters of St. Francis Scholarships are awarded only to current full-time students in good standing (minimum cumulative CGPA of 2.0) who have experienced/are experiencing circumstances disadvantage, have a financial need, and are involved in activities that carry on the Franciscan tradition of service, or activities that help to make a difference in the lives of others. 
 Catholic Connection Scholarship | $2,000
Briar Cliff University is proud to be the only Catholic Franciscan higher education institution in the state of Iowa. The Catholic Connection Scholarship Program offers financial incentives to future Chargers who are members of a catholic parish in the Diocese of Sioux City, or attended or graduated from a Catholic High School. This scholarship is renewable (each year) provided the scholar maintains a minimum CGPA of 2.0.

Talent and Action-Based Opportunities

There are also some talent and action-based scholarships available. These opportunities will require you to take an additional step to audition or apply to earn this funding.

 Art and Music Scholarships | Awards Vary

All future and current Chargers can audition to receive Art and Music Scholarships. This scholarship is renewable each year provided the scholar maintains a minimum CGPA of 2.0. Inquire to discover more about how you can audition. 

Contact Us 

 Athletic Scholarships | Awards Vary

All future and current Chargers can be recruited to receive Athletic Scholarships. These scholarships are awarded based on athletic performance and the needs of the team. This scholarship is renewable each year provided the scholar maintains a minimum CGPA of 2.0.

Those who wish to be a prospective student athlete, will start the recruitment process by completing the prospective student athlete questionnaire.

Visit Incentive Scholarship | $2,000

All future Chargers (both high school and transfer students) can receive the Visit Incentive Grant by contacting our admissions team and participating in a Briar Cliff campus visit prior to enrolling their freshman year. The total scholarship amount awarded will be allotted throughout your time at Briar Cliff University, provided the scholar maintains a minimum CGPA of 2.0. 

Schedule a Visit

Social Work Scholarships

The Department of Social Work offers several scholarships to social work majors. The links below will provide the application form and information about submitting the application. Scholarship decisions are made each spring for the upcoming academic year.

Sister Sharon Sullivan Scholarship

This award is available to a woman who will be full-time sophomore or junior majoring in social work, theology, or education. The opportunity emphasizes peace, social justice, community or union organization. Download Application

Sylvia Kuennen Scholarship

This award is available to a full-time social work major who has an interest in social services and policy development that promote social work goals. Download Application

United Airlines (Flight 232) 

Scholarship After a tragic airline accident in Sioux City in 1989 the community responded to the emergency in a unified and helpful way. As a result, United Airlines established the United Airlines Scholarship for a full-time student whose permanent residence is within a 50 mile radius of the Sioux City metropolitan area. Recipients must be pursuing an education which will qualify them for a career in emergency rescue, nursing, medical care, counseling, social work, religious service, or law enforcement. Students demonstrating financial need will receive first consideration. However, lack of financial need shall not disqualify an applicant from receiving this scholarship. Download Application

Waitt Family Social Work Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to a full-time sophomore or junior social work major with financial need. Download Application

Other Opportunities

All undergraduate and graduate current and future Chargers can and should take advantage these other opportunities for financial assistance. 

 Outside or Private Scholarship Opportunities

All future and current Chargers are encouraged apply for any outside or private scholarship opportunities available that could be applied to Briar Cliff University expenses. For your convenience, we maintain a compiled a list of known publicly available scholarships. 

View List

 BCUnited Emergency Assistance Fund Scholarships | Up to $500

The BCUnited Emergency Fund is meant to be used as a last resort in helping students overcome unique, extraordinary, and unforeseen financial circumstances while attending Briar Cliff University. This grant opportunity is available to any full-time enrolled, degree-seeking undergraduate student at Briar Cliff University. Requests for BCUnited Emergency Assistance Funding must be used for school-related expenses, such as tuition, fees, course materials and program-specific supplies. BCUnited Emergency Assistance Funding cannot be used for regular household expenses such as rent/mortgage, cell phone, groceries, utilities, vehicle expenses or child care. To apply for emergency funds, each applicant must meet of the following criteria:

  • Demonstrate financial hardship.
  • Experience an emergency, accident, illness, or other unforeseen event.
  • All other resources, including loans through the Office of Financial Aid, have been considered and are insufficient or not available in a timely manner.
  • If you have an account balance at Briar Cliff University, before consideration to receive funding from the BCUnited Emergency Assistance fund, you must previously or currently have sought to address your student account balance.  
  • Applicants must complete all application questions in full and submit supporting documentation as the situation allows.

Funds disbursed through the BCUnited Emergency Fund may affect the students’ aid package. The BCUnited Emergency Fund is not a substitute for financial aid. Students who are seeking emergency funding will be required to utilize all offered financial aid resources before being awarded emergency aid. The Office of Financial Aid will work directly with emergency aid applicants to determine the effect of the award, if any, on the aid.

The applications will be reviewed by a committee. Emergency funding may create a taxable event that could require reporting to the IRS by the recipient. Each grant will total  $500 or less depending on the situation and payment is generally applied to the student’s account at Briar Cliff University.