College Scholarships for Twins and Multiples

Female identical twins sharing a laptop.
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Education is expensive. And having twins is expensive! While parents of singletons can space their education expenses out over several years, parents of twins and multiples have to pay those costs simultaneously. There are a few opportunities for assistance in the form of scholarships specifically for multiple birth children.

College Scholarships 101

We will look at college scholarships specifically for twins, but before doing so it's helpful to talk about a few pointers in researching scholarships.

Look for a Good Fit

There are many scholarships "out there" and the best way to budget your time is to apply for only those for which your child has a particular fit.

This is the case for twins and multiples, but in addition to being a twin, there are other ways in which your children are unique. There are scholarships that range from those for horse lovers to those with disabilities to those who are left-handed.

Ask yourself:

  • What are their special interests?
  • What are their favorite hobbies?
  • What else stands out as unique?

Taking the time to list out some of your child's unique characteristics may not only be a wonderful family bonding activity, but a way to look for the best scholarships.

Consider the Competition

You can actually search for scholarships to see what kind of competition you face on a few sites. Will there be 80,000 children applying for the same scholarship, or three? Even if you search one or more of the "scholarship sites" out there, do some research on your own.

You may find a perfect low-competition scholarship on page 10 of a google search.

Don't Put All of Your Balls in One Basket

Apply for many scholarships, both those your child is likely to receive and those that have stiff competition. View applying for scholarships as you would fishing; it sometimes makes little sense what you will "catch" when you fill out the applications.

Figure Out Your Finances

Many scholarships are considered "need-based" and require your child to demonstrate financial need. Taking the time to talk with an accountant well-versed in financial aid, preferably long before your children enter the college years, can be well worth your money. Some investments count against you on FAFSA whereas others, such as your home, do not. 

Keep in mind that your "expected family contribution" will be halved if you have twins heading off to college at the same time. This increased "need" might make your children eligible for need-based scholarships that would otherwise not be an option.

If your child is unlikely to qualify for financial aid, look for those scholarships which are not based on financial need.

Don't Forget Internships

There are a number of paid internships that not only help with college costs but can give your child priceless experiences to boot.

Scholarships for Multiples Who Attend the Same College

Generally, the available scholarship funding is offered when twins attend the same college. Some colleges offer these scholarships for all twins who meet the criteria, whereas others offer only a few scholarships, for example, a scholarship for one set of twins and one set of other multiples each year.

Since scholarships can vary over time or even be discontinued, make sure to contact the colleges to make sure they still offer the scholarship or discount.

Here are some colleges and universities with specific programs.

  • Sterling College, Sterling KS. Sterling College has had a Twin Scholarship program for over two decades. Each twin (or multiple) receives a 50 percent tuition scholarship. Both twins (or multiples) must be enrolled full time at Sterling College and must meet admissions requirements of a 2.2 GPA and a score of 18 or above on the ACT.
  • Wilson College, Chambersburg, PA. Wilson College is a coeducational liberal arts institution that offers an annual scholarship for twins and triplets. It will pay 45% of each student's annual tuition or one set of twins and one set of multiples each year.
  • Carl Albert State College, Poteau, OK. The Paula Nieto Twin Scholarship was established by her twin, Penny Nieto Gooch, and family friends. This modest cash scholarship is awarded to twins. 
  • Lake Erie College, Painesville, OH. This full-tuition scholarship (up to 18 credit hours per semester) is awarded 50/50 if both are enrolled full-time at Lake Erie College. In essence, both twins can attend LEC for the tuition cost of only one.
  • Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, Miami, OK. The Twin/Triplet Dorm Waiver covers the amount of semi-private room expenses for each twin or triplet who attend NEO together. It is available for both fall and spring semesters. An application form is available online.
  • Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. The Layton Frazier McKinley Scholarship is given preferentially to twins, especially identical twins. Twin students must have a 3.33-grade point average or higher with the first choice of accounting as their major at the school. The amount is unconfirmed.

Multiple Sibling Discounts

Even if a college or university does not have a specific scholarship fund or award designated for twins, they may have a sibling discount program. These programs offer a discount when siblings from the same family are enrolled simultaneously.

Amounts vary and could be a set discount (for example, $500 per semester) or a percentage of tuition (such as 10 to 50 percent off the cost of tuition)

If your twins or multiples plan on attending the same college or university, it doesn't hurt to call and ask if the college will provide a discount for your multiples.

As noted above, these awards can change over time, or even be discontinued, so make sure to contact the college or university regarding their current sibling discount program.

  • Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT. Full-time, undergraduate siblings concurrently in attendance at Quinnipiac are eligible to receive an additional $2,500 award, per year, in addition to their regular financial aid award. This award is applicable toward tuition only and is renewable each year in which undergraduate eligible siblings are concurrently in attendance.
  • California Baptist University, Riverside, CA. The Multiple Sibling Discount is designed to assist students from families with two or more members who are simultaneously attending the traditional undergraduate program at the university on a full-time basis. Recipients must be immediate members of the same family (siblings or parents) in which two or more family members are currently enrolled at California Baptist University on a full-time basis. Recipients receive $2000 per year.

Additional Scholarship Opportunities for Twins and Multiples

Twins that aren't planning to attend the same college may qualify for scholarships through a twins club or organization. Many mothers of twins clubs support a scholarship fund that awards annual gifts. Often the awards are given to families that are members, another benefit of joining a club. Contact your local organization for information, or go to National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs for information about a club in your area.

The annual Twins Day Festival in Twinsburg, OH, awards a $1,000 scholarship to a pair of twins to help with college expenses. The winning pair of twins must be seniors in high school and have attended and registered at least three of the last five festivals.

Northwest Association Mother of Twins Clubs awards several scholarships per year to those candidates who qualify as multiple births and are looking to further their education. Once known as the Twin Scholarship Fund, it is now called the Shan Pynes Scholarship.

Bottom Line on Facing College With Twins and Other Multiples

Post-secondary education at a college or university is a major expense, though one which significantly improves your children's earning power down the road.

Some colleges offer scholarships when more than one twin attends the college, but this should not be the biggest factor in choosing a college.

Some twins love sharing the college experience whereas others prefer the opportunity to venture off alone for their post-secondary education.

While scholarships for multiples offer one way of reducing costs, the plethora of scholarships available means there are probably several other niche scholarships which could fit your children's interests equally as well.

Our best advice is to make the scholarship application fun. View it as fishing, or an adventure. If your child applies for enough scholarships, the unexpected "wins" will almost always outweigh the "misses."

By Pamela Prindle Fierro
 Pamela Prindle Fierro is the author of several parenting books and the mother of twin girls.