This article investigates to what extent scholarships are unequally distributed among students in Germany and how these inequalities can be explained. Following sociological theory, the article argues that elites seek qualitative ways of distinguishing themselves in a mass higher education system. Using student surveys, we demonstrate that class effects cannot merely be explained with reference to class differences in academic achievement but that higher classes have better access to scholarships independent of earlier school performance. Class differences were particularly persistent when the intermediate classes were compared with higher classes with more education. These findings illustrate that social classes have different strategies when it comes to participating in higher education and suggest that information about and access to scholarships is important in gaining a class advantage.