Scholarships are a type of financial aid that don’t have to be repaid, which makes them a great first step when searching for college funding. One big appeal of scholarships is that they’re often geared toward specific needs, skills and backgrounds. There are hundreds of scholarships for Black women available, including scholarships for Black women interested in science, health care, computer engineering and more. If you’re looking for ways to cover the costs of a college education, here’s where to start.
9 best scholarships for Black women
Scholarships for Black women are available through a variety of national and local organizations. A scholarship search engine is the best place to find all of the scholarships you may qualify for, but these scholarships are a good place to begin.
1. Target Scholars Program
Target has partnered with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to provide need-based scholarships to first-year Black students. Students who receive the award will also have access to a College Success Coach, as well as mentoring, internships and networking opportunities. In order to qualify, students must be enrolled at a qualifying historically Black college or university (HBCU) and be pursuing a career in technology, leadership or design.
Deadline: June 16, 2021
2. The Agnes Jones Jackson Scholarship
The NAACP offers the Agnes Jones Jackson Scholarship to current members of the NAACP under the age of 25. Undergraduate students must be attending an accredited, eligible college or university full time with a minimum GPA of 2.5. Graduate students can be part time, though they need a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students also must also demonstrate financial need to be eligible.
Amount: Up to $2,000
Deadline: Applications open in June 2021
3. Judith McManus Price Scholarship
Offered by the American Planning Association, the Judith McManus Price Scholarship is available to women and students in minority groups who display financial need and hope to pursue careers in planning. Students must be enrolled in an approved Planning Accreditation Board-approved program to qualify. Applicants must submit a two-page personal statement describing their interest in planning and how their education relates to their career goals.
Deadline: June 14, 2021
4. Sara Jackson Graduate Student Award
The Western History Association offers the Sara Jackson Graduate Student Award to graduate students conducting research on the North American West, with a preference toward African American students or students in other minority groups. To apply, applicants must submit a letter of application, a resume, a description of their research project and a letter of support from their faculty advisor.
Deadline: June 15, 2021
5. Ricoh Scholarship Program
Full-time college sophomores and juniors during the 2021-22 school year can apply for the Ricoh Scholarship Program, which provides funding to minority students at historically Black colleges and universities. Eligible students must have an academic focus in computer science, computer engineering, mechanical engineering, marketing, finance, accounting, information technology or business operations and be earning a minimum GPA of 2.5. Preference is given to women for at least two of the five awards.
Amount: Up to $2,500
Deadline: June 21, 2021
6. United Health Foundation Diverse Scholars Initiative
The United Health Foundation partners with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to offer scholarships for college sophomores, juniors and seniors pursuing a career in the primary care industry. While the application is open to all, preference is given to students attending UNCF member institutions.
Deadline: July 15, 2021
7. Geoscience Idea Scholarship
Black women studying geoscience or earth science may qualify for up to $5,000 through the Geoscience Idea Scholarship. This award, offered by the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG), seeks to enhance diversity within the geosciences and matches scholarship recipients with AWG mentors. Scholarship recipients may reapply for subsequent years of funding, and even applicants who are not selected may qualify for a one-year sponsored AWG student membership or placement with an AWG mentor.
Amount: Up to $5,000
Deadline: June 30, 2021
8. The ESPN scholarship
Awarded by ESPN and the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF), this scholarship aims to help pave the way for Black women in the sports media industry. Past scholarships have given two $3,750 awards, one to an undergraduate and one to a graduate student pursuing a degree in sports media.
Deadline: Applications open in the fall
9. The Gates Scholarship
The Gates Scholarship awards outstanding African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian and Pacific Islander American and Hispanic students. In order to be considered, students must be eligible for Pell Grants, which are awarded based on financial need. The “ideal candidate” demonstrates outstanding academic performance, leadership ability and exceptional personal success skills.
Amount: Full cost of attendance, minus scholarships and expected family contribution as determined by the FAFSA
Deadline: Applications typically open in July
Where to find scholarships for Black women
Some of the best spots to find scholarships for Black women are scholarship search engines. These services compile thousands of available scholarships and organize them by deadline, award amount and more. You can also filter for more specific criteria to find the scholarships that you’re uniquely suited for. Some of the best scholarship search engines include:
How to get scholarships for college
The more scholarships you apply for, the more likely you are get aid. Here are a few tips to help you increase your chances of winning scholarships:
- Meet deadlines: Most organizations won’t accept late applications. If you’re mailing in an application, take note of whether your application must be received or postmarked by the deadline.
- Submit the FAFSA: Some organizations require you to submit the FAFSA form prior to applying, particularly if you’re applying for a need-based scholarship.
- Contact your college’s financial aid office: HBCUs and minority-serving institutions (MSIs) offer scholarships and programs specifically for Black women that other universities don’t offer.
- Find your niche: To narrow the field, look for scholarships or fellowships related to your interests, major or discipline. Because there will be fewer applicants the more specific you get, you have a better chance of earning the award.
- Keep a spreadsheet: If you’re applying for multiple scholarships, stay organized with a spreadsheet or calendar where you can mark deadlines, scholarship amounts and application status to ensure that you stay on track.
How and when you’ll receive your money depends on the scholarship. Some scholarships will be directly applied to your total cost of attendance (tuition, fees, housing, etc.), and some send the award money in the mail. When you accept the scholarship, the organization or school will provide you with the details.