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Scholarships can help make a college education more affordable since they don’t need to be paid back. Every year, billions of dollars in scholarships are made available to potential students. The U.S. Department of Education awards an estimated $64 billion in scholarship money annually, and private sources award over $7.4 billion annually. But despite the funds available, it is still easy to get overwhelmed by the hundreds of scholarship choices.
To find the best scholarships, focus on searching for those that fit your particular situation, interests and qualifications. There are many scholarships for women, and researching your options allows you to cast a wide net over potential opportunities.
8 of the best scholarships for women in 2023
When you start your scholarship search, it’s usually easiest to use a scholarship search engine. You can narrow down scholarships based on your circumstances and interests. The scholarships for women profiled below are a good place to begin. Use this list to start finding the best scholarships for women you can apply to.
1. Elevate Women in Technology Scholarship
The Elevate Women in Technology Scholarship seeks to empower women in STEM fields. Applicants may be pursuing any field of study as long as they intend to enter a career that uses technology to improve the world — although the application specifies that students studying STEM may get a leg up.
- Amount: $500.
- Deadline: November 30, 2023.
- Apply for the Elevate Women in Technology Scholarship.
2. Desiree Jeana Wapples Scholarship for Young Women
Female students in Virginia are eligible to apply for the Desiree Jeana Wapples Scholarship for Young Women, designed to ease the pressure when transitioning from high school to college. Applicants must have a GPA of at least 3.0 and write a short statement about how they hope to benefit the world with their career and who has positively impacted them.
- Amount: $500.
- Deadline: Deadline for 2024 hasn’t been announced yet.
- Apply for the Desiree Jeana Wapples Scholarship for Young Women.
3. AAUW Selected Professions Fellowships
The American Association of University Women offers several fellowship and grant opportunities. Its Selected Professions Fellowships specifically cater to women pursuing a master’s program in architecture, computer science, engineering and mathematics. Fellowships for an MBA, law degree or doctorate in medicine are also available to women of color. Candidates will be selected based on several criteria, including academic excellence, financial need and a commitment to “education and equity” for women and girls.
- Amount: $20,000.
- Deadline: Dec. 1 every year (applications open Aug 1).
- Apply for the AAUW Selected Professions Fellowships.
4. Jeannette Rankin National Scholar Grant
The Jeannette Rankin National Scholar Grant awards low-income women age 35 and older pursuing degrees or trade skills at an accredited college or university in the U.S. These awards are renewable for up to five years, and the money goes to the recipient, not the school. Applicants must write an essay and submit a recommendation letter from a reference.
- Amount: Varies.
- Deadline: The deadline for 2024 will be released in late 2023. Check the website for details.
- Apply for the Jeannette Rankin National Scholar Grant.
5. Women’s Independence Scholarship Program
The Women’s Independence Scholarship Program is intended for women who are survivors of intimate partner abuse and who are pursuing higher education to become independent and stable without relying on a partner.
Applicants must demonstrate strong financial need and be separated from their partner for at least a year, and a nonprofit agency must serve as a sponsor.
Preference is given to single mothers with young children, students seeking their first undergraduate degree and students in vocational or technical programs.
- Amount: Awards range from $1,000 to $6,000 per academic year.
- Deadline: Application opens on Sept. 1, 2023.
- Apply for the Women’s Independence Scholarship Program.
6. Joanne Pransky Celebration of Women in Robotics
Artificial intelligence (AI) is accelerating rapidly, so it only makes sense to consider the study of robotics in college. The Joanne Pranksy Celebration of Women in Robotics scholarship honors the late Pransky, who advocated for women in robotics. This scholarship provides $1,000 to three winners.
You can apply for this scholarship if you are a high school or two- or four-year undergraduate interested in studying or working in robotics. The only entry requirement is writing a short science fiction story about the challenges or opportunities of using robotics.
- Amount: 3 winners, $1,000 each.
- Deadline: Feb. 29, 2024.
- Apply for the Joanne Pransky Celebration of Women in Robotics.
7. focusIT’s Women in IT Scholarship
If you are an Arizona undergraduate or trade school student interested in technology, this $5,000 scholarship can be a big financial help to education. This scholarship was created to celebrate International Girls in ICT Day by focusIT, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, to encourage more women to enter STEM.
The application isn’t complicated; as long as you meet the applicant criteria mentioned above, all you must do is write about what having a career in STEM would mean to you and how the scholarship would help you in your journey.
- Amount: $5,000.
- Deadline: Nov. 15, 2023.
- Apply for the focusIT’s Women in IT Scholarship.
8. Trial LawHER Scholarship for Female Law Students
Milestone’s Trial LawHER Scholarship goes to a third-year law student who wants to be a trial lawyer after passing the bar. The scholarship is a one-time award of $10,000.00 to help to finance a student’s final year of law school.
Besides being a student at an accredited law school, in good academic standing, and pursuing a career in plaintiff trial law, applicants must also be female U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
To apply, students must make a five-minute video (shot in closing argument style) and present a well-researched argument exploring what effect the profession of settlement planning has on our civil justice system and its stakeholders.
- Amount: $10,000.
- Deadline: August 31, 2024.
- Apply for the Trial LawHER Scholarship for Female Law Students.
How to find scholarships for women
When finding scholarships for women, it’s important to utilize every resource available. This includes:
- Contacting your school’s financial aid office.
- Reaching out to local organizations.
- Using a scholarship finder.
If you’re a high school student, your school counselor can also be a resource for scholarship information.
How to pay for college without scholarships
If you’ve exhausted all of your scholarship options and are still overwhelmed by the cost of school, there are other ways to pay for a college education:
- Federal student loans: You apply through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Most federal loans don’t require a credit check, and they come with benefits like income-driven repayment plans and opportunities for loan forgiveness.
- Private student loans: Private student loans are available through banks, credit unions and online lenders. Interest rates are based on your credit score and can be fixed or variable.
- Work-study: Most colleges and universities offer work-study programs. The jobs are often on-campus and part-time opportunities, and they’re typically more accommodating of class schedules than off-campus jobs. Since work-study is a form of federal aid, students must submit a FAFSA form to apply.
- Cost adjustments: Consider finding ways to reduce your costs. Living off-campus and commuting can reduce your cost of living by thousands of dollars. In-state community colleges and online programs also tend to have considerably lower tuition costs than public and private four-year universities.
The bottom line
This list is just a small selection of the best scholarships for women. To look for more scholarships, check scholarship search engines, your financial aid office or high school guidance counselor.