Scholarships can make a college education substantially less expensive, since they do not need to be paid back. There are hundreds of scholarships specifically for women interested in starting or continuing higher education, including scholarships for women in STEM, scholarships for moms and more. Here’s where to begin your search.
How to find scholarships for women
When it comes to 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 be a resource for scholarship information as well.
5 best scholarships for women in 2022
When you start your scholarship search, it’s usually easiest to use a scholarship search engine. From there, you can narrow down scholarships based on your circumstances and interests. However, the scholarships for women profiled below are a good place to begin.
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 make the world a better place — although the application specifies that students studying STEM may get a leg up.
Deadline: Oct. 31, 2022
Apply here: https://bold.org/scholarships/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, which was 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 impacted them in a positive way.
Deadline: April 12, 2023
Apply here: https://bold.org/scholarships/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 who are 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 a number of criteria, including academic excellence, financial need and a commitment to “education and equity” for women and girls.
Deadline: Dec. 1, 2022
Apply here: https://www.aauw.org/resources/programs/fellowships-grants/current-opportunities/selected-professions-fellowships/
4. Jeannette Rankin National Scholar Grant
The Jeannette Rankin National Scholar Grant awards low-income women age 35 and older who are 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 will need to write an essay and submit a recommendation letter from a reference.
Deadline: Applications open in November 2022
Apply here: https://rankinfoundation.org/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 who are pursuing higher education to become independent and stable without relying on a partner. Applicants will need to demonstrate strong financial need and be currently 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: $500 to $2,000 per semester or quarter
Deadline: Application opens on Sept. 1, 2022
Apply here: https://wispinc.org/
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
Federal student aid is a common way to fund a degree. You apply through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year, and interest rates are the same for all students each school year. 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 a great way to fund what doesn’t get covered through federal loans. You’ll apply for private student loans through banks, credit unions and online lenders, all of which set their own eligibility criteria and interest rates. Interest rates are based on your credit score and can be either fixed or variable. Private student loans don’t come with the same protections as federal loans, but many lenders offer deferment or forbearance options for borrowers who qualify.
Most colleges and universities offer work-study programs for eligible students as a way to help them pay for their education. The jobs are often on campus and part time, and they’re typically more accommodating of class schedules than off-campus jobs. Since work-study is a form of federal aid, students need to submit a FAFSA form in order to apply.
There are a plethora of ways to make college more affordable. For example, living off-campus and commuting can reduce your cost 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, so you may want to start out your schooling there before transferring to a four-year university.