Historically, Black students graduate at a lower rate than students in other groups. While Black students make up 14% of the 18-24 population enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs, these students only account for 9% of bachelor’s degrees that are ultimately obtained (Maryville University). According to Maryville University, 44.6% of Black students drop out before graduating college (Maryville). Additionally, 4 in 5 Black graduates from public universities borrow money, compared to less than ⅔ of white graduates (Debt Divide).
One of the biggest reasons for these striking differentials is because Black students, along with students of other minority groups, may lack the financial support that is necessary to make their way to the college finish line. Even if they do have the financial support to enroll, many of these students struggle to make it through all four years without graduating in a substantial amount of debt.
This is where the scholarships come in!
Luckily, there are many organizations that award scholarships to help students of color (especially women) fund various aspects of their education, ranging from tuition to textbook expenses to other miscellaneous fees. The goal of scholarships is to give students like you the opportunity to earn money to put toward your education so you can stress less, learn more, and enjoy the college experience for everything that it has to offer.
Below, we have outlined a handful of scholarship opportunities available specifically for Black students (some specific to women) which range in award amount, competitiveness, and by area of study/interest. In addition to the ones listed below, if you are enrolled in or planning on attending one of the 101 HBCU’s located in the United States, make sure to check out your university’s scholarship website for more school-specific opportunities to take advantage of.
The NAACP currently offers three scholarships (details below) for college students along with a wide range of scholarships for graduate students, which can be found here.
The UNCF offers dozens of scholarships, internships, programs, and fellowships that African American students can apply to or get involved with. Scholarships are offered to appeal to a wide variety of majors and areas of study. Each scholarship has its own award amount, due date, and eligibility requirements, however, for most scholarships, it is recommended that students complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) before applying.
The NBNA Scholarship Program is designed to offer aid specifically to nurses and other health professionals who are enrolled in continuing education programs. There are currently over 10 scholarships being offered, ranging from $1,000 - $3,000 in award amount. Applicants must be a member of the NBNA and be currently enrolled in a nursing program.
The Jeanette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund provides scholarships for low-income women over the age of 35 who are currently pursuing technical or vocational education, an associate's degree, or a bachelor’s degree.
This scholarship is open to African American or Black students who are pursuing an associate, undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degree. A minimum GPA of 2.5 is required. Must exhibit leadership skills and participate in community service. Official transcript and 2 essay prompts required.
Chosen Jackie Robinson Scholars receive a four-year grant (up to $30,000) to the undergraduate institution of their choice, and additionally, are provided with extensive support and mentoring throughout the college process. The program goes beyond just a scholarship by guiding scholars to become independent, gain leadership skills, explore career options, and more.
RBSP offers awards of $10,000 for 4 years (total of $40,000) to economically disadvantaged African American students who exhibit a strong dedication to serving the community and a passion for ongoing learning. The scholarship is open to students pursuing any and all academic disciplines. Must be a current high school senior to apply.
The Davis Scholarship is designed specifically to offer minority women the opportunity to help fund a future career in STEM fields. Sophomore, junior, and senior undergraduate students attending UNCF-member institutions are eligible to apply. Transcript and essay required. Must have a GPA of at least 3.0/4.0.
The SCSF provides grants paid directly to each student’s university or institution for every student who qualifies and reapplies yearly. The grant can be utilized not only for tuition expenses, but also for books, lab fees, and more. Community service is a requirement as a Shawn Carter Scholar.
The ELC offers 7 undergraduate scholarship programs, all mainly focused around students pursuing business, STEM, or engineering degrees.
The Actuarial Diversity Scholarship is designed specifically for Black/African American, Hispanic, Native North American, and Pacific Islander students intent on pursuing a career in the actuarial profession. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0/4.0 is required to apply. Scholarships range from $1,000 - $4,000.
NANBPWC offers multiple scholarships for Black female students who are pursuing a wide range of career paths, from education to business to majors in STEM. Each scholarship has specific requirements.