50+ African American Scholarships for College Students

Last updated: March 19, 2018

Opportunities in education have been progressively moving forward since the 1800s, especially regarding people of color. Prior to the establishment of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), African Americans were generally denied admission to traditionally white colleges and universities. Consequently, HBCUs became the sole provider of higher education for African Americans.

Since then, millions of dollars are donated annually to privately funded institutions, scholarships, grants and awards targeted specifically towards students of color, many of which move on to become some of the most important thinkers, creators, innovators, entrepreneurs and scholars of our time. A new report  found that the number of African American female entrepreneurs has grown 322% since 1997, making black females the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S.

What does a better future look like to you? With higher education and the support to help get you there, the possibility for you to create the future of your dreams is possible.

Educational Milestones for African Americans

Educational Milestones for African American Students in the U.S.
“Through UNCF alone, more than $100 million in scholarships is awarded annually to students of color. 
UNCF Annual Report

Scholarships cater specifically to underrepresented students in hopes of offering increased opportunities for programs in predominantly white degree programs and institutions, while also increasing diversity on university campuses nationwide. While federal funding is a great way to receive need-based support, private scholarship funds offer a more targeted opportunity to pursue any degree, or career, that will help set students up on the path towards success.

Resources for African American Students

UNCF Sponsorships & Scholarships

The nation’s largest minority education organization provides scholarship opportunities by raising money to support students of color to attend, thrive and graduate from college to become better leaders of their communities.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities

The HBCU Network was established in the 1800s to provide higher education opportunities for underrepresented minorities. The initiative is a professional and social community to network and to offer substantial scholarship opportunities for African-American students in the community.

Grants from the U.S. Government

Apply for need-based national grant opportunities suited for any academic course of study.

Federal Student Aid

The Office of the U.S. Department of Education provide over $120 billion in federal grants, loans and work-study funds each year to sponsor millions of students pursuing their academic dreams.

National Society of Black Engineers

The NSBE provide pre-college, collegiate and technical professional programs, scholarships, internships and support to students of color pursuing careers in the engineering industry.

National Society of Black Journalists

The NSBJ offers specialized scholarships, awards, events, fellowships and internships for African-American students pursuing a career in journalism.

Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship

Awards four-year scholarships to students of color demonstrating academic excellence and promise, and financial need.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

The NAACP is a national education program that works to eliminate education-related disparities in public schools through policy development, guidance, and collaborative networks.

 
 

How to Pay for College

1

Scholarships

There are hundreds of scholarships for African Americans, which are awarded by local organizations, private companies, societies and more.

 
2

Grants

Grants don’t need to be paid back and are based on your financial circumstances. They are usually funded by the federal government, your state or college.

 
3

Fellowships

While scholarships usually fund tuition, fellowships typically cover graduate study, research projects and abroad experiences without needing to be paid back.

 
4

Student Loans

You can borrow money from the government or a bank, but it needs to be paid back with interest. The federal government offers many loan options—fill out the free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if you qualify for financial aid. If you need help, use our interactive guide to learn how to answer every question.

 
5

Federal Work-Study Program

Provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to pay education expenses.

 
 

If you’re just beginning the process of finding suitable scholarships, make sure you’re prepared for the application process by starting a folder with the assets below.

Scholarship Application Preparation

Not all scholarships are based off of your GPA, but most need to verify your high school education to qualify. Try to get certified copies of your transcript early, so you have plenty of time to meet the deadline.
Although there are scholarship opportunities that aren’t merit-based, it’s valuable to take the SAT or ACT standardized tests in case it’s a scholarship qualification.
Your scholarship essay is what will bring attention to your application out of the pool of applicants. That’s why it’s important to craft a stand out piece that attests to your experience, adheres to the scholarship guidelines and most importantly, highlights your true personality.
Letters of recommendation are a true judgement of your character—something that can’t be revealed through your test scores or transcript. Reach out to former teachers, counselors or bosses, so that they can speak to your qualifications. You may also want to provide them with a resume that outlines your achievements and goals as well.
 

African American Scholarships

Instructions: Click through the dropdowns below to sort by your field of study, award amount and if you qualify for need-based aid. Click the box for a larger view.

Joshua David Gardner Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: April 30, 2019

This scholarship was established to provide resources to students attending historically black colleges and universities. Must be pursuing a full time bachelor's degree from an accredited university. Open to U.S. resident students under 25 who maintain a 2.8 GPA.

EMPOWER Scholarships

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: April 15, 2019

The EMPOWER Scholarship is open to diverse students enrolled in postsecondary schools (in Minnesota or Western Wisconsin) pursuing careers in healthcare. Volunteer service and financial need will be considered. Must have a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Presbyterian Student Opportunity Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: May 15, 2019

The Presbyterian Church provides this yearly need-based opportunity for sophomores, juniors and seniors who are full time, first degree students attending accredited institutions in the U.S. Preference extends to racial ethnic students. Must be a member of the Presbyterian Church, and have completed their first year of study. Must have a 2.5 GPA or higher, and demonstrate financial need for consideration.

George Washington Carver Scholarship Fund

Amount: Varies

Deadline: May 30, 2019

Students must be demonstrated leaders planning to attend or currently enrolled at a HBCU.

Ron Brown Scholars Program

Amount: $40,000

Deadline: November 1, 2018

African American students in their senior year of high school are eligible for this scholarship program. This scholarship will be awarded to students who demonstrate an interest in public service, community engagement, business entrepreneurship, and global citizenship

American Society of Safety Engineers Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: December 1, 2018

African American students enrolled full time at an accredited four-year college or university are encouraged to apply for this award. Students must have a 3.0 GPA and have completed 60 undergraduate credit hours before applying for consideration. This award is open to U.S. and international students.

Science Systems and Applications, Inc. (SSAI) Underrepresented Student Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: March 15, 2019

The scholarship wants to encourage the study of physics among the groups that are underrepresented in science and engineering. U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are undergraduate student members of the SPS national organization are eligible to apply. The program awards students who are majoring in physics or a related science and intend for continued scholastic development in physics in future.

EGIF Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: January 1, 2019

Graduating high school males of African American descent are encouraged to apply for this scholarship. Must maintain a 3.0 GPA and participate in extracurriculars for consideration for this award.

Gerber Scholarship in Pediatrics Program

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: November 1, 2018

The Gerber Scholarship in Pediatrics Program awards underrepresented minority students interested in pediatrics and emphasis on nutrition with financial support. Must be a U.S. citizen to apply. Leadership and community service will be considered in application process.

Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship

Amount: $20,000

Deadline: October 31, 2018

The Coca-Cola Scholars Program is an achievement-based scholarship award to chosen students who demonstrate a capacity to lead and serve, and make an impact on their communities. Must be a current high-school senior in the U.S., but do not have to be a U.S. citizen to apply.

Girls Who Illustrate Awesomeness Scholarship

Amount: $750

Deadline: January 1, 2019

This is a scholarship opportunity for young women of color who wish to make the world a better place. Students must be enrolled in an accredited university and have a 3.0 GPA for consideration. 500-word essays and/or 5 minute video submissions will be selected for this award.

Seeds of Fortune Inc. Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: December 31, 2018

All female NYC high school sophomores or juniors have the opportunity to receive a 6 year high school to college program, and join a network of young women mentors and college coaches. Each participant is awarded a free laptop, tours to colleges and universities, and mentor/coaching opportunities.

American Sociological Association Minority Fellowship Program

Amount: $18,000

Deadline: January 31, 2019

This scholarship awards graduate students pursuing a degree in sociology demonstrating strong mental health research and/or interest. Students will be selected based on intent on research and development in mental health, academic achievement and financial need.

Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship

Amount: up to $28,000

Deadline: February 1, 2019

This scholarship is aimed at minority high school students who show leadership and community service dedication. Scholars will receive need-based financial aid as well as mentoring and access to internship/job support and assistance.