African American Scholarships for College Students

Last updated: April 23, 2019

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.

EMPOWER Scholarships

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: April 15, 2020

The EMPOWER Scholarship, supports minority students who are pursuing a career in a medical or rehabilitation field.

Great Minds in Stem Scholarship Program

Amount: $500-$10,000

Deadline: April 1, 2020

Applicants must be of Hispanic origin and/or must demonstrate leadership or service within the Hispanic community. Applicant must also be enrolled in an accredited 2 or 4-year undergraduate or graduate program and have at least a 3.0 GPA. Must be pursuing a STEM degree.

Freedom from Religion Foundation Catherine Fahringer Memorial Award - this link is no longer active and I couldn't find the award by searching online

Amount: $2,500

Deadline: June 21, 2019

This award is available to high school students who identify as atheist, agnostic, humanist and/or secular and are the first in their families to attend an accredited two or four-year colleges or university. Preference will be given to students of color, and students who have been in foster care, homeless, undocumented or LGBTQ. Applicants will be chosen based on the strength of their essay.

Ron Brown Scholars Program

Amount: $40,000

Deadline: January 9, 2020

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

UCLA Graduate Education Scholarships

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: December 15, 2019

Several awards are available of up to $5,000 each, from which fees are paid, for graduate students in any field of study who are blind or who have a severe vision impairment. Proof of financial need via copy of DREAM Act Application (for California AB540 students).

EGIF Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: January 1, 2020

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.

National Medical Fellowships

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 1, 2020

The National Medical Fellowships awards financial support to underrepresented minority students demonstrating leadership and currently enrolled in a graduate level healthcare program in the US. Must be a U.S. citizen to apply. Community service will also be considered in application process.

Goldman Sachs MBA Fellowship

Amount: $25,000

Deadline: January 1, 2020

The MBA Fellowship is designed to increase interest in financial services among black, hispanic and native american business school students.

Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship

Amount: $20,000

Deadline: October 31, 2019

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.

Seeds of Fortune Inc. Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: January 1, 2020

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, 2020

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.

Edward S. Roth Manufacturing Engineering Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: February 1, 2020

Minorities of any group are eligible to apply for this award. Candidates are high school seniors and undergraduate or graduate students. Students must be pursuing a degree in manufacturing engineering at an ABET accredited school.