17 Scholarships for African-American Students
Many organizations like the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) help African-Americans as well other minorities pay for higher education. African-American leaders, past and present, have sponsored scholarships because they understand the doors college can open for students.
We understand that scholarships can change lives. There are a number of scholarship programs geared specifically toward African-American and minority students. We’ve gathered a list of some of the best scholarships available for this demographic, many of which are awarded annually.
Note: This article provides a basic description for each of the listed scholarships. Please see the scholarship provider’s website for full application and eligibility requirements.
The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) awards numerous scholarships primarily to students pursuing careers in engineering, but the organization also has several scholarships that are open to all majors. In order to qualify for NSBE scholarships, students must become members and verify their GPA. Other qualifications vary by scholarship opportunity, so be sure to check the requirements for the specific scholarship you want to apply for.
Application Deadline: January 3
Ron Brown, formerly known as chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and United States Secretary of Commerce of President Bill Clinton, has a public charity in his honor that awards scholarships. Students who qualify for these scholarships are Black/African-American high school seniors with financial need who exhibit academic excellence, leadership qualities, and community engagement.
Application Deadline: January 9
High school seniors, undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for these scholarships. Specifically, high school seniors and undergraduate students wishing to apply must be attending an HBCU. All applicants must meet the following qualifications: (1) Be a U.S. citizen, (2) Have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, and (3) Demonstrate community leadership in non-school activities while participating in extracurricular school activities.
Application Deadline: January 31
In honor of Jackie Robinson, a major catalyst for the civil rights movement, the Jackie Robinson Foundation offers up to $30,000 over the course of four years to minority high school seniors with leadership qualities. Additional eligibility requirements include demonstrating a commitment to community service, being a U.S. citizen, and attending an accredited four-year college or university.
Application Deadline: February 1
The Landscape Architecture Foundation offers the EDSA Minority Scholarship. This scholarship is open to African-American students and other minority students interested in landscape architecture education. Students who are in their final two years of their undergraduate program or graduate students pursuing a degree in landscape architecture are eligible to apply for the $5,000 scholarship. To apply, students should complete the online application.
Application Deadline: February 1
Undergraduate and graduate minority students with an interest in advertising, marketing or public relations may qualify for The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF) scholarship. If you are full-time and would have at least one year of your degree program left after being awarded the scholarship, this scholarship may be for you.
Application Deadline: February 28
The American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) provides scholarships to graduating high school seniors looking to pursue a degree in business, one of the physical sciences, technology, engineering or mathematics. To be eligible for the scholarships, students must belong to a minority group and have an unweighted GPA of B or better (3.0 on a 4.0 scale).
Application Deadline: March 15
The International Association of Black Actuaries (IABA) awards scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students of African descent. This scholarship is for students who want to pursue careers in the actuarial profession. The award ranges from $1,500 - $5,000, and the amount awarded depends on the full-time status of the applicant for the approaching school year.
Application Deadline: March 31
The Herbert Lehman Scholarship is named in honor of Herbert Lehman, New York senator and governor. These scholarships originally funded African-American students attending universities in the segregated South. Now, the scholarship is open to U.S. citizens planning to attend an accredited four-year college. Criteria for the scholarship include financial need, academic achievement, and community service work.
Application Deadline: April 1
The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) was founded as a non-profit in 1976, just five years after the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) was established. The CBC successfully spearheaded the push to make Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday a holiday, and they are now continuing his dream by providing scholarships to African-American or Black students. Eligible students must be currently enrolled full-time in an accredited academic institution and be constituents of a CBC member’s district.
Application Deadline: April 3
If you are interested in pursuing a career in nursing, you may want to check out the scholarships offered by the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA). The NBNA awards scholarships ranging from $1,000 - $6,000 to members of local chapters who are currently enrolled in a nursing program and have at least one full year of school left to complete. Non-members who are interested can join on the NBNA website.
Application Deadline: April 15
The Emma Bowen Foundation is a non-profit organization that values diversity in the media industry. The foundation offers multi-year paid internships to students interested in careers in media. If you are a student of color and a graduating high school senior or undergraduate in college, this may be the scholarship for you.
Application Deadline: May 1
Minority high school seniors are encouraged to apply for the Gates Scholarship. Students must enroll full-time in a four-year degree program at an accredited institution, be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident, and be Pell grant eligible. This is a lucrative scholarship. The Gates Scholarship provides full coverage for the cost of attendance for its recipients.
Application Deadline: September 15
The largest private scholarship provider for minority students, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) awards at least $100 million in scholarships to students each year. Minority students can apply for UNCF scholarships by completing the online application. The FAFSA will also have to be completed for most scholarships, so be sure to check each scholarship to see if it’s necessary.
Application Deadline: Varies by Scholarship
The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) was founded to support journalists and communicators of color. The scholarships offered by the NABJ are open to students interested in careers in journalism, media and communications. Qualifications for NABJ scholarships vary. Visit their website for more details.
Application Deadline: Varies by Scholarship
The McNair Scholars Program was founded in honor of Dr. Ronald E. McNair, a renowned laser physicist credited as the second African American to ever fly in space. The program helps minority students pursue graduate studies by providing research fellowships, internships, and funds that cover several academic disciplines. Qualifying candidates will be either first-generation college students with financial need or members of a minority group that is underrepresented in graduate education.
Application Deadline: Varies by University
The Posse Foundation empowers individuals and communities by raising up groups of students with leadership and academic potential. Posse has locations in Atlanta, the Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, and Washington, D.C. To date, there are 58 colleges and universities that partner with Posse to award Posse Scholars full-tuition scholarships for up to four years.
Application Deadline: Varies by City
Every month, ScholarshipPoints awards scholarships to students who are members of the ScholarshipPoints program. We award $2,500 to members who enter and win the drawing. Don’t miss an opportunity to apply for a no GPA, no essay scholarship.