Skip to main content

College and graduate school scholarships for Black women

Published April 3, 2024| minute read
Dhara Singh

Senior Associate, JPMorgan Chase

    If you've dreamed of attending college and are trying to figure out how to pay for your education, consider scholarships to help make your vision a reality. There’s no limit to the number of scholarships that you can apply for, and under most circumstances, this is money for college and graduate school that you won’t need to pay back.

    While some people might operate under the assumption that you need to have a perfect grade point average (GPA) or be a star athlete to qualify for college and graduate school scholarships, there is a vast range of scholarships available for all kinds of applicants, all with different eligibility requirements.

    In this article, we'll share a variety of scholarships available for Black women that have eligibility requirements that range from financial need to particular career aspirations. Keep reading to learn more.

    Are there college and graduate school scholarships specifically for Black women?

    There's a gamut of college and graduate school scholarships available to Black women, from school-provided scholarships to those offered by corporations, nonprofits, and other organizations. You can discover many of these opportunities through an online search, your guidance counselor, or even via word of mouth.

    If you’re interested in applying for scholarships, you can get ahead of the process by researching scholarships and their eligibility requirements in advance and keeping track of the myriad of deadlines. Beyond applying to individual scholarships, you should consider filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), which some scholarships utilize to award student's funds.

    Is it worth applying for scholarships specific to Black women?

    According to a 2022 report by the nonprofit Education Trust (PDF), a year after completing their bachelor’s degree, Black women have an average of $38,800 in student loans, more than any other group analyzed in the report.

    If we zoom out to all the federal student loans owed to the U.S. government, the same paper reports that women generally owe two-thirds of the student debt pie (PDF).

    While these statistics don’t reflect every Black woman’s story and won’t necessarily be yours, they do show how scholarships and grants for Black women may be helpful when it comes to paying for college and graduate school. Scholarships have the potential to reduce your higher education expenses and may help limit your student debt burden as you pursue higher education.

    Scholarships for Black women pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees

    There are a range of scholarships available to Black women. Here’s a small sampling of options to consider applying for, but many more are available.

    Scholarships for Black women pursuing STEM and medicine degrees

    Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology

    The Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology, a nonprofit formed in 1983 by Black professionals in STEM across the country, gives away nearly $30,000 annually through their endowment fund to students.  

    Take note, students who apply must be enrolled or have the intention to enroll in one of the approved 20 schools listed on the organization’s website. These schools range from Howard University to Spelman College.

    • Amount: $3,000 per year (up to four years)
    • GPA Requirement: 3.0
    • ·Deadline: June 15, 2024 (application opens April 15, 2024)

    Dashanna K. McNeil Memorial Scholarship

    The Dashanna K. McNeil Foundation, which honors nurse Dashanna K. McNeil, awards three recipients various cash prizes annually as they pursue an associate, bachelor’s, or master's in nursing or a related field. All applicants must complete an essay question based on their education level.

    • Amount: Past recipients have received awards ranging from $400 to $2,000
    • GPA requirement: Not listed
    • Deadline: 2024 deadline is yet to be announced

    Graduate Fellowships for STEM Diversity

    Graduate Fellows for STEM Diversity is an organization that assists scientists and engineers in pursuing a graduate-level education by providing fellowships and mentoring opportunities. According to the organization’s website, nearly 33% of their fellows are from underrepresented groups, and 61% of their fellows are female.

    • Amount: $20,000
    • GPA Requirement: Not listed
    • Deadline: January 2025

    Ford Motor Company Fund & NACME Scholarships 2024

    The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, in conjunction with the Ford Motor Company, offers scholarships for minority students pursuing STEM-related careers in support of electric vehicles and advanced manufacturing industries.

    • Amount: $5,000
    • GPA Requirement: 3.0
    • Deadline: July 8, 2024

    Master of Business Administration (MBA) scholarships for Black women

    The Consortium

    The Consortium is a group of business schools with a shared mission to improve the representation of minority students in business schools, including Black women. Students can apply using The Consortium's application to a range of business schools, and through this process, The Consortium award hundreds of merit-based full-tuition fellowships.

    Some requirements include having a four-year bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, believing in The Consortium's mission of improving the representation of minorities in management, and being a U.S. citizen or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient.

    • Amount: Full tuition to 70% of applicants
    • GPA Requirement: Not listed
    • Deadline: 2025 deadline is yet to be announced

    Selected Professions Fellowship

    The American Association of University Women (AAUW) promotes the education of women and girls. Its Selected Professions Fellowship offers awards specifically to women of color who are pursuing an MBA, law degree, or medical degree.

    • Amount: $20,000
    • GPA Requirement: Not listed
    • Deadline: November 30, 2024

    Scholarships for Black women pursuing law degrees

    The Herbert Lehman Education Fund Scholarship

    The Herbert Lehman Education Fund Scholarship provides awards to undergraduate and law school students with financial need who plan on attending an accredited three-year law school full-time and have a solid academic record. The Legal Defense Fund sponsors the award, which promotes racial justice for Black Americans. Students must also demonstrate financial need. The award honors Herbert Lehman, a former governor and U.S. senator from New York who played a role in the civil rights movement.

    • Amount: $3,000 a year (for four years)
    • GPA Requirement: None
    • Deadline: April 1, 2024

    The Earl Warren Scholarship

    The Legal Defense Fund also sponsors the Earl Warren Sponsorship. This award is in memoriam of the Honorable Earl Warren, the 14th United States Chief Justice, who helped end school segregation in the U.S. The scholarship welcomes rising law students who share a commitment to racial justice and have potential for training as civil rights and public interest attorneys.

    • Amount: $45,000 ($15,000 per year for three years)
    • GPA Requirement: None
    • Deadline: May 1, 2024

    Scholarships for Black women pursuing careers in social work

    The Laurel House Social Work Racial Equity Scholarship

    The Laurel House is an organization that helps promote access to mental health care for people of color. Its Social Work Racial Equity Scholarship provides scholarships to students pursuing a graduate degree in social work. Students must be Connecticut residents, Black or Latino, and enrolled in a Master of Social Work program in Connecticut or New York. The candidate must also demonstrate they need financial aid and secure a letter of recommendation.

    • Amount: $10,000 (first place), $1,000 (second place), $500 (third place)
    • GPA requirement: None
    • Deadline: May 15, 2024

    Scholarships for Black women returning to college

    Young Black Women Scholars Program

    The Young Black Women Scholars Program provides priority consideration to women, including Black women, who are interested in completing their college degree. This can include women who've left college and are returning to complete their degree or those who are attending college for the first time.

    • Amount: Varies
    • GPA Requirement: 2.5
    • Deadline: May 14, 2024

    Additional scholarships for Black women 

    If you're a Black woman who isn't necessarily studying STEM, law, or business, there are still organizations that want to aid in your higher education journey. Here's a list of other scholarships to consider applying for should you meet the eligibility requirements:

    Final thoughts

    Since filling out a scholarship application doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily receive the scholarship funds, you may want to consider applying for several scholarships each year. There are other routes to seek help to pay for college or graduate school, too.

    If you’re currently employed, find out if your company has any tuition assistance programs. If you need financial help beyond scholarship funds, consider sitting down with your school’s financial aid office to seek expert guidance on how to navigate paying for college or graduate school.