If you’re a woman looking for a scholarship to fund your higher education studies, then rest assured you have many options as scholarships for women continue to evolve.
Historically, women’s education was designed to teach middle-class and upper-class women just enough to make them attractive marriage material. Thankfully, there has been a fair bit of progress since then and there are many scholarships for women to aid their education.
Whether you’re a graduating high school senior, community college student, or a graduate student, there is a scholarship for you. Read on to learn more about all the scholarships you can take advantage of to aid your studies and further your career.
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What Is a Scholarship?
A scholarship is financial aid for juniors and seniors at college or university. It is almost like a gift in that you do not need to repay it. Scholarships are usually based on the criteria of a student’s academic excellence or financial need.
Statistics show that from 2000 to 2017, Black and Hispanic female students aged 18 to 24 saw the largest increase in enrollment as African American female enrollment for students aged 18-24 increased from 35 to 40 percent, while Hispanic female enrollment increased from 25 to 41 percent. White female enrollment increased from 41 to 44 percent.
Additionally, in the 2016 academic year, 62 percent of Pell Grant recipients were female. Scholarships offer students with low-income families the ability to get their education without having to repay the money. Scholarships for women have been created to further this rise of women seeking further education, particularly in math, science, technology and engineering.
How Do I Find Scholarships?
The first thing you should know: You do not need to pay to find scholarships. If you are asked to pay to find them, you may be falling victim to a scam.
The simplest way to find scholarships of all kinds is to contact the financial aid office of the particular school you wish to attend. They will usually provide you with the correct information.
You can also search for scholarships by talking to your high school or TRIO counselor. Lastly, you can look to federal agencies or state agencies for scholarship and grant information.
Different Prizes, Grants, and Scholarships for Women
Here is a range of different prizes, grants, and scholarships centered around women going into or returning to school. We at Career Karma have used a scholarship finder to collect a range of scholarships in their prize amount, education level, and in varied fields of study. We hope this helps guide your research and helps you grow your scholarship fund, so let’s start with:
Worth: $1,000 / $250
The Schafer Prize was established in 1990 and is named after AWM’s former president and founding member Alice T. Schafer, who contributed a great deal to women in mathematics throughout her career. The winner must have strong mathematical skills and be a US citizen or US resident in pursuit of their undergraduate degree.
Elibilitiy: Bachelor’s Degree Students
The AFWA Foundation promotes and advances women in accounting and finance by cultivating relationships, securing contributions, and providing scholarships to them for education and career development. AFWA seeks to decrease barriers for women in education and help them access career development resources. The foundation aims to ensure women will have all the tools and resources needed to achieve career success.
Elibilitiy: Associate / Bachelor’s / Graduate Degree Students
The annual Single Mother Scholarship, sponsored by Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC, empowers single mothers through their education. Each year, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers awards one scholarship to a single mother in an undergraduate program or community college and another to a single mother enrolled in an accredited law school.
Elibilitiy: High School Students
MCWT provides scholarships to women who have the interest, aptitude and potential for a successful career in computer science. Its scholarship program encourages talented female students to continue their higher education and asks them to maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better to be considered. It also offers a robotics grant and support girls in grades 5 to 12 by offering a series of $500 grants to all-girl teams participating in Robofest at Lawrence Technological University.
Eligibility: Bachelor’s / Master’s / Professional Students
Federal Pell Grants are usually awarded only to undergraduate students who display exceptional financial need and have not yet earned a bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree. However, in some cases, a student enrolled in a post-baccalaureate teacher certification program might receive a Federal Pell Grant. (This grant is the only one on the list that can be awarded to both men and women.)
Elibilitiy: Bachelor’s Degree Students
The Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey (ABWL) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that promotes and encourages women’s participation, particularly African American women, in the field of law. Scholarships are awarded to female law students of African descent selected by the Scholarship Committee who are either enrolled at an accredited law school in New Jersey or are New Jersey permanent residents enrolled at an accredited law school outside of New Jersey.
Worth: $6,000 – $30,000
Eligibility: Doctorate Students
AAUW American Fellowships support women doctoral scholars pursuing full-time study to complete dissertations, conduct post-doctoral research full time, or prepare research for publication for eight consecutive weeks. Applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents. Candidates are evaluated on the basis of scholarly excellence, quality and originality of project design, and active commitment to helping women and girls through service in their communities, professions, or research fields.
Worth: $12,000 / $30,000 / $42,000
Eligibility: Master’s / Doctorate Students
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program provides support for students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees in oceanography, marine biology, or maritime archaeology. This can include, but is not limited to, the ocean and/or coastal disciples of engineering, social science, marine education, marine stewardship, and resource management. Women and members of minority groups are encouraged to apply.
Worth: $1,000 / $15,000
Eligibility: Bachelor’s / Graduate Degree Students
The SWE Scholarship Program provides financial assistance to those who identify as a female/woman and are studying in community college, baccalaureate, or graduate programs in preparation for careers in engineering, engineering technology, and computer science.
Applicants must be incoming freshmen who were accepted for enrollment in a baccalaureate ABET/CSAB accredited engineering or computer science degree program. Master’s and PhD candidates must be enrolled or accepted at a school with ABET-accredited programs in technology, engineering, or computing.
Other Financial Aid for University and College
There are different types of financial aid available for students going to school. Although scholarships are wonderful as you will not need to repay them, you may not receive enough from them to complete your studies. Therefore, here are some other forms of financial support available for students in need of aid.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is where students can go to find out what financial aid they qualify for. Additionally, the FAFSA comes with zero risk. The submission period for colleges opens on October 1 for the following academic year. Confirm your school’s deadline with an advisor, but you should submit the FAFSA as promptly as possible.
Student loans are given to students who require financial aid. However, with loans there are usually terms and conditions for repayment once you have solidified a career and begin earning a designated amount. Here is more information from the FAFSA website on the four types of Direct Loans available:
Direct Subsidized Loans are loans made to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need to help cover higher education costs at a college or career school.
Direct Unsubsidized Loans are loans made to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, but eligibility is not based on financial need.
Direct PLUS Loans are loans made to graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for education expenses not covered by other financial aid. Eligibility is not based on financial need, but a credit check is required. Borrowers who have an adverse credit history must meet additional requirements to qualify.
Direct Consolidation Loans allow you to combine all eligible federal student loans into a single loan with a single loan servicer.
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