Women can access scholarships and grants in many different fields, especially for STEM degrees.
Many college students use scholarships to pay for school. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that undergraduates receive an average of $13,000 per year in grant and scholarship aid.
Women face unique challenges when earning degrees, which is why many organizations offer specific college scholarships for women. While they make up the majority of college students, women also take out more student loans, take longer to repay their loans, and earn less than men after college.
This article introduces dozens of college scholarships for women, including scholarships for Black women, scholarships for single mothers, and scholarships for Hispanic women.
Balancing School With Personal Responsibilities: Women are more likely than men to attend college while working or to need to balance school with family responsibilities. When women are pulled in multiple directions, they have less energy for their degrees.
Lack of Representation: Certain majors report far fewer women than men. For example, in physics, engineering, and computer science, women make up 20% of students, with men outnumbering women 4 to 1.
Fewer Women Mentors: College professors and administrators are primarily men. As a result, female students rarely have access to mentors who understand the unique challenges women face in higher education. Students of color find even fewer mentorship opportunities, since under 20% of female professors are women of color.
Financial Barriers: Accessing funding for higher education is harder for women for a variety of reasons. Parents provide more financial support for sons earning college degrees than daughters. Women also earn lower salaries than men, so working students have less money to cover college costs. As a result, women hold two-thirds of the country's student loan debt.
Financial barriers can make it difficult for women to earn degrees, requiring women to take out more student loan debt than men. According to the American Association of University Women, women owe $929 billion of the country's $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. First-generation college students and Black women also owe a disproportionate amount.
Fortunately, college scholarships for women can help degree-seekers cover college costs and limit their student loan debts.
The Importance of Grants and Scholarships
Grants and scholarships help college students pay for their degrees. Unlike loans, recipients do not need to repay grants and scholarships, making them an ideal form of financial aid.
In 2018, college students received an average of $13,000 in grant and scholarship aid, according to NCES data. Undergraduates at public universities received nearly $8,000 per year, while those attending private universities received over $23,000.
By applying for scholarships and grants, students can take out fewer loans and graduate with less debt.
Scholarships and grants also help degree-seekers limit their student loan debts. On average, undergraduates owe $25,000-$35,000 in student debt after graduation, which can limit their career choices and shape their financial decisions for years. Borrowing money for college also introduces other risks, like the inability to discharge loans during bankruptcy or the chance that you might leave school without a degree due to the financial burden.
Finding and Applying to Scholarships
Many organizations offer scholarships for women pursuing college degrees. For example, women can apply for scholarships based on their state of residence, high school, college, or field of study. Women in business, communications, STEM, and other fields can also find specialized scholarships to help pay for college.
Students of color can find scholarships for their specific demographics. For example, organizations might offer scholarships for Black women or scholarships for Hispanic women. Many scholarships target first-generation college enrollees or learners with disabilities, and women can also apply for general scholarships.
Scholarships often come with names like "prize" or "award. Like scholarships, grants can also offer free money for college.
Where to Look
Every year, college students apply for thousands of scholarships. But where can you find scholarship opportunities for women?
Sites like Fastweb.com and Scholarships.com are a great place to start because they list scholarship opportunities. Fastweb lists over 1.5 million scholarships, while Scholarships.com includes 3.7 million scholarships and grants. Make sure to also check for scholarship opportunities through your college or university; most schools provide their own scholarship resources.
Finally, prospective scholarship applicants can search for scholarships through their local government or local organizations -- especially professional societies. Learn more about how to find scholarships with our handy guide.
How to Apply
The strongest scholarship applications are those that stand out from the crowd. But how can you make your application stand out and improve your chances of receiving a scholarship?
Start by doing your research and getting organized. Each scholarship sets its own eligibility requirements and application materials. Usually, they ask for college transcripts, letters of recommendation, essays, personal statements, or other supporting material.
Once you've identified scholarship opportunities, make a calendar with each scholarship's deadlines and application materials. Make note of which scholarships require you to write a customized personal statement or essay so you remember to work on those well in advance.
Applicants can increase their chances by applying for more scholarships. Plan to apply for multiple scholarships every year, and keep looking for opportunities throughout the year. Unlike college application deadlines, scholarship deadlines can occur several times per year, so be sure to check requirements for each one.
Scholarships for Women
Many organizations offer college scholarships for women, including professional organizations, private foundations, research institutions, and state governments. Students can find scholarships based on their major, state, college, or career interests.
This page provides a list of scholarships to help you get started, but you should also research additional opportunities based on your unique circumstances.
Arts and Humanities
Arts and Humanities
Arts and Humanities Merit Scholarship
University of Colorado Boulder offers two scholarships for students pursuing arts or humanities majors: the merit scholarship for Colorado residents and the achievement scholarship for non-residents. Applicants must meet academic eligibility requirements, including a minimum 3.6 GPA, for the merit scholarship.
Offered by Central New Mexico Community College, the scholarship supports women majoring in a liberal arts field. Applicants should be single parents who plan to transfer into bachelor's programs. The scholarship requires a minimum 3.0 GPA, a personal statement, and a letter of recommendation.
The Beinecke Scholarship supports students pursuing graduate degrees in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Recipients receive $4,000 before entering graduate school and $30,000 during their graduate career. They must be attending participating institutions.
Cottey College, a liberal arts college for women, offers a fine arts scholarship for women in one of its fine arts departments. Applicants must submit supporting documents for scholarship consideration.
Offered by the Ohio State University, this scholarship recognizes a woman majoring in a humanities discipline at the junior level of study. Humanities majors also qualify for other scholarships offered by the university, including the Clara Hilberg Teller Endowed Scholarship and the Elizabeth Kiss Amstutz Scholarship.
Nellie Love Butcher Music Scholarship
Up to $5,000
Women pursuing an education in piano or voice can apply for this scholarship. The committee gives special consideration to students attending the Duke Ellington School of the Performing Arts. Applicants must submit audio files of performance materials.
The American Association of University Women offers location scholarships for women pursuing college degrees. Each state branch determines its own scholarship amounts and requirements, so applicants should contact their local branches to learn more.
This scholarship supports Asian women pursuing business degrees. Each candidate must demonstrate a record of entrepreneurial achievement or hold a leadership role in their community. The scholarship requires full-time enrollment at an accredited college or university and a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Blue Soda Promo Women in Marketing Scholarship
This scholarship supports women earning degrees in marketing or advertising. Recipients must attend college in Wisconsin or Illinois, have completed a minimum of 60 credits, and hold a minimum 3.0 GPA. Each applicant must submit answers to two essay questions.
Institute of Management Accountants Scholarship
The Institute of Management Accountants offers several college scholarships for women, including the Women in Transition scholarship and the Women in Need scholarship. Both award funds to women who are the primary source of support for their family and pursuing bachelor's degrees in accounting.
Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship
Zonta International awards this scholarship to women pursuing undergraduate or master's degrees in business management, accounting, economics, finance, and other related majors. Applicants must attend accredited colleges and universities.
The Laurels Fund supports women pursuing advanced degrees in accounting. A doctoral student in accounting can apply by submitting a current CV, official transcripts, academic materials, a statement of personal and career goals, and two letters of recommendation. The committee evaluates applicants based on their academic achievements, research activities, service, and financial need.
Women pursuing degrees in hospitality management qualify for this scholarship awarded by the Network of Executive Women in Hospitality. Recipients also receive airfare and lodging to attend the Boutique Design New York annual event.
This merit-based scholarship supports women studying international trade. Applicants should attend accredited schools on a full- or part-time basis. The committee evaluates each candidate based on an essay that discusses a current issue in international trade and their interest in the field.
Women Grocers of America Mary Macey Scholarship
WGA awards this scholarship to a woman pursuing a degree who plans to work in the independent grocery industry. All candidates should hold a minimum 2.5 GPA and maintain current, full-time enrollment. The scholarship committee also requires transcripts, a letter of recommendation, and a personal statement.
The Alliance for Women in Media offers several college scholarships for women. The ESPN Scholarship supports Black women in sports media, while the Ford Emerging Voices Scholarship awards funds based on an essay submission. The Ford Empowering America Scholarship asks each applicant to profile or interview a female leader in their community as part of their application.
The American Quarter Horse Association offers a journalism or communications scholarship to students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Applicants must be journalism or communications majors planning to pursue careers in news, journalism, or other related fields. Each candidate must provide proof of a minimum 2.5 GPA and membership in AQHA or AQHYA.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. Foundation Scholarship for the Advancement of Women in Sports and Entertainment
Women earning an undergraduate or graduate degree in entertainment can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must hold a minimum 2.75 GPA while majoring in communications, marketing, public relations, media studies, or journalism. Recipients must maintain full-time enrollment in accredited universities.
New York Women in Communications Scholarships
The New York Women in Communications organization offers multiple college scholarships for women. Requirements vary, with some awarded to students majoring in communications, while others are awarded based on year in school or personal background. Some scholarships also require a minimum GPA and an in-person interview.
American Montessori Society Teacher Education Scholarships
This award supports students pursuing degrees to become Montessori teachers. Recipients should attend an American Montessori Society affiliated program. The scholarship funds students earning credentials at the infant and toddler, early childhood, elementary, or secondary levels. The committee considers each applicant based on financial need, their personal statement, and three letters of recommendation.
Women who graduated from a Princeton Regional High School qualify for this scholarship if they plan to pursue careers in education. Each awardee receives support for one year of study at a two-year college or a four-year college or university.
Barbara Lotze Scholarship for Future Physics Teachers
This scholarship supports undergraduates preparing for careers as physics teachers. Applicants must attend accredited schools, which includes two-year colleges. The scholarship also requires a promise of future success in the applicant's academic studies.
Tennessee residents planning to work in K-12 education in the state may apply. Each applicant must hold a minimum 3.5 GPA and attend an accredited Tennessee college or university. The scholarship also requires official transcripts and official ACT or SAT scores.
Christa McAuliffe Teacher Incentive Program
Delaware college students pursuing bachelor's degrees in teaching can apply for this program. Applicants planning to teach in a teacher shortage area, like special education, STEM subjects, bilingual education, or English, receive preference. Each recipient can renew the award for up to three years while maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Edward G. and Helen A. Borgens Teacher Scholarships
These college scholarships for women support future elementary and secondary teachers. Applicants must be 25 years old or older and studying to teach at the K-12 level. The scholarship also requires a 3.5 GPA and attendance at an accredited college or university. The committee evaluates candidates based on academic merit.
The Zeta Phi Beta National Educational Foundation grants scholarships to students majoring in elementary or secondary education. The scholarship supports both undergraduate and graduate students. Recipients must attend school full time and provide proof of enrollment.
Journalism Education Association Scholarships
This scholarship awards funds to education majors who plan to teach journalism. Current journalism teachers pursuing graduate degrees also qualify. Each applicant must submit an essay, a completed application form, two letters of recommendation, and college transcripts.
Undergraduates and graduate students pursuing STEM degrees who want to become K-12 teachers may apply. Recipients must agree to teach for two years in high-need districts for every year of scholarship support.
American Montessori Society Teacher Education Scholarships
ANS offers several scholarships for undergraduates, including an incoming freshmen scholarship, sophomore scholarships, and memorial scholarships. These awards support undergraduates pursuing STEM degrees who plan to work in nuclear science and technology. Award amounts and deadlines vary depending on the specific scholarship.
This scholarship supports women pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in a Planning Accreditation Board-approved program. Applicants must provide two letters of recommendation and proof of financial need. The scholarship aims to increase the number of women and people from other underrepresented groups working in the planning profession.
Women earning bachelor's degrees in engineering from an ABET-accredited program qualify for this award. Each candidate must be entering or continuing their junior year and must submit transcripts, a resume, two letters of recommendation, and an essay on their engineering career goals.
This scholarship supports women pursuing STEM degrees who plan to work in aviation or aerospace. Applicants must attend accredited schools and have volunteer experience in STEM or aviation-related events. Candidates in Seattle or Washington State receive preference.
Women graduating from South Florida high schools who plan to earn a degree in engineering can apply for this four-year academic scholarship. Candidates must have been accepted to or be currently enrolled in an engineering or information technology program.
Women attending a four-year college on a full-time basis qualify for this scholarship. Applicants should major in manufacturing engineering, technology, or another closely related field. The scholarship requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and completion of at least 30 college credits.
Women earning a bachelor's degree in engineering can apply for this scholarship with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants must provide official transcripts and three letters of recommendation. The scholarship committee looks for candidates at ABET-accredited programs.
In 2019, SWE awarded over $810,000 in scholarship funds. SWE grants scholarships to women in ABET-accredited engineering programs, including engineering technology and computer science. Recipients should be full-time undergraduate or graduate students, with exceptions for working professionals.
Women pursuing undergraduate degrees in industrial engineering or closely related fields may apply. Candidates should attend accredited programs. The committee selects applicants based on academic record, leadership, and potential in the industrial engineering profession.
This prize supports an undergraduate woman majoring in mathematics. The scholarship encourages applications from women in underrepresented minority groups. Each applicant must provide letters of nomination on their mathematics abilities, transcripts, and supporting materials, such as recommendation letters, research reports, and other evidence of academic promise.
This scholarship encourages women to enter statistics professions by awarding funds to women pursuing a graduate degree in statistics. Applicants must submit a CV, personal essay, three letters of recommendation, and academic transcripts. Candidates must also be full-time students in graduate statistics programs.
American Medical Women's Association Scholarships
The AMWA grants four scholarships annually to women attending medical school. Each candidate provides financial information, one letter of recommendation, and essay responses. The committee takes financial need into consideration. Recipients must be AMWA medical student members.
Louise Maas Allied Health Professions Scholarship
Women who graduated from Princeton Regional High School in New Jersey can apply for this scholarship if they plan to pursue a career in the allied healthcare field. The award supports students attending a four-year college or university, a two-year college, or a vocational school.
S. Evelyn Lewis Memorial Medical Health Science Scholarship
Women pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in medicine or health sciences may apply. Each applicant must submit transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and an essay. Recipients must maintain full-time enrollment.
Offered by the National Foundation of Republican Women, this scholarship supports women earning an undergraduate degree in political science, government, or economics. All candidates must submit three letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and an essay on their career goals.
Lullellia W. Harrison Counseling Scholarship
Women earning a counseling degree at the undergraduate or graduate level qualify for this scholarship, offered by the Zeta Phi Beta National Educational Foundation. Applicants must provide official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and an essay. Recipients must also provide proof of enrollment as a full-time student.
ABC Humane Wildlife Women in STEM Academic Scholarship
The ABC Wildlife scholarship supports women in STEM fields. Applicants must submit an essay on their efforts to preserve biodiversity. Undergraduate and graduate students attending accredited schools may apply. Recipients can use the award for tuition, academic projects, living expenses, and other costs related to their education.
ACS Women Chemists Committee Overcoming Challenges Award
This award recognizes a woman who overcame hardship to pursue an undergraduate degree in chemistry. All applicants submit one letter of recommendation, school transcripts, and a letter of request explaining their hardships and current successes. The committee reviews candidates based on their improvement, initiative, successes, and grades from the prior two semesters.
This $6,000 scholarship for Black women and students of color supports geosciences majors. Applicants must attend an accredited college or university as full-time undergraduate students. They must submit a statement of their academic and career goals, two letters of recommendation, transcripts, and ACT or SAT scores.
This award supports women in their sophomore and junior years who are earning physics degrees, including geophysics and geoscience. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents attending U.S. colleges. Candidates should also hold membership in the Society of Physics Students.
Female undergraduate students earning STEM degrees may apply for this scholarship. The committee prefers first-generation college students, STEM majors, students who overcame obstacles in their lives, and those from disadvantaged economic backgrounds. Applicants must be members of the Society of Physics Students.
This fellowship supports female doctoral students returning to physics studies after an interruption. The committee evaluates candidates based on their qualifications, the status of their doctoral work before taking a break, and the scholarly significance of their research projects.
This scholarship supports graduate students in oceanography, marine biology, and maritime archaeology. Master's students can receive up to two years of support, while doctoral students can receive up to four years. Applicants must have a minimum 3.3 GPA and maintain full-time enrollment.
Adobe Research Women-in-Technology Scholarship
Adobe grants scholarships to female undergraduate and graduate students studying artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer science, data science, or a related field. Each candidate must submit a resume, academic transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and answers to four essay questions.
Advancing Women in Technology Charitable Foundation Scholarships
California residents attending college in California can apply for this scholarship, which supports women pursuing degrees in technology. Each applicant should hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and plan to major in the technology field. Students attending community college also qualify.
The ITWomen scholarship supports women who graduated from a South Florida high school and plan to earn a degree in information technology or engineering. The committee evaluates applicants based on their financial need, program of study, and personal statements about their educational goals.
This scholarship supports women planning careers in technology, including fields like computer science and engineering. Applicants must be full-time undergraduate STEM students enrolled in accredited colleges. Prior recipients cannot re-apply.
Computing Research Association Widening Participation Scholarships for Women Studying Information Security
This scholarship supports women pursuing bachelor's and master's degrees in fields related to information security. Students can apply for the PrinSWSIS scholarship or the Rebecca Gurley Bace SWSIS scholarship if they plan to pursue careers in cybersecurity, information security, or a closely related field.
Offered by Google, the Women Techmakers Scholarship promotes gender equality in computer science. Women pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in computer science or gaming may apply. Each candidate must submit transcripts, two recommendation letters, an essay, and a resume.
American Association of University Women Career Development Grants
Career development grants help women with undergraduate degrees advance their careers by pursuing training in education, health and medical sciences, or social sciences. The grants give priority to women of color and women pursuing their first advanced degrees.
Executive Women International Adult Students in Scholastic Transition Scholarships
EWI offers this scholarship for adult students with economic, social, or physical challenges. Candidates apply through local chapters, which partner with social services agencies and schools to identify candidates for the award. The program awards 13 scholarships in amounts ranging from $2,000-$10,000.
Ford Opportunity Program for Single Parents
Residents of Oregon and Siskiyou County, California, qualify for this program, which supports single parents pursuing an associate or bachelor's degree. Applicants should be full-time students in the qualifying state of residence with at least one year left in their program. The scholarship award process takes financial need into account.
Illinois Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs, Inc. Scholarship
The Illinois Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs, Inc. offers seven scholarships for college students. Parents of multiples and children whose parents are club members may apply. Recipients must give a presentation at the Multiples Convention Luncheon.
The JRF scholarship supports low-income women 35 years old and older. Citizens and permanent residents pursuing undergraduate degrees, including technical and vocational degrees, may apply. Applicants must attend regionally accredited schools, including accredited online programs.
The Live Your Dream awards support women in higher education. Recipients can use the funds to pay for tuition, books, or childcare expenses. Each applicant submits two online reference forms and a personal statement about the obstacles they have faced.
Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation Awards
Low-income women with children can apply for Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation awards to help pay for education or training. Each applicant must be pursuing their first degree or certificate, such as a first professional, master's, or doctoral degree. The committee evaluates each applicant based on their financial need, personal circumstances, educational path, and career goals.
The PEO Program offers need-based grants for women within 18 months of completing a degree. The grant can cover tuition, books and supplies, graduation fees, childcare, or other expenses related to education. Applicants must pursue educational programs that lead to employment or job advancement.
The Women Techmakers Scholars Program offers scholarships for students in computer science and gaming. Offered by Google, this scholarship promotes gender equality. Female undergraduate and graduate students can apply by submitting official transcripts, recommendation letters, essays, and resumes. Each finalist participates in an interview.
What Percentage of Hispanic Students Go to College?
The Postsecondary National Policy Institute (PNPI) reported in 2017 that 20% of traditional college and university students in the United States were Latino/a, and 85% of those Latino/a students attended public institutions.
How Can Hispanic and Latino/a Students Find Scholarships for College?
A Latino/a learner can apply for scholarships by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Along with funding opportunities provided through FAFSA, Latino/a students can pursue funding through private funders, community organizations, or loan programs. It is worth noting that undocumented students cannot receive federal aid and may find it risky to complete a FAFSA, though they are permitted to enroll in public school in the United States.
What Percentage of Students Get a Scholarship?
According to PNPI, 60% of Latino/a students receive federal financial aid, with about 40% receiving Pell Grants. Pell Grants are designed for students who demonstrate exceptional financial need and they do not need to be repaid.
How Do You Become a National Hispanic Scholar?
High school juniors who are at least one-quarter Hispanic are eligible to become National Hispanic Scholars. Initiated by the College Board, the program recognizes students based on their performance on the PSAT/NMSQT exam. Roughly 5,000 Hispanic and Latino/a students receive recognition annually.
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