African American scholarships are available for students living in all states and from a variety of backgrounds. Scholarships are a free offering of money to pay for your education. These scholarship are based on specific requirements you may hold, such as your grades, where you live and even your family's financial situation. As a student looking to get into college, scholarships are one of the best free college money sources you'll find, after college grants.
Types of African American Scholarships
Scholarships change from year to year, and those available may increase or decrease in amount available, too. Yet, each year, African Americans are able to go to school without having to worry about paying full price because of scholarships designed specifically for them. Each has different qualifications.
Some of the largest scholarships include the following:
- ASA Minority Fellowship Program: This program is designed for new or continuing graduate students, especially those entering a doctoral program in sociology. You must have enrollment in a strong mental health research program or faculty to qualify.
- Gates Millennium Undergraduate Scholars Program: This scholarship, given by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is one of the largest for African American, Asian Pacific Islanders, Hispanic and American Indian/Alaskan Natives. It is available for all areas of student and graduate degree programs as well, with specific focus on mathematics, education, engineering, library science and science areas.
- ESSENCE Scholars Program: Offering scholarships to black women in particular, this scholarship program is designed for a range of student disciplines. In 2005, Time Warner Inc purchased ESSENCE Magazine, but the scholarship program is still in place.
- BET Next Level Scholarship: Sallie Mae and BET offer this scholarship program, providing $25,000 in scholarships each year to high school seniors entering college in the fall. The scholarship is specifically for African American students.
- Ron Brown Scholar Program: This program gives scholarships to African American high school seniors as a renewable scholarship. Awards are given to US citizens to use at any college or university. Students must show excellence in academics, leadership, and community activities. There must be a financial need as well.
This is only five of the many options African Americans have to find free college money.
Finding More Scholarship Opportunities
Scholarships are often available through states and local communities. As a high school junior or senior, look for other opportunities through as many sources as possible.
- A good place to start is at your state's website where state issued grants (also free money to students for college) are available.
- Local organizations, churches and trade organizations may publish scholarship opportunities at their websites. Contact them directly to learn about other options.
- Federal financial aid may also be available.
- Take the time to visit your local library. Libraries often have lists of the latest scholarships available, sometimes available at their websites.
- Visit your school's financial aid office. They will provide you with a range of options in your local area, as well as nationwide scholarship options for African Americans.
Use the Web
The Internet has allowed scholarship search engines to become available, easily allowing you to find nationwide scholarships. Use these websites to search for available scholarships you may qualify for. Search them often as there are often new scholarship programs announced weekly, especially as the financial aid season approaches in January of each year.These search sites offer specific African American scholarship listings:
Don't forget to also use the large number of college scholarship websites available for non-specific African American opportunities. You can apply for any scholarship you fit the qualifications for, including sports, education, work history and needs.
Other resources to find them include:
Beware of Paid Websites
As you look for scholarship opportunities, you may find several organizations that require an upfront payment to provide you with a list of scholarship opportunities. This isn't necessary in most situations. You can find hundreds of scholarship opportunities specifically for African Americans through your own research.