There are a variety of scholarships and governmental grants available for women seeking to pursue higher education. Women have certainly come a long way, but in the field of higher education and industry-determined occupations, women as a gender still continue to be for the most part very underrepresented.
Although information and statistics show that more females finish higher education degrees than male peers, a lot of professors still maintain that higher education institutions are unsuccessful in completely engaging their female students on all positions and do not succeed in supporting and nurturing non-traditional roles and regards. This problem becomes even more unequal when exercised to the interests of women who are minorities.
Because co-educational higher education institutions are still unsuccessful in engaging many females on points of interest vital to women, private women’s institutions continue to thrive. Not only do women-only colleges and universities now offer activities and interests that are attractive across the board to all females, most institutions are excessively funded by private donors and have financial aid packages that make it possible, and even practical, for even the most economically strapped women students to attend.
Financial Aid Funding Sources For Women
There is a bigger need for financial help for females seeking higher education because there is a very large increase in the number of women who are going or returning to college. The competition for aid is fierce, and more states are reviewing and revising sources of educational funds.
In this day and age more women are attending college in the United States than during any other period in history. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics show that in 1969, only 41 percent of all students going to college were women.
But as of 2005, women made up over 57 percent of the United States college attendees. Those are amazing strides for women, but one major problem still exists. And that is finding the funds to pay for higher education.
With more and more women attending colleges and universities, not just on campus but also taking online courses, there is a heated competition for grants, scholarships, and all other kinds of financial aid. Furthermore, the increasing number of females who are raising kids in a single-parent household and the need for student financial assistance becomes even more crucial.
The good news is that there remains a large amount of financial aid attainable for females who want to work toward higher education, provided the students complete the assigned homework and know exactly where to look for financial assistance.
Financial Aid From the Government
For females who want to attend colleges or universities and reside in either low-income or single-parent housing, the first place to visit should be www.GovBenefits.gov.
This is a United States government website which was created with the single purpose of connecting women with any and all federal benefits they might be qualified to obtain. On this website, you will locate government loans and grants for higher education as well as monetary assistance for food, child care, housing, counseling, supplemental health insurance and assistance with utility payments.
To qualify for some of these benefits, you must meet the low-income standards, but if you qualify and are going to college to benefit your financial situation, you are the person these benefits were created to assist.
If you are not sure which of these programs or benefits you may qualify for, just go to the web site and fill out the online questionnaire at www.GovBenefits.gov. It will calculate what you are eligible for and will put together a list of benefits for which you may be entitled.
The next source of funding everyone, not just women, should check out is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The FAFSA can also be completed online, and can point you to federal grants and loan programs. Even if you do not live in a low-income household, you will still want to complete a FAFSA.
There are many different kinds of student aid available from the U.S. government such as Pell Grants, Stafford and Perkins Loans, as well as campus-based and work-study programs. Even if federal aid doesn’t completely cover the cost of tuition, every bit helps. Chances are you will be pointed to the FAFSA through the GovBenefits.gov web site.
Funding at the State and Local Level
The federal government isn’t the only source of government-based aid. Most states also offer grant and scholarship programs. In fact, some states will write off a student’s entire cost of education in an effort to fill critical job areas such as law enforcement, teaching and nursing.
The only catch is once a student has their degree they must work in that state for a specified period of time, but if you are enrolled in an online degree program in the state in which you live that probably won’t be an issue for you.
If government assistance falls short, there are other options as well. One of the largest databases of scholarships is located at FastWeb.com. Do you belong to a civic group, volunteer for a charity, go to church or have a knack for writing essays? FastWeb.com can match you to scholarships offered by hundreds of organizations.
There are many scholarships listed here that are not based on merit (grades), but rather a student’s ties to their community and their ability to express their education goals in an essay. Scholarship awards range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Remember, scholarships, unlike loans, do not need to be repaid, so FastWeb.com is definitely worth checking out.
Funding Just for Women
Of course, there are many scholarships and grants which are aimed specifically at women and helping them achieve their goal of higher education.
The AAUW (formerly the American Association of University Women) offers several different grants, fellowship and financial awards to help females:
- Change careers
- Advance in the workplace
- Re-enter the workforce
- Enter a degree program in which participation by women has traditionally been low, such as architecture, computer science and engineering.
- Other fellowships are further restricted to women of a specific age group and economic background.
The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund offers a scholarship to women who are accepted at or enrolled at a regionally or ACICS-accredited institution earning a “technical or vocational education, an associate’s degree, or a first bachelor’s degree.” Scholarship recipients must be at least 35 years old and demonstrate financial need.
Funding by Career Field
If you are a woman and interested in a specific career path or field of study, there are routinely professional organizations that provide for each technical or trained career, and they are a great place to look for scholarships and grants. For instance, if you are interested in engineering, there is:
- The Society of Women Engineers
- The Association for Women in Science, which awards grants, scholarships and fellowships for females who want to study in the fields of physics or geoscience
- The Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting has a variety of grants and awards for females who are interested in math and accounting
If you have a solid idea of which education institution you would like to study with and want to do it online, be sure to ask them about any college-based aid or scholarships which might be available for women. There are many awards, grants and scholarships accessible through higher education institutions with campus-based programs, and many also offer financial aid to their students who want to attend college online as well.
As a matter of fact, there are some scholarships that are available specifically for online learning students, so take the time to check out the college’s web site or inquire with your admission counselor about college-based financial assistance.
Even educational institutions which are considered only “online” learning schools award some forms of financial aid. For instance, Excelsior College gives out several different scholarships based upon financial need, field of study and your grade point average.
Protect Yourself From Fraud
Despite ads and commercials for scholarship online search services, there is absolutely no such thing as student financial aid which goes “unclaimed.” There is a ton of rivalry for grants, scholarships and fellowships, so the key is to find the financial aid that is being offered to potential female students, so request information and apply to as many various funding sources as possible and do so early, as competition is fierce.
Since the number of females attending college is rising every year, the number of females applying for aid is also going up as well. Now that you have some information on where to look for the financial assistance, take the next step by filling out all required forms and get reacquainted with your writing skills for all those essays – you could be on your way to enrolling in college and earning your higher education degree.
Women’s Colleges Promote Diversity and Offer Generous Grants
Women’s colleges deliver a wide and full range of educational opportunities from a small, quiet academic environment to first-class competitive athletics. Most educational institutions vehemently encourage diversity of all kinds and offer liberal need-based and merit-based financial assistance with grants and scholarships:
- Spelman College in Atlanta is the only college that has always served the interests and education of African-American females. The institution frequently awards scholarships and grants to incoming female students based on merit, need or major field of study.
- Agnes Scott College in Atlanta not only offers scholarships and grants based on merit, but their Goizueta Foundation Scholarship is superb in its aim to award female Hispanic college-bound students a fully-funded tuition. The Goizueta Scholarship recognizes women Hispanic students who have a serious financial need for tuition assistance, but who have also shown exemplary academic standards and a talent for leadership.
Studies show that more than 40% of female students attending private women’s colleges get notable financial assistance awards that encompass grant funds straight from the college. These are not just meant for low-income students, but many middle-income students are eligible as well.
In order to carry on to successfully guiding the future careers of young females, institutions keep healthy alumnae associations that work to supply large educational funds:
- Wellesley College in Massachusetts awards no grant or scholarship available solely based on excellence. In fact, the institution takes diversity very seriously and expects that most of its enrolled students are getting some sort of financial aid. The institution spends millions of dollars every academic year to firm up the educational needs of incoming students from all walks of life. The Davis Program at Wellesley is also distinctive in that it gives non-traditional and diverse female students a program to pursue either a Bachelors or graduate degree.
- Barnard College in New York gives out grants based on need as well, but urges adding to financial aid loans and college grants with outside the college’s scholarships and grants. The Office of the Dean at Barnard puts out a regularly updated list of useful private scholarships obtainable, but not funded by, the college.
Grants for Women Pursuing Programs in Underrepresented Fields
Some of the more generous grant programs for females start with both public and private organizations that contribute to the interests of a specific career path or field of study. For example, female students with a specific interest in medicine, business, math, engineering, science, technology, and law will find that there are a large variety of professional organizations and associations that are energetically encouraging the interests of females.
Until very recently, a lot of these professional fields have been chiefly dominated by white men, without consideration of any interest on the part of women, who often cannot find the support for non-traditional professional career field paths that would have been historically followed in the past by men.
- The Barry Goldwater Scholarship Grant is available and awarded to incoming sophomores and juniors striving towards majors in both the sciences and mathematics. An excellent GPA is required and preferential consideration is given to those women who are looking to continue into graduate programs in a similar field.
- The Ford Foundation’s Pre-doctoral Fellowship for Minorities promotes the interests of graduate students pursuing careers in science, math or engineering with particular emphasis on encouraging the interests of women and minorities.
- The National Black Nurses Association was established to provide professional and educational support to African-American nurses, those that are working and those pursuing a nursing degree. Nearly a dozen grants and scholarships are available that assist undergraduate nurses who are actively enrolled in a four-year nursing program. Awards are between $500 and $2,000 per academic year.
- The National Physical Science Consortium sponsors Fellowships in the Physical Sciences designed to diversify the field. Those women and minority students studying at accepted institutions and enrolled in pre-doctoral programs may be eligible. Other criteria include GPA of at least 3.0 and expectations that the candidate will pursue a career in computer science, geology, astronomy, chemistry, or math.
- Women in Engineering and Computer and Information Science Awards are made available through the National Science Foundation. These graduate fellowships are provided for women studying in a program in math, science, engineering, or computer science.
- The Regent’s Healthcare Scholarship for Medicine and Dentistry gives resident students of New York State the opportunity to receive grant money for medical and dental school. The financial scholarship was created for minority incoming students, such as females. Applicants have to be applying to enter in to a New York State program of study and must agree to work professionally with a New York State health care facility that is considered medically under-served for a specific amount of time when they finally graduate.
Grants for Nontraditional Students and Women Pursuing Business Careers
Up until recently, women working in the business and corporate arena were relegated to low-level positions and largely ignored as far as leadership roles were concerned. To those ends, more and more professional business associations have become active in supporting the professional education of women, realizing the value of women among all levels of their ranks.
In such instances many women are falling into the non-traditional educational category, meaning they are outside the traditional college age range. Professional women are returning to college for career advancement and to retrain following family roles. Business environments have been impermeable when it comes to minority women especially. This is another tide that is slowly but surely turning:
- The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is one of the most active organizations promoting the ongoing academic and professional progress of women, especially minority women. Special preference for the grants is given to the most economically disadvantaged, and those returning to college after pursuing careers or family.
- The Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting provides grants for women pursuing a two-year, four-year or masters degree in finance or accounting. Grants are awarded based both on need and merit.
- The American Society of Women Accountants sponsors grants and scholarships that also fund degrees at two-year, four-year and graduate programs as long as the student is working toward finance or accounting degrees. Small grants are also available to cover costs incurred for industry certifications and travel.
- The Davis Program at Wellesley College is a non-traditional college degree program designed for women beyond college age. Working women, those who are returning to the workforce and those who have never pursued college may do so on one of the most respected women’s campuses in the United States.
Grants for Economically Disadvantaged Females and Nontraditional Grants
Other than just being women, large segments of the female population encounter many other obstacles when it comes to education opportunities and career goals. Females from disadvantaged backgrounds, those that have been exposed to and victims of violence and single-parent moms all encounter difficult challenges. In circumstances like these, most females are not only without any necessary financial support, but they also do not have family and social support that can often make a huge difference in prosperity versus defeat:
- The Business and Professional Women’s Association pays very close attention to the financial needs of disadvantaged and minority females who would otherwise prove unsuccessful in thriving. The target of this assistance are females that are past the usual college age, trying to reenter the career world or those who wish to pursue higher education toward potential career advancement.
- The Jeanette Rankin Foundation awards college educational grants to women over the age of 35, women who are believed to be non-traditional, who are active trying to pursue technical or professional programs, such as two-year degrees or Bachelor’s degrees. Candidates must show urgent financial need.
Grants for Single Mothers and Battered Women
An ongoing dispute between politicians and educators is that single moms remain disadvantaged based on dated and badly considered welfare and public assistance regulations. In some states, they keep defining student financial aid as income, which almost always makes a single mother ineligible to receive welfare or public assistance.
In these cases, single mothers cannot afford to attend college, even if they are public institutions if they are denied their welfare benefits. This unlucky catch-22 means that females in these inescapable circumstances have no recourse to strive toward an education and career field that would in any other way give them the chance to escape their economic circumstances:
- Raise the Nation is a not-for-profit organization wholly dedicated to the benefits of single moms. The organization awards a continuing education financial grant that is given based solely on financial need. The loan repayment program is given out to females who have student loans and little or no way to repay. But, there is a catch: eligible female applicants must have a substantial record of community service or volunteering in order to receive financial aid.
- The Women’s Independence Scholarship program, which is sponsored by the Sunshine Lady Foundation, is solely designed to offer educational financial grants and awards to females who have been victims of domestic abuse. These females not only face a lot of gender inequality, but also severe emotional and financial challenges.
Need-Based Grants and Scholarships
Pell Grants are awarded to only the most financially disadvantaged female students. You can apply when you fill out the required FAFSA forms.
The Academic Competitiveness Grant is designed for students who are already receiving a Pell Grant. Freshmen and sophomores can receive up to $1,300 if they are studying in a critical-need field such as math, engineering, science, technology, or foreign languages.
The SMART Grant is a continuation of the Academic Competitiveness Grant, but created for juniors and seniors.
Federal Study Abroad Grants
David L. Boren Undergraduate Program for Study Abroad offers assistance to undergrads traveling to study languages and cultures. Of particular interest are those areas where knowledge in the language and culture would benefit U.S. national security. The program is a part of the National Security Education Program.
A program of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Benjamin A. Gilman Award is given each year to students studying abroad and who meet the criteria. Students must receive Pell Grants to qualify.
While we can’t go through every single one, each state offers its own set of college grants. You should explore your state’s higher education website for need- and merit-based grants. They offer more help than you think. Here are some of the more unique of the hundreds of state-funded grant programs. Remember, you are typically only eligible if you are a state resident:
- Alabama’s Central Community Foundation gives thousands of dollars in assistance to financially challenged women students from eligible Alabama counties.
- Arizona gives in-state resident students who were enrolled in a community college supplementary financial assistance if they want to strive toward a four-year program. The appropriately named Arizona Private Post-secondary Education Student Financial Assistance Grant awards between $750 and $1,500 to eligible students who require financial assistance.
- Colorado’s state aid program awards financial aid to students enrolled at associated Colorado institutions.
- Kansas optometry students can be awarded Optometry Service Grants in exchange for remaining in state to practice after they graduate.
- Michigan female students with mental or speech impairments should look into the Evelyn and Fredrick Weissman Education and Charitable Foundation, which is offered through the state of Michigan.
- A former chairman of the student loan guaranty in Texas, Charley Wootan, began his own scholarship in 2002 (the Charley Wootan Grant) to offer much-needed financial aid to female Texas students who are in financial need and want to pursue higher education.
- Wyoming Space Grant Programs award grants to both undergraduate- and graduate-level students working toward a degree in research in space science at a Wyoming four-year university or a community college.
- The Governor’s Workforce Development Grant in Delaware assists adult female students through their part-time degree studies. The maximum financial assistance for this grant is $2,000 per each academic year.
Most higher education institutions award tons of money in need-based grants to students. Without offering aid, many institutions would not have the diversity of the students they strive to enroll.
- The University of California at Santa Cruz offers yearly awards to environmental research students. The STEPS Institute Grants support research concentrated in either environmental or scientific research specific to California.
- Wichita State’s Bowling program (Shocker Bowling) assists with fundraising in order to give out tuition grants for athlete bowlers that want to become students.
- The University of Texas School of Advertising dispenses a variety of grants for students studying towards graduate degrees in advertising, marketing and communications.
- Arizona State University Jewish Studies Grants are given to both undergraduate and graduate students.
- The University of North Carolina awards students enrolled in their School of Public Health a large variety of scholarship and grant opportunities.
- Iowa State awards a handful of Iowa Horse Council Grants to students.
- Purdue University’s Span Plan is a brand new program created to provide grant aid to adult students who have been displaced from a college community or environment.
- Duke University’s Grants for Study in China is used to increase student studies abroad in otherwise “un-traveled” places.
- Students that are living in Mississippi in any of the following counties, which include Webster, Attala, Montgomery, Carroll or Choctaw, and are enrolled in the University of Mississippi can apply for the Sumners Grants. These students are eligible if they are going towards either undergraduate or graduate-level studies.
- Virginia Commonwealth University awards students attending their technology program several grant and funding opportunities with their Emerging Technologies Undergraduate Research Grants.
- Law students who are attending the University of Wyoming’s Law School can qualify to get summertime grants from the Public Interest Law Fund if they are able and willing to be employed in the public sector.
The list of financial assistance, grants and awards is separated by professions, but you will find them offered through educational institution programs, individual endowments, as well as those sponsored by companies, organizations and corporations.
For financial aid for those women studying African American studies on a graduate level, check out The Ruth Simms Hamilton Research Fellowship.
The American Floral Endowment awards grants for studies that focus on all subject areas relating to the charge and care of horticultural plants. These grants will no doubt be suitable to students studying or researching Horticulture.
Don’t overlook the national chapters of the Future Farmers of America grants. Undergraduate students with a love of farming or agriculture of any kind should research these grants. The organization supposedly has over $2 million dollars available every academic year to financially help students.
Anthropology is very research- (not to mention time-)demanding. A variety of the grant opportunities and funds in this field of study target only post-graduate research and field study.
Post-doctoral female students enrolled and involved in the study of Ancient Man can explore the Mesoamerican Studies Grants, where they can find financial assistance for their research.
The respected National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration funds grant research projects centered on the research in study areas linked to biology, paleontology, oceanography, archaeology and the field of anthropology.
If you’re studying filmmaking, you should look into The Carole Fielding Student Grants for prospective filmmakers. This financial award is sponsored by The University Film and Video Association.
If you’re a woman studying art on a graduate level and are employed as a painter or in the field of mixed media, you should definitely look into Alpha Delta Kappa’s International Honorary Sorority for Women Educators Fine Arts Grants — they award financial grants annually.
The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation awards a yearly grant for plays, novels or short stories. There is a catch: the written material must be “gay-positive.” These grants are relatively small and in the amount of $1,000.
The Durfee Artists’ Resource for Completion Grant is made available through the Association of Hispanic Arts. This specific grant program awards financial assistance to L.A. artists who need monetary assistance to help finish artistic projects, chiefly for the improvement of their profession.
If you are specializing in caricature and cartoon drawing and are a Ph.D. student working on a dissertation that explicitly concentrates on cartoon and caricature, then you should apply for the grant funded by the Caroline and Erwin Swann Foundation. This awards fellowships for caricature and cartoon drawing and is an amazing way to earn $15,000 per year towards a doctoral degree.
Students majoring in “costuming” will find the Costume Society of America’s Stella Blum Research Grant most very helpful. This program awards eligible students with up to $3,000 of financial assistance for school.
The Handweaver’s Guild of America awards grant funds to undergraduate students focused on studying in the area of fiber arts.
Athletics and Recreation
National Strength Conditioning Association Grants support students pursuing the field. Grants are available for undergraduate, graduate and research students. The National Recreation and Park Association awards $500 Student Initiative Grants to undergraduate students majoring in Recreation and Park Management, or similar areas.
The National Society of Accountants provides grants to students specializing in, of course, accounting.
If you happen to be a dependent of a veteran who was awarded a Purple Heart and you are pursuing business, then consider the Military Order of the Purple Heart’s award for Dependents of Purple Heart Recipients. $1,000 possible for full-time study.
Going into the insurance end of business? State Farm Insurance Company provides a number of research and study grants to insurance students who are studying and researching within the field.
Content-management students specializing in electronic documents will find grant money through the Electronic Document Systems Foundation.
The IEEE, or Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, sponsors grants to students at all levels of Computer Science study. Their Student Enterprise Award is given to students with promising “projects” that need funding support.
You know the folks who run the hotels and entertainment complexes of the world often have studied in the hospitality management fields. Surprisingly there are hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant monies for students studying in the field.
If you’re attending a hospitality management program at the college level, you might explore the grants offered by the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Foundation. These grants are only available through partner colleges and universities.
The Neiman Foundation for Journalism Fellowships at Harvard University are available for skilled journalists with a proven record of solid professional experience on their resume. Eligible candidates will have the chance to study at one of the nation’s leading institutions.
The American Banking Association offers an annual fellowship aimed specifically at journalists known as the Banking School Fellowship for Journalists.
Journalists who are curious about the ocean sciences will find the Ocean Science Journalism Fellowship program awarded by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute appropriate.
Food writers may be entitled to the Culinary Trust’s Travel Writing Grants.
Notable company Raytheon is in the grant game with their MathMovesU program. The company makes it profitable for college students to earn extra grant money toward tuition if they tutor or coach a math team.
Alpha Mu Theta, the National Honor Society for Math, offers merit-based awards to particularly talented math students.
Check out the American Math Society for loads of grants all for the serious math wunderkind.
The National Science Foundation offers grant fellowships to graduate level mathematicians and computer scientists.
The grants available through the Broadcast Education Association offer monetary support both need- and merit-based to students studying at all levels in the area of broadcast media.
AdCraft, a Detroit-based advertising organization, awards grants to outstanding Michigan students pursuing advertising and marketing.
Students living in Ohio and enrolled in advertising and marketing programs may qualify for one of the Cleveland Advertising Association’s grants.
Interested in studying Music in Hawaii? Then you might be interested to know that the University of Hawaii’s Music Department offers an undergraduate student in music an attractive grant called Friends of Music at Manoa.
Ensemble music students may compete for grant money from the Edgewood College Music Department. Grants to the best performers are available up to $1,500.
Non-Profit Management/Public Sector
The Aspen Institute’s Nonprofit Sector Research Fund offers grants for research that promotes the study of not-for-profit organizations or models.
Public sector leaders of tomorrow should consider the New Voices Fellowship program that now makes over a dozen grants available for students and small not-for-profit groups.
Students pursuing photography can compete for grant money through MyParkPhotos.org Foundation.
The McKnight Photography Fellowship program provides $25,000 awards to eligible photographers in Minnesota. Sponsored through the University of Minnesota.
Lutheran students could be qualified for grant money from Thrivent.
In order to make certain there is a steady flow of Baptist ministers, the American Baptist Church National Ministries sponsors a financial assistance program. To be qualified for the organization’s awards, you must be associated with the American Baptist Church.
The Geologic Society of America provides graduate grant monies to students researching their graduate theses or dissertations on topics relative to geology.
Oh, to preserve the future of oil! The American Association of Petroleum Geologists Foundation sponsors an annual Grants-in-Aid Program. Award amounts up to $2,000 to be used toward thesis research.
For the biology student specializing in malacology (the study of mollusks) comes the Student Research Grants in Malacology from the Western Society of Malacologists.
The grants, scholarships, awards and other funding opportunities you’ll find for minorities come from all types of sources.
Historically under-represented groups such as African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans are qualified for potentially millions of dollars in awards and grants. Of specific note are those areas of study that have been regularly lacking diversity, such as all studies of the sciences and business.
- The American Anthropological Association awards a Minority Dissertation Fellowship Program that goes towards funding a doctoral level student studying Anthropology.
- The Multicultural Advertising Intern Program, sponsored by the American Association of Advertising Agencies, gives out grants to students striving towards degrees in media communications and advertising.
- Minority students studying toward a degree in Hospitality Management could be qualified to compete for grant money that is sponsored by the Hyatt Hotels Fund for Minority Lodging Management Students.
- Asian-American students interested in pursuing a career in filmmaking or television production can be qualified for grant money through the Media Action Network for Asian Americans. Students have to prove merit and financial need to be awarded these $1,000 grants.
- Hispanic business students need to check out the Saludos Business Grants, as they can be very helpful.
- The Fellowship for Ethnic Minorities given out through the American Society of Criminology was created to encourage more minority students to pursue degrees in both law and criminal justice.
If you thought females were doing well in all areas of industry and careers, then you haven’t been paying attention. Recent attempts to have more gender equality have been inching forward very slowly and recent statistics show the chasms between women and men to be increasing instead of decreasing, especially in the technology fields.
- The Margaret McNamara Memorial Fund, which is sponsored by the World Bank, gives out up to $11,000 to international women enrolled in studies in the U.S., as long as the area of study is intended to assist her homeland community. Qualified beneficiaries have to plan to return to their country of origin to be eligible.
- Women in the process of changing careers, looking to beef up their educational portfolio or those who have been dismissed from colleges or universities may be qualified for one of several grants given to women with financial need by the American Association of University Women.
- International women pursuing college studies can locate grant money through the International Federation of University Women. This includes financial funding for both studies and research fellowships.
- The Jeanette Rankin Foundation gives out financially need-based education awards to women 35 and older that are challenged by higher educational systems and are financially disadvantaged.
- Zonta International sponsors a variety of large monetary grants to all women seeking to further their higher education, including the Young Women in Public Affairs Award program.
Disabilities may range from blindness and deafness to types of learning disabilities. In the effort to assimilate those students who live with a disability you will find that these and many other organizations are generous in their support:
- The Casey Martin Award is sponsored and awarded by Nike. The award is given annually to an athlete with disabilities or severe social or financial disadvantage.
- Mary Switzer Research Grants are awarded through the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. The financial award gives exceptional post-graduate female students up to $65,000 to finish research in the field of special education and disabilities.
- The Ethel Louise Armstrong Foundation not-for-profit groups awards grants that can be up to $5,000. Donations make the foundation able to offer arts and educational programs for special needs and disabled women adults.
“Non-traditional” usually encompasses students who have been displaced from college, did not finish degrees or never went directly from high school to college. Also, students migrating from technical programs to four-year colleges may be included in the category. Often women returning to careers following stints raising families or single parents with children will find funding under this heading.
- The Soroptomist International of the Americas funds the Women’s Opportunity Awards, which offer monetary grants to women in disadvantaged situations. Applicants must be responsible for supporting their household or otherwise strapped financially to receive these competitive awards.
- Women who have been seriously severed from a post-high school education and who would benefit from a college education may qualify for the Kalamazoo Women’s Education Coalition grant. Awards are between $250 and $3,000 and may include expenses to cover other lifestyle expenses that contribute to the recipient’s financial situation.
- Single mothers not only have challenges when it comes to making time for college, but the financial burden of child care costs as well as putting food on the table often keep them in jobs versus college programs. The Raise the Nation program helps colleges and universities offer grants to women who would otherwise not be able to attend.
- Purdue University’s Span Plan has been providing educational grants to adults beyond college age for years.
Students with Severe Medical Conditions/Diseases
College-bound students of a normal ilk have a cartload of challenges as it is. Students who are fighting or who have survived a serious disease face immense emotional challenges on top of financial. These are just a fraction of the organizations willing to give to the cause:
- The Ohio Chapter of the American Cancer Society gives travel grant money to supporting organizations that provide various activities for cancer patients and survivors.
- The Meningitis Trust Foundation offers grants for education and special equipment that helps with daily living.
- The Komen Foundation Awards are made available to qualifying students. Eligible candidates must have suffered the loss of a parent who has died of breast cancer. The Susan G. Komen Foundation is one of the most renowned and proactive organizations involved in the fight against breast cancer.
- The Cancer Survivor’s Fund makes grant money available to survivors of cancer who need financial assistance to return to their dreams of a college education.
Unique Grant Programs
If you are interested in really plumbing the depths of grants you will find something for almost every taste. This list is dedicated to those that are without a grander category, but by no means are they the bottom of the barrel.
- The Harry S. Truman Library Institute, which sponsors the Undergraduate Student Research Grant Program, annually awards $1,000 to a female or male student who is working on a thesis, dissertation or research paper on subjects relating to Harry S. Truman.
- The Hitachi Foundation funds $5,000 grants for graduating high school students who stand out in their communities for community involvement, service to others and in leadership roles.
- High school rocketry brainiacs could win large sums of money for college tuition through the Team America Rocketry Challenge, which is awarded and sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry. Winners share thousands of dollars in prize money and receive travel grants to a special NASA event.
- Enterprising young seamstresses may be eligible to be awarded one of the more unique grants. The contest, which was offered first on a state level, is called the “Make it with Wool” contest. Winners of the competition go on to a National contest where the prize money award is $1,000.
- American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.) Rhoads Research Foundation Grants provide generous funding to post-graduate professionals studying nutrition particularly in the areas of “metabolic support” or “clinical nutrition.” Funding varies.
- The Jewish Vocational Services of Chicago awards grants to Jewish college undergraduate and graduate students who are residents of Chicago. Priority is given to those working toward careers that are considered “helping professions.”
- Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama offers the Scarlet and Grey Cheerleading Grant to top-notch students who can earn a spot on the team. The grant covers up to half the student’s cost of tuition.
- The Endangered Language Fund provides grants to graduate level and post-doctoral students working to save ancient languages from extinction.
Grant Resources By State
We all know that scholarships are great. Being selected for an award means your child can pay less out of pocket for college while avoiding costly student loans and other debts. Typically, your student needs to write an essay for scholarship applications, and having the right scholarship essay format is critical.
Often, students get distracted by the content requirements of the essay, so your child may neglect scholarship essay format details that can set them apart from the crowd (and help judges understand what they are trying to say!)
To help your student reach the higher echelons of success, here are some scholarship essay format tips that can increase their odds of getting noticed for the right reasons. And if you are curious where to find scholarships that your child is actually eligible, you can learn more here.
Follow All Scholarship Essay Format Directions
First and foremost, your child needs to follow any instructions that are listed regarding the scholarship essay format. This includes aspects like word count, line spacing, font choice, and the use of headings.
If an organization provides guidelines about the scholarship essay format, these are there to ensure everyone is competing at the same level AND to make sure your student can effectively follow directions.
Failing to follow the rules about scholarship essay format can lead your child to be immediately disqualified, so these should always take precedence over personal preferences or standard guidelines regarding how letters are constructed.
In many cases, requirements like word count, spacing, and font ensure that the scholarship committee can successfully review the anticipated number of submissions within the time they have available. And, typically, they won’t make exceptions.
For example, if an essay needs to be 300 words, the committee will likely be fine with submissions that aren’t exactly 300, as hitting a target that specific can be challenging. So, if your child submits a piece that is 297 or 304 words, that could be okay. However, if your student turns in a 400-word essay, they’ll likely disqualify themselves from consideration. In the end, the closer to the target, the better. In our online course for students, we recommend always maximizing the word count by getting as close to the limit as possible but avoiding going over.
Standard Scholarship Essay Format
Sometimes, your child won’t have many explicit instructions regarding the formatting of the piece. In these cases, following a standard scholarship essay format is ideal.
Generally, this means creating a piece consisting of three or more paragraphs, with each paragraph being at least three sentences long. The introductory paragraph should contain a thesis statement that provides an overview of what will be discussed while the last paragraph should be dedicated to a conclusion and reiterating the primary point.
Any middle sections provide additional depth to the essay and typically represent the bulk of the content. However, in a standard scholarship essay format, each paragraph should focus on a single point that supports the larger thesis. When it’s time to cover a different point, another paragraph should be created, preferably leading off with transition sentence that creates a bridge between the previous point and the next.
Scholarship Essay Format Tips
When there isn’t specific guidance, your child may struggle with certain formatting choices.
To help them navigate tricky scholarship essay format decisions, here are some general tips:
- When not otherwise specified, your student should use a font size between 10 and 12 points.
- Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, Times New Roman, and Verdana fonts are typically considered the easiest to read and more professional, so your child one of those if a specific one isn’t required.
- If there is a page requirement (such as when a scholarship committee requests a two-page essay), your student shouldn’t use double spacing to meet the minimum unless it is explicitly requested. Otherwise, it may be perceived that your child is trying to take a shortcut. However, if there is no page minimum, 1.5 or double line spacing is acceptable.
- Your student can designate new paragraphs by either adding an extra blank line or by indenting the first line. However, they shouldn’t do both.
- Make sure to set all paper margins to one inch.
- If the essay must be printed and mailed, use a high-quality paper and use an envelope that prevents your student from having to fold the document.
- This sounds crazy but some committees specifically state not to staple the materials. If that’s the case, make sure not to staple them! Silly little things like this can lead to disqualifications (we’ve seen it..)
- Your child should always double (if not triple) check their scholarship essay for spelling or grammatical errors as these can significantly hurt their chances of being selected.
Keeping the Content on Target
As your child writes their scholarship essays, it’s easy for them to drift off on a tangent. While they may find the additional details interesting, falling off target can be seen as them not following instructions, a lack of focus, or trouble with self-editing.
When writing their scholarship essay, your student needs to ask themselves a few key questions, including:
- Can the scholarship committee follow what I am saying or the story I’m telling?
- If I didn’t know what the essay prompt was, could I reasonable ascertain it based on the content of this piece?
- Does the story focus on me (even when asked about role models) or do I spend too much time focusing on someone else?
That third point can be especially tricky when an essay question is asking about role models or people who’ve influenced your child’s life. While your student needs to touch on what they found inspiring about the person, they should spend the majority of the content talking about how they were moved/inspired/influenced and what that means for their lives. The rest can provide the necessary backstory and other details about their role model.
Ultimately, the scholarship essay format and content need to provide a cohesive narrative that helps the judges learn about your child.
If any part of the content doesn’t stay on target, it needs to be adjusted or removed. This is especially true when there is a word count or page length requirement, as superfluous details may look like your student was trying to create filler content or “fluff” as a means of hitting the minimum.
Reviewing the Essay
Ideally, your child should enlist the help of someone else, such as a trusted teacher, friend, or parent (like you!) to review their essays before they are submitted. Often, it is easier for a fresh set of eyes to catch errors that may be overlooked by the person who wrote the piece. Additionally, it can serve as confirmation that your student stayed on target and that everything feels cohesive when it’s reviewed by someone who hasn’t created it (or even knows what the prompt was).
Now, that doesn’t mean you should assume your child will want you to do the revisions. It can be tough to have writings as personal as scholarship essays read by family members, as it may make them feel vulnerable or uncomfortable. And, in the end, being able to write openly and honestly about their experiences can be the difference that sets them apart and helps them score scholarships.
So, don’t be afraid to offer your help, but, if your child says no, remember that that’s okay. Just be there to support them through this journey and provide encouragement. In the end, that can make more of a difference in the long-term than taking a red pen to their essay ever could.
What is the craziest essay prompt you’ve seen? Share it below!
Did you find this helpful? If so, share it with your friends and family so they don’t forget anything either.
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