Scholarships for African Americans and Students of African Heritage


February is Black History Month, a month to celebrate the past and current achievements of black individuals and acknowledge the many contributions to society that have come from African Americans. In keeping with the sentiments of the month, the following list includes scholarships that are available to students who identify as black or African American, are natives of an African country, and/or are of African or Caribbean descent.

Scholarships for which the 2017 application deadlines have already passed are not included, nor are those that only serve students in particular states or cities, so this list is not complete. Do your own Google search and talk to your guidance counselors, mentors, teachers, and prospective institutions to learn about additional scholarship opportunities.

Scholarships for African Americans

AICPA Scholarship for Minority Accounting Students: The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants offers dozens of $1,000 to $5,000 scholarships to minority undergrad and graduate students who are currently attending a nonprofit institution to pursue accounting or a similar field. Students must be members of AICPA (which is free) and be planning to pursue a CPA license in the future. Students must be able to demonstrate financial need, and any award money must be applied to educational costs. Applications are due by April 1.

ACS Scholarships: Minority students with financial need who are interested in or currently pursuing a degree in chemistry or a related field may be eligible for up to $5,000 from the American Chemical Society. Students can apply from their senior year of high school through their junior year of college; community college students are also eligible. In addition to completing an application, students must also submit their transcript(s), two letters of recommendation, SAT or ACT scores (high school seniors only), and financial information. Scholarships are renewable. Applications are due by March 1.

Blacks at Microsoft Scholarships: This $5,000 annual scholarship is open to high school seniors who have plans to attend a four-year college the semester after graduating from high school and are interested in majoring in a field related to technology, engineering, or business. Students must have a GPA of at least 3.3, need financial aid to attend college, and showcase leadership on their résumés. In order for your application to be considered, you must submit a completed application as well as a photo, your high school transcript(s), two letters of recommendation, your résumé, and responses to two essay prompts. Applications for 2017 are due by March 1.

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Scholarships: African American students who are interested in either the performing arts or the visual arts or who intend to pursue a degree full-time can apply for one of three Congressional Black Caucus Foundation scholarships. Students are required to submit a personal statement, a résumé, two letters of recommendation, financial information, transcript(s), and a recent photograph. Arts students will have to submit additional materials. The amount of each scholarship varies; scholarships are not renewable. Applications are due either April 21 or May 19.

The LAGRANT Foundation Undergraduate Scholarships: Minority undergraduate students who are currently attending an accredited four-year institution and studying advertising, marketing, or public relations may be eligible for a $2,500 scholarship from The LAGRANT Foundation. In addition to completing an application, students must also submit an essay and one paragraph each about their activities and honors. Students who win this scholarship must be available from May 21–May 23 for a workshop. Applications are due February 28.

Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund: Minority students (either racially or ethnically) who are planning to attend an American Bar Association accredited law school in 2017 can win up to $5,000 annually toward educational costs. In addition to the application, students are required to submit their transcript(s), a personal statement, and two letters of recommendation. The scholarship is renewable, but students must reapply after their first and second years. Applications are due March 2.

NAACP Scholarships: There are two scholarships administered by the NAACP: the Agnes Jones Jackson Scholarship (up to $2,000) and the Hubertus W.V. Willems Scholarship for Male Students (up to $3,000). Applicants can range from high school seniors to graduate students, but the specific requirements for each scholarship differ. All students must be able to show financial need. Applications are due April 28.

National Press Club Scholarship for Journalism Diversity: Minority students can win up to $9,500 for four years of college plus a $500 book stipend (for a total of $2,500 annually) from the National Press Club. Students must be graduating seniors who desire to become journalists following college graduation. Students must submit samples of journalistic work, an essay, three letters of recommendation, financial information, transcript(s), and proof of admittance to a college (or proof of application if they have not yet been admitted). Applications are due March 1.

NSHSS Foundation STEM Scholarships: Minority students or those who are underrepresented in higher education who are currently high school seniors and who plan to attend college and pursue study in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics may be eligible for $1,000 from the National Society of High School Scholars Foundation. Students must complete the application and submit a personal essay, transcript(s), one recommendation, and a photo. Applications are due April 1.

United Church of Christ Avery Arthington Fund and the United Church of Christ Valerie Russell Scholarship for African American Lay Women: The United Church of Christ offers two scholarships: one for a student who has traveled from Africa to study at an accredited institution within the United States and one for a female member of the church who has a commitment to justice and is pursuing a degree. Applications for both scholarships are due March 1.

United Negro College Fund Scholarships: UNCF offers a number of scholarships to eligible students. Some of these scholarships are available only to students attending particular institutions or living in a specific geographic area. Though the deadlines for some have already passed, other applications are not due until as late as April 28.

These scholarships are just a few of many that are available. If you plan on pursuing higher education, it’s a great idea to always be on the lookout for new sources of funding. Though it can be tempting to apply only for high value scholarships, smaller awards add up, and every bit of financial aid, whether it totals $500 or $5,000 reduces your out-of-pocket costs. Good luck!


About Megan Clendenon

Megan C. is obsessed with Cincinnati-style chili, Louisville basketball, and Scandinavian crime fiction. She has lived in six different states and held 12 different jobs since beginning her undergraduate degree at Carleton College in 2008. The wanderlust abated somewhat in recent years, as Megan settled in Texas from 2013 to 2016 to finish a master’s degree in geosciences, write a thesis on the future horrors that stem from climate change, and get married. During her free time, you will find Megan sitting on the couch, cheering for her Louisville Cardinals, planning future adventures abroad, and snuggling with her dog, Tiger. She currently lives outside of Washington D.C.

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