The lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer/questioning (LGBT+) community and its allies have made significant strides toward equality in the past few years. The legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015 and LGBT+ adoption in 2016 were huge. But discriminatory laws aren’t the only challenge faced by people who identify as LGBT+.
Members of this community are more likely to experience hate crimes than any other group, for example. Similarly horrifying: LGBT+ high schoolers are more likely to suffer rapes and attacks than their peers. They may experience bullying, depression, name-calling, and feelings of uncertainty or shame before or after coming out.
On a smaller scale, but still important: These students may struggle to find an LGBT+-identifying role model, like a teacher, mentor, or guidance counselor, and miss out on specific resources and support. It’s not uncommon for these students to get behind in their learning.Some organizations are not only recognizing these challenges but encouraging LGBT+ students to continue their education despite the adversity. How?
Some organizations are not only recognizing these challenges but encouraging LGBT+ students to continue their education despite the adversity. How? Scholarships!
There are hundreds out there, and you might meet the requirements for some open to LGBT+ students.
For students across the nation who are making the world better for the LGBT+ community:
- The League Foundation has three scholarships for LGBT+ students. It evaluates applicants based on their leadership roles in LGBT+ activities, among other criteria.
- The Point Foundation values applicants who demonstrate leadership and service to the LGBT+ community. High-achieving students who demonstrate financial need receive priority.
- The Queer Foundation invites LGBT+ high school seniors to participate in an essay contest. Its theme changes from year to year, but the foundation always evaluates essays on their arguments, grammar, and originality.
- Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) awards scholarships to LGBT+ students (and their allies!) who are making the world a better place.
For residents of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington:
The Pride Foundation offers more than 50 scholarships, and each values something different. LGBT+ students with well-defined academic interests and leadership experience may find an opportunity for themselves. The foundation also supports LGBT+ students from specific regions and cultural backgrounds.
For residents of Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York:
The LIVE OUT LOUD Educational Scholarship recognizes up to three graduating high school seniors with a proven track record of leadership and community service.
For students who don’t mind doing a little digging:
The above list of LGBT+ scholarships is nowhere near exhaustive. In fact, there are hundreds of scholarships for students who identify as LGBT+, and some opportunities are very specific. There are some for LGBT+ students studying aviation or law, for example, and others for students attending specific colleges.
The following websites maintain databases of these hundreds of opportunities. Sure, it may require a little digging to find the right scholarships for you, but just think of the payoff!
For students who want to expand their funding options outside of LGBT+-related scholarships:
To increase your chances of getting a scholarship, apply, apply, apply! Once you’ve scouted out LGBT+-specific scholarships, remember that the search doesn’t have to be over.
There are scholarships abound for students of specific cultural backgrounds, races, religions, and genders. You may also qualify for scholarships open to students from your local community or the college you have chosen.