Scholarships & Resources for African-American Students

20 scholarships and other valuable resources helping students achieve rewarding college educations and successful careers.

When it comes to getting a college education, one of the biggest hurdles is cost. Scholarships and grants from nonprofits, professional associations, schools, and other sources play a critical role in making higher education more accessible and ensuring all students have the opportunity to achieve their higher education and career goals. This guide provides a list of scholarship award programs for the Black community, gives tips on how to make your scholarship application shine, and offers additional resources that provide support to African-American students from enrollment through graduation and beyond.

Scholarships for African-American Students

Any financial aid you can get for college is great, but scholarships and grants are the most highly prized since you won’t have to pay them back. You might be surprised how many scholarships you’re eligible for. The following list of scholarships for African-American students (including a handful dedicated to those looking to get into the healthcare field) is a smart place to begin researching all of your college funding opportunities.

General Scholarships

Organization

Organization

United Methodist Church

Amount

Amount

$600

Deadline

Deadline

Varies

Eligibility

Awarded to African-American students at United Methodist Church historically black colleges/universities, have a minimum GPA of 2.5, and have been a member of the United Methodist Church for at least one year.

How to Apply

Students must visit the United Method Church’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry website, create an account, then complete the online application.

Organization

Organization

Craig T. Butler Scholarship Foundation

Amount

Amount

Varies

Deadline

Deadline

4/16/2021 (Annual)

Eligibility

Applicants must be residents of Philadelphia County, of African-American descent, have at least a 3.0 GPA, and plan to enter an accredited postsecondary institution.

How to Apply

Applicants must provide a completed application, official transcript, copy of ACT or SAT scores, essay, and two letters of recommendation.

Organization

Organization

National Hook-Up of Black Women, Inc. (NHBW, Inc.)

Amount

Amount

$1,000

Deadline

Deadline

4/30/2020 (Annual)

Eligibility

An African-American student who seeks a postsecondary degree and demonstrates a strong commitment to community service.

How to Apply

Application requires proof of acceptance to an accredited college or university, evidence of at least 200 hours of community service, an essay, and a high school transcript.

Organization

Organization

The Gates Scholarship

Amount

Amount

Varies

Deadline

Deadline

9/15/2020 (Annual)

Eligibility

Applicants must be from a minority group, including African-Americans. They must also be a high school senior eligible for the Pell Grant.

How to Apply

The online application requires students to submit evidence of leadership and an exceptional academic record. An interview might be required.

Organization

Organization

Jack and Jill Foundation

Amount

Amount

$1,500 – $2,500

Deadline

Deadline

12/9/2020 (Annual)

Eligibility

Applicants must be African-American, have at least a 3.0 GPA, and be able to prove at least 60 hours of community service.

How to Apply

Students will need to submit an online application, current transcript, one-page essay, and complete the FAFSA to demonstrate financial need.

Medical and Health Scholarships

Organization

Organization

AHIMA Foundation

Amount

Amount

$1,000 – $2,500

Deadline

Deadline

9/30/2020 (Annual)

Eligibility

Hold at least a 3.5 GPA, have completed 24 credit hours toward a degree, be a member of the American Health Information Management Association, and be studying in an area related to health information.

How to Apply

The online application requires writing several essays, providing proof of program enrollment, and submitting necessary transcripts and letters of recommendation.

Organization

Organization

Bedford Community Health Foundation

Amount

Amount

$1,000

Deadline

Deadline

6/1/2020 (Annual)

Eligibility

Applicants must be residents of Bedford City or Bedford County and enrolled in a Virginia state-approved allied health program.

How to Apply

Interested students must send a letter along with their application providing information concerning their anticipated education plans and costs.

Organization

Organization

American Dental Hygienists’ Association and Colgate Palmolive Company

Amount

Amount

$1,250

Deadline

Deadline

2/1/2021 (Annual)

Eligibility

Available members of a minority group who are pursuing an associate degree dental hygiene program. Applicants must also be a member of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and have completed at least one year of their dental hygiene program.

How to Apply

Visit the American Dental Hygienists’ Association website to obtain an application.

Organization

Organization

Hawai’i Community Foundation

Amount

Amount

Varies

Deadline

Deadline

Varies

Eligibility

Applicants must intend to study any number of fields, including almost any healthcare major, be at least a sophomore, have a minimum GPA of 2.0, and be a resident of the state of Hawaii.

How to Apply

Applicants must go to the Hawai’i Community Foundation website, create an account, and use the online application.

Organization

Organization

Allina Health and the Courage Kenny Foundation

Amount

Amount

Varies

Deadline

Deadline

4/15/2020 (Annual)

Eligibility

Applicants should be from an ethnic minority group and residents of Western Wisconsin or Minnesota. They must also have plans for a career in a rehabilitation or medical field.

How to Apply

The application requires transcripts, two letters of recommendation, an essay, and proof of financial need.

5 Keys to Landing Your Scholarship

When it comes to scholarships, the key word to remember is “competition.” Everybody wants that money, and each scholarship offer will wind up with a big stack of applications. That’s why it’s so important to make sure yours stands out. One very simple way to do that is to simply ensure you’ve filled out every blank and included every bit of information the committee needs. Since there are so many applicants, many scholarship committees won’t bother with one who hasn’t filled out the application. So, make sure you’ve covered all the bases! Also, consider the following tips to make your application shine.

  • Key #1: Take advantage of volunteer opportunities.
    Beef up that application with a long list of volunteer experience. This shows that you are a go-getter who is willing to work toward your goals, even if you aren’t getting paid while doing so. Volunteering also shows that you really want to help others.
  • Key #2: Get good letters of recommendation.
    What others have to say about you holds great weight. It details your character, abilities, talents, and essential points of what makes you who you are. Look to mentors, teachers, and community leaders who know you well to pen these all-important letters.
  • Key #3: Use your essay to impress.
    Most applications are rather dry – they are filled with contact information, test scores, transcripts, and the like. The essay is where you can really explain who you are and the unique talents you can bring to the world of healthcare.
  • Key #4: Always get it in well before the deadline.
    Never wait until the last minute. Make sure all application materials are in before the deadline. The earlier the better; some scholarship committees will look at applicants on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Key #5: Apply locally.
    Though the big national scholarships award a great deal of money, smaller scholarships add up fast. Look to scholarships from local organizations that want to help those who are in their immediate area.

College Resources for African-American Students

Before, during, and after college, students should take advantage of every outside resource possible. The resources listed below can help African-American students connect with others in their field, find mentors, work with individuals who can help them climb the ladder, and prepare them for the rigorous education that awaits.

Academic & Career

  • National Medical Association (NMA)
    The NMA began in 1895 and represents the interest of African American physicians and the patients who seek care from them. The NMA accomplishes its mission through its annual conference, public education initiatives, and facilitating research and clinical knowledge.
  • National Urban League (NUL)
    The focus of the NUL is to help African Americans and other disadvantaged groups improve their lives through financial, personal, and political means. The NUL offers a host of benefits, including special educational and mentorship programs.
  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF)
    The TMCF works to reduce barriers to education, especially for those who are members of the Black College Community. The TMCF offers a plethora of programs to further this mission, including scholarships, internships, mentorships, and other initiatives.

Social & Networking

  • The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF)
    The JRF’s primary goal is to help minority students achieve their higher education goals. In addition to financial support, the JRF also provides mentoring, internship, and networking opportunities.
  • UNCF
    The UNCF is committed to helping Black students achieve their educational goals, largely through financial support, as well as volunteer opportunities, academic assistance, professional development, and community support.
  • U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.
    This organization’s mission is to improve Black businesses through advocacy, education, and economic initiatives.

Advocacy & Diversity

  • HBCU Foundation
    The HBCU helps students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities by offering scholarships, internships, and professional opportunities.
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
    The NAACP is one of the most well-known advocacy organizations. It seeks to improve the lives of those who suffer from racial discrimination through the use of multiple initiatives, including empowerment programs.
  • Shawn Carter Foundation 
    In addition to providing scholarships, the Shawn Carter Foundation accomplishes its mission of helping socio-economically challenged individuals through a college prep bus tour for HBCUs, a study abroad exchange, and community service programs.

Healthcare Education

  • American Dental Hygienists’ Association (AHDA)
    The ADHA is open to all dental hygiene professionals and students; it aims to promote the professional interests of registered dental hygienists by promoting dental hygiene education and practice.
  • National Society of Allied Health (NSAH) 
    The NSAH is made up of HBCUs that provide allied health programs. Student resources include awards, career development, and the Epsilon Tau Sigma Honor Society.
  • Student National Medical Association (SNMA)
    In addition to addressing the needs of underserved communities, the SNMA advocates on behalf of minority medical students and offers a host of resources, including fellowships and outreach programs.