Scholarships for Women

Scholarships have been established to assist a wide range of students who are interested in furthering their education. The money awarded does not have to be repaid, but there are often very specific requirements related to the eligibility of applicants and the expectations of recipients. Scholarships are awarded by a range of institutions and organizations, and are often focused on particular populations and interests.

Women-specific scholarships originated decades ago as a way to encourage more women to consider pursuing college-level education. At that time, female students were a minority. While the ranks of women in college have greatly expanded over the years, there is a continued effort to increase the diversity of the student population, create additional opportunities, and encourage entry into non-traditional fields of study, such as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

Application Basics

Review scholarship application instructions carefully. Each opportunity will include it’s own requirements for submission and have specific deadlines. Plan ahead and prepare your applications in advance so that you will be able to gather all of the required materials well ahead of the deadlines. Scholarships can be competitive, so put your best foot forward with every submission.

Here are a few reminders about the scholarship application process:

  • Essay: Many applications require a written essay. Follow the instructions carefully. You may be given a specific prompt or topic to write about, a choice of subjects, or a chance to choose your focus. As you prepare to write, ask yourself: what are they looking for? What are the goals for scholarship recipients? Do your best to address the interests of the organization granting the scholarship.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Some scholarships require letters of recommendation or references. If an opportunity you are interested in asks for this, choose someone relevant to the scholarship topic or organization. These letters should come from those who know you and are able to speak knowledgeably about your merits as they relate to the scholarship.
  • Proofreading: Make your application materials as error-free as possible. Take the time to make sure there are no spelling and grammar mistakes or typos. Proofread what you’ve written and ask someone else to review as well.
  • Application Materials: The components of scholarship applications vary with each opportunity. While some require only a simple form, others require essays, recommendation letters, transcripts, budget plans, and other supplemental materials. It takes time to assemble all of the items needed, so review the requirements early and get started as soon as possible.
  • Deadlines: While some programs have a rolling application process (i.e., you can submit any time), most adhere to strict deadlines for submission. Make sure you know what the deadlines are and send everything in early to be sure you are considered.

Scholarships

This article presents women-specific scholarships you may want to explore, including general criteria for each opportunity. Use the links provided to access more detailed information about eligibility and instructions for completing and submitting an application.

Field of Study

ENGINEERING

American Association of University Women Scholarships (AAUW)
The AAUW is committed to ensuring that “all women have a fair chance” at achieving their education and career goals. This is just one program through which the organization awards more than 200 scholarships each year.

  • Award: Amounts vary, but range from $5,000 to $18,000.
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Major in Computer/Information Science (M.S.), Engineering (M.E., M.S.), Mathematics/Statistics (M.S.)
    • Demonstrated academic excellence
    • Demonstrated financial need
  • Enrollment level: Students enrolled in master’s degree level programs are eligible to apply.

Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program
Recognizing a female pioneer in the field of marine biology, this program is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. The financial support provided through this program includes an educational allowance and a stipend.

  • Award: up to $42,000
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Major in oceanography, maritime archeology, or marine biology at an accredited institution (including all science, engineering, social science, and resource management of ocean and coastal areas)
    • Minimum GPA of 3.3 at time of application and throughout the award time frame
    • U.S. Citizen
  • Enrollment level: Students enrolled in or planning to attend graduate-level programs are eligible to apply.

Engineering and Technical Science Achievement Scholarships
These funding opportunities are available from the Alpha Omega Epsilon National Foundation (AOE), a nonprofit organization encouraging female students to pursue degrees in fields related to engineering and technical science. Multiple scholarships are available.

  • Award: Amounts vary, but range from $500 to $2,000.
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Overall GPA of 3.0/4.0
    • Major in a field related to engineering or technical science
    • Enrollment in, or accepted for enrollment in, an ABET-accredited program also approved by AOE.
  • Enrollment level: Applicants must be undergraduates entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year.

Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship
This international scholarship program recognizes the work of Anita Borg, founder of the Institute for Women and Technology. Recipients are invited to attend the annual Google Scholars’ Retreat in San Francisco.

  • Award: $10,000
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • “Maintain a strong academic record.”
    • Major in computer science, computer engineering, or a related technical field
    • Demonstrated leadership potential and interest in furthering the involvement of women in computer science fields
  • Enrollment level: Applicants must be enrolled at undergraduate or graduate students at the time of application.

Palantir Scholarship for Women in Technology
This opportunity is sponsored by Silicon Valley software development firm, Palantir. The organization’s mission to “solve technical problems, so they can solve the human ones” includes an investment in educating tomorrow’s computer scientists.

  • Award: Amounts vary, but range from $1,500 to $10,000.
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Major in computer science or related field
  • Enrollment level: Undergraduate and graduate (including doctoral-level) students may apply.

Society of Women Engineers Scholarships (SWE)
The SWE is a professional organization supporting female professionals in the engineering industry. Multiple scholarships are available, but students only need to submit one application to be considered. More than 200 scholarships were awarded in 2013.

  • Award: Amounts vary, but range from $1,000 to $10,000.
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Enrollment in an ABET-accredited program in the next academic year
    • Major in a field related to engineering, technology, or computing
    • Full-time student status (there are some exceptions)
  • Enrollment level: Each scholarship is focused on a specific student demographic, including undergraduate, graduate, and re-entry and non-traditional learners.

BUSINESS

Asian Women in Business Scholarship Fund (AWIB)
Female students of Asian or Pacific Islander ancestry are encouraged to apply for this opportunity from the AWIB organization. The goal of these scholarships is to assist women who “have the attributes to be our next generation of leaders.”

  • Award: Amounts vary, but range from $2,500 to $5,000.
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0
    • Must be of demonstrable Asian or Pacific Islander ancestry
    • Demonstrated community leadership role or entrepreneurial experience
  • Enrollment level: Undergraduates who are enrolled full-time and have completed at least one semester are eligible to apply.

American Association of University Women Scholarships (AAUW)
The AAUW is committed to ensuring that “all women have a fair chance” at achieving their education and career goals. This is just one program through which the organization awards more than 200 scholarships each year.

  • Award: Amounts vary, but range from $5,000 to $18,000.
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Member of a minority group, including African American/Black, Hispanic/Mexican American, Native American, Native Alaskan American, Asian or Pacific Islander American
    • Demonstrated academic excellence
    • Demonstrated financial need
  • Enrollment level: Students enrolled in MBA programs may be eligible for funding in their second year of study.

Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting Scholarships
This professional organization seeks to provide career and educational support for women interested in the field of accounting. Several scholarships are available annually.

  • Award: Amounts vary, but range from $1,000 to $5,000.
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Major in accounting with evidence of aptitude through previous coursework or experience in the field
    • Commitment to pursuing a career in finance or accounting
    • Demonstrated financial need
  • Enrollment level: Scholarships are available at undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate (i.e., doctoral) levels.

HORIZONS Scholarship
Women in Defense, a nonprofit organization, offers this scholarship program for women who are working in national defense or security, or are interested in pursuing careers in these fields.

  • Award: Amounts vary, but range from $4,000 to $20,000.
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Minimum GPA of 3.25
    • Desired majors include business (as it relates to national security and defense) as well as a range of other disciplines such as political science, economics, and international relations
    • Demonstrated financial need
  • Enrollment level: Students currently enrolled as juniors or seniors at the undergraduate level, or in graduate programs, are eligible to apply.

Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship
Sponsored by Zonta International, an organization focused on “advancing the status of women worldwide,” this scholarship program seeks to support women with potential in the field of business.

  • Award: Amounts vary, but range from $1,000 to $7,000.
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • “An outstanding academic record”
    • Major in business or a business-related field
    • Demonstrated commitment to pursue a career in business
    • Nomination through a local Zonta club
  • Enrollment level: Applicants must be in at least the second year of an undergraduate program, or in a master’s program at the time of application.

Mary Elizabeth Lockwood Beneventi MBA Scholarship
Sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), this award is given to women affiliated with the DAR who is also in a graduate business administration program.

  • Award: $2,000
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Must have a minimum GPA of 3.25
    • Must be in a graduate business administration program
    • Must obtain a letter of sponsorship from a local DAR chapter
  • Enrollment level: Applicants must be enrolled full-time in an accredited business administration program.

MEDICINE

American Association of University Women Scholarships (AAUW)
The AAUW is committed to ensuring that “all women have a fair chance” at achieving their education and career goals. This is just one program through which the organization awards more than 200 scholarships each year.

  • Award: Amounts vary, but range from $5,000 to $18,000.
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Member of a minority group, including African American/Black, Hispanic/Mexican American, Native American, Native Alaskan American, Asian and Pacific Islander American
    • Demonstrated academic excellence
    • Demonstrated financial need
  • Enrollment level: Students enrolled in their second or third year of medical school (i.e., MD, DO) may apply.

American Medical Women’s Association Medical Education Scholarships (AMWA)
These scholarships are awarded twice during the academic year to female students pursuing medical education. AMWA has a mission to “advance women in medicine and improve women’s health.”

  • Award: Four $1,000 scholarships are available.
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Student membership status in AMWA at the national level
    • Demonstrated financial need
  • Enrollment level: Students currently enrolled in medical school may apply.

Daughters of the American Revolution Nursing Scholarships
Multiple scholarships are available through a single application submission.

  • Award: One time awards of $1,000
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Enrolled in an accredited school of nursing or school of occupational therapy
    • Demonstrated financial need
    • U.S. citizenship
  • Enrollment level: These scholarships are awarded at the graduate level.

Daughters of the American Revolution Medical Scholarships
Multiple scholarships are available through a single application submission.

  • Award: Up to $5,000 annually for four consecutive years
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Good academic standing, with a minimum GPA of 3.25 for scholarship renewal
    • Demonstrated financial need
    • U.S. citizenship
  • Enrollment level: These scholarships are awarded at the graduate level to students enrolled in or accepted into accredited schools of medicine.

Joan F. Giambalvo Fund for the Advancement of Women
This opportunity is offered through a collaborative effort of the American Medical Association (AMA) and the AMA Women Physicians Section (WPS).

  • Award: Amounts vary, up to $10,000.
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Enrolled in medical school or graduate studies in a health-related field, such as public health, sociology, and psychology
    • Interest in conducting a research project
  • Enrollment level: These scholarships are awarded at the graduate level.

EDUCATION

Edward G. and Helen A. Borgens Elementary and Secondary Teacher Education Scholarships
These scholarships are based on academic merit and coordinated through the Daughters of the American Revolution. Multiple scholarships are available through a single application submission.

  • Award: Up to $1,500
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Enrolled in or accepted to attend an accredited program that prepares students to teach at the elementary or secondary level
    • Age 25 or older
    • Minimum GPA of 3.5
    • At least a college sophomore
    • U.S. citizenship
  • Enrollment level: These scholarships are awarded at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Demographics

RETURNING/NON-TRADITIONAL STUDENTS

American Association of University Women Career Development Grants (AAUW)
The AAUW is committed to ensuring that “all women have a fair chance” to achieve their education and career goals. This is just one program through which the organization awards financial assistance for education.

  • Award: Amounts vary, but range from $2,000 to $12,000.
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Plans to advance in current career field, change careers, or re-enter the workforce
    • Completed bachelor’s degree prior to June 30, 2009
    • U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status
  • Enrollment level: This funding is awarded for undergraduate and graduate study, as well as the pursuit of a certificate or specialized training.

Emerge Scholarships
This nonprofit program was established to support “women whose educations have been interrupted, who have overcome significant obstacles, and who give back to their communities.”

  • Award: Amounts vary year to year, but recently ranged from $2,000 to $5,000.
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Enrolled in or accepted into an educational institution
    • Age 25 or older
    • Demonstrated financial need
    • Evidence of community service
  • Enrollment level: This funding is awarded for undergraduate and graduate study.

Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women Program
Best selling author Linda Lael Miller offers 10 scholarships each year to women who want “to pursue their goals of improving their lot in life through education.” The money awarded can be used for a range of expenses from tuition and food to childcare and transportation.

  • Award: Up to $1,000
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Age 25 or older
    • Enrolled in or accepted into a U.S. or Canadian college or university
    • Legal resident of the U.S. or Canada
  • Enrollment level: These scholarships are awarded at the undergraduate and graduate level.

M. Hildred Blewett Fellowship
Offered through the American Physical Society, this opportunity is available to students whose careers in physics research were interrupted. Funding can be used to cover childcare and other expenses, as well as tuition and equipment.

  • Award: Up to $45,000
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Previous academic work toward a PhD
    • Established affiliation with an academic institution
    • Citizen, legal resident, or resident alien in the U.S. or Canada
  • Enrollment level: This funding is awarded at the doctoral level.

PEO Program for Continuing Education
The Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO) aims to celebrate, educate, and motivate “women to achieve their highest aspirations.” One of the ways the group does this is through a series of education scholarships.

  • Award: A one-time grant of up to $3,000
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Experienced at least 24 months of non-student status as an adult
    • Within 24 months of completing a program that will lead to employment or advancement in the student’s chosen field
    • Citizen of the U.S. or Canada
  • Enrollment level: These scholarships are awarded at the undergraduate and master’s degree level.

Talbots Women’s Scholarship Program
Funded by the Talbots’ Charitable Foundation, this program offers financial assistance to non-traditional, female students.

  • Award: Amounts vary, but range from $5,000 to $30,000.
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Completion of a high school diploma or GED prior to September 2004
    • Enrolled in or plans to enroll in an academic program at an accredited institution in the U.S. or Canada
    • At least two semesters or 24 credit hours remaining to complete a degree
  • Enrollment level: These scholarships are awarded at the undergraduate level.

Mothers

Lifetime Adoption Foundation Scholarships
The Lifetime Adoption Foundation provides a range of nonprofit services focused on “the development of healthy and fulfilling futures.”

  • Award: Amounts vary.
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • A birth mother who placed a child up for adoption from 1990 to the present
    • Minimum 2.0 GPA
    • Enrolled in or accepted into a part-time or full-time program
    • Drug free
  • Enrollment level: Awardees may attend vocational or undergraduate institutions.

Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation Awards
This foundation seeks to continue the work of Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first woman of color elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and an ardent proponent of women’s rights and civil rights.

  • Award: up to $5,000, which may be used for school and living expenses while enrolled as a student
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • A mother with minor children
    • Enrolled in a not-for-profit, accredited institution
    • Meet low-income status as defined by the program (e.g., annual family income of less than $20,000 for a family of two)
  • Enrollment level: Applicants must be pursuing vocational, undergraduate, or graduate level programs, including professional and doctoral degrees.

Military Veterans

Army Women’s Foundation Legacy Scholarship
The Army Women’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization, offers this funding as a way to recognize and support the service of women in the military.

  • Award: Amounts vary, but range from $1,000 to $2,500.
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Honorable service in the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve, or Army National Guard
    • Minimum high school GPA of 2.5 for community college and technical certificate students; minimum GPA of 3.0 for undergraduate and graduate students
  • Enrollment level: Scholarships are available for study in community college programs, technical certificate programs, and at the undergraduate and graduate level at colleges and universities

Career Start Scholarship
This opportunity for a $500 scholarship is sponsored by the AMVETS National Ladies Auxiliary, and offered to “members who are expanding, updating, and/or reentering the work force.” The award is handed out to three students annually.

  • Award: $500
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Current member of the AMVETS National Ladies Auxiliary
    • Successful completion of at least one semester/quarter at an accredited technical or business school, or college or university
    • Demonstrated financial need
  • Enrollment level: These scholarships are awarded at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Low-Income

Jeannette Rankin Foundation Women’s Scholarship Fund
Established to honor the work and mission of women’s rights supporter Jeannette Rankin, this fund seeks to help low-income women complete college degrees.

  • Award: up to $500
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Age 35 or older
    • Demonstrated low-income status as per the U.S. Department of Labor’s Lower Living Standard guidelines.
    • Enrolled in or accepted to a school that holds regional or ACICS accreditation
    • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Enrollment level: These scholarships are awarded to students pursuing a technical or vocational education, associate degree, or first bachelor’s degree.

Soroptimist Live Your Dream Awards
The Soroptimist volunteer organization seeks to “improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment.” For women who provide the primary financial support in their households, this scholarship opportunity can make education goals a reality.

  • Award: $5,000 regional awards, with additional grants available ranging from $3,000 to $10,000
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Enrolled in or accepted into a program
    • Do not have a graduate degree
    • Demonstrated financial need
  • Enrollment level: Students in vocational or other skills training programs, and undergraduate degree programs are eligible to apply.

Women’s Organizations

Daughters of American Agriculture Scholarships
Multiple scholarships are available from this organization devoted to honoring the “memory of those courageous and adventuresome pioneer women who played such an important role in the founding of this nation.”

  • Award: $1,000
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Age 18-23 for the Jean Ibendahl Scholarship; age 24 or older for the Sister Thomas More Bertels award
    • Planned course work in agricultural leadership, communications, rural sociology, medicine, or related subjects
    • A farmer or rancher, or close relative of a farmer, rancher, or other agricultural professional
    • Demonstrated financial need
    • Prior knowledge or experience in agriculture
  • Enrollment level: Awards are made at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Executive Women International Scholarship Program (EWI)
This global women’s organization is focused on career development, professional networking, and community service. Competition for these scholarships takes place at the 70 regional chapters of the organization.

  • Award: Chapter level awards vary, and winners compete for corporate level scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • High school senior
    • Plan to enroll in a degree program at an accredited institution
    • Minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0
    • Demonstrated financial need
  • Enrollment level: These scholarships are awarded at the undergraduate level.

Girl Scouts Awards and Scholarships
The Girl Scouts organization provides a wide range of scholarships and grants, often affiliated with achievements within the Girl Scout programs and activities. Those interested in finding out more should use the website to search a national database of opportunities, and contact their local Girl Scout Council for more information about additional financial support.

PEO STAR Scholarship
The Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO) aims to celebrate, educate, and motivate “women to achieve their highest aspirations.” One of the ways the group does this is through a series of education scholarships.

  • Award: $2,500
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • High school senior
    • Minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0
    • Plan to enroll in an accredited post-secondary institution
    • Age 20 or younger
    • Citizen or legal permanent resident of the U.S. or Canada
  • Enrollment level: These scholarships are awarded at the undergraduate level.

Women’s Independence Scholarship Program (WISP)
WISP, Inc. is a private organization focused on assisting survivors of domestic abuse to achieve their educational goals.

  • Award: Amounts are determined on an individual basis. Past amounts have averaged around $2,000.
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • A survivor of partner abuse, separated from the relationship for one to seven years
    • Received services from a nonprofit agency through which a sponsor/mentor may be identified
    • Enrolled in or applied to an accredited school or program in the U.S.
    • Interested in education to advance current career, make a career change, or re-enter the workforce
    • Demonstrated financial need
    • Citizen or legal resident of the U.S.
  • Enrollment level: Awards are made to those in vocational and technical training programs, as well as students at two- and four-year colleges.

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