Student Grants

Grants for African Americans

College is an expensive undertaking. While getting an education is always worth it, and will typically pay for itself over the long-term, many people struggle to find a way to pay for that education in the short term.

Student loans are always available, but at some point they must be paid back. A better option is to take advantage of college grants that may be available. If you are an African American, there are college grants available that are designed to help you pay for your education.

There are many grants available for minorities. What you may not realize is that there is no limit to how many of those scholarships and grants you apply for. It costs nothing to apply for them, and you may find that you are able to piece together enough grants to pay for your entire education.

Websites about Scholarships and Grants

A good place to start is with websites that focus on grants for minorities. Scholarship Gateway provides an extensive list of scholarships that are available for black Americans. While you will not be awarded every scholarship you apply for, even one or two can help make a dent in your college bills. features an extensive listing of possible scholarships and grants that students can apply for. This site lists hundreds of grants and scholarships. Searches can be done by the type of scholarship, minority scholarships, and specific college scholarships.

The Sallie Mae Fund offers a free scholarship search to help African-American students obtain the funds to pay for school. This site is designed to help students quickly find the scholarships they qualify for.

United Negro College Fund

The United Negro College Fund was designed to help black students pay for college. It has 39 member colleges, all of which are small, liberal arts schools. The tuitions at these schools are kept low, largely due to their small size. Every year, the UNCF helps more than 60,000 students attend and pay for school. There are more than 400 scholarship and internship programs, allowing students from low-income and even moderate-income households to pay for their education.

Community Organizations

Some scholarship programs are not heavily advertised, but can be found through word of mouth. Talk to all family members and friends. Let them know you are looking for grants to go to school. Some organizations, like certain chapters of the Rotary Club, offer scholarships that are awarded every year but are not heavily advertised. Consider local businesses, also. While these grants may not be large dollar amounts, they can quickly add up.

In addition to community organizations, check with your own church. There may be scholarships available through your individual church, or their national affiliations. You may well be awarded a scholarship through some very unexpected sources. Any community organization you have been involved with can be a source of grant or scholarship funds.


An impressive number of companies offer scholarships for employees, and children of employees. While these may not be specifically geared towards African Americans, they can still help you pay for your education. Often, the best way to find out about them is to check with your company.

If you are still a dependent, ask your parents to check with their company.

If you are currently employed, and the degree you are working towards is in your current field, your employer may be willing to offer tuition reimbursement in exchange for a commitment to stay with the company for a certain length of time. This can be a valuable program for working adults of all races who are trying to better themselves. These programs will typically require that the employee maintain a certain average, or will only reimburse for classes where the grade was an A or B.

Research Fellowships

A fellowship program may well pay for some of your education costs, as well as a stipend. They typically require a certain working commitment, such as over a summer while in school. However, this is not only money for schooling, it’s also experience. And having experience in your field when you graduate can be worth more than the stipend itself. This experience can be put on your resume, and will easily help you actually get a job once you are done with school.

Check with Your State

Throughout the country, states have noticed that certain groups are underrepresented on college campuses. Over the decades, many programs have been put in place to help minority students afford college in an effort to close that gap. Search your state websites to see what grants and scholarships are available for you.

Future teachers, especially, may find that this is a viable option. Many states will offer to pay some or all of a student’s education expenses, if that student agrees to stay and teach in that state for a set number of years. Currently, some states are offering incentive programs for teachers to work in the inner-city school districts.

Not only do these programs help pay for school, they also guarantee the student a job upon graduation.

While teaching is one area that states have commonly provided grants in, there is also a growing demand for nurses. Many states are starting to offer incentive programs for nurses as well as teachers.

Even if you are not interesting in teaching or nursing, check with your state for programs aimed at minority students. Some states may require that you attend certain state colleges or universities to have the funds, so it may be a good idea to research this option before getting your heart set on a certain school.

Consider your Field of Study

Any given field has a number of jobs available, along with a number of people competing for those jobs. To increase your chances of getting a grant, consider a field that has a higher supply of jobs compared with the number of people qualified to fill them.

The technical and scientific fields typically have more openings than they have candidates. In an effort to create more qualified employees in these areas, grants are often offered. They include science, engineering, technology, physical and occupational therapy, math, teaching, nursing, and chemistry.

Consult with Your School

Most schools have a strong desire to see a solid ethnic mix on their campuses. Therefore, individual schools often have different grant programs to help minorities attend. They may have programs based on ethnicity, level of need, and/or field of study. Research your school online to see what grants and scholarships they offer. Also, talk to the school’s financial aid office. They are often aware of programs that you might not find anywhere else. Make an appointment with a school representative so that you can take your time and get as much information as they have to offer.

You may qualify for Several Types of Grants

College grants are available for many different kinds of people, and it’s entirely possible that you fall into more than one category. African Americans have access to grants not available to other groups. However, women also have access to grants that are geared specifically for them.

Single mothers have access to special programs, and so do working adults who are returning to school. If you are an African American, single mother who has been in the workforce and is now returning to school, you may want to apply for grants geared at women, single mothers, and returning students, as well as minority grants.

Examples of Available Programs

Private Scholarships and Grants

The UNCF*MERCK Science Research Scholarships and Fellowships
This program will provide up to $35,000 to African Americans entering the field of science. The award will cover up to $25,000 for tuition and fees, and provides the remaining $10,000 as a stipend.

Allison E. Fisher Scholarship

This scholarship focuses on African Americans entering the field of broadcast journalism. Applicants should already be enrolled in school and should have a solid GPA of 3.0 or better. Community service and other criteria are taken into account with this award.

APSA Minority Fellows Program

Political science fields are also looking for more African Americans, and the APSA helps by providing stipends to minorities. The emphasis is on college graduates working towards their doctorates, and the final goal is to help ensure that minorities not only enter the field, but also that they stay in it.

The Augustana College Circle of Courage Minority Scholarships

These grants focus on full-time minority students and will award between one thousand and five thousand dollars annually.

HP Scholars Program

Minority students majoring in engineering and attending one of the following universities may apply: University of California, Los Angeles; North Carolina A&T; Morgan State University; or the University of Washington. The internships total more than $40,000 for each student and are designed to help cover all the costs of going to school.

National Association of Black Journalists Scholarship Programs

These programs focus on students pursuing careers in journalism. Each scholarship will pay up to $5,000.

Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Minority students who are studying in the field of microbiology, and have demonstrated the ability to purse graduate careers, can apply for this fellowship. Participation in a summer research program is required. However, this fellowship can provide valuable experience as well as funding for tuition.

Gates Millennium Scholars Program

A grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was used to establish this program in 1999. It focuses on minority students in any discipline. There are also grants available for graduate students focusing on studies in math, science, engineering, library science, or education.

State Scholarships and Grants

Idaho Minority and “At Risk” Student Scholarship

The Idaho Legislature created this fund to help those students who have the talent pay for school, despite cultural, economic or physical roadblocks. The award is $3,000 a year and could go a long way towards paying for college. Applications must be residents of Idaho, and meet 3 out of 5 criteria. These criteria include being a first generation college student, disabled, migrant farm worker or the dependent child of such a worker, be able to show substantial financial need, and should be a member of some minority group.

Indiana Minority Teacher/ Special Education Services Scholarship

The 1988 Indiana General Assembly created this program to help bring more diversity into the schools. Black and Hispanic students can apply if they will be seeking a teaching certificate, or if they are entering the fields of special education, occupational therapy or physical therapy.

Hawaii Community Foundation Scholarships

There are more than 85 different funds assembled by individuals, businesses, and private foundations that provide the funding for these scholarships. Applicants should be residents of Hawai’i, show financial aid, be full-time students, and have a GPA of 2.7 or higher.

The South Carolina Access & Equity Undergraduate Scholars Program

Minority students in South Carolina may qualify for this program. This program focuses on expanding the diversity of students attending technical schools.

Wisconsin Higher Education Grant

Undergraduate, Wisconsin residents who are attending school at least part-time at the University of Wisconsin may qualify for these funds.

Federal Scholarships and Grants

The Pell Grant

The Pell Grant is designed to help low income students pay for college. The grants change from one year to the next, but currently will pay for up to $4,000 a year for college. Currently, income levels must be below $20,000 to qualify. While these grants are not geared specifically at minorities, they should not be discounted as an excellent source of tuition assistance.

Competitive Grants

Sphinx Competition

This contest focuses on young black and latino string players. 18 semi-finalists are chosen to compete for one of the Sphinx Fund Scholarships.

Religious Awards

Lett Scholarship Fund

African American ministerial and missionary students who are residents of Ohio, and a member of a church associated with the American Baptist Churches of Ohio, may apply.

There thousands of grant and scholarship programs available to help people pay for college. Many are geared towards African Americans. Not all of them have income requirements, although there are many that require you to show a financial need. All grants and scholarships have minimum requirements concerning grades. Students applying for or receiving scholarships or grants of any kind are typically required to pass the courses.

Not only does the student need to have good grades going into the application process, but those grades should be maintained to qualify for more aid in subsequent years. In a competitive process where there are hundreds (or even thousands) of people applying for one grant, the grades that you are making can mean the difference between being awarded the money or not.

Keep Trying for Grants

When applying for student grants, do not get discouraged if you do not win the first one, or even the first hundred that you apply for. Remember, applying for any grant costs nothing and presents an opportunity for an impressive award. Apply for every grant you find that you qualify for.

Many grants pay only a small amount towards your education. While there are some larger ones that will cover substantial amounts, there are many more that cover one thousand, or five thousand dollars of tuition fees and other expenses. However, if you are able to win several of these grants, then you can get your entire college experience paid for. There is no limit to how many grants you can apply for, receive, and use.

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  • Reply D. M. Latham May 22, 2011 at 1:45 am

    I am a female minority member and appreciate this information. Thank you.

    • Reply amaris humphrey August 2, 2012 at 8:12 pm

      Please help me with some grants so I could finish up my college experience. My parents are working very hard and they are having a very hard time financing this. I am presently at the University of New Haven in the Criminal Justice and Forensics school.
      Thank you very much.

    • Reply My name is Joe Lewis January 25, 2013 at 3:14 pm

      I am a African American student who is presently in college but I am having difficulty paying for my tuition. I need some help who can I talk to.

  • Reply BRILYA MCCRANEY May 25, 2011 at 4:12 am

    I am African American/Asian and I’m finding it very hard to win scholarships or grants even tho I worked very hard to keep my GPA 3.65. I’ve been raised by my grandma and the only way I can afford to go to college is to win scholarships or grants. I really need help to do this. Thank you, I appreciate your help.

  • Reply ceisammie casterlow June 16, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    i tried to access the webpage but i was unsuccessful i am trying to see what is the qualifications to get a grant to complete my education

  • Reply Bonita Bundrage July 2, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    I am interested in finding scholorships for an upcoming freshman in high school. My son
    has an IEP at school and does not really enjoy the public school he attends. Please direct
    me to the proper people in the state of Georgia where we live.

    Bonita Bundrage

    • Reply justin dejuan gibson+ Detention LeveL+ system February 17, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      African American Detention evaluate My Level For Wayne county community college to see that I,m a successful student with graduation status below Degree determination Due to getting Back FiniciAl Aid. Democracy? republican?Its not the same.But I Accept graduation status below 5.0 getting back in to college cirricuLum 3.9 taking any Grant to achieve or Next Level postion.

  • Reply Tylynn Peterson September 19, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    I am posting to get information on cash grants for minorty students. My daugther has finished her degree but is unable to obtain a copy to have in her possession. She owes $768.00 to obtain it. I have been laid off from current position in August of this year.

  • Reply Kenneth A. Wright II November 1, 2011 at 9:45 am

    TO :


    my name is kenneth wright im still kinda of sell shock

    wow you can find out anything when you have the right resources.

    im 25 currently attending wyotech electrician program in West Sacramento Ca
    currently homeless couch to couch park to park still have time to be a good father to my children
    im receiving an b 86.9 percent in my class right now just found out about all this depth im about to get into and came across this scholarship. how can i apply.

  • Reply Charkiem mccormick November 8, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    im a young African American looking for help for school i have no job and things are really hard and im trying to futher my education please help me with anything my contact info is 518 861-6131

  • Reply Antonette Houston December 21, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    I am striving financially with college. I have no family to help and max on grants and loans only to not even have enough money left for book and other educational and dorm needs.
    tired and hurt. iv come a long way and dont wanna have to give up now due to financial problems. i started early college classes in 9th grade and graduated with honors from high school. was senior class president, cheerleader caption, prom queen. working so hard toward my goal of becoming a heart surgeon.. i chose that field when my nephew was born on Valentines Day with three holes in his tiny heart and watched him endure three open heart surgeries. i don’t want to be a failure or put my study on hold because im almost there i just need a mentor or someone to believe in me and my dreams. i pray everyday for a breakthrough. Please Please Help me. Thank you

  • Reply Maxine Kelley December 23, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    I’m a returning student at LACC, majoring in Psychology. My immediate goal is to obtain a certificate in drug/alcohol counseling. My GPA is 4.0 but I am struggling financially to keep a roof over my head. Was living in a shelter six months ago while attending school and a job training course, I’m still unable to find employment. I really need information as to where I can obtain financial help (grants, scholarship), so that I can continue my education. Oh by the way I graduated from high school in 1972.

  • Reply gentree Hudson-hightower December 24, 2011 at 1:44 am

    I can not go back to school because I need more money.

  • Reply Sabrina Knox January 3, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    I am a young single parent who is going back to school to further my education so that i can support myself and my children. The course that i am taking now does not offer financial aid it actually is costing me nine hundred sum odd dollars witch is not bad. I am lookong for a grant to help me pay for my classes if you have information that would help please contact me

  • Reply Chelsea Larnette January 5, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    I am 19 years of age, and I currently just finished high school . I have been wanting to get into college ever since I was in the 6 th grade, I never knew how easy it was to want to go but than again hard to get into with no cash. My parents have done all they can and they are struggling themselves . I made a promise within my own heart that if I just get in the doors of a college; I will go the extra mile that is expected form every human being . I have no kids because I know that to have a healthy family it requires money and love . I vowed never to bring a child into this world w/o having the mental and financial stabilty to raise them . God is my main priority and his desire for me is to go to college, so I am goin to be about my fathers business and attend .

    • Reply Kendralyn D. June 27, 2012 at 4:30 am

      Totally agree with that!

  • Reply crystal robinson January 16, 2012 at 12:18 am

    hello, i am 26 years old i am married with 2 small children. i am the only one who works. i get 200 dollars a month in food stamps i pay 50 dollars a week for my childrens daycare. i make 11.00 a hour i have not been late, or missed a day since i started my job . i support my family the best i can i enrolled in a nail technology program only to be told i could not receive financial aid because i defaulted own my student lons when i as 19. it cost 6,000 for the program i just need a wayplease help me find a way i dont have the funds to come up with 6000. thank you

  • Reply Shelby Simone Smith January 18, 2012 at 1:57 am

    Hi, I am in search of some well-needed money to attend school the Fall semester. I am currently enrolled in college at La Roche College in Pittsburgh, PA. I applied for several schools and this was the best fit for me. Just to get here and find out Duquesne University is the school I plan to attend the next Fall semester. It’s just me and my mom and she is struggling, sacrificing everything to keep me here. She is doing her best to keep me here because she wants my future to big and bright and I love her dearly for every sacrifice she is making. I as well as my mom want to succeed in my field of nursing. I plan to get my Bachelor’s degree in nursing and continue on to med school to become a pediatrician. I want this so bad for me and my mom, she is my inspiration. Pls advise financial
    support. Thanks in advance.

  • Reply melissa January 26, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Hi I’m in need of money for college for my 22 year old son. who cant seem to get a start because, our family is low income,he really wants to attend college to be able to take care of his three children in the future . the jobs that he is applying for are requiring more skills and tranning then he has .Please help any suggestions are apprecated.

  • Reply Ebony King February 13, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    hi my name is Ebony, I am looking for funding to return to school. i attended Lincoln University right after High school but had to leave due to my housing finances i would love to get back in school . but i cant seem to get a grant or anything from anyone. my mom is trying her bestto get help with the funding .please some one help me!!!

  • Reply Guilenne Oslin February 16, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I am a young single black parent who is going back to school to further my education so that i can support myself and my son. The course that i am taking now does not offer financial aid it actually is costing me one thosousand eight hundred dollar witch is not bad but i can t afford it at this monent. I am lookong for a grant to help me pay for my classes if you have information that would help please contact me

  • Reply Anderson Charles September 4, 2012 at 1:29 am

    I am looking for financial assistance to attend university in Jan 2013. I am from the Island of St. Lucia (in the Caribbean). I am a Police Officer/Musican. I am coming to the end of my service to my country and have been trying to get to further my education……..get to a new stage in my life. i am currently accepted into lamar university to start a BSc In computer Science in Jan 2013. Funding in St. Lucia is limited……………Can you please help me?

  • Reply litoria ball September 4, 2012 at 2:49 am

    I’M a mother of 5 and 5 grandchildren.I decided to go back to’s truly joy.fortythree years of age and i attend BIR TRAINING CENTER.MY study is accounting/business.A few monthes ago i didn’t know how to turn on a i do and proud of i’m strolling through the computer learning about dfferent grants i maybe eligible is the thing to do,i’m going for the long haul.

  • Reply denies September 18, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    I’m a single mother going to school and have a child in school also an I don’t have a job lots of people ask me how the only thing that I can say is that it is the lord!

  • Reply Rahshida April 28, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Hi, I am not looking for grant and scholarships for college. I am however, looking for moneys that will help with my middle school children’s tuition to study abroad in Spain and Rome Italy. They have been chosen to participate in an ambassadors program, which is a great opportunity for them!If anyone can direct me as to where I can go for assistance, I would greatly appreciate it!

  • Reply Gwendolyn Janal Edmonson March 24, 2014 at 12:10 am

    I am looking for financial assistance for school. I would like to have my own business one day. Looking forward to starting business classes so that I can learn how to run my own business. I am a 46 year old mother of 2 which are adults. I have 1 granddaughter and 6 year old adopted daughter from my brother and his wife. Blessed as I am have always wanted to own a Christian Shop. T-shirts, Bibles, CD’s, etc. Will appreciate any assistance for myself and mu family. Thanks!

  • Reply Ginger June 17, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Hello I am an African American woman it has been years since I have been in college. I have accumulated a debt from loans and switching schools now I no longer can utilize financial aid to service me; because I have attended so many schools. Now I am paying out of pocket and it is becoming taxing because I want to take more but i can only afford 1-2 classes. I am so close to graduating but it is discouraging, especially since I have been out of school for so long. If you guys have any suggestions or can point me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated.

  • Reply Teresa Freeman Parker March 8, 2019 at 11:02 pm

    Thank you for this valuable information.

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