Editorial Note: Forbes Advisor may earn a commission on sales made from partner links on this page, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations.
While college is expensive for everyone, Black students carry a disproportionate amount of student loan debt. On average, Black college graduates owe $52,725 in student loans, while white graduates owe just $28,006—a difference of nearly $25,000. Carrying such a large amount of debt can make it difficult to make ends meet, and has a lasting effect on graduates’ careers and life choices.
If you plan on attending college, you can reduce—or even eliminate—the need for student loans by applying for scholarships. There are many scholarships for Black students, and you can combine multiple awards to lower your education expenses.
Top 10 Scholarships for Black Students
Scholarships for Black students can come from a variety of sources, including schools, nonprofit organizations and private companies. Scholarships represent free money that doesn’t have to be repaid and can range in value from a few hundred dollars to full tuition. Some of the top scholarship opportunities available are:
1. American Chemical Society (ACS) Scholars Program
Application deadline: March 1, 2022
The ACS Scholars Program gives renewable scholarships to undergraduate students from historically underrepresented groups that are planning to study chemical sciences or chemistry-related majors. Selected students can receive up to $5,000 per year, and the prize is renewable until you graduate.
You must be a high school senior planning to attend college or enrolled as a full-time college student to qualify. You must identify as African American or Black, Hispanic or Latino or American Indian. To apply, submit your application along with official transcripts and two letters of recommendation. You must also include a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR) after completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
2. Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship
Application deadline: January 12, 2022
The Jackie Robinson Foundation offers scholarships for Black high school students. Eligible students can receive up to $30,000 over four years to cover their education costs.
To qualify, you must be a high school senior, part of a minority group, have evidence of financial need and demonstrated leadership potential or civic engagement. Students must submit copies of their standardized test scores, transcripts, four essays and letters of recommendation.
3. Black at Microsoft Scholarship
Application deadline: March 2022
Through the Black at Microsoft Scholarship Program, eligible students can get up to $20,000 over four years to pay for college.
To qualify, you must be of African descent and a high school senior planning to attend college in the fall immediately following your graduation from high school. The scholarship is available only to students majoring in engineering, computer science, computer information systems or select business programs, such as finance or business administration.
You must have a demonstrated need for financial assistance and submit two letters of recommendation, two essays, a resume and a photo to apply.
4. Enterprise Holdings ROAD Forward Scholarship
Application deadline: Fall 2022
The Enterprise Holdings ROAD Forward Scholarship Program offers scholarships for Black high school students that are the first in their families to go to college. To qualify, students must plan to attend a United Negro College Fund member institution.
Awarded based on financial need, academic performance and a written essay, recipients can get up to $12,222 in financial aid.
5. Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship Program
Application deadline: Annually in the fall
One of the best-known awards for Black students is the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship Program. It awards two $10,000 scholarships each year to exceptional students—one male and one female—attending accredited historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
To qualify, students must be rising seniors at an accredited HBCU, have a minimum GPA of 3.5, display an unmet financial need verified by their school and complete the FAFSA.
6. Generation Google Scholarship
Application deadline: December 10, 2021
Black students interested in careers in technology may be eligible for the Generation Google Scholarship. This award provides up to $10,000 in financial assistance to Black and African American students, women, Hispanic or Latino students and members of other groups that have been underrepresented in the field.
Awards are granted based on academic performance, leadership experience and the candidate’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D. students are eligible for this scholarship.
7. KnowBe4 Scholarship for Black Americans in Cybersecurity
Application deadline: April 18, 2022
Undergraduate and graduate students planning on majoring in cybersecurity or information assurance may qualify for the KnowBe4 Scholarship for Black Americans in Cybersecurity. Award recipients will receive up to $10,000 for their college expenses and up to $3,000 for campus housing.
To apply, you must be Black or African American, have at least a 3.2 GPA and agree to a Zoom interview. You will also have to submit your official transcripts, letters of recommendation, an essay and your resume.
8. National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club (NANBPWC) National Scholarship
Application deadline: Spring 2022
Given to graduating seniors, the NANBPWC National Scholarship varies in amount from year to year. To qualify, students must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and submit an essay on that year’s prompt.
9. Ron Brown Scholarship
Application deadline: January 9, 2022
Academically talented students can receive up to $40,000 over the course of their college careers through the Ron Brown Scholarship Program. The scholarship is for Black and African American high school seniors from economically challenged backgrounds and a focus on public service.
To apply, you’ll need to submit two letters of recommendation, your SAT or ACT scores, an official transcript and answers to essay questions.
10. The Gates Scholarship
Application deadline: Fall 2022
The Gates Scholarship is for low-income high school seniors belonging to minority groups. The scholarship is a last-dollar award, meaning it will cover the entirety of your remaining college expenses not covered by other financial aid or the expected family contribution as noted on your FAFSA. Students must plan to attend an accredited four-year college university full-time.
To qualify, students must be a high school senior with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.3. Ideal candidates should be in the top 10% of their class with demonstrated leadership experience.
How to Search for Scholarships and Grants for Black Students
Finding enough financial aid to pay for your education can feel like a daunting task, but there are tools you can use to make it easier. To find available scholarships and grants, follow these steps:
1. Complete the FAFSA and CSS Profile
To get all the financial aid you’re entitled to, complete the FAFSA (and the CSS profile if your school requires it). Although the federal government and colleges use these forms to determine your financial aid eligibility, nonprofit organizations and companies also frequently use them when evaluating scholarship or grant applications.
2. Contact the Financial Aid Office
If you need additional financial aid, reach out to your college’s financial aid office to discuss your situation and see if there are other opportunities available. There may be institutional scholarships and grants, or they may refer you to a campus diversity group that may offer scholarships.
3. Search Scholarship and Grant Databases
To find grants and scholarships that are offered by organizations and companies, you’ll have to do some searching on your own. The College Board’s Scholarship Search tool is a database of over 2,200 awards, totaling over $6 billion in financial aid. You can use the tool to narrow down your search based on your racial or ethnic background, gender identity, major, academic focus, athletic talents or artistic achievements.
Other popular scholarship databases include FastWeb, Scholarships.com and Niche.
Compare Student Loan Rates In Minutes
Compare rates from participating lenders via Credible.com
Planning for College
By taking advantage of grants and scholarships for Black students, you can lower your college costs and potentially avoid student loans altogether. If you’re planning on going to college, start searching for scholarships early and pay attention to deadlines to ensure you get the maximum amount of financial aid possible.
Credit: Source link