College Scholarships for Women

Women Win Big in Scholarship Territory

Gender inequality exists in some male-dominated fields, so a multitude of foundations, organizations and philanthropic funds strive to create greater balance in the workforce by offering scholarships and other educational assistance for the exclusive benefit of female students.

As they continue to carve out their places in professional employment roles, women enjoy privileged access to scholarships that promote continuing and advanced education, from undergraduate to doctoral levels.  Traditionally male-served professions are seeing greater representation from cadre of highly trained women, due in part to educational scholarships that help them succeed.

Scholarship eligibility is tied to a myriad of variables, each uniquely defined by the groups that are offering the funds.  Some are merit-based, while others are issued on strictly need-based criteria.  To find all the scholarships for which you qualify, tap resources like your high school guidance counselor and your school’s financial aid office.  As you search for scholarships, consider the things that makes you unique; a scholarship might come from your church, your (or your parents) employer, a civic organization or some other granting body that plays a role in your life.

Popular Scholarships

In many cases, contemporary female students are outperforming their male counterparts in the classroom, especially in fields in which women have traditionally been underrepresented: science, math, engineering, technology, business, and law.  Scholarships provide a leg up for women pursuing degrees immediately following high school, and for those returning to college after a break.

Some popular funding sources for women’s scholarships include :

  • Colleges and universities
  • Government sources
  • Religious entities
  • Minority advocacy groups
  • Professional organizations
  • Corporate sponsors
scholarships for women

STEM Subjects

Our list of scholarships by field of study illuminates areas of need, where women can excel with the help of grants and scholarships. Educational specialties like science, math, engineering and technology offer fertile grounds for women seeking generous scholarships and well-paying careers.

  • The Selected Professions Fellowships sponsored by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) offers awards between $5,000 and $20,000 for females entering graduate or post-graduate degree programs in STEM fields.
  • The Association for Women in Mathematics offers the Alice T. Schafer Mathematics Prize to undergraduate women showing promise in mathematics.  To determine prize winners, letters of nomination from members of the math field are reviewed, alongside student transcripts and other relevant documentation.
  • Microsoft Research Graduate Women’s Scholarship Program provides one-year scholarships to female graduate students who are working toward a PhD.  Universities nominate candidates during their first year of graduate studies, with winners receiving $15,000 during their second year.  Scholarship eligibility is limited to women studying computer science, electrical engineering or mathematics.
  • Scholarships for undergraduate and graduate women studying engineering and computer science are awarded annually by the Society of Women Engineers. SWE has become a visible force for professional women by administering over one-half million dollars in scholarships each year.  Freshman applicants studying in the U.S. must submit high school transcripts reflecting cumulative grade point averages between 3.5 and 4.0, as well as two letters of recommendation from teachers – one of which must relate to STEM subjects.
  • In 2012, Google administered Anita Borg Memorial Scholarships to female computer science and computer engineering students in their final year of undergraduate study or beyond.  $10,ooo was awarded to each winning global scholar bound for graduate school, maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5.
  • Business and Professional Women’s Foundation contributes to female advancement in the STEM fields through direct scholarships issued to women enrolled at accredited institutions.  Applicants must be age 25 or older, residents of the United States and within 2 years of completing undergraduate studies.
  • Vanguard Women in Information Technology Scholarships are funded by one of the largest financial management firms in the country. Since 2004 the company has dispersed over $250,000 to deserving female IT students.
  • Here’s a twist on financial aid: how about a scholarship for developing computer games? While it is a highly specialized field, women are less likely to work in technology-oriented jobs overall; scholarships like these move them forward in tech industries. Check out the Women Gamers scholarships.

Not a left-brained kind of girl?

A lot of lip service is given to the STEM subjects, but that’s no reason to leave out scholarships for women whose passions lean toward other academic areas.

  • This list of art scholarships for female sculptors, art history majors, weavers, and visual artists of all types is a valuable resource for creative women working their formal educations.
  • Kentucky Foundation for Women disperses funding to feminist artists and organizations through their Art Enrichment program.  Promoting social change and fostering positive outcomes for women in the arts is the stated mission of this feminist advocacy group.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)  runs government sponsored scholarship funds for women entering health care fields.  HRSA’s National Health Service Corps, Nursing Scholarship Program, and Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students target specific health care student groups, but each is designed to train health care professionals to work in under-served areas.

From Colleges and University Sources

Selective scholarships for women can be college-specific. Universities administer scholarships that are available only to female students who study at their schools. Your on-campus department of study provides the must up to date information about relevant scholarships.

Scholarships that originate from your school are sometimes very narrowly defined, serving the wishes of funding benefactors.  This is great news for female students, because the terms of some scholarships exclude men, making it easier for women to qualify.  Here are a couple examples:

  • The Velma E. Stuit Scholarships for Women in Mathematics, Statistics, or Science, from the University of Iowa, awards $2,000 aid packages to worthy female candidates.
  • Bethel College Visual Arts Scholarship Programs invite talented female art students to submit portfolios for consideration.
  • Agnes Scott College is a Presbyterian college for women, located in Atlanta.  The school administers a wide range of scholarships, including a highly competitive Phi Beta Kappa award for members who have earned at least 45 credits and maintain a 3.5 GPA.  Winning the school’s Presbyterian Scholarship includes church leadership requirements, as well as academic excellence; a minister’s recommendation is suggested for application.  Agnes Scott also promotes diversity through its Goizueta Foundation Scholarship, which favors Latina applicants.

Professional Organizations

Groups of all kinds fund scholarships for women. If you know your major, it is possible to pinpoint scholarships that serve your precise educational interests.  Target professional associations and organizations that speak to your passions; scholarships are often present.

Visit organizational websites to explore available scholarships.  Sometimes you’ll gain an advantage by joining an organization and becoming active in your local chapter. This can be an effective strategy for winning money, but only if the group promotes your chosen field.

  • Women Chefs and Restaurateurs is a professional organization for female chefs and other women working in the food industry. The WCR awards dozens of challenging and unique internships and scholarship opportunities.
  • American Association of Professional Women advocates for equality through education, research and philanthropy.  By partnering with institutions of higher education, local branches serve their memberships with a variety of scholarships and grants for women.  Interested members are encouraged to inquire directly with state branches for the most up to date application and award information.
  • Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting supports the accounting profession through training, research and other initiatives that advance women’s standing in the field.  Scholarships empower women in specific areas, but each requires demonstrable commitment to the profession through prior course work or employment experience, as well as financial need.  Scholarship examples include Women in Transition, Women in Need and aid from the Moss Adams Foundation.
  • American Agri-Women is a coalition of women’s agricultural organizations that issues annual scholarships to women working in the field. Ranchers, farmers and their close relatives are eligible for tuition funding for further education.  Annual Daughters of American Agriculture Scholarships total $1000 each and target two distinct age groups, ages 18-23 and ages 24+.
  • Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O) is a unique advocacy group for women that has roots dating back to the 1860′s.  The sisterhood runs several projects designed to advance education among women, including its International Peace Scholarship, Program for Continuing Education, Doctoral Scholar Awards, and the P.E.O. STAR Scholarships for high school seniors.  As if that were not enough, the organization actually runs its own school called Cottey College.  The two-year school is an accredited liberal arts and science college that serves primarily as a transfer institution for women who wish to move into four-year programs.

Minority and International Women

Without a doubt there are a variety of scholarship opportunities available for all women. But in some cases the most worthy candidates are those women who are also educationally disadvantaged due to their minority status. Black and Hispanic women will find deep, and diverse sources for educational funds, some from colleges and universities and many from public and private sources.

  • The Margaret MacNamara Memorial Fund is open to international women born before 1970 who meet eligibility criteria. Students from outside the United States can qualify for scholarships designed to elevate educational opportunities for women in developing countries.
  • The American Association of University Women’s Selected Professions Fellowships for African American women in Business, Law, and Medicine offers competitive funding; $5,000 to $12,000, to applicants entering graduate or post-graduate programs.
  • American Geosciences Institute has administered the Minority Participation Program Geoscience Student Scholarship since 1972, with the goal of developing greater minority representation in geoscience education.  Scholarships are issued alongside professional development efforts that include mentoring.
  • Zonta International is a far-reaching multi-national network committed to advancing equality for women.  Through the organization’s Jane M Klausman Women in Business Scholarship, undergraduates and master’s degree candidates are empowered to pursue leadership roles in business.  Twelve international scholarships of $5000 each are awarded annually to business management students.
  • World is a non-profit, international arts organization that works hard to promote education among minority and disadvantaged students. If you are “into” graphic arts, painting, furniture design, new media, photography, or other creative modes of expression, then check out the WorldStudio AIGA Scholarships. Awards range from $2,000 to $6,000.
  • Vanguard Minority Scholarship Program provides tuition assistance for minority college students who have reached their junior or senior year at the time of application.  $10,000 is awarded to each scholarship winner who qualifies for this merit-based award.
  • Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology is just that, dispersing scholarships to African American undergraduates studying technology at historically black colleges and universities.
  • If you are a minority students, do not fail to explore scholarship opportunities put forth by the United Negro College Fund or the Hispanic College Fund.
  • Single mothers qualify for additional scholarship opportunities.

Returning to College/Career Advancement

Education among women is sometimes interrupted by family and child rearing.  When a woman decides to return to school, either to finish a bachelor’s program or to pursue an advanced degree, budgeting for tuition can be difficult.  To help women return to school, corporations, feminine advocacy groups, and a host of other organizations sponsor continuing education scholarships.

  • Talbot’s Women’s Scholarships help women who graduated from high school in prior to September, 2002. but here is scholarship money to help them finally succeed. Seventeen $10,000 scholarships are awarded annually, in addition to a single $30,000 memorial award that honors the company’s founder, Nancy Talbot.  Finalists for the scholarships are chosen based on academic record, leadership, participation in community activities, work experience and stated career goals.  Applicants must demonstrate financial need to be considered for these empowering scholarships.
  • UCLA maintains a comprehensive list of women’s scholarships.
  • Jeanette Rankin Scholarship Fund honors the first woman elected to the United States Congress.  Ms. Rankin left behind a portion of her estate to help disadvantaged women, providing the seed money for this scholarship fund.  The effort has helped more than 600 women, with over $1 million in aid since 1978.  Low income women over age 35 are invited to break the cycle of poverty by applying scholarship funds to undergraduate degree and vocational school expenses.
  • The Girlfriend Factor is a Palm Desert, California non-profit organization dedicated to advancing education and occupational development goals of inspired women on the West Coast.  Current students over the age of 25, studying in Coachella Valley, San Francisco or Port Angeles, WA are eligible for Go Girl scholarships.  Applicants must demonstrate how their educational paths lead to specific career advancement outcomes.
  • The AARP Foundation Women’s Scholarship Program helps women over age 50 return to school to pursue bachelor’s and associate’s degrees. The Women’s Scholarship Program is about creating career opportunities and increasing mobility among low-income women who have unfulfilling employment roles.  Mother’s, veterans and unemployed applicants are given priority consideration for the scholarships.  Research shows that due to lower earning potential and male-dominated work patterns, women are disproportionately at risk for having insufficient funds in the second half of their lives. By participating in education and training opportunities, which they could otherwise not afford, scholarship winners gain momentum at a crucial point in their pre-retirement employment years. In 2010, 125 women were awarded more than $450,000 in AARP women’s educational scholarships.