Are You a Muslim or Studying Islam?

Finding Scholarship Programs for Islamic Students

There are a number of scholarship opportunities offered for Muslim students, both in the U. S. and in other countries, and the following information is a brief overview of what is available. The best source for information about such scholarships is your local Muslim community, because many such communities pride themselves on helping send students to college. Ask your community leaders for assistance in making personal contacts.

Scholarships From Private Organizations

Islamic Development BankMuslim scholarships

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) provides scholarships for students in its member countries and also for Muslim students in other countries. Member countries include nations like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Egypt, but not America.

Here are the three types of scholarship currently offered:

  • The IDB Scholarship Programme for Muslim Communities in Non-Member Countries, which would include American Muslim students, gives financial assistance for school in the form of grants to local Muslim groups. Those groups then make non-interest-bearing loans to students with good academic records and financial need, for the purpose of a professional undergraduate or masters degree.
  • The IDB M.Sc. Scholarship Programme operates in 20 member countries classed by IDB as eligible, and the awards go to academically superior students in the sciences (including technology). To apply, you must be nominated by a research institution in your own country, be certified as medically fit, and not already be receiving any other scholarships.
  • The IDB Merit Scholarship Programme for High Technology is for more advanced applied science and technology students in all member countries. Both Ph.D. candidates and those involved in post-doctoral studies can apply for these awards.

All three types of IDB’s financial aid are distributed with the goal of furthering the economic development of the association’s members.

Islamic Scholarship Fund

The Islamic Scholarship Fund (ISF), in contrast, hands out money in order to educate Muslim students for public policy positions. ISF’s funding goes to those seeking degrees in four fields: humanities, social sciences, liberal arts, and law. Within that scope, ISF offers a wide variety of scholarships that fall into different categories in terms of student eligibility, such as the national scholarships (open to all) and the alumni scholarships (for students at named universities).

The scholarships range from $2,000 to $10,000, depending on available money and each student’s level of achievement. Here are a few of the individual awards:

  • The ISF National Scholarships require that you meet a few basic standards (U. S. citizenship or legal permanent residence, enrolled at an accredited American school, GPA of at least 3.0, and so on). These awards go to students not eligible for the community or alumni scholarships.
  • The ISF-Yaseen Foundation Scholarship is for students who belong to the Muslim community of Belmont, California, and there is a similar scholarship for the area served by the Ehsan Center of Canoga Park.
  • There are Alumni scholarships available for students at three schools in the University of California system (Los Angeles, Berkeley, and Irvine).

King Faisal Foundation

You can find the most helpful information about the King Faisal Foundation scholarships and the King Faisal International Prize on the websites of schools whose students sometimes receive them, like Duke and Willamette. The scholarships are intended for Muslim students in fields like medicine, engineering, and the sciences, and the International Prize is awarded in five categories: Medicine, Science, Arabic Language and Literature, Service to Islam, and Islamic Studies.

Each prize brings $200,000.

Muslim Women’s Association

The Muslim Women’s Association directs its scholarships to female students. You must attend school full-time, demonstrate financial need, do well in school, take at least one Islamic Studies class, and provide documentation to support those points with your application. Students from the Washington, D.C. area receive preference.

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee distributes the Jack G. Shaheen Mass Communications Scholarships of $1,000 each to Arab American students who are majoring in media studies. Any of the following fields qualify: film, radio, television, and journalism. You must be a junior or senior undergraduate or in graduate school to apply.

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee-Michigan

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee-Michigan has established the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship, which is awarded to contest winners from among the Arab and Chaldean American high school seniors in Michigan. To enter the contest, students submit essays on the role of Dr. King’s philosophy in their lives, and authors of the top twenty-five pieces are chosen for awards.

Center for Arab American Philanthropy

The Center for Arab American Philanthropy administers the Jack G. and Bernice M. Shaheen Endowed Media Scholarship Fund, also from the Shaheen family mentioned above. Arab American undergraduates and graduate students planning careers in media are eligible for the Shaheen scholarships, with the goal of combating negative stereotypes of Arabs in popular American culture.


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