2020 College Scholarship and Grant Guide for Women
How female students can find more money for college
Scholarships and grants can provide key assistance to women looking for ways to pay for college without taking on too much student loan debt. Some major sources of student aid for women are colleges and universities themselves, female-focused organizations, and women's professional associations.
Grants and scholarships are funding for college that you don’t have to repay. Generally, grants refer to need-based aid while scholarships are more often used for merit-based aid.
Colleges and Universities
Many colleges offer their own scholarships or grants for women or partner with female-focused organizations such as Distinguished Young Women to do so. On-campus departments or organizations, including student or women’s clubs, or sports teams, can also be sources of aid for female students.
Here are a few examples of some college scholarships and grants:
- Boston University Women’s Guild Scholarships are extended to women age 30 and over with an average award of $5,500.
- Southern Illinois University Women’s Club awards $2,000 scholarships to one traditional female student and one nontraditional female student each year. The program defines a non-traditional student as one whose college education was interrupted due to a variety of life circumstances.
- The Women’s Center of the University of New Orleans (UNO) awards a variety of scholarships to female students, including up to $3,000 to a computer science student each semester.
- The Women’s Club of the University of Louisville offers $11,000 and $500 awards each school year, with preference given to single mothers.
Reach out to a college’s financial aid office, the department that oversees your chosen area of study, and other on-campus organizations to see if they offer this type of aid.
Organizations that help women access more academic and career opportunities are another smart place to look for student aid. Providing educational funding for women is a natural extension of the missions of these nonprofits and advocacy groups.
These groups’ student aid for women comes in different sizes and with a wide range of criteria to qualify, so spend some time finding scholarship programs that are a good fit for you. Here, we’ve highlighted a few such scholarships and college grants offered by women-centered organizations:
- American Association of University Women (AAUW) offers a range of scholarships for women. State and city branches of the AAUW also offer local scholarships with awards up to $10,000. Career Development Grants assist women returning to college to make a career change.
- The Jeannette Rankin Foundation Scholarship aids women age 35 or older to complete vocational, associate, or first bachelor’s degree.
- The Women’s Independence Scholarship Program provides college funding (the average award is $2,000 per term) to women who are survivors of intimate partner abuse and have a demonstrated need for financial assistance.
- The Yale University Women’s Organization Scholarship awards between $1,000 and $3,000 to women in the Yale community (but not necessarily students at Yale) who are returning to college.
Women’s Professional Associations
You can also check professional associations for women that provide networking and support to women as they progress their careers in a given field. This support often includes offering student aid for women earning degrees in related areas of study.
Here are examples of professional associations that provide scholarships and college grants for women:
- The Alliance for Women in Media sponsors scholarships of up to $5,000 for women pursuing careers in news, journalism, or media.
- The Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting provides several scholarships to women earning a degree in accounting, with awards of up to $16,000 over the course of four years.
- The Society of Women Engineers administers dozens of scholarships to women pursuing degrees for a career in engineering and computer science, with awards between $1,000 and $17,000.
- The Women Techmakers Scholars Program offers $10,000 scholarships to students in computer science or computer engineering majors who are making efforts to increase women’s involvement in this field.
Conduct a Thorough Search for Scholarships and Grants
We highlighted several scholarships and college grants for women here, but there are many more out there.
As you’re seeking out scholarships and grants for women, don’t overlook general student aid that’s not tied to gender. There are thousands more scholarships and grants extended to both men and women that you can seek out and apply to, from federal Pell Grants to work-study programs.
In addition to searching out female-focused aid, consider seeking aid offered to other marginalized groups. Many scholarships aim to help students with a particular socioeconomic status, racial or ethnic identity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, or who meet other specific criteria.
Conduct a broad search to find and apply for scholarships that could be offered for your specific background, circumstances, goals, and needs. Help is out there, and with some time and effort, you can apply to get extra money for college.