Nowadays, attending college comes with a big price tag. However, pursuing higher education is a lot more feasible for women today thanks to the numerous financial aid options available. From school scholarships to federal loans, to government grants and work-study options, women are able to get some funding to experience college.
Since there are so many options out there, it's important that students find scholarships and grants that line up well with their pursuits and interests. To help you find the perfect ones to apply for, we have put together this detailed guide to make the process easier. We will break down the different types of funding available, share some insight on how to go after the ones that interest you, and also cover some of the other ways to afford college.
Every scholarship and grant is different. They may have different requirements, and more often than not, they are looking for students not only with promising academic potential, but also someone who will be studying in their field. For example, a engineering-related company may offer a scholarship to women college students, but it will only be available to those pursuing a degree in that field.
While there are many industry-specific scholarships and grants out there, there are also plenty of general scholarships that have broader requirements. If you aren't too sure what you want to study in college just yet, then one of these general requirements may be perfect for you. Additionally, there may be funding allotted specifically for certain demographics. In addition to academics, there are plenty of scholarships available for those who have special skills or fit a specific demographic. For example, if you love sports, you may want to look into any relevant sports scholarships to see if you fit their requirements for application.
Financial aid makes it possible for many more women to attend college each year. Luckily, there are a plethora of financial aid options out there. There is funding for underrepresented demographics and fields, and even the popular ones as well. With so many, it can be difficult to weed out the ones worth looking into and spending extra time on research and applying for. To help make the process a little simpler, we are going to discuss the best resources to make searching for funding much less time consuming.
The below resources are great starting points for female students wondering where to start in their financial aid search.
Career centers in your state and/or city are worth looking into. They often share an updated list of scholarship opportunities that are for local students only, making it less competitive than the scholarships open on a national level. Career centers may also introduce ﬁnancial assistance programs that cover tuition and internship opportunities that aren't paid but can work toward paying off college. Every center will be different, so it is highly advisable that you check your local one out to see what kind of offerings they have!
Speaking to an academic professional about your college career is one of the best choices you can make if you are new to the financial aid world and are looking for the right funding sources. College counselors are great at going over the different financing options and helping you find those sources! They often know where all the great scholarships are and may be able to help you find one or a few that best suits your academic history, skills, and educational pursuits. If you are a female student in high school planning on attending college, it will be of value to you to speak with your high school counselor as early as sophomore year to become aware of application deadlines and more.
The good ol' Internet... a good source for many things now, and definitely that for finding all the different college funding options! Some great websites that allow students to find the right scholarship include:
These websites allow students to easily narrow down scholarship options by selecting different factors that apply to them, including gender.
There are many local groups out there that support furthering women's education. To advocate it, they offer competitive scholarship and grants to help women go after and achieve their career goals. There are programs out there to support working mothers, female minorities, and the women working in STEM-related jobs. The goal is to increase awareness for these under-represented groups and hopefully make attending college possible for more female students. Some great women's organizations that work to promote women's higher education include:
There are many organizations that offer scholarships in fields of study that are generally dominated by men. These scholarships are in place to combat the gender inequality and help women have a greater chance of success, where they'd historically face many obstacles due to antiquated views of what a woman can do.
All the different scholarships available to women will have a multitude of eligibility requirements. Some are merit-based and others are need-based and yet even others are location based, to help those within a certain state, or even more specifically, county. Talking with a local educational guidance counselor or local government official can help point you in the right direction, so that you may tap into all the available scholarships in your area. Below we'll cover the scholarships as organized by field of study.
Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program - This scholarship is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. If you are a female student in oceanography, marine biology, and other related sciences then you'll want to bookmark this scholarship. It is primarily a merit-based scholarship, that also takes into consideration financial need.
Priscilla Carney Jones Scholarship - You'll be awarded with a minimum of $1,500 to be used towards tuition, books, and lab fees. It is specifically for female undergraduates majoring in chemistry or related disciplines.
M. Hildred Blewett Fellowship - For women who have had their careers interrupted, then this fellowship could offer you a substantial amount of relief. The award is $45,000 with up to 50% allowed to be used for care of your dependents. You must be pursuing work in the physics field to apply for this fellowship.
Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship - Libbie H. Hyman was one of the top invertebrate zoologists. This scholarship is in her memory, to help students who study invertebrates. The awards range from $1,000 to $1,700.
National Garden Clubs Scholarship - NGC offers a substantial scholarship award of $3,500 to 30 recipients. Deadline is typically February 1st of each year. The applicant to this scholarship must be pursuing a degree in horticulture, environmental issues, landscape design, or other fields of study related to plants.
Katherine Weimer Award - This scholarship was designed to help female physicists in the early years of their career. You must be studying plasma physics to apply for this scholarship. The deadline is April 1st of each year, and you need to be nominated by a Department head. The awarded amount is $2,000 as well as funding for you to travel to the annual meeting of plasma physicists.
Jeannette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund - If you are at least 35 years of age and low-income, then this scholarship was designed specifically for you. You must be pursuing a degree at an accredited school and you'll need to describe how you'll use your education to give back to the community. This scholarship has a long history of helping women obtain their education, and was started by Jeannette Rankin to help “mature, unemployed women workers”.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Nursing Scholarship Program - If you're accepted into this scholarship program then you'll receive financial support for tuition, fees, and an annual payment for books, supplies, and uniforms. You'll also receive a monthly stipend of $1,330. You must work at an eligible critical shortage facility for two years upon graduation.
The Foundation of the National Student Nurses' Association Undergraduate Scholarship - Scholarships from here amount to $1,000 to $2,500 per year. You must be a attending an eligible college and be a United States citizen to receive this scholarship.
Tylenol Future Care Scholarship - Awards range from $500 up to $10,000 for those pursuing an education in nursing. You must provide proof of enrollment at an eligible college to receive this scholarship.
American Cancer Society Scholarships in Cancer Nursing Practice - Female graduate students specializing in cancer nursing may apply for this scholarship. The scholarship award is $10,000 per year.
HOSA Scholarships - Nursing students are given priority amongst these scholarships. The only other requirement is to be a member of HOSA, the amount awarded varies widely.
Buick Achievers Scholarship Program - This program offers up to $25,000 per year for four years. It has awarded nearly 3,500 students, with more than thirty million dollars.
Intertek Scholarship - Intertek offers a scholarship towards female students in engineering fields. The award is up to $10,000.
Rings of Excellence - To receive this scholarship, you must be a woman majoring in an engineering field, with a GPA of at least 3.0. The awarded amount is between $500 to $2500.
Society of Women Engineers - In 2016 the SWE awarded 230 new and renewed scholarships totaling more than $750,000. You only need to complete one application and then you'll be considered for all the scholarships you are eligible for. There can be dozens of scholarships available through here ranging from $500 to over $5,000.
Microsoft Research Women’s Fellowship - This is for women pursuing a PhD and in need of financial assistance. The award is $20,000, with $18,000 towards tuition and $2,000 to cover travel expenses to a conference in the recipient's field of study.
UPS Scholarship for Female Students - Specifically for female students in an industrial engineering program. You must also have a GPA of at least 3.4, be a member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, and have a nomination by a department head. The one time award is $4,000 with a deadline of November 15th, 2017.
SME Education Foundation Scholarship - This is a fantastic scholarship to be aware of, as you can apply for it each year you’re in school. The awards range from $1,000 to $6,000 each year. To be eligible, you must be pursuing a degree in advanced manufacturing or a related field. There are also family scholarships, where if one of your parents or grandparents was an SME member, then you can apply to receive $20,000 to $40,000 to be put towards your tuition and other college costs.
American Association of University Women - This scholarship is for women in the educational field doing a project that has a direct public impact. Awarded amount depends on funds available for the year applied.
American Association of Physics Teachers - If you are planning to teach physics, then this scholarship is perfect for you. The award is a stipend of up to $2,000 for future high school physics teachers.
American Montessori Society - The submission deadline is usually the first week of May each year. If you are aspiring to teach at a Montessori school, then take advantage of this scholarship program that draws from three separate funds.
School Superintendents Association - This one is for female students studying school administration and wanting to become a superintendent. Awards up to $2,500 to be put towards tuition costs.
Women Techmakers - This scholarship program strives to create gender equality in computer science. It is more than just a scholarship though, as it offers an extensive community of other women scholars and a retreat to meet with others and be inspired. Awarded amounts vary.
Procurify Scholarship - This is a scholarship of $1,000 is awarded to the winner. Open to women pursuing a degree in computer science and with groundbreaking sustainable ideas.
Palantir Scholarships - This one awards of up to $10,000 to female students in the computer science and other fields of study with high gender inequality. Some recipients are also offered internships.
Delphix Scholarship - A $5,000 scholarship is up for grabs to a female student and of a minority group such as African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, and so on. You must be pursuing a technical degree such as computer science.
Entertainment Software Association - This foundation was created in 2007 with the sole mission to assist women in computer science related degrees. There are 30 scholarships of $3,000 awarded to winners every year. Applicants must maintain at least a 2.75 GPA.
American Statistical Association - Here you'll find a compilation of scholarships offered by this association. Awards range up to $5,000 and several are specifically for women studying in the field of mathematics.
Association for Women in Mathematics - Women who excel in mathematics may apply for this scholarship. You'll need to submit a copy of your transcripts and indicate that you are an undergraduate. The deadline is October 1st every year.
P.E.O. Star Scholarship - Female students of mathematics who show excellent leadership, academics, and community service may apply for this scholarship. GPA must be at least 3.0, and the student must be in their final year. The award is $2,500.
Horizons Scholarships - These scholarships are based on academic achievement, participation in defense and national security activities, field of study - including mathematics, and financial need. The award varies depending on available funds, but historically has been at least $5,000.
The Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting - This fund awards $1,000 to $5,000 to women pursuing a PhD degree in accounting. This is a merit-based scholarship, taking into account academic achievements and service work. Financial need is also taken into consideration.
Asian Women In Business - Obviously a requirement for this scholarship is to be an Asian woman pursuing a degree in business. The award is $2,500 and is merit-based, requiring a GPA of at least 3.0 and examples of leadership that promote the Asian women community.
Blue Soda Promo Women In Marketing Scholarship - This company is a member of the Women's business Enterprise, and offers a $1,000 scholarship to women pursuing a degree in marketing or advertising. The student must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0.
Forte Fellows Program - The mission of this program is to increase the number of women in MBA programs. The awarded amount varies, but this program has given nearly $110 million to more than 5,000 Forte Fellows. If you are pursuing an MBA then this is a highly recommended program to apply for.
The Committee of 200 - C200 Scholar awards go to women who are in an MBA program that hosts a C200 Reachout, displays leadership qualities, entrepreneurial spirit and integrity, and a commitment to giving back, especially to other women. The award is $10,000 along with unique networking opportunities.
The Philanthropic Educational Organization Scholarships - Female students who are pursuing their graduate degree in Canada or the United States can look into scholarship opportunities here. The award amount varies, so it's important to do some research and also be aware of the application due date. The sponsoring organization is P.E.O. Sisterhood, which comprises of six philanthropic programs that give educational opportunities for women.
Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program - This program awards up to $42,000 to female students wishing to obtain a graduate degree in oceanography, maritime archeology, or marine biology. The scholarship is sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The requirements for this one is that applicants must have a minimum of a 3.3 GPA.
Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting Graduate Scholarships - The Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting offers two graduate scholarships and a postgraduate scholarship to alleviate the financial stress for women in college. These scholarships are merit-based and they also factor in community service or volunteer work, as well as financial need. The amount varies from $1,000 to $5,000. All applicants must submit their application by June 30 at the very latest.
There are dozens of grants specifically for women seeking to obtain their college education. These grants range from several hundred to over ten thousand dollars. Applying to as many as possible can make the financial burden on a female student much lighter. The biggest benefit to receiving a grant is that it does not need to be paid back, much like a scholarship.
Below you'll find some organizations offering grants for female students:
AAUW has four grant programs and is one of the largest sources for women to gain funding from for their educational pursuits.
Female victims of domestic violence can apply for this grant to help them overcome the obstacles in their way of becoming ﬁnancially independent. It is privately funded and provides assistance across the nation to women who have gotten out of an abusive domestic situation and ﬁnding a way to gain an education so they may be able to support themselves and their children.
This fund gives over $100,000 every year to women returning to school to complete their education that was halted previously. Five women receive $10,000 each, and 50 more women receive $1,000 each.
provides $6,000 awards to thirty five women who are in aerospace-related sciences. The awards are provided through the Amelia Earhart Fellowship.
This grant is geared towards women seeking degrees in the sciences such as physics and geoscience. High school seniors up to graduate students may apply for this grant of $1,000.
is for women who had a disruption to their educational pursuits and are wanting to complete their education. Apply for their need-based grants if you are a North American woman.
This program awards up to $4,000 a year to those pursuing a degree in education. To receive this grant you must teach in a high-need field, at an elementary or secondary school for low-income families for at least four years within eight years of completing your degree.
awards $250 to $1,000 a year to women who volunteer their time and skills that help improve communities. It also oﬀers grants to women from developing countries who are pursuing graduate degrees in the United States.
Once you've gathered a list of scholarships and grants that you think may be fit for you, it's time to start researching and applying for them. Each program will have different application requirements, but there are a few common ones that you should be prepared to provide:
Not all scholarships are based on academic merit, but many are. To stay ahead of the game, have your transcript ready from your school office to provide if needed. It can take some time to get them, so it's best to let your school counselor know ahead of time so they can prepare it for you in time. The earlier you gather this information in the application process, the better off you'll be.
Scholarships and grants based on academic merit may also be interested to see how you perform on exams. This can mean SAT/ACT scores, AP exam scores, etc. Again, these test scores may take a while to receive, so your best bet is to try and get them as early as possible so you are sure not to miss any deadlines.
Have a professor you worked closely with, or an employer who loves you? Kindly ask them for a letter of recommendation. There are a number of scholarship and grant programs out there that will be interested in seeing it.
Depending on the scholarship, you may be asked to either provide a writing sample or write an essay on a given topic. Usually, they are interested in knowing why you need and deserve their funding, and what life events have led you to choose a specific career route. Reviewers will carefully examine how students craft their answers, so it's important to make them concise but thoughtful and original.
Asking your mentor, another fellow student, or your writing teacher to review your essay before submission is always a great idea. They may be able to provide you with insight on how the essay could be better!
Many scholarship and grant programs will want to know what your (and/or your family's) financial situation is like. They may use this information to determine eligibility. With that said, it's essential to gather these documents early on so that you have them ready in time for the deadlines.
If not scholarships and/or grants, female students can also look into loans to provide funding to attend college. However, unlike scholarship/grant money, loan money must be repaid by a certain amount of time. More often than not, they also come with interest. Loans are available at the federal and state level. Some private organizations may also provide funding options, but may require a credit check to see if you qualify.
As far as interest fees go, each loan will be different. Generally speaking, federally subsidized loans will accrue a lower interest rate, which doesn't start until after graduation. This is better for students because they don't have to worry about paying off anything while they are still in college. On the other hand, unsubsidized loans will begin accruing interest as soon as they are issued. For students who just want to focus on their studies and not necessarily work to make money on top of classes, this may not be the best option. However, it's there for those who do plan on working and don't mind starting to pay interest early on.
Work study is an effective way for a female student to fund their education by working at an approved location by the college. Funds are generally financed through federal financial aid programs. Work study programs can also open up post-education work opportunities to pay off student loan debt faster.
The jobs available could be on campus or off. If its on campus then you'll most likely be working for your college. Working off campus usually means you'll be with a private nonprofit organization or public agency, with the work performed being in the public interest. You'll earn at least the federal minimum wage, but certain work study jobs will be pay more if it requires higher skills. Your school's funding level, the amount of financial need you have, and when you apply can all affect the amount of your work-study award. There are a limited amount of funds for each school participating in the work study program and operates on a first come, first serve basis, so be sure to apply early!
You'll be paid at least once a month, and the school must pay you directly unless you request that your payments be sent directly to your bank account or the payments can be sent directly to the school to pay off your tuition and/or room and board.
In addition to scholarships, grants, and loans, female students can also look into a number of other sources for college funding. Below are some other ways one can pay for school & non-tuition expenses:
To help alleviate the hefty costs of college for female students, the federal government has several programs in place. The two popular ones are the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit. Basically, how it works is that students can deduct some of their school expenses from their federal income. If you are interested in learning more about either of these, be sure to check out the U.S. Department of education website.
Some employers offer students monetary reimbursements for school. The IRS allows employers to give up to $5,250 in assistance beneﬁts each year without getting taxed. While not every employer oﬀers tuition assistance, it is worth asking yours to see if there is anything that can be worked out in this regard. Depending on the job, the employer may require that you stay at the company for a certain period of time or be pursuing a speciﬁc degree in order to qualify.
tuition is often the biggest expense that a student has to take care of. However, there are many expenses that are not tuition-related that add up over the course of one's college career. With that said, there are several organizations and local community groups out there with a mission to alleviate ﬁnancial stress for women by covering costs for textbooks, transportation, housing, and childcare, to name a few. It is worth looking into your local non-proﬁt organizations to see if any of them oﬀer women's scholarships to cover these costs.
Love helping out your community? If you enjoy spending time making the world a better place, then you may be eligible for some scholarships for volunteering. A popular example of this is the AmeriCorps, which is a nationally recognized community service initiative that gives out monetary awards to those who volunteer regularly and spend a speciﬁc amount of time consistently doing so. If you work in the public service ﬁeld for over 10 years full-time, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program will remove any federal education loans you may have as well.
There are plenty of college funding options for women that fall under the “special groups” category. Some examples that may fall under this category include minorities, those with disabilities, single moms, and veterans, to name a few. Also, if you are studying in a ﬁeld that is not in high-demand or is growing in the female demographic, there may be scholarships and grants you are eligible to apply for. The below resources are just some of many organizations that provide funding for special groups:
With so many different financial assistance options, more and more women are able to attend college - whether it's on campus or online - to pursue their higher education aspirations. From scholarships and grants, to loans and other miscellaneous funding options, female students are bound to find a few that align well with their interests and career goals.
A large amount of students come out of college with plenty of debt. If you are about to attend college or are already in college looking for ways to avoid being stuck in this situation, it is totally worth the time to do a bit of research on funding options to see where you can cut back. Every little bit helps!