Scholarships for Historically Black Colleges and Universities

October 6, 2021

Scholarships for Historically Black Colleges and Universities

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Scholarships for HBCU Students

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), many of which have admitted students since the mid-19th century, deliver degrees in an inclusive, Black-centered environment. Our HBCU guide explores these institutions' unique features, history, and ongoing relevance.

Like many college enrollees, HBCU students often seek financial aid. As HBCUs disproportionately serve lower-income learners, the gap between students' college savings and costs frequently exceeds that of non-HBCU students. According to a 2016 report, HBCU students rely on loans more frequently and borrow higher amounts.

HBCU scholarships can help students graduate with lower debt. This guide highlights top HBCU scholarships, along with application tips. Our learning and resource center offers further information about financial aid, campus life, careers, and degrees.

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HBCU Scholarships Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get HBCU scholarships?

Organizations grant HBCU scholarships based on factors such as financial need, academic achievement, community involvement, and major. Applicants often need to submit essays, transcripts, and/or recommendations.

Do HBCUs give scholarships?

Yes, many HBCUs offer institutional scholarships and grants, including need-based and merit-based awards. In some cases, the admissions process automatically includes scholarship consideration.

When should I apply for scholarships?

Scholarship deadlines vary widely. The U.S. Department of Education recommends that high school students begin researching and applying for scholarships before their senior year.

Is it hard to get a scholarship?

Broad, national scholarships often receive hundreds of applications. Local and niche scholarships may offer less competition. Guidance counselors and financial aid offices can help students target the best scholarships for their circumstances.

Students applying for HBCU scholarships often need to submit transcripts, essays, resumes, recommendations, and proof of HBCU acceptance or enrollment. Need-based scholarships require applicants to demonstrate financial need by completing the FAFSA or submitting other documentation. Some scholarships also request photos, videos, and/or portfolios.

Starting the application process as early as possible gives applicants time to polish their essays, double-check documents and materials, and seek feedback.

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Scholarships

In the following section, we outline some popular HBCU scholarships, including Black scholarships and scholarships open to all HBCU students. Featuring a sample of the many scholarship opportunities available, this list can help students get started on their scholarship research.

In addition to the awards listed below, many of the country's 101 HBCUs offer institutional aid. See our financial aid guide for more resources, including information on minority scholarships.

American Intellectual Property Law Education Foundation Scholarship

One of numerous HBCU scholarships administered by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, this scholarship supports first-year law students interested in patent issues. Applicants must attend an ABA-accredited law school.

Award: Varies
Deadline: To be scheduled

Apple HBCU Scholars Program

This scholarship benefits HBCU students majoring in computer science, mechanical and electrical engineering, business, finance, and law. In addition to scholarship funds, awardees receive training and internship opportunities with Apple.

Award: $15,000
Deadline: To be scheduled

Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation awards over 1,400 scholarships annually to graduating high school seniors planning to attend accredited U.S. institutions. Applicants should demonstrate leadership skills, high academic achievement, and service experience.

Award: $20,000
Deadline: To be scheduled

David J. Stern Sports Scholarship

This three-year, renewable scholarship provides funding and an NBA office internship opportunity to HBCU students in any major. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and hold a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Award: $10,000
Deadline: To be scheduled

Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology

This scholarship fund supports Black science, technology, and math majors attending specified HBCUs. Recipients who maintain full-time enrollment and a minimum 3.0 GPA can renew their awards for up to four years.

Award: $3,000
Deadline: June

Delta Community Credit Union HBCU Scholarship

This scholarship provides funding for students accepted to or currently attending an HBCU in Georgia. Delta Community Credit Union awards four annual HBCU scholarships.

Award: $2,500
Deadline: To be scheduled

HBCU Battle of the Brains

At this academic championship event, teams of HBCU students compete to solve business challenges and win scholarship awards. Teams may consist of graduate and undergraduate business and STEM majors.

Award: Varies
Deadline: To be scheduled

HBCU Council Scholarship Awards

Eligibility criteria for these HBCU scholarships vary by award, but applicants for all scholarships must belong to a church or community organization; engage in community service; and reside in Maryland, northern Virginia, or Washington, D.C.

Award: $1,000 - $3,000
Deadline: January

HBCU Tuition and Travel Grant

This grant helps HBCU students attend study abroad programs through IES Abroad. Applicants must attend an IES Abroad partner school. The award includes $1,500 toward program fees and $500 for travel expenses.

Award: $2,000
Deadline: Varies

Hercules Scholarship

This scholarship accepts applications from male HBCU students. Applicants must hold good academic standing, demonstrate financial need, and attend a full-time graduate or undergraduate program. The Tom Joyner Foundation also sponsors additional HBCU scholarships.

Award: $1,500
Deadline: To be scheduled

Lowe's Scholarship

This scholarship allocates emergency funding for sophomores, juniors, and seniors experiencing exceptional financial need. Applicants must attend a Thurgood Marshall College Fund partner school, hold a minimum 3.0 GPA, and demonstrate an unpaid school balance of $500-$7,500.

Award: Varies
Deadline: February

McDonald's HBCU Forward Scholarship

One of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund's many HBCU scholarships, this award supports female, full-time undergraduate and graduate students who are active in leadership and community service. Applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Award: $10,000
Deadline: To be scheduled

McDonald's Inspiration Celebration Scholarship

Full-time graduate and undergraduate HBCU students involved in music performance or education can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must attend one of the public HBCUs in the Thurgood Marshall College Fund network.

Award: $10,000
Deadline: To be scheduled

McDonald's Inspiration Celebration Scholarship

Full-time graduate and undergraduate HBCU students involved in music performance or education can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must attend one of the public HBCUs in the Thurgood Marshall College Fund network.

Award: $10,000
Deadline: To be scheduled

McDonald's Black and Positively Golden Scholarships

Undergraduates attending a Thurgood Marshall College Fund partner institution can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must submit an essay and hold a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Award: $15,000
Deadline: To be scheduled

MillerCoors Scholarship

This scholarship benefits undergraduates over the age of 21 attending a public institution in the Thurgood Marshall College Fund's partner network. Applicants must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and demonstrate leadership ability and financial need.

Award: $6,200
Deadline: To be scheduled

Northern Ohio Scholarship

Northern Ohio residents may qualify for this scholarship, which supports undergraduate study at HBCUs, UNCF-affiliated institutions, and some other four-year colleges. Applicants must complete the FAFSA and hold a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Award: Varies
Deadline: April

Semester at Sea HBCU Scholarship

This scholarship enables HBCU students and enrollees at Predominantly Black Institutions to attend the Institute for Shipboard Education's Semester at Sea program. Full-time undergraduates in all majors may apply.

Award: $10,000
Deadline: To be scheduled

TMCF Access Scholarship Program

Open to graduating seniors and undergraduates in all majors, this scholarship supports students attending Thurgood Marshall College Fund partner schools. Applicants must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and demonstrate financial need.

Award: $7,200
Deadline: To be scheduled

UNCF King Lab Scholarship

This scholarship provides funding for graduating seniors from Wellesley High School in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Students need a minimum 2.5 GPA and must have participated in the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity program.

Award: $6,000
Deadline: May

UNCF/Koch Scholars Program

One of many Black scholarships offered by the UNCF, this program provides financial and academic support, networking opportunities, and mentorship to college students entering their freshman and sophomore years.

Award: $5,000
Deadline: June

UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship Program

This program provides paid summer internships for HBCU juniors interested in education reform, regardless of major. Fellows enjoy access to resources such as conferences, competitions, mentoring, career coaching, and networking opportunities.

Award: Paid internship
Deadline: February

Wells Fargo Scholarship

This scholarship supports sophomores, juniors, and seniors in all majors. Applicants must be attending Thurgood Marshall College Fund-affiliated HBCUs. Scholarship requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA and financial need.

Award: $5,000
Deadline: To be scheduled

HBCUs in Communities

HBCUs can be a critical part of the community. HBCUs provide a solid education for students in the community. A 2014 study commissioned by UNCF found that HBCUs have a total economic impact of $14.8 billion. This includes money spent in the community and after graduation. The same study found that over 134,000 jobs were generated by HBCUs and their graduates in local and regional communities. HBCUs are a core part of the community, and they help students succeed after graduation. In 2014 50,037 HBCU graduates were expected to make $130 million over their lifetime, ultimately helping the economy and communities.

HBCU Notable Donations

HBCUDonors
Johnson C. Smith UniversityDavid and Nicole Tepper ($250,000); Bernard Smith ($11,000); Wells Fargo ($1 million)
Morehouse CollegeEstate of Dr. Eugene McGowan, Jr. ($4.6 million); MacKenzie Scott ($20 million); Patty Quillin and Reed Hastings ($40 million)
Spelman CollegeMacKenzie Scott ($20 million); Patty Quillin and Reed Hastings ($40 million); Ronda Stryker and William Johnston ($30 million)
Howard UniversityKarsh Family Foundation ($10 million); Bloomberg Philanthropies ($31.7 million)

HBCU Resources

The following guides offer further information for students applying to or attending HBCUs and other minority-serving colleges and universities. We provide advice and rankings to help students learn more about these schools, explore topics such as multiculturalism on campus, find Black and minority scholarships, and navigate the scholarship application process.

Ilana Hamilton

Ilana Hamilton lives in Portland, Oregon, where she studied English at Reed College. After an early career in visual media, Ilana returned professionally to her love of the written word. She now works as a writer and editor while raising two children and performing as a storyteller.

See articles by Ilana

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