Scholarships for Muslim College Students

By Ilana Hamilton

Published on September 2, 2021

Scholarships for Muslim College Students

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Muslim Scholarships and Resources

As higher education costs continue to rise, many students seek financial aid to support their educational goals. In 2018, 86% of college undergraduates received some form of aid, including scholarships, grants, and loans. 

Choosing which types of financial aid to accept can affect degree-seekers’ financial futures. For many Muslim college students, financial aid decisions can also pose a moral dilemma. How should students secure sufficient educational funding while observing the Islamic prohibition against riba, or interest-bearing loans? 

As a form of financial aid that does not require repayment, scholarships can help Muslim students finance their college education while reducing out-of-pocket expenses and minimizing loans. Many schools and organizations sponsor scholarships for Muslim college students.

We created this resource to guide Muslim students through the scholarship application process. Read on to learn about some top scholarship opportunities and tips for winning Muslim student scholarships.

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Scholarships for Muslim Students

This section spotlights several scholarship opportunities for Muslim college students. These awards represent a few of the many opportunities available to Muslim applicants.

Amana Mutual Funds Scholarship

Who Can Apply: One of several Islamic Society of North America scholarships for Muslim college students, this opportunity benefits finance, economics, and mathematics majors. Applicants should demonstrate financial need and engagement with the Muslim community.

Avicenna Scholars Program

Who Can Apply: Open to high school juniors, this Muslim student scholarship program provides financial support, mentorship, and internship opportunities. Incorporating both merit-based and need-based criteria, the program seeks applicants with leadership potential.

Aziz Jamaluddin Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Established to promote accurate media portrayals of Islam, this scholarship supports Muslim college students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate journalism and political science programs. Applicants must hold a minimum 3.5 GPA and demonstrate financial need.

Barakat International Studentship

Who Can Apply: Encompassing several funding opportunities, the Barakat Trust awards program supports scholarly work related to Islamic art, architecture, archaeology, and material culture. The Barakat International Studentship funds students enrolled in master's-level programs.

Dr. Abdulmunim A. Shakir Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Incoming college freshmen in any major qualify for this Islamic Society of North America scholarship for Muslim students. Applicants must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and demonstrate financial need and Muslim community involvement.

Islamic Scholarship Fund

Who Can Apply: ISF awards multiple annual scholarships for Muslim college students in media- and politics-related majors. Applicants must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and junior, senior, or graduate standing.

Plainfield Muslim Women for Better Society Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This Muslim student scholarship provides financial support for Indiana high school seniors active in helping other students. Applicants must hold a minimum 3.5 GPA and plan to declare a human services-related major.

The Fadel Educational Foundation

Who Can Apply: Graduate and undergraduate Muslim students can apply for Fadel Educational Foundation grants. Applicants must submit financial documentation, recommendations, and essays discussing their career goals and religious practice.

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How to Improve Your Chances of Landing a Scholarship

In the following section, we explore how to build a strong application, avoid common pitfalls, and leverage research skills and community resources to find scholarship opportunities. While each applicant's process and priorities may differ, these general tips can help students win scholarship funding.

Look for Ways to Diversify Your Application

Scholarship committees may review hundreds of applications for a single award. To craft an outstanding application, students should share interesting facts and stories about themselves to stand out from the crowd.

Applicants should consider what hobbies, qualities, or experiences make them unique. For instance, some scholarships cater to applicants with niche interests, such as martial arts or gardening. Students applying for Muslim-specific scholarships may want to highlight their involvement with Muslim communities.

Be Aware of Application Requirements

Students should read the application instructions carefully. Starting the application process as early as possible allows time to thoroughly review requirements and gather necessary materials. Applicants should also ask someone else, such as a family member or college counselor, to review the application before submitting it.

More than one way to fulfill scholarship requirements may exist. For example, extracurricular activities, volunteering, or work experience can demonstrate community engagement.

Know Your Resources

Leveraging existing connections can help students discover new scholarship opportunities. Scholarship applicants often enjoy access to more support resources than they realize, including college counselors, mentors, family members, and community networks.

Many employers and professional associations sponsor scholarships. High school parent-teacher associations, alumni organizations, community clubs, and religious organizations may also offer scholarship opportunities.

Colleges and universities frequently award institutional scholarships. Students should check with their schools to find out whether scholarship consideration constitutes an automatic part of the admissions process or if they must apply for scholarships separately.

Know What to Avoid

Before applying for a scholarship, students should review its eligibility criteria to make sure they qualify. Additionally, students should exercise skepticism toward scholarships that charge an application fee or seem aimed at harvesting personal information.

Students should also understand any requirements for keeping or renewing scholarships. To retain some scholarships, students must earn a minimum college GPA, maintain full-time enrollment, or participate in special programs. Recipients who fail to meet these requirements may need to repay scholarship funds.

Research All of Your Options

Guidance counselors and financial aid officers can help students research scholarship opportunities. Online scholarship matching websites and apps can also provide leads. Some free scholarship search resources include CareerOneStop and College Board

Muslim communities hold a tradition of supporting educational access, keeping with Islamic values. Mosques, Islamic centers, and other community organizations can provide additional scholarships and support.

Students can also look for awards targeted to Muslim college students at their intended school. A Muslim Student Association chapter, for example, may provide helpful financial aid resources.

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