Since 1976, every U.S. president has declared February as Black History Month, or National African-American History Month. It's an important time set aside to recognize and celebrate the achievements of black Americans and the pivotal contributions they have made to their country.
In honor of Black History Month, The Scholarship Coach has gathered a few scholarship opportunities available specifically to African-Americans who dream of earning a college degree. If this is you, we recommend checking out the following scholarship programs to help you offset the cost of tuition so you can graduate from college without breaking the bank.
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Are you planning on attending one of these historically black colleges and universities? If so, we encourage you to take advantage of the scholarship opportunities offered by the United Negro College Fund.
To get started, you must complete the UNCF General Scholarship Application, which allows you to match and apply to as many of the scholarships for which you are eligible. Each scholarship managed by UNCF has its own open and close dates, eligibility criteria and required documentation. Some do have their own applications, which you will need to complete separately.
The UNCF offers hundreds of scholarships available specifically to African-American students, so make sure you complete the general application well in advance of the May 31 deadline to take full advantage of these excellent opportunities.
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In addition to those myriad scholarships, the UNCF has also teamed up with The Merck Company Foundation and Merck Global Diversity Inclusion team to create the UNCF Merck Science Initiative. The initiative strives to increase the number of minority students in sciences and engineering, currently standing at only 3 percent, according to the program’s website.
The 15 undergraduate scholarships, 12 graduate dissertation fellowships and 10 postdoctoral research fellowships are among the most highly prestigious awards offered exclusively to African-Americans. The awards include substantial funds for tuition, room and board, plus other exceptional opportunities, such as internships, available only to scholarship or fellowship winners. Though you’ll have to wait until fall to submit your application, the process is lengthy, so we suggest getting started well in advance of the September deadline.
African-American students shouldn't miss out on applying for Thurgood Marshall College Fund Scholarships , which average more than $3,000 per student per semester. Available to African-American students attending one of more than 50 Thurgood Marshall College Fund member schools and awarded based on need and merit, these scholarships have been an excellent resource for students since the organization’s inception in 1987.
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Applicants should demonstrate leadership qualities, service experience and hold a 3.0 GPA to meet eligibility criteria. You can start applying for the various scholarships offered beginning now; however, make sure you check back often, as additional scholarships will be added during the month of February.
Lastly, make sure you check out two scholarship opportunities offered by the NAACP, managed by the Poise Foundation and available to graduating high school seniors, undergraduates and graduate students. The Agnes Jones Jackson Scholarship, established in memory of a longtime NAACP member, is available to current members of the NAACP under the age of 25. Between 20 and 40 scholarships worth $2,000 apiece are offered every year.
Men should also check out the Hubertus W.V. Willems Scholarships for Male Students, which are offered to engineering, chemistry, physics and math majors. Though not required, participation and membership in the NAACP is preferable for this scholarship as well.
The 20 to 40 scholarships awarded yearly are worth $3,000 each. To meet application eligibility requirements for both of the above scholarship programs, you must demonstrate financial need, hold at least a 2.5 GPA and be enrolled in an accredited college or university in the U.S.