College Scholarships and Grants for Women
By Stacy Zeiger
, last updated October 1, 2011
Historically, men have attended college at higher rates than women, but in recent years women have surpassed men when it comes to college attendance. Part of that rise in attendance is due to scholarships and grants offered to encourage women to pursue advanced studies. While the increase of women attending college has meant a decrease of scholarships specific to women, many scholarships still exist to help women attend college, including those that help non-traditional college students and women pursuing degrees in fields where women are traditionally underrepresented.
Zonta International works to advance the status of women throughout the world. Part of that mission involves offering scholarships to women. Women pursuing a degree in business may apply for a Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship which provides $1,000 which may be used to purchase books or help offset the cost of tuition. Additional scholarships may be offered by local chapters of Zonta International for female high school seniors who have a strong academic record and show the potential to succeed in college.
The American Association of University Women seeks to increase the percentage of women who pursue advanced degrees and conduct research at the university and post-doctoral level. State and local chapters offer undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships. The amount and specific nature of the scholarships varies by chapter, so it is necessary to contact your local chapter to learn more. The national organization offers multiple fellowships and grants. American Fellowships help graduate students complete dissertation research. Career Development Grants give priority to minority women and provide funds to help women who are pursuing their first advanced degree or pursuing an advanced degree due to a career change or re-entering the workforce after taking time off due to family obligations.
The United States is home to multiple colleges open exclusively to women, such as Spelman College in Atlanta, Smith College in Massachusetts and Barnard College in New York City. Because these colleges cater solely to women, all scholarships offered by the college are open to women only. Women must still stand apart from the crowd when choosing to attend a female-only college and apply for scholarships. The pool of applicants may be smaller, but it is often still full of stiff competition.
For non-traditional students, including women returning to school and those who are over 25 years old. Priority is given to applicants from Georgia, although women throughout the United States are eligible to apply. Candidates are considered for scholarships based on their community involvement and who connect their passions to their need for higher education. Scholarships range between $2,000 and $5,000 with $100,000 in scholarships awarded each year.
Women over age 35 may be eligible to apply for a scholarship through the Jeannette Rankin Foundation. Low-income women pursuing their first bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree qualify for these grants. The organization provides a table of maximum income levels to help women determine whether or not they apply for a scholarship. For example, a single woman qualifies for a scholarship if she makes $13,958 or less per year.