National Scholarships for African American Students
By Jason Marshall
, last updated October 17, 2011
Funding opportunities for African American students have been traditionally scarce, but there are now many national scholarships for them, making university educations attainable for this underrepresented group. Like anyone else, it is crucial that each student search out the scholarship opportunities that best reflect his or her individual situations. Luckily there are many funding opportunities for African Americans and deserving students can use them to supplement other awards, making college affordable. Here are some prestigious national scholarships for African Americans.
Ron Brown Scholarship
One of the most prestigious and flexible national scholarships for African Americans is awarded by the Ron Brown Scholar Program. This program awards at least ten African American scholars $10,000 each year for four years. This is a substantial amount of money for most students and it comes with the added benefit of being a multiyear award for a total of $40,000. Applicants must be high school seniors who have a financial need, participate in community service, and demonstrate leadership skills. There is no limitation on what field students can study. Each spring, the Ron Brown Scholar Program invites its finalists to Washington D.C. (at the Program’s expense) to interview and participate in activities. The scholarships will be awarded based on the student’s application, interview, and participation in the activities.
Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship
Another prestigious national scholarship is the Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship. They award four year scholarships to minority students (not necessarily African American) who plan on attending a four year university. The award is up to $7500 each year for four years. Students must be a graduating high school senior, have financial need, and have proven track records in community service and leadership. This scholarship comes with the added stipulation that recipients must participate in some sort of community service. As a bonus, each recipient will also have a mentor assigned to them, as well as have the opportunity to take part in workshops and conferences intended to hone their life skills and leadership abilities. These are invaluable opportunities to build social and professional connections that can last a lifetime.
The UNCF (formerly the United Negro College Fund) administers and awards hundred of scholarship, internships, and fellowships each year for students at all levels of university education. Recognizing that education is crucial to advancement in this society, they are committed to helping students from moderate to low-income homes get the money they need to attend college. They also provide funds to its 38 member colleges, which helps these small institutions keep their tuition costs low. There is a general UNCF application for to fill out, but other programs they administer may require separate applications.
These are only a handful of scholarship opportunities for African Americans. There are many more national scholarships. Prospective students should also look into state or local awards, some of which are specifically targeted for African Americans. College might be expensive, but with a little research and work, any student can find the money to go. African American students should take advantage of as many of these scholarship opportunities as they can.