Women are under-represented in many professional fields but, because of this, you can find more and more undergraduate grants for women who are currently attending or plan to attend college. Beyond filling out the FAFSA, once you have an idea of where and what you intend to study, you may be able to hunt out some scholarships to help defray the cost of higher education. In addition, if you are either a minority, come from an economically disadvantaged background, or are an older or otherwise non-traditional student, you may be eligible for certain specialty grants designed to diversify the workforce and create a more equal representation in many professional fields. Here are some assistance programs that are worth looking into.
If you know what subject you intend to study, finding an associated professional organization may uncover some scholarship opportunities. The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Scholarship is given to women who are studying to enter the engineering or computer science fields, while the WCR (Women Chefs and Restaurateurs) offers scholarships and internships to women involved in the food industry. The National Sculpture Society offers $1,000 scholarships to female sculpture students, while the Handweavers Guild of America has grants for study of textile arts.
Some scholarships are awarded to women who are attending schools in specific states. The Beverly J. Smith Memorial Scholarship is awarded to women who are going to school in Pennsylvania, while the Fresh Start Scholarship provides between $750 and $2,000 to women a college in Delaware. Once you know where you’re going to school, do an online search or speak to your financial aid counselor to see what types of scholarships are available in your state.
Older women sometimes face additional challenges and obstacles that prevent them from going back to school, but there are scholarships designed specifically to address that. The EMERGE Scholarship program gives money to help cover the cost of tuition and fees to women whose education was either delayed or interrupted because of work, family, or other reasons. The Jeanette Rankin Foundation awards money to women who are over 35 and qualify as low-income as a way to offer non-traditional female students a chance to better themselves, their family, and their community.