Even as women’s participation in the U.S. labor force has improved, gender inequities persist, and one of the most significant is in the amount of student loan debt that women bear.
Though women represent 56 percent of college students, they hold nearly two thirds of outstanding student loan debt. Women carry an average of over $31,000 in student loans while continuing to earn only 81 cents for every dollar that men do. This makes paying off debt a real challenge.
To correct these disparities, create greater balance, and encourage female students in their pursuit of higher education, numerous organizations and individuals offer scholarships exclusively available to support female students.
Whether awarded for financial need or academic achievement, tied to a particular industry or field of study, or offered generically, all of these scholarships for women are aimed at expanding opportunities.
Tips When Applying to Scholarships for Women
Scholarships for women can come from many different organizations and sources. Some come directly through the college or university that a student is attending while others are offered by:
- Professional organizations
- Government entities
- Minority advocacy groups
- Religious groups
Women can find scholarships offered to those who have distinguished themselves through areas such as:
- The arts
- Civic engagement
In all cases the organization is looking for recipients who are worthy of their investment and who they will be proud to attach their name to.
To put yourself in the best possible position to be awarded scholarships set aside for female applicants, here are some helpful tips:
The more money a scholarship offers, the more competition you are likely to encounter. Likewise, the more work that a scholarship requires of applicants the less competition you are likely to face. To increase your chance of winning scholarship funds, be willing to work more for lower rewards.
Apply to as many scholarships as you are eligible for and expand your extra effort into making sure that you submit a high-quality, thoughtful application. Answer the prompt asked completely and take the time to proofread your submission.
Submit all of the necessary documents well ahead of the deadline.
If asked to participate in a personal interview, make sure that you are dressed professionally and present yourself as someone that the organization would be proud to have representing them. Thank the interviewers for their time and consideration and send a thank you note following your interview.
11 Best Scholarships for Women
With countless scholarships available for women and more being created every day, we strive to include scholarships that appeal to the diverse range of women’s experiences, needs, and interests.
The American Association of University Women has created fellowships ranging from $5,000 to $18,000 specifically targeting women enrolled in degree programs where women’s participation has traditionally been low.
The original fellowships were established in 1970, at which time they were limited to the fields of law and medicine. Since then, the field of study has been expanded to include master’s programs in Architecture, Computer/Information Science, Engineering, and Mathematics/Statistics.
The program also offers fellowships to women of color in their second year of pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration, their third year of studying law, or their third or fourth year of studying for a doctorate in medicine. Criteria include professional promise and personal attributes, academic excellence, and financial need.
Awarded by the AFCEA (a non-profit membership association serving the military, government, industry, and academia), this $3,000 scholarship is awarded to women who are full time students enrolled in their second semester pursuing a graduate degree that supports the mission of the AFCEA Educational Foundation.
The focus of study is on STEM/hard sciences, including information technology, cybersecurity, telecommunications electronics supporting defense, homeland security, and intelligence. Criteria include academic performance, a synopsis of relevant work experience and future career goals, and financial need.
Created by Visionary Integration Professionals, a company specializing in strategic solutions, the program offers multiple scholarships of up to $2,500 each to women pursuing a career in computer science, information technology, management information systems and related disciplines. Criteria include academic performance, essay response, community service and extracurricular activities, and leadership experience and qualities.
Formerly known as the SWE Region E Scholarship and awarded by the Society of Women Engineers, there are two $1,625 scholarships awarded to female undergraduate students in their sophomore, junior or senior years and studying any engineering related major at a college or university in:
The SWE’s mission is to stimulate women to achieve their full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, and to expand the image of engineering as a profession while encouraging diversity in the field. Criteria includes academic performance, financial need, and attendance in an ABET-accredited program in engineering, computing or technology.
Offered by the BHW Group, a custom web and mobile app development company based in Austin, Texas, the BHW Women in STEM Scholarship awards $3,000 to women pursuing an undergraduate or master’s degree and majoring in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. Criteria is based on a response to an essay question.
The Women’s International Network of Utility Professionals awards three fellowships in support of females pursuing advanced degrees leading to careers in the utility industry or allied fields. To qualify students should be studying engineering, business administration, accounting, environmental sciences, communication, information technologies, or related areas. The three fellowships are:
Julia Kiene Fellowship – This $2,000 grant honors Julia Kiene, who taught home economics and was president of the organization. She also served on the Electrical Women’s Round Table for many years.
Lyle Mamer Fellowship – This $1,000 grant honors a long-time associate professor at the University of Tennessee College of Home Economics who dedicated her life to contributing to advancements in the electrical industry.
Louisan Mamer Fellowship- This $500 grant honors an electric industry pioneer who educated rural Americans about the uses of electricity.
Sponsored by trusts and estates attorney Kerri Castellini, this $1,000 scholarship is awarded to a female or female-identifying student pursuing post-secondary education and exhibiting strong leadership skills as demonstrated by past and present educational, professional and volunteer experiences. Criteria include academic performance, an essay describing an ideal woman leader in the 21st century, and demonstrated leadership skills.
Distinguished Young Women of California is part of a national scholarship program that promotes and rewards scholarship, leadership, and talent in young women. Applicants must be a junior in high school to participate. Before applying, interested students must be aware that in order to qualify for or win any of the scholarships offered by Distinguished Young Women, they must participate in a program for their area. This could include attending a rehearsal(s) and being a part of an on-stage performance. After applying, the program the applicant would participate in first, which is determined by where she lives, will be in touch with the details of participation for their program.
Awarded by the Federal Circuit Bar Association to women pursuing a juris doctor degree in any law school accredited by the American Bar Association, the scholarship awards $10,000 to encourage the participation of women lawyers, to recognize the contributions of women lawyers to society, and to advance the interest of women law students in intellectual property. Criteria include financial need, and academic excellence.
Awarded by Alpha Delta Kappa, the International Honorary Organization for Women Educations, the ITE Scholarship provides up to seven young women from countries other than the United States the opportunity to study in American colleges and/or universities.
The awards are only available for non-U.S. citizens residing outside the U.S. and planning to enter the teaching profession. Each recipient receives a $10,000 scholarship to help them promote better worldwide understanding and observe democracy in action. Criteria include academic performance, strong leadership qualities, and a genuine interest in promoting better world understanding through education.
Awarded by the General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Massachusetts, the Memorial Education scholarship awards at least $3,000 to a woman maintaining legal residence in Massachusetts for at least five years and studying mental health counseling, epidemiology, or public health. Criteria include financial need, a personal statement addressing professional goals, academic performance and a personal interview.
Find More Scholarships For Women!
Still looking for college scholarships to fund your university or college education? Then you’re in the right place. Our brand new college scholarship tool can help you browse over 5,000 different scholarships, grants, fellowships, and awards, with the ability to filter through to find the ones that best meets your individual college scholarship needs. Go check it out!
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