Scholarships are especially important for students who are underrepresented or marginalized, both to provide them greater access and to increase diversity and inclusivity on college campuses.
Students who are sexual and gender minorities qualify for traditional financial aid and grants, but can also take advantage of the many scholarship opportunities that have been created to support their education.
According to the Postsecondary National Policy Institute, approximately 10% of college students identify as LGBTQIA+, and a growing number of college campuses offer dedicated offices or resource centers for sexual and gender minority students.
Still, financial concerns weigh heavily on many LGBTQIA+ students who may not have the same level of financial support from their parents as their heterosexual peers. After graduation, they may face a sexual orientation and gender identity pay gap that makes paying off student loan debts more difficult.
Scholarships offered to LGBTQIA+ students and their allies expand opportunities and minimize these economic challenges.
Tips When Applying For LGBTQIA+ Scholarships
When investigating and applying for LGBTQIA+ scholarships, it is a good idea to do your research into the organizations and entities that are providing the funding. Whether they are corporations, professional organizations, nonprofits, or special interest groups, each sets a mission statement. Aligning your application with their mission could increase your chances of winning their scholarships.
In addition to learning as much as you can about the funding organization, scholarship applicants can optimize their chances of being chosen by following the steps below:
- Do your homework and identify as many scholarships as you can. Though submitting applications can be time consuming, there is no limit to how many you can be selected for, and a successful effort is well worth it.
- Understand that the competition for scholarships is fierce, and this is particularly true of the scholarships that award the largest sums and those that demand the fewest application requirements. Do not ignore the small sum scholarships or the ones that require the highest word-count in their essays.
- Be thoughtful in your selection of individuals from whom you request letters of recommendation.
- Get all of your applications in early. Do not wait until the application deadline to submit the required material.
- If a scholarship application includes a personal interview, take the time to prepare yourself thoroughly so that you can present yourself in the best possible light.
4 Best LGBTQIA+ Scholarships
Awarded by the California Teachers Association, these awards are valued at up to $2,500 each and are given in honor of Guy De Rosa a lifelong advocate for civil and human rights and LGBTQIA+ issues.
Recipients are LGBTQIA+ individuals enrolled in teacher/counseling credential or graduate programs who are pursuing careers in public education. They are selected for their promise of acting as role models who will promote understanding of and respect for LGBTQIA+ people and who will work towards making public schools safe for this specific community.
Awarded by the National Council of Jewish Women’s Los Angeles office, this $1,000 scholarship is available to full-time students enrolled in a COMMUNITY COLLEGE Film/ Television/ Cinema/ Theater program, and preparing for a career in film, television, or theater production (not acting).
Applicants must have completed 12 units of classes in their school’s Film/TV/Cinema/ Theater program to apply. Application criteria include a personal statement essay, unofficial current and complete transcripts, current school term enrollment verification, updated resume, and financial information in the form of a FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR) or CA Dream Act for applicable students.
Awarded by the Society for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity of the American Psychological Association, the Malyon Smith Scholarship Research Award provides up to $1,000 to graduate students in psychology so that they can advance research on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The award is not specifically limited to LGBTQIA+ applicants. Requirements include a CV and a research project description, as well as a letter from the applicant’s faculty supervisor addressing the quality and feasibility of the project and qualifications of the applicant.
This $1,000 research award is provided by the American Psychological Association’s Society for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity for the purpose of advancing research on the psychology of bisexuality.
Applicants must be enrolled in a psychology or therapy/counseling graduate program and should submit a completed cover sheet, their CV, a copy of their project description, and a letter from their faculty supervisor addressing the quality and feasibility of their project and the applicant’s qualifications.
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