Grants are a type of “gift aid,”or financial assistance. Unlike a student loan, a grant doesn’t need to be repaid. While it’s a common myth that grants are only awarded based on financial need, they are also offered on the basis of merit. You can use this list to find college grants for women that are awarded based on both need and merit.
College Grants for Women
Like other forms of financial aid, grants are designed to reduce the out-of-pocket cost of higher education. There are several private organizations that offer grants, including colleges and universities themselves. Students can also apply for grants provided by the federal government, as well as many state and local governments.
Generally, government and institutional grants are awarded based on a student’s financial situation. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is what the government and most schools use to determine need.
There are also private grants available to college-bound women. These are offered by businesses and charitable foundations and usually require a candidate to submit a separate application.
Mildred C. Hanson, SIOR Memorial Scholarship
The Mildred C. (Millie) Hanson, SIOR Memorial Fund was established to support women in commercial real estate. This scholarship fund is worth $8,000 and is offered to a woman who is a junior or senior in an accredited degree program for finance, business, or real estate. Applicants must demonstrate excellence and their intent to pursue a career in commercial real estate. Other selection criteria include financial need and community service. Awarded funds may be used for various college expenses, such as tuition, room and board, textbooks, and course materials.
- Award: $8,000
- Requirements: Applicants must intend to work in commercial real estate and demonstrate academic excellence. Financial need is also considered. Candidates must submit two letters of recommendation.
- Deadline: Late October
The Floyd Mayweather Jr. Foundation Scholarship for the Advancement of Women in Sports & Entertainment Scholarship
As the name implies, this award is funded by The Floyd Mayweather Jr. Foundation. The goal is to encourage women in college undergraduate or graduate programs who want to contribute to the sports and entertainment industry. Women are historically underrepresented in this field. The scholarship is awarded based on financial need, and the recipient must be enrolled in an accredited university program related to public relations, communication, journalism, marketing, or media studies.
- Award: $1,000 each to eight applicants annually
- Requirements: Candidates must indicate a sincere desire to work in the entertainment or sports industry and be enrolled in a relevant degree program. Must provide documentation proving financial need and have a minimum 2.75 GPA.
- Deadline: Mid-June (Fall semester), mid-November (Spring semester)
Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Scholarships
The SWE offers several financial aid awards to female students who are pursuing a bachelor’s or graduate degree in engineering and computer science. Any individual who identifies as a woman is eligible to apply. Students applying for an undergraduate scholarship must be attending an ABET-accredited bachelor’s degree program. For graduate students, they must be attending a college that offers ABET-accredited programs. SWE offers over 250 scholarships valued at over $1 million. Students only have to submit one application to be considered for all awards they are eligible for.
- Award: Varies
- Requirements: Candidates must be women studying engineering, technology, or computing through an accredited program.
- Deadline: Varies based on award (between February and May)
National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) Women’s Initiative Scholarship
The NAPFA Women’s Initiative offers two scholarships, worth $2,500 each, to female students who are interested in a personal finance career. Although it’s preferred that recipients apply the funds toward a personal finance course, undergraduate students in any field are eligible to apply. Recipients also receive a one-year student membership to NAPFA and mentorship opportunities.
- Award: $2,500 to each of two candidates, one-year student membership to NAPFA
- Requirements: Application includes questions about why the candidate wants to pursue a career in personal finance.
- Deadline: March 31
Federal Pell Grant
Although this grant program is open to all students (not just women), it’s nevertheless a good option for students who meet the eligibility requirements for need-based aid. The Pell Grant is funded and awarded by the U.S. federal government, and students must submit a FAFSA to be considered. The amount of the Pell Grant changes slightly each year; for the 2023-2024 academic year, the grant was worth up to $7,395.
- Award: Varies depending on the student’s financial need (2023-2024 academic year award was up to $7,395)
- Requirements: Candidates must demonstrate exceptional financial need and have not yet earned a bachelor’s or graduate degree. The FAFSA is used as the application for a Pell Grant.
- Deadline: FAFSA deadline, end of June
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
Students who qualify for a Pell Grant and demonstrate exceptional financial need may also qualify for a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. While eligibility for this award is based on the FAFSA, the grant is administered at each college individually. A college will award FSEOG funds to students who demonstrate the most financial need. Not all schools participate in this program and each school may have varying amounts of this grant to award. This means you may be awarded FSEOG at one school, but not another. As with Pell Grants, candidates must not have already earned a bachelor’s degree, and they must complete a FAFSA each year to continue being eligible for financial assistance.
- Award: Varies depending on financial need ($100 to $4,000 a year)
- Requirements: Candidate must have already qualified for a Pell Grant and demonstrate additional financial need. Funds are administered by colleges to their students based on need.
- Deadline: FAFSA deadline, end of June. Individual schools may have different FAFSA deadlines to award this grant.
Red Thread Foundation for Women Fellowship Awards
Offered by the Red Thread Foundation for Women, this scholarship is open to women of international backgrounds who attend an American university. The award is given to female students who are entering college in the Fall term. The minimum amount of the award is $1,000 for a single academic year, and funds can be used toward college tuition, living expenses, and books. Recipients must create one social media post per semester that will be featured on the Red Thread Foundation for Women’s social media accounts. The content should encourage and inspire other college-bound women.
- Award: $1,000
- Requirements: Candidates must be women with international backgrounds who are first-year entrants to an American college. Application requires two essays and a letter of recommendation.
- Deadline: Late February
Bold.org Young Women in STEM
Funded by Stephanie Hagopian and hosted on the Bold.org scholarship website, this scholarship fund offers $5,000 each to three winners. The funds are designed to encourage more women to enter the STEM(science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) workforce, which is nearly 75 percent male. This award is open to low-income women who are pursuing a STEM degree. Applicants can be high school seniors or current undergraduate students.
- Award: $,000 to each of three winners
- Requirements: Applicants must be women with a low income (high school seniors or college students) who are pursuing undergraduate degrees in STEM fields. Application includes several short essay questions.
- Deadline: March 1
Mechanism Ventures Opportunity for Black Women Scholarship
This award, also located at Bold.org, is funded by Mechanism Ventures and is offered to Black women at any level of education. This scholarship is part of the Mechanism Ventures Impact Grants Series. Candidates must be Black women, but they may be pursuing any field of study at any education level.
- Award: $1,000
- Requirements: Applicants must be Black women. Any education level and field of study are valid. Application requires a 1,000-word essay about the candidate’s goals for their education and career.
- Deadline: Mid-November
College Grants for Single Moms
Single mothers must overcome unique barriers in pursuing their education. Because they have children who are dependent on them, they must often put their academic dreams on hold so they can work and care for their children. Some college grants are specifically designed to assist single mothers in their quest to improve their education and employment prospects. Many of these awards offer money that can be used toward childcare and housing along with college expenses.
P.E.O Program for Continuing Education (PCE) Grant
The P.E.O. Sisterhood has been around for over a century and has a long history of supporting women throughout the world. The Continuing Education Grant funds may be used to cover childcare (during class or studying), which makes this award ideal for single moms. To qualify, a woman must have had at least 24 consecutive months as a non-student and must be within 18 months of finishing her degree or educational program. Candidates don’t need to join the P.E.O. to be eligible, but they must be sponsored by a local P.E.O. chapter, so joining the P.E.O. may be a good first step.
- Award: Up to $3,000
- Requirements: Candidates must be sponsored by a local P.E.O. chapter. Grant funds must be used toward completing a degree or certificate in order to secure employment (funds not available for prerequisite courses, student debt repayment, or living expenses).
- Deadline: Deadline varies, see eligibility requirements.
Soroptimist Live Your Dream: Education & Training Awards for Women
These education grants are offered by Soroptimist International of the Americas and are perfect for single mothers. The awards are open to women who are their families’ primary source of financial support. The Live Your Dream Awards provide funds to these women so they can improve their professional skills and/or education to gain employment or advance in their careers. The program gives away over $2.8 million in grants each year to over 1,700 recipients.
- Award: Varies, can be used to cover tuition, books, childcare, transportation, housing, and food
- Requirements: Candidates must have dependents and display financial need to be eligible. Application requires a personal statement and references.
- Deadline: November 15
Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Support Awards
The Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation offers five grants to low-income mothers each year. These Education Support Awards are designed to give mothers with financial need the ability to pursue their education and/or vocational training goals. The money may be used for direct college expenses and/or living expenses during the school year. Recipients are chosen based on several criteria: financial need, personal circumstances, educational path/occupational goals, and service/civic/activist goals.
- Award: Five awards, each up to $5,000
- Requirements: Applicants must be low-income mothers with minor children pursuing a first degree that adds to their current level of education (e.g. bachelor’s degree after earning an associate’s degree, or a first master’s degree after earning a bachelor’s).
- Deadline: Early August
The ANSWER (Andersen Nontraditional Scholarship for Women’s Education and Retraining) fund offers scholarships to mothers in North and South Carolina. Candidates must be primary caregivers to at least one child (pre-kindergarten through grade 12) and be nontraditional students. The minimum eligible age is 25 years old. Students must be pursuing their first bachelor’s degree in any subject or a two-year degree in certain fields (nursing, information technology, or health careers). Recipients must attend monthly professional and personal development workshops and participate in the Mentors For Mom Program.
- Award: Varies, determined by the Scholarship Committee (~$2,250 per year for two-year programs and ~$4,500 per year for four-year programs)
- Requirements: Applicants must be mothers, age 25 or older, and nontraditional students. Only valid for certain colleges in North Carolina and South Carolina.
- Deadline: March 1
Grants for Low-Income Women
Many college grants are specifically offered to individuals who demonstrate financial need. In some cases, the financial situation is only part of the award criteria, but other grants are offered primarily on the basis of financial need. Here are some college grants for women that are awarded to low-income applicants.
Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholar Grants
The Jeannette Rankin Foundation offers Scholar Grants to students who demonstrate financial need. This award is open to low-income individuals who identify as women, including nonbinary, trans, intersex, agender, and queer people. Recipients must be over 35 years old and pursuing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree at an accredited, nonprofit college. Eligibility depends on financial need, but a candidate’s goals and desire to give back to their community are also considered during the selection process. The grant money can be used toward direct educational costs and also childcare and living expenses during schooling.
- Award: $2,000 per year, renewable for up to five years
- Requirements: Candidates must meet low-income eligibility requirements and be pursuing a postsecondary degree or certificate. Application requires letters of recommendation.
- Deadline: Mid-February
Women’s Independence Scholarship Program (WISP)
The Women’s Independence Scholarship Program, Inc. offers college financial aid to women who are survivors of intimate partner abuse. Candidates must demonstrate a “critical need for financial assistance” and be separated from their abusers for at least one year (but no more than seven). The program also requires that applicants have requested services from a nonprofit agency that provides help to survivors of intimate partner abuse. The scholarship funds are intended to be applied toward direct education expenses (e.g. books and tuition), but recipients may also apply for Charitable Adjunct Assistance Awards to cover education-related living expenses.
- Award: $500 to $2,000 per semester or quarter. Amount may be based on the number of credits the student is enrolled in.
- Requirements: Candidates must be survivors of intimate partner abuse and be separated from their abusers. Financial need and the desire to pursue an education for career advancement are also considered during the selection process.
- Deadline: March 1
Grants from Women’s-Only Colleges
Many women’s colleges offer financial aid to their students based on need, merit, or a combination of both. Awards may be funded by the college, alumni groups, or outside organizations. Some of these schools offer grants designed to supplement federal student loans or government grants, but other awards cover the full cost of higher education. There are also grants from women’s colleges available to nontraditional students.
Wellesley College Financial Aid
Wellesley College is a reputable and well-established liberal arts school for women. The school boasts a financial aid budget of $74 million and promises to meet 100% of the calculated need for all admitted students. The admissions process is “need-blind,” meaning financial need isn’t considered when determining whether a candidate gets admitted. Once a woman is accepted, the college provides enough grant money to make attendance possible. According to the school, approximately 60 percent of students receive aid, and the average annual financial aid offer is $59,632.
- Award: 100% of calculated need
- Requirements: Financial need is calculated based on the cost of attendance, expected family contribution(EFC), and expected student contribution.
- Deadline: Contact Student Financial Services
Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Spelman is the oldest institution of higher education for Black women. Spelman College indicates that over 85 percent of students received some form of financial assistance in 2022. Students who are eligible for the Pell Grant (based on their FAFSA information) may also qualify for the Lettie Pate Grant. Another example of financial aid is the Spelman Need-Based Grant, which is funded by the school itself.
- Award: Varies based on financial need, awarded on a first-come, first-served basis
- Requirements: Eligibility is based on a candidate’s FAFSA form
- Deadline: Contact Financial Aid
Grants Can Make College Affordable
No matter what schools your daughter is considering, there are likely grants she can apply for. Unlike student loans, grants don’t need to be repaid. There are countless college grants available for women, and no limit on how many your child can apply for. Work together to research grants and scholarships that will help lower the true cost of college.
Use College Insights to help find merit aid and schools that fit the criteria most important to your student. You’ll not only save precious time, but your student will avoid the heartache of applying to schools they aren’t likely to get into or can’t afford to attend.
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