Scholarships for Black and African American Students

Black and African American scholarships and grants can help students further their careers while minimizing their college debt. Explore scholarship options.
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Updated on February 1, 2024
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  • Black college students receive financial aid at the highest rate among minority groups.
  • African Americans amass more student debt than other racial and ethnic student groups.
  • Many scholarships and grants are awarded exclusively to Black and African American students.

Black students receive the highest percentage of financial aid compared to students in other racial/ethnic groups completing an undergraduate degree, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

You can find scholarships through national and state agencies and individual universities on the basis of merit and/or financial need. You should seek out scholarships and grants — which do not need to be repaid — before considering loans or other conditional methods to fund your college education.

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Reasons to Apply for Scholarships

With the rising costs of college, almost all college students need financial aid to earn a degree. More than 85% of full-time, first-time undergraduate students received financial aid in 2019-2020, according to the NCES.

However, these financial awards are distributed unevenly across minority student groups. Black students take out federal loans at a higher rate, amass more debt, and are more likely to default on their student loans than their white peers.

Scholarships and grants earmarked for Black and African American students can help offset the cost of a college education and reduce student loan debt. You can also stack scholarships and pursue financial aid specifically for women, first-generation college students, STEM programs, or high-need majors.

Black and African American Scholarships

Ron Brown Scholarship

Who Is Eligible: Applicants must be Black or African American high school seniors who hold U.S. citizenship or meet permanent resident requirements. Candidates must also demonstrate financial need, academic excellence, leadership potential, and community service experience.

Deadline: December 1, 2024

Scholarship Amount: $10,000 per year for four years

American Association of Blacks in Energy Scholarship

Who Is Eligible: Applicants must be high school seniors belonging to an underrepresented minority group with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Candidates must intend to enroll in an undergraduate program in the semester following high school graduation, majoring in a STEM field.

Deadline: April 15, 2024

Scholarship Amount: $3,000 (regional) or $5,000 (national)

Fontana Transport Inc. Scholarship

Who Is Eligible: Candidates must be first-generation high school seniors who belong to an underrepresented minority group. Applicants must be accepted into an accredited four-year university and intend to major in a qualifying subject such as STEM, pre-med, or psychology.

Deadline: March 14, 2024

Scholarship Amount: $5,000

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Herbert Lehman Scholarship

Who Is Eligible: Candidates must be graduating high school seniors, first-year college students, or transfer students in their freshman or sophomore year. Applicants must be U.S. citizens with a history of academic excellence and public service experience and whose combined family income does not exceed $70,000.

Deadline: April 1, 2024

Scholarship Amount: $3,000 per year for four years

PlayStation Career Pathways Scholarship

Who Is Eligible: Applicants must identify as Black or African American and be enrolled or accepted as a full-time undergraduate student at an accredited four-year university. Candidates must declare a major in computer science or computer engineering and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Deadline: January 31, 2024

Scholarship Amount: Up to $30,000

Institute of Transportation Engineers Diversity Scholars Program

Who Is Eligible: Applicants may be high school seniors or transfer college students who belong to an underrepresented minority group. Candidates must intend to major in transportation engineering or a related field at an accredited four-year university. First-generation college students with the greatest financial need are preferred.

Deadline: March 15, 2024

Scholarship Amount: Up to $20,000

McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden Scholarship

Who Is Eligible: Candidates must be enrolled in a historically Black college and university (HBCU) undergraduate program during the academic year for which they apply for the scholarship. They must maintain a minimum 2.7 GPA, hold U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, and demonstrate financial need and strong leadership potential.

Deadline: March 28, 2024

Scholarship Amount: Up to $15,000

National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) Scholarship

Who Is Eligible: Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are also active members of NBMBAA. They must be enrolled full-time in an accredited graduate-level business program at the time of application. Candidates must also demonstrate a minimum 3.0 GPA, as well as academic excellence, leadership potential, and community service experience.

Deadline: May 15, 2024

Scholarship Amount: Up to $5,000

Blacks at Microsoft Scholarship

Who Is Eligible: Candidates must be a high school senior of African descent planning to attend an accredited four-year university immediately following high school graduation. Applicants must also maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA and demonstrate strong leadership potential but require financial assistance to attend college. Candidates must pursue a degree in engineering, computer science, or a related business major.

Deadline: May 13, 2024

Scholarship Amount: Up to $20,000

Grants for Black and African American Students

Federal Pell Grant

Who Is Eligible: Federal Pell Grants are awarded to students based on their family income and the individual cost of completing their preferred college program. Applicants must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their eligibility for funding.

Deadline: June 30, 2024 (FAFSA deadline)

Scholarship Amount: Varies by year; up to $7,395 in 2023

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

Who Is Eligible: FSEOGs are awarded by colleges and universities to supplement other sources of financial aid already distributed to students with a demonstrated financial need. Eligibility for the FSEOG program is determined by the FAFSA.

Deadline: June 30, 2024 (FAFSA deadline)

Scholarship Amount: $100-$4,000 per year

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant

Who Is Eligible: TEACH Grants award financial aid to aspiring teachers completing their degree in education under the condition that they fulfill a service obligation after graduation. Candidates must be enrolled in a TEACH-eligible program and serve a teaching term of at least four years in a low-income facility or high-need subject.

Deadline: June 30, 2024 (FAFSA deadline)

Scholarship Amount: Up to $4,000 per year

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

Who Is Eligible: Eligible candidates may exceed family contribution income limits but must meet the remaining requirements of the Pell Grant. Awards go to applicants whose parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11. Applicants must have been under 24 years old or enrolled at least part-time during this period.

Deadline: June 30, 2024 (FAFSA deadline)

Scholarship Amount: Varies by year; Up to $7,395 in 2023

AICPA Fellowship for Minority Doctoral Students

Who Is Eligible: The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants awards this fellowship to AICPA members who also belong to a minority ethnic group. Eligible candidates hold a master's degree or relevant experience and CPA licensure and have been accepted to or are enrolled in a full-time DBA or Ph.D. program.

Deadline: May 31, 2024

Scholarship Amount: $12,000

Popular Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Additional Financial Resources

  • Federal Work-Study: This type of financial aid enables students to gain experience and earn income in a job related to their major. Work-study candidates can use their earnings for educational or personal living expenses.
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid: Nearly every type of federal or institutional scholarship requires students to submit the FAFSA to determine eligibility for financial aid programs. Even some merit-based scholarships may give preference to students whose FAFSA demonstrates a high financial need.
  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund: The TMCF partners with HBCUs and predominantly Black colleges and universities to provide millions in scholarships and thousands of internship opportunities each year.
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People: The NAACP is the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the United States. The NAACP funds a variety of annual legacy scholarships for Black and African American high school seniors and college students.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Black and African American Scholarships

What is the United Negro College Fund (UNCF)?

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UNCF represents the largest minority education organization in the U.S., helping to facilitate scholarships, internships, fellowships, and international learning opportunities for college students. UNCF partners with thousands of U.S. universities to enable low-to-moderate-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students to pursue a post-secondary education program.

What percentage of Black students get scholarships?

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According to the NCES, 88% of Black students received scholarships and grants during the 2015-2016 academic year. Specifically, Black students received Pell Grants at a higher rate and also took out private loans at a higher rate than any other racial or ethnic group that year.

Can I get scholarships to attend an HBCU?

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Yes; in fact, many scholarships require candidates to be accepted at or enrolled in an HBCU as a condition of the award. Some Black scholarships, grants, and fellowships are funded through partnerships between HBCUs and regional or national organizations such as UNCF, while other HBCUs offer their own institutional scholarships and awards.

What is the difference between need-based and merit-based scholarships?

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Need-based scholarships require students to demonstrate a significant financial need, typically through income tax returns or other reported family contributions on their FAFSA. Merit-based scholarships award funds for achievements such as academic performance, leadership potential, or community service experience instead of primarily considering their financial need.