Today, women make up nearly half of the workforce in America, and the number of women earning degrees in higher education has surpassed that of men in recent decades. In 2015, around 39% of women between the ages of 25 and 29 earned a bachelor’s degree, compared to just 32% of men in the same age group, according to the NCES. Women have also made great strides in fields that were previously dominated by men, and now account for almost half of the students earning graduate degrees in law, medical, and business administration programs — a huge leap from the 10% of women who were pursuing these degree paths in the 1960s.
However, disparities still exist between men and women in the workforce. Schools and organizations are seeking to close this gender gap by offering scholarships that motivate women to excel in college and in their careers without piling up a significant amount of debt.
Women represent only 29% of workers in America’s 20 highest-paid jobs.
Various types of scholarships are offered specifically for women. Some award academic performance and leadership skills, while others encourage women to pursue graduate studies or careers that are traditionally male-dominated, such as business, science, engineering, and technology. Below you will see the average amount of financial aid awarded to female full-time, full-year undergraduates. As you can see, a lot of money is available to women who want to fund their education.
We’ve created this guide to show prospective undergraduate and graduate students the many financial opportunities available for them.
Scholarships for Women
College Scholarships for Women
Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship $1,000-$7,000
Varies by Zonta district
- Must pursue a business or “business-related” program
Scholarship applications must be submitted to a Zonta club.
Jeannette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund Varies
March 17, 2018
- Age 35 or older
- U.S. Citizen (or Permanent Resident of the U.S.)
- Must currently pursue a technical education, vocational education, associate degree, or a (first) bachelor’s degree
- Must be enrolled in (or accepted to) a “regionally or ACICS accredited school” (see website details)
For more information, see the scholarship organization’s FAQ here.
Executive Women International Scholarship Program (EWISP) $1,000-$5,000
- Qualifying high school seniors
- Applicants must compete at the local chapter before competing at the Corporate level
According to Executive Women International, “judges select winning students based on their scholastic achievement, leadership qualities, good citizenship and extra-curricular activities.”
STEM and Industry-Specific Scholarships
Dozens of scholarships are available for women pursuing careers in science, tech, engineering, and math (STEM). Other scholarships specific to industries such as teaching and nursing are also available, but may not be open solely to women, as female workers are fairly more represented in these fields.
STEM Scholarships for Women
Advancing Women in STEM Scholarship $6,000
- Age 18 years or older
- Legal resident of the United States
- Must complete scholarship application
According to Zenefits, the company software company behind the scholarship, this was developed to help encourage more female STEM workers in the United States.
Women Techmakers Scholars Program $10,000
- Must be enrolled at an accredited university in the United States or Canada (bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD program)
- Must “be studying computer science, computer engineering or a closely related technical field”
- “Demonstrate a strong academic record”
- “Exemplify leadership and demonstrate passion for increasing the involvement of women in computer science”
This scholarship was formally known as the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship Program, after Anita Borg, a notable computer scientist.
Maria Goeppert Mayer Award
June 30, 2017
- Must be a physicist
- Must apply within 10 years after PhD completion
- See scholarship website for additional requirements
The Maria Goeppert Mayer award was founded in honor of the pioneering physicist and Nobel laureate of the same name.
Microsoft Tuition Scholarship Varies
- Must be enrolled (full-time status) at a four-year university of college in the United States, Mexico, or Canada
- Must be pursuing an undergraduate degree in computer science, computer engineering, or “a related STEM degree”
- Must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA score out of a possible of 4.0 (or, when applicable, a minimum 4.0 GPA out of 5.0)
This scholarship covers a portion of bachelor’s degree tuition.
Admiral Grace Murray Hopper Scholarship $1,500
- Must be an incoming freshman
- Must be enrolled in (or accepted to) a bachelor’s-level ABET-accredited engineering (EAC), technology (TAC), or computing (CAC) program
- Must hold a minimum GPA of 3.5 out of 4.0
- For additional requirements, see the Society of Women Engineers’ (SWE) requirement listing
The Admiral Grace Murray Hopper Scholarship is one of many awards that the SWE offers for women in the field.
Business/Finance Scholarships for Women
Admiral Grace Murray Hopper Scholarship Varies
- College-bound high school student
- Entering senior year in autumn 2017
- Must hold a minimum GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent)
- Must “have an interest in pursuing a career in public finance, government, or nonprofits
- For additional requirements, see WPF’s application form here
This scholarship is available to up to 10 applicants a year.
Women in Business Scholarship TBA
- Must be pursue a finance career
Stout Risius Ross, a global investment banking company based out of Chicago, awarded six Women in Business Scholarships to students in 2016. At the time of writing, the company has not updated their site to reflect its 2017 award criteria.
Asian Women in Business Scholarship Fund $2,500
- Asian descent (see the organization’s definition)
- Must have a minimum 3.0 GPA at the time of application
- Must provide at least one professional recommendation
- Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- See website for additional requirements
This scholarship is awarded and administered by the Asian Women in Business (AWB), an organization dedicated to “assisting Asian women entrepreneurs and professionals”.
Teaching Scholarships for Women
AFCEAs STEM Teacher Scholarships $2,500-$5,000
Scholarships go to students pursuing a graduate degree or credential/licensure to teach STEM disciplines in grades K-12. Applicants must be US citizens enrolled at a US college or university on-campus and majoring in secondary education for a STEM-related field.
How to Apply
Students must complete an online application and submit a current transcript and two letters of recommendation (three if currently employed as a teacher).
Prospective 7-12 Secondary Teacher Coursework Scholarship $10,000
Also known as the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Prospective 7-12 Secondary Teacher Coursework Scholarship. This scholarship is open to women who are completing their sophomore year of college and planning on pursuing a career as a high school math teacher. Applicants must be enrolled as full-time students at a university in the next academic year and must have a 3.0 GPA.
How to Apply
Candidates must submit a proposal, an essay and three letters of recommendation.
Nursing Scholarships for Women
AHAs Go Red Multicultural Scholarship Fund for Women $2,500
December of each year
Applicants must be female minorities who are either US citizens or permanent residents pursuing a degree in the field of medicine. They must be currently enrolled in a US college, university, or healthcare institution and should have a GPA of 3.0.
How to Apply
Applicants submit an online application, a community involvement description, a transcript, two letters of recommendation, and a personal essay.
The Greta James Memorial Scholarship $2,500
Candidates must currently attend or plan on attending nursing school.
How to Apply
Applicants must answer two essay questions in 250 words or less. The winners will be selected through an online voting system.
The Megan Sugrue Scholarship $2,500
Applicants must be undergraduates in college or high school seniors who plan on enrolling in college to pursue a degree in pre-healthcare. High school applicants must score a 1260 on the SAT or 28 on the ACT. All applicants should have maintained a 3.5 GPA at the end of the latest Spring term.
How to Apply
Students must complete an application online and submit an official transcript, SAT/ACT scores (if applicable), a personal essay, and a list of academic honors, leadership skills, and community service.
Teaching Scholarships for Women
Greta James Memorial Scholarship $500
- Must be enrolled in a medical degree seeking program at an accredited university.
- Acceptable programs include ADN or BSN tracks.
- Must provide transcripts
- Must complete two essays describing financial need and “leadership within the community”
- Open to all legal residents within the United States
This scholarship is offered by Scrub Shopper, a retail company specializing in nursing apparel. The scholarship is named after the founder’s mother and nurse, Greta James.
The Megan Sugrue Scholarship by CengageBrain $2,500
January 31, 2018
- Must be undergraduates enrolled in college or high school seniors
- Must hold a minimum GPA of 3.5 (out of 4.0) “at the end of the latest spring term”
- If an applicant is a high school senior, he or she must hold a minimum score of 1260 on the SAT (or a minimum score of 28 on the ACT)
- Must “be planning to attend an accredited, public or private, 501 ©(3) college, university or technical college”
- Must be “planning to pursue a degree in Pre-Healthcare (i.e. Pre-Nursing, Pre-Med, Pre-Optometry, Pre-Dental, etc.)”
Note that this scholarship must be applied for via mail. This scholarship is offered by Cengage Learning, an education company based in Boston.
For Special Groups
While universities and colleges across the nation have succeeded in raising graduation rates for minority students, African-American, Hispanic, and Native American students are still underrepresented in higher education. In a bid to increase diversity on school campuses and in the workforce, many organizations offer financial aid for women in minority groups. Scholarships are also available for female veterans and single mothers going back to school.
Scholarships for Minority Women
Dr. Julianne Malveaux Scholarship TBA
Apply between January 1 and March 1, 2018
- Must be a graduating high school senior
- Must hold a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (out of 4.0) by February 1st of graduation year
- Must be a United States citizen
- Must complete scholarship application online
- Must submit a typed essay with the following prompt: “Explain the benefits you gained through the contributions of two (2) trailblazers of African descent (past and/or contemporary) and how it has benefited you as a person.”
This scholarship is offered by the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. (NANBPWC, INC.) and is named in honor of Julianne Malveaux.
The Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology (DFBSST) Up to $3,000 (annually)
June 15, 2018
- Undergraduate “majoring (or intending to major) in a technical field of study (i.e., engineering, math, science, etc.)”
- Must be enrolled (“or identify his or her intention to enroll”) at a predominantly Black college or university listed on the scholarship’s site
- Must be a United States citizen or permanent resident
The DFBSST was founded in 1983. Since then, the fund has assisted 161 students pursuing higher education in the fields of science and technology.
Chicana/Latina Foundation Scholarship Program $1,500
- Chicana/Latina heritage
- Must be enrolled at an accredited four-year or two-year higher education institution in northern California (for a list of acceptable institutions, see the program’s website)
- For a complete list of requirements, including specific requirements for community college students, undergraduates, and graduate students, see the scholarship program’s website
The Chicana/Latina Foundation Scholarship Program was founded in 1977 by three Latina University of California Berkeley students.
100 Hispanic Women Graduate Fellowship Program (100W GFP) TBA
- Hispanic descent
- Full-time enrollment
- GPA of 3.0 or higher
Founded in 1995, 100 Hispanic Women National, Inc. is a non-profit organization that seeks to “[guide] Latinas towards excellence in leadership by fostering educational enrichment and creating opportunities to promote our personal and professional development.”
The ACS Scholars Program $2,500-$5,000
Applicants accepted between November 1 and March 1 every year
- Must be African American, Native American, or Hispanic/Latino
- Must plan to “pursue full-time study in a chemically-related field with outstanding academic records and a desire to pursue a career in the chemical sciences”
- Must be a high school senior entering college
- For additional requirements, see the program’s website
The program lists a variety of “accepted majors and career goals” for scholarship eligibility on its website.
Scholarships for Female Vets
Women's Army Corps Veterans Association Scholarship $1,500 annually
May 1, 2018
- Must be “a child, grandchild, niece or nephew of an Army Service Woman, and must submit documentation of sponsor’s military service”
- Must be a United States citizen
- Must be a high school graduating senior holding a GPA of at least 3.5 out of 4.0, and “showing academic promise”
- Must submit a “biographical sketch and letter stating goals and how scholarship will be used”
- For additional requirements, see the scholarship’s website
This scholarship is administered and awarded by Army Women United (AKA Women’s Army Corps Veterans’ Association), a group dedicated to the memory of the United States Women’s Army Corps (WAC).
AMVETS National Scholarship Program for Veterans $4,000
- Must be a United States citizen
- Must “provide evidence of active duty status or veteran status having served honorably”
- Must hold a high school diploma or GED
- For additional requirements, visit AMVETS’s website
American Veterans, Inc. (AMVETS) was founded by World War II veterans.
Army Women's Foundation Legacy Scholarship Program Up to $2,500
- Must have “served honorably in the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve, Army National Guard or the child of a woman who served honorably in the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve or Army national Guard”
- Requirements for this scholarship vary by educational level. For complete requirements, see the Army Women’s Foundation Legacy Scholarship program website
According to the organization, the Army Women’s Foundation is “the national network for today’s Army women and a dynamic advocate for telling the history of Army women”.
Scholarships for Single Mothers
The Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation Award $5,000
- 17 years old or older
- Must be a mother (with minor children)
- Must be low-income (for a family of two, an annual family income of less than $20,000; for a family of three, an annual family income of less than $24,000; and for a family of four, less than an annual income of $28,000)
- For additional requirements, see the foundation’s website
This award is named after Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first minority woman elected to the United States Congress.
The Women's Independence Scholarship Program (WISP) ~$2,000/school term
Accepts applications throughout the year
- Direct survivor of intimate partner abuse (see restrictions)
- Must be in the United States
- Must attend (full or part-time) an accredited programs at an educational institution
According to the WISP, “Special consideration will be given to those interested in using their education to further the rights of, and options for, women and girls.”
More College Scholarships for Women
Scholarships for Women Over 40
Sophie Greenstadt Scholarship For Mid-Life Women $1,000
AAUW Career Development Grants $2,000-$12,000
December 15, 2017
- Received a bachelor’s degree on or before June 30, 2012
- Has not earned graduate or professional degree
- Plans to enroll/is enrolled in either a bachelor’s or associate program (in different field of study than previously earned bachelor’s), master’s program, certificate program, technical school, or professional degree
This award is aimed towards women who are making a career change, seeking to advance their career, or planning to re-enter the workforce through higher education. Preference will go to women of color, women pursuing a degree in a nontraditional field, and women who currently do not hold an advanced degree.
Alpha Sigma Lambda Scholarship For Adult Students Varies
2018 deadline TBA
- Attending institution that has Alpha Sigma Lambda Chapter
- Completed 24 semester hours of coursework
- Minimum 3.2 GPA
- Enrolled in associate or bachelor’s program
- Demonstrates financial need
Applicants evaluated on scholarship, leadership, personal statement, faculty recommendation, and financial need.
The Shirley Holden Helberg Grants For Mature Women $1,000
October 31, 2017
- Female aged 35 or older
- Not a member of NLAPW or member of immediately family of an NLAPW member
Applicants must submit an application fee of $35.00
Scholarships for Female High School Seniors
The Dell Scholars Program Scholarship $20,000
January 15, 2018
- Must participate in a Michael & Susan Dell Foundation-approved college readiness program during junior and senior year of high school
- Graduating from high school this academic year
- Minimum 2.4 GPA
- Demonstrate financial need
- Eligible for Pell Grant
- Planning to pursue bachelor’s degree as a full-time student in fall immediately after graduation
The application process opens on November 1, 2017.
National Merit Scholarship Program $2,500
- Be enrolled as a high school student with plans to enroll as a full-time college student in fall following graduation
- Be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
- Take PSAT/NMSQT®
Students with the highest PSAT/NMSQT® Selection Index scores qualify for scholarship program.
Girl Scout Scholarships Varies
- High school Girl Scout members who have earned high awards
Eligibility requirements and award amounts vary depending on the scholarship. Details are available on scholarship website.
Scholarships for Female Graduate Students
AAUW American Fellowships $6,000-$30,000
November 15, 2017
- Female scholars completing dissertations, planning research leave, or preparing research to be published
- U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Demonstrate academic excellence and commitment to helping women and girls through community service, field of research, or other work
Eligibility requirements and award amounts vary depending on the fellowship. Details are available on the website.
P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship Up to $12,500
2018 deadline TBA
- Female full-time graduate student working towards graduate degree at accredited U.S. or Canadian institution
- International student — U.S. and Canadian citizens or residents are not eligible
- Have full year of coursework remaining
Doctoral who have finished coursework and working only on a dissertation are not eligible.
Ada I. Pressman Memorial Scholarship Up to $5,000
2018 deadline TBA
- Female sophomore, junior, senior, or graduate student
- Engineering major
- U.S. citizen
Scholarship renewable for five years.
Financial Aid Resources
Various other types of financial aid are available for students pursuing a graduate or undergraduate degree, including grants, loans, employer tuition, and work-study programs. Below, we’ve included resources students can refer to when exploring different financial aid opportunities.
More Resources for Scholarships
- Scholarship essay tips Sallie Mae provides a guide on how to write a quality personal essay to submit with your scholarship application.
- Tips for scholarship applications Indiana University South Bend created a list of tips about applying for a scholarship after polling scholarship providers around the country.
- Scholarship search Sallie Mae also features a comprehensive scholarship search based on registered users’ profiles. Registration is free.
Grants are typically need-based, and like scholarships, do not need to be repaid. Hundreds of grant options are available specifically for women who complete a FAFSA application online to demonstrate their level of financial need. Some options include:
Federal and State Aid
- www.Benefits.gov Women in low-income or single-parent households can visit this to find government grants for colleges or universities after filling out an online form. Users can also browse different forms of financial aid available in specific states.
- Pell Grants These offer grant funding to part-time and full-time students who demonstrate financial need, and are available for women.
STEM Grants for Women
- The National Science Foundation This offers grants for female graduate and undergraduate students pursuing degrees in specific STEM subjects.
- The Association for Women in Mathematics This awards grants to women pursuing a degree path in advance mathematics.
- The United States Department of Agriculture This also offers grants specifically catering to women and minorities in STEM.
Grants for Special Groups
- The United Negro College Fund UNCF provides various grants and scholarships geared towards African-American Women.
- The National Black Nurses Association This organization offers grants, scholarships, and fellowships to African-American women pursuing a degree in nursing.
- The Gates Millennium Scholars program This program offers full-tuition grants and scholarships to minority students pursuing a degree in a STEM-related field.
- The National Association of Hispanic Nurses This organization awards grants to students pursuing a degree in healthcare.
- The Los Padres Foundation This organization awards grants to female Puerto Rican or Latino students who plan on completing a graduate degree.
- Perkins Loans These are low-interest federal loans that are a popular choice for both men and women attending college or university.
- The PEO Educational Loan Fund The ELF offers loans for women who are referred by a local chapter of the PEO Sisterhood and enrolled at an accredited US or Canadian postsecondary institution.
Alternative financial aid options are available for students seeking to ease tuition costs. Organizations such as AmeriCorps, Peace Corp, and National Health Services Corps offer programs that allow students to earn money for college in exchange for service commitment. The American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit are available to help students mitigate the cost of postsecondary education by lowering the their income taxes. Some companies also offer employer tuition assistance for working professionals who want to go back to school. Students are advised to contact a financial aid counselor at their prospective school to discuss which types of financial aid are best suited to them.