The Best Scholarships for Black and African American Students

By | January 19, 2024

Scholarships for Black and African American Students: Looking for scholarships that support Black and African American students? As a college hopeful, you know that finding ways to fund your education is a top priority.

We get it – college is expensive. But there are resources out there specifically for students like you. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the best scholarships to help make your academic dreams a reality. From prestigious national awards to smaller regional grants, we’ve got the inside scoop on programs that offer funding based on things like academic merit, community service achievements, and more. We’ll break down application tips, eligibility rules, and exactly how much money these scholarships provide.

Top Best Scholarships for Black and African American Students

Scholarships for Black and African American Students

While college can be expensive for any student, there are many scholarships specifically for Black and African American students to help offset the costs. Consider these top options:

  • The United Negro College Fund is one of the largest and most well-known. It offers scholarships, internships and fellowships to students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Amounts vary.
  • The Ron Brown Scholarship awards $40,000 ($10,000 per year) to academically talented African American high school seniors to attend a 4-year accredited college. Applicants must excel academically, exhibit leadership ability and participate in community service activities.
  • Jackie Robinson Foundation provides scholarships up to $30,000 over 4 years to minority high school students showing leadership potential and demonstrating financial need to attend an accredited 4-year college or university.
  • Gates Millennium Scholars is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It offers “good through graduation” scholarships to outstanding African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American and Hispanic American students with significant financial need to attend any accredited college or university of their choice.
  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund provides merit-based scholarships, internships and fellowships to students attending one of their 47 member public Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Award amounts vary.

The key is to identify reputable scholarships that match your background, academic performance, planned course of study, leadership qualities and financial situation. Consulting with your school counselor is wise. With persistence, African American students can find funding to make college affordable.

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How to Apply for Scholarships for Black and African American Students

When it comes to paying for college, scholarships can provide much-needed financial assistance without the burden of repayment. As a Black or African American student, you have access to scholarships aimed specifically at increasing representation and supporting diversity in higher education. Taking the time to find and thoughtfully apply to these scholarships can make a huge difference in affording your education.

Below are some tips on how to successfully apply for scholarships as an African American student:

  • Search for scholarships using databases like and that let you filter by ethnicity, race, major, talents, and more. This allows you to find scholarships you are actually eligible for.
  • Look into scholarships offered through civic groups like the United Negro College Fund, Jackie Robinson Foundation, and Thurgood Marshall College Fund which offer awards specifically for African American students.
  • Check with groups tied to your background and interests like your parents’ employers, churches, cultural organizations, sororities/fraternities, or clubs as they may offer scholarships for minority students.
  • Focus on essays and applications for 1-2 scholarships at a time, tailoring each application to the specific scholarship requirements vs applying to dozens with a generic submission.
  • Follow instructions carefully and pay attention to details and deadlines for each scholarship application. Submit requested materials like transcripts, letters, photos or videos if required.
  • Use teachers, counselors, mentors or peers to check over your application materials before submitting to put your best foot forward.

Applying to the many scholarships for African American and Black students that are available takes time and effort, but it is well worth it for the chance to help pay your way and open doors to educational opportunities that can transform your life.


  • Am I eligible for scholarships for minority students?

Yes, most scholarships targeted at minorities are open to African American, Black, and sometimes multi-racial students. Check the eligibility requirements for each scholarship.

  • Do I need really high grades or test scores?

    Not always. While academic merit scholarships do require strong grades and test scores, many others value community service, leadership, specific majors, career goals, extracurricular activities, or financial need.

  • What are some reputable scholarship websites or programs to check?
    • United Negro College Fund
    • Gates Millennium Scholars
    • Ron Brown Scholar Program
    • Jackie Robinson Foundation
    • Thurgood Marshall College Fund
    • UNCF STEM Scholars Program
  • Should I only apply for Black or African American scholarships?

    No, you can and should apply for many scholarships, even those not specifically targeted at minorities. Many scholarships simply seek well-rounded, high-achieving students.

  • I have a low income. Where can I find scholarships?

    If your family meets income eligibility guidelines, organizations like the Jackie Robinson Foundation, Gates Millennium Scholars, and United Negro College Fund offer need-based scholarships to complement merit aid.

  • When should I start applying for scholarships?

    Begin searching for scholarships early – even before senior year of high school. Compile a list of scholarships and deadlines that fit your strengths. Many deadlines occur during junior or senior year, but preparation is key.

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