Scholarships For African-American Students

African American students can find many scholarship opportunities that are related to their heritage, culture, and/or ethnic background. Here are a few to get you started!

National Programs


The UNCF is the largest scholarship provider for minority students in the country. They award over $100 million in scholarships to 10,000 minority students each year.

Minority students are encouraged to check their comprehensive scholarship options as a good starting point for opportunities.

The Gates Scholarship

Established by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Gates Scholarship sets out to help outstanding minority students from low-income backgrounds. The scholarship covers the full Cost of Attendance, minus what the student is given from their school through the FAFSA®.

Eligible students but apply during their senior year of high school, qualify for the Pell Grant, and have a cumulative weighted GPA of at least 3.3.

Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship

The Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship is unique in that it is both a scholarship and mentoring program. The foundation aims to provide the requisite support for their scholars to complete their education and develop their leadership skills.

Students must apply for the scholarship as high school seniors demonstrate financial need, show leadership potential, and score a minimum of 1,000 on the SAT or 21 on the ACT. Scholars receive up to $30,000 over four years.

The Ron Brown Scholar Program

Named for the former Secretary of Commerce, the Ron Brown Scholar Fund was established to help African American students who are interested in public service and community engagement. Scholars receive $40,000 over four years.

To qualify, students must show leadership skills, demonstrate financial need, excel academically, and apply during their senior year of high school.

AABE National Scholarship

Careers in energy renewal and research are likely to be in demand over the next few years. The American Association of Blacks in Energy has created a scholarship program to assist African-American students in furthering their education in preparation for these energy-related careers. There are 26 local AABE chapters, and the specific requirements of the application process depend on each one.

General eligibility requirements require a GPA of 3.0 or better, current senior status with plans to attend college in the fall, and plans to major in business, science, technology, or math. The applicant must also be of an energy sector minority ethnicity, including African-American, Hispanic, or Native American.

Scholarship amounts range between $500 and $5,000. Interested applicants can submit the application form, high school transcripts, an admission essay, ACT or SAT scores, two letters of recommendation, a completed checklist, and a photo for announcements, to their local AABE chapter.

Field-specific Scholarships

Beyond scholarships that are designed for general study, many scholarships were introduced to create opportunities for minorities in specific fields. Here are some examples:

ACS Diversity Scholarship

Every year, the American Chemical Society awards over $900,000 in scholarships to minority students who are interested in pursuing undergraduate chemistry-related careers. The specific individual scholarship amount awarded is $5,000.

Scholarship applications are due each year on March 1. The following year’s scholarship program will reopen November 1 of each year. Eligibility requirements say that the applicant must be a current U.S. resident who is of African-American, Latino, or American Indian ethnicity.

The ACS applicant must also demonstrate a financial need and currently be a full-time student either in high school or at an accredited college. The applicant must also show a GPA of 3.0 or better in chemistry or science studies and also be planning a career in these fields.

The application process requires an official transcript, two letters of recommendation, and a copy of a free student aid report. Applicants can submit a scholarship application through the American Chemical Society.

The Monsanto Fund

The agrochemical company offers three scholarship opportunities to minority students interested in STEM and agricultural development:

  • The 1890s Student Scholarship – Open to undergraduate students pursuing a STEM degree at one of seven eligible 1890s Land Grant Universities. The scholarship award is up to $10,000 per year.
  • Graduate Student Scholarships – Monsanto offers up to $25,000 per year to minority scholars working towards their Masters in a STEM field. Students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA to apply.
  • Monsanto STEM Fellowship – One of the most lucrative awards given out, the company gives up to $50,000 per year to minority students working towards a Ph.D. in a STEM or agriculture-related field.

Historically Underrepresented Groups Scholarship

The Historically Underrepresented Groups Scholarship (HUGS) is a part of the Minority Scholarships Committee of the  Society for American Archaeology. It includes a $3,000 award that is given to minority groups interested in a career in archaeology.

Financial aid often only covers college tuition and other directly related college expenses. Archaeology requires field-training experience. This scholarship is meant to assist with these extra costs. The HUGS funds are available for fieldwork, internship costs, and other forms of summer training programs related to the archeology field.

An eligible applicant for the HUGS scholarship must be a legal U.S. or Canada resident and must be enrolled in an accredited university. Graduate students are eligible as long as they are within the first two years of their studies. The application process is currently closed for 2018 but next year’s applications can be submitted to the SAA by January 29, 2019.

Hyatt Hotels Fund for Minority Lodging Students

Hyatt recognizes the underrepresentation of African-American professionals in the hotel and lodging industry. The $3,000 scholarship is available to students who are studying for a bachelor’s degree and have at least a junior status in a hospitality major. Students must currently be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours for the next two upcoming semesters. All minority students, including African-American, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian, are eligible to apply. Interested hotel management students can submit an application to the AHLEF by April 15 of each year.