HBCU Scholarships

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How do you get HBCU Scholarships?

Undergrads and graduate students who plan to enroll in a Historically Black College or University may receive HBCU scholarships. Students may receive a scholarship award to make their education affordable. Recipients may use the money to pay for an HBCU’s tuition, fees, housing, books and more. Some scholarship funds are also renewable if the recipient meets the terms. 

Many HBCU scholarships are also for full time students who show financial need or merit or demonstrate other talents. Financial need scholarships are based on financial aid information from your FAFSA for that academic year. Merit scholarships are based decisions on academic achievement and community service. Academic excellence also tends to mean a minimum GPA (grade point average). Scholarships could also be a better alternative than borrowing student loans.

10 HBCU Scholarships You Should Apply for in 2021

Check out these HBCU scholarship opportunities. If you qualify, fill out a scholarship application. Make sure to read the directions and apply soon. 

  1. 5 Strong Scholarship
  2. Walt Disney Company UNCF Corporate Scholars Program
  3. UNCF Stem Scholarship
  4. Microsoft Scholarship Program 
  5. UNCF/Koch Undergraduate Scholars Program
  6. Toyota/UNCF Scholarship 
  7. Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) Scholarship
  8. James M. & Erma T. Freemont Foundation Scholarship Program 
  9. George and Pearl Strickland Scholarship
  10. HBCU Connect Minority Student Scholarship

Getting Considered for HBCU Scholarships

There are full ride HBCU scholarships. These awards pay tuition, fees, and an allowance. They tend to be merit based for high achievers with other qualities such as leadership. Other possible rules about eligibility are:

  • Specific scholarships (for certain majors only)
  • Letters of recommendation 
  • Test scores (undergraduate students: ACT/SAT; graduate students: GRE/GMAT etc.)
  • 500 to 1,000 word essay about goals
  • Being a U.S. citizen / legal permanent resident

Many HBCUs also automatically consider entering high school seniors for scholarships. For these HBCU scholarships, you might not need to fill out a separate form to apply. 

One example are the Spelman merit scholarships. They award a few each year to new incoming first year students. Factors include grade point average, standardized test scores, community service and leadership. Therefore, they only consider admitted students with minimum 1330 SAT or 31 ACT and 3.8 GPA (weighted). 

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) also offers HBCU college scholarships. Some are for use at their network of 37 HBCU partners. UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship is for Black students who are college juniors enrolled at an HBCU. Eligible applicants must have an interest in education reform and a 3.0 GPA.

Why Are HBCUs Important to the Black Community?

HBCUs were set up to serve the higher education needs of black students after the Civil Rights Act and still do. Prior to their existence, many colleges denied college admissions to Black Americans. Today, HBCUs enroll other students as well.

HBCU graduates include Martin Luther King Jr., Kamala Harris and others. Here is how Historically Black Colleges and Universities impact the black community.

1. Leading source of degrees for Black Americans. More than 80% of all black Americans who received degrees in medicine and dentistry earned their degree at an HBCU according to US Department of Education. They also report that 3/4ths of all black persons holding a doctorate degree graduated from an HBCU. HBCUs also award 40% of all bachelor’s degrees held by black college students. 

2. Cultural and racial diversity. HBCUs are also more racially diverse about enrollment and staff than many public universities. Faculty may have more sensitivity to issues on race and economic disadvantage. 

3. Remedial programs and retention. Many HBCUs offer a supportive setting through remedial programs. In general they also offer reading labs, expanded tutorial and counseling services. Plus, many have high rates of graduation says the US Department of Education

4. New high demand programs. US Department of Education says HBCUs award more bachelor’s degrees to black students in STEM or related fields. However, many of these fields do not have a strong presence of Blacks in the labor force, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

5. Networking and support. Joining the HBCU community may connect you with mentors, faculty and peers. Having this support may set you up for success. According to US Department of Education HBCUs rank high for the number of grads who pursue graduate or professional training. Faculty also stresses teaching and student service as much as research. 

Facts About HBCU Attendance

Today, the U.S. Department of Education reports there are 107 Historically Black College or Universities in the United States. These schools enroll over 228,000 students. There are 87 four year colleges. There are also 20 two year institutions. Many of these schools cost less than colleges with a majority of white students. Many of these HBCU students were female (62% in 2018). In 2018, 88% of HBCU students attended four year schools and 12% attended two year schools. A larger share (76%) went to public vs. private colleges.

Here are more interesting facts about HBCU attendance based on the US Department of Education findings:

  • In the past, more than 80% of Black American college graduates went to an HBCU
  • HBCUs account for 20% of black undergraduate enrollment
  • 50% of black faculty in traditionally white research universities earned their bachelor’s degrees at an HBCU
  • 3/4ths of all black officers in the armed forces and 4/5ths of all black federal judges received an undergraduate degree at an HBCU

List of HBCU Scholarships

There are 146 awards worth $849K below. Apply soon to our list of HBCU scholarships!

UNCF/ Smartwool – Go far. Feel good. Scholarship Program

In partnership with UNCF, Smartwool offers one $2,500 Go Far Feel Good Scholarship to college sophomores and juniors who attend a partner HBCU in either Tennessee or North Carolina.

Total: $25000

Awards: 10

Deadline: April 28, 2021

TMCF / COVID-19 Emergency Award

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund and varying partners unite to offer the COVID-19 Emergency Award to students attending one of TMCF’s publicly supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) or Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs).

Total: $3000

Awards: 3

Deadline: May 21, 2021

DFBSST Scholarship

The Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology (DFBSST) provides scholarships to African-American undergraduate students who enroll in scientific or technical fields of study at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Total: $15000

Awards: 1

Deadline: June 15, 2021

Crown Castle Opportunity Scholarship Program

In partnership with UNCF, Crown Castle has developed the Crown Castle Opportunity Scholarship Program to provide 25 need-based scholarships to African-American/Black college students who meet criteria.

Total: $250000

Awards: 25

Deadline: November 23

Nestle USA UNCF Scholarship 2020

NESTLE USA UNCF Scholarship provides need-based scholarships to sophomore and junior students majoring in food related fields (culinary arts, food science, etc.) and/or business-related fields at HBCUs.

Total: $2000

Awards: 1

Deadline: November 30

Malcolm X Scholarship for “Exceptional Courage”

UNCF / Spike Lee offer the Malcolm X Scholarship for “Exceptional Courage” for undergraduate students, who are enrolled at one of the UNCF Institutions. Learn more and apply today!

Total: $12000

Awards: 3

Deadline: November 30

George and Pearl Strickland Scholarship

This scholarship is available to Georgia undergraduate and graduate students who are attending Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, or Spelman College. Students must have a grade point average of 2.0 or higher and demonstrate financial need.

Total: $4000

Awards: 2

Deadline: January 22

Rev. Dr. Wallace Charles Smith HBCU Scholarship Award

Established in 2003, the HBCU Council of Shiloh Baptist Church offers the Rev. Dr. Wallace Charles Smith HBCU Scholarship Award of $2,000 to an incoming freshman at an HBCU with a minimum GPA of 3.5.

Total: $2000

Awards: 1

Deadline: January 23

Carolyn M. Harris HBCU Scholarship Award

The HBCU Council of Shiloh Baptist Church offers the Carolyn M. Harris HBCU Scholarship Award of $1,000 to an incoming freshman at an HBCU with a minimum GPA of 2.5 who is a member of a musical group or (music) education major.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: January 23

Heritage HBCU Scholarship Award

The HBCU Council of Shiloh Baptist Church offers the Heritage HBCU Scholarship Award of $2,000 to an incoming freshman at an HBCU with a minimum GPA of 2.5 on the basis of financial need.

Total: $2000

Awards: 1

Deadline: January 23

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