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 awards worth below. Apply soon to our list of HBCU scholarships!

JED’s Student Voice of Mental Health Award

JED’s Student Voice of Mental Health Award is an annual award for an undergraduate college student who raises awareness for mental health issues.

Total: $3000

Awards: 1

Deadline: March 01

Keisha M. Michael Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is open to African-American high school seniors who reside in New Castle County, Delaware, and have a grade point average of 2.5 or higher. Students must plan to attend a Historically Black College or University (HBCU); community and church service will be considered in selection.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: March 15

Resilience through Diversity: Scholarship for HBCU Students

If you demonstrate interest in a career that builds resilience, such as emergency management, urban planning, crisis communications, engineering, environmental science, public administration, sustainable development, or related fields, this scholarship is for you!

Total: $10000

Awards: 2

Deadline: March 15

HBCU Connect Minority Student Scholarship

HBCUConnect.com encourages minority students from all around the nation to pursue bachelors degrees at U.S. historically black colleges and universities. Applicants must be minority graduating high school seniors, transfer, or full time undergraduate students attending historically black college or university.

Total: $4000

Awards: 4

Deadline: April 01

Rita E. Miller Scholarship

The National Black Nurses Association offers the Rita E. Miller Scholarship for an NBNA member BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) student who is attending a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). Click to learn more and apply today!

Total: $2500

Awards: 1

Deadline: April 15

The Ray Charles Foundation Scholars Fund in Neurosurgery

The Ray Charles Foundation Scholars Fund in Neurosurgery provides a unique opportunity for one individual preferably from an HBCU to spend a full year at the world-class Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles to take part in research.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: April 15

UNCF Emergency Student Aid (ESA)/ Emergency Retention Grants

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) offers $1,000 Emergency Retention Grants for HBCU students at member institutions and at risk of dropping out of college due to an emergency.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1


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

McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden Scholarship Program

If you’re a student attending an HBCU with a GPA of 2.7 or higher, check out this scholarship. Applicants must be 18 and older.

Total: $500000

Awards: 34

Deadline: August 03

Target Scholars 2021

Target is awarding 1,000 need-based scholarships of up to $5,000 to first-year Black students enrolled at select Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs) majoring in technology, leadership or design. Click to learn more and apply today!

Total: $5000

Awards: 1000

Deadline: June 16