Monetary grants for education are generally awarded based on the applicant’s financial needs, and African-American students continue to show the greatest need for financial assistance. Income disparity continues to prevent many African-Americans from pursuing a post-secondary degree. For minorities — including African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans — federal, state, and privately funded education grants can provide the funds to complete a college degree.
There are several need- and merit-based grants for post-secondary education available to African-Americans, including offers for women and for students pursuing a specific field of study, such as engineering or science. Grant amounts can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Recipients may be required to reapply for funds annually, and they might receive additional funds based on their academic progress.
An applicant for an education grant for African-Americans must be a person of color. Federal education grants are typically awarded based on the applicant’s financial needs, while state and privately funded grants often have other or additional requirements based on the applicant’s legal residence, level of academic achievement, and planned course of study. Grant applicants may be required or strongly advised to document their income and financial need by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Types of African-American Grants
- AICPA Fellowship for Minority Doctoral Students: Graduate students of African American or other minority descent qualify for the $12,000 award if they show promise as accounting educators.
- Ford Foundation Fellowship Program: African Americans and other minority groups are eligible for this merit-based grant program that features an annual $20,000 stipend.
- Frederick Douglass Scholars Program: Douglass Scholars can receive up to $75,000 over five years in stipends through this award.
- Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant: This program is intended to increase access for minority and low-income students to private Georgia colleges. Awards are for a maximum of $350 per semester.
- IMAGES: Short for Iowa Minority Academic Grant for Economic Success, this grant goes to African American and other minority Iowa undergrads seeking their first degree who have financial need.
- Pell Grant: Despite concerns that recent changes to the federally funded Pell Grant will negatively affect African American graduate rates, the grant remains a reliable source of funds for qualified, low-income students. Applicants are required to complete the FAFSA. The maximum amount college students can receive under a Pell Grant was increased to $5,645 for the 2013-14 school year.
- United Negro College Fund (UNCF): Founded in 1944, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) is the nation’s oldest organization dedicated to advancing education for African Americans and offers a series of grants, fellowships, and scholarships to black college students.
- Cornell University Graduate School Fellowships for Minorities: Intended to increase the diversity of Cornell’s graduate student body, students applying for this fellowship must submit a supplemental essay addressing how they can bring diversity to the program.
- The National GEM Consortium Fellowship Program: GEM offers three Fellowship Programs for MS Engineering, Ph.D. Engineering, and Ph.D. Science students. With awards ranging between an $8K and $16K stipend per academic year along with full tuition and fees paid for by a GEM University Member, the program’s goal is to increase the participation of underrepresented groups in post-graduate science and engineering education.
- UNCF●Merck Postdoctoral Science Resarch Fellowships: This fellowship is part of the United Negro College Fund/Merck Science Initiative, which aims to support world-class African American biomedical scientists. The program awards at least 12 individuals each year with awards up to $53,000.