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.
- Blacks at Microsoft: The Blacks at Microsoft Scholarship is virtually identical to a grant or stipend and is available for African-American students with strong academic records who need financial assistance to pay for college and are planning to pursue specific subjects at a four-year college. Awards are $5,000 and are renewable annually.
- 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.
- NABA National Scholarship Program: The National Association of Black Accountants offers scholarships in various amounts from $1,000 to $10,000 to deserving African-American students pursuing an accounting, finance, or business degree at a four-year university or enrolled or accepted into a master’s-level business program. Though technically not a grant program, it functions in much the same way.
- 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.
- RMHC/African-American Future Achievers: Offered in partnership with the Ronald McDonald House, this scholarship (again, not technically a grant but with similar function) is awarded based on merit and academic need to students across the country who have at least one parent of African-American descent.
- United Negro College Fund: The philanthropic organization the United Negro College Fund manages several minority grants. Each award has its own eligibility requirements and some are not ethnically-based. Since most of the scholarships require the recipient apply for Federal student aid, the UNCF generally recommends each applicant also complete the FAFSA.