20 Scholarships for Black Students in the US

There are numerous Scholarships for Black Students in the US but a lot of people are unaware. Attending college can be expensive, but scholarships can help make higher education more affordable. There are many scholarships available specifically for Black and African-American students to help them achieve their academic goals.

In this post, we will highlight 20 great scholarships for Black students and provide tips on how to find and apply for scholarships.

Why Scholarships for Black Students Are Important

College tuition costs have been steadily rising over the past decades, making paying for higher education difficult for many families. On average, tuition and fees at public 4-year colleges cost over $10,000 per year for in-state students and over $21,000 for out-of-state students. Private non-profit 4-year colleges average over $35,000 per year in tuition and fees.

These high costs can make college seem out of reach, especially for Black students who on average come from families with lower incomes compared to White families. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, about 33% of Black college students come from families considered low-income, compared to just 13% of White students.

Scholarships aimed at Black students help make college more accessible and affordable. By providing financial assistance, these scholarships open doors to academic opportunities that might otherwise be inaccessible. They help recognize outstanding Black students and give them the support they need to succeed in higher education.

Top 20 Scholarships for Black Students

Here are 20 great scholarships that Black high school and college students can apply for:

1. Ron Brown Scholar Program

The Ron Brown Scholar Program awards $40,000 scholarships to academically talented Black students who demonstrate financial need, community service, and leadership potential. Applicants must be current high school seniors at the time of application and Black/African American.

2. Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship

The Jackie Robinson Foundation provides scholarships of up to $30,000 over 4 years to minority high school students planning to attend a 4-year college. Applicants must demonstrate financial need, leadership, and strong academics.

3. United Negro College Fund Scholarships

The UNCF administers various scholarship programs for students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Scholarships range from $2,500 to $5,000 per year for high school and college students.

4. Gates Millennium Scholars

The Gates Millennium Scholarship awards good-through-graduation scholarships to outstanding minority students from low-income backgrounds. The program provides tuition assistance, academic support, mentoring and leadership training.

5. Coca-Cola Scholars Program

The Coca-Cola Scholars Program awards 250 four-year scholarships worth $20,000 to high school seniors who excel academically and make significant contributions to their communities.

6. McDonald’s HACER National Scholarship

The HACER National Scholarship from McDonald’s provides $100,000 scholarships to Hispanic high school students planning to enroll full-time in an accredited two- or four-year college. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA and demonstrate financial need.

7. Regions Riding Forward Scholarship

The Regions Riding Forward Scholarship awards $5,000 scholarships to minority high school and college students in select states in the South and Midwest. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA and plan to enroll full-time.

8. Foot Locker Scholar Athletes Program

The Foot Locker Scholar Athletes program gives $25,000 scholarships to 20 student athletes each year who demonstrate exceptional academic ability, leadership skills, and community involvement. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA.

9. Thurgood Marshall College Fund Scholarships

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund offers various scholarships, fellowships and internships for students attending one of their 47 member-schools that are public HBCUs or predominantly Black medical schools.

10. The Actuarial Diversity Scholarship

The Actuarial Diversity Scholarship gives out $4,000 scholarships to Black/African American, Hispanic, Native North American and Pacific Islander students pursuing a degree that may lead to a career in the actuarial field.

11. Microsoft Black Scholars Program

The Microsoft Black Scholars Program offers four-year scholarships to outstanding Black high school seniors who plan to pursue careers in engineering, computer science, and related STEM majors. The program provides tuition assistance, mentorship and internships at Microsoft.

12. ExxonMobil/LNESC Scholarship

The ExxonMobil/LNESC scholarship provides $20,000 scholarships to minority college students pursuing engineering degrees. Applicants must be US citizens or legal residents and have a 3.0 GPA.

13. Burger King Scholars Program

The Burger King Scholars Program awards $1,000 to $50,000 scholarships to high school seniors with part-time jobs who plan to enroll in a two- or four-year college or university. Applicants must have a 2.5 GPA.

14. Jesse Jackson Fellows – Toyota Scholarship

The Jesse Jackson Fellows – Toyota Scholarship awards $5,000 scholarships to Black college sophomores or juniors with outstanding academic records and demonstrated financial need. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA.

15. The Roothbert Fund Scholarship

The Roothbert Fund Scholarship provides scholarships between $2,000-$3,000 for Black students in the U.S. in need of financial aid to further their education at an accredited undergraduate or graduate institution.

16. Holmes Scholarship

The Holmes Scholarship awards scholarships between $5,000 and $15,000 to Black or African American students pursuing college degrees or certification programs related to real estate and mortgage finance.

17. Homer Fund Scholarship

The Homer Fund Scholarship from Home Depot provides financial assistance to students pursuing a post-secondary education in a field related to home improvement, construction, repair or community service. Recipients get up to $5,000 per academic year.

18. GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship

The GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship awards $10,000 renewable scholarships to students who demonstrate exemplary leadership, drive, integrity, and citizenship. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and have a minimum 3.0 GPA.

19. National Society of High School Scholars Foundation Scholarships

The NSHSS Foundation offers scholarships between $500 and $10,000 for high-achieving high school juniors and seniors and current undergraduate students. Applicants must be members of the NSHSS.

20. Applied Materials Grants for STEM Majors

Applied Materials awards grants between $1,000 and $10,000 to support the development of leaders in STEM fields, especially among underrepresented communities like Black and African American students. See eligibility requirements on the Applied Materials website.

Tips for Black Students Applying for Scholarships

Here are some tips to help Black students find and successfully apply for scholarships:

  • Start searching for scholarships early – don’t wait until your senior year of high school to begin looking. Many scholarships have deadlines as early as your junior year.
  • Ask your school counselor about available scholarships and seek out scholarships aimed at minority students. Talk to teachers and community leaders who may know of local scholarship opportunities.
  • Look beyond academic performance – many scholarships also consider financial need, community service, leadership skills, artistic talent, athletic ability or field of study. Play up all your strengths in applications.
  • Carefully follow all instructions and pay attention to deadlines and requirements. Provide everything that is asked for. Missing information can disqualify you.
  • Write thoughtful, personal essays and ask others to proofread to help make them as strong as possible. The essay is your chance to showcase your character and background.
  • Apply to as many scholarships as possible – the more you apply to, the better your chances of being awarded at least some financial aid. Don’t rely on getting one “dream scholarship.”
  • Maintain a high GPA and get involved in extracurricular activities throughout high school to be as competitive as possible for merit-based scholarships.
  • If awarded a scholarship, make sure to send thank you notes to all sponsors and provide any follow-up information requested in a timely manner. Being polite and responsible helps encourage sponsors to give again.


College costs can seem intimidating, but scholarships provide vital financial assistance that makes higher education more accessible for Black students. There are numerous scholarship programs available at the national, state, local and college levels. The key is to start searching early, apply broadly, and make each application as strong as possible. With hard work and determination, scholarships enable bright, talented Black youth to achieve their dreams of a college education.

Frequently Asked Questions About Scholarships for Black Students

What types of scholarships are available for Black students?

There are many different types of scholarships specifically for Black and African American students, including:

  • Merit-based scholarships awarded for academic achievement, leadership skills, community service, athletic or artistic talent.
  • Financial need-based scholarships for students from lower-income families.
  • Field of study scholarships for students pursuing certain majors like STEM, business, healthcare, education, etc.
  • HBCU scholarships for students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
  • Local scholarships from community organizations, companies, churches, etc.
  • Institutional scholarships from the college or university the student will attend.

Where can I find scholarships to apply for?

Great places to find scholarships include:

  • Your school counselor’s office
  • College websites and financial aid office
  • Your local community foundation
  • National organizations such as UNCF and the Jackie Robinson Foundation
  • Scholarship search engines like Fastweb, Niche, Cappex and Scholarships.com

When should I start applying to scholarships?

You should start applying for scholarships as early as possible:

  • In 9th or 10th grade: Seek out essay contests and start researching local and national opportunities
  • 11th grade: Apply for scholarships with deadlines early in 12th grade or ones requiring letters of recommendation, transcripts, etc.
  • 12th grade: Apply for as many scholarships as possible in the fall. Don’t wait until spring when most deadlines have passed. Apply for college-specific scholarships.

How can I make my scholarship essays stand out?

Tips to make your essays compelling:

  • Share personal stories and concrete examples that showcase your background, obstacles overcome, and strengths.
  • Tie your experiences and goals directly to the scholarship mission and values. Customize each essay.
  • Outline ideas beforehand so essays have logical flow and structure.
  • Have teachers, parents, and friends provide feedback on drafts.
  • Proofread carefully to catch any errors – this shows you take the process seriously.

What tips do you have for scholarship interviews?

To ace a scholarship interview:

  • Research the scholarship and its values so you can express how you align with the organization’s mission.
  • Practice your answers to common questions about your aspirations, leadership experience, passions, etc.
  • Dress professionally and arrive early. Greet interviewers confidently with a smile and firm handshake.
  • Make eye contact and give thoughtful responses using specific examples of your qualifications.
  • Remember names and send thank you notes after the interview.

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