Statistics indicate that African Americans remain underrepresented at institutions of higher learning. To encourage this group of young people to pursue their education, scholarship programs provide financial assistance and support. These programs are offered by a diverse group of providers, and the packages range in amount.
Certain programs are created by family members and friends in honor of a deceased loved one. These memorial scholarships serve to assist those in need of financial help. Specific memorial scholarships target African American recipients, such as the Allison E. Fisher Memorial Fund, which is administered by the National Association of Black Journalists. Allison Fisher lost her life to cancer, and the fund named for her offers money--in different denominations--to qualifying candidates attending a four-year institution.
African Americans can take advantage of profession-specific scholarships, such as those created to encourage more diversity in the journalistic field. One such program is the Leonard M Perryman Communications Scholarship, which offers $2,500 for the undergraduate study of communications. The scholarship is named for Leonard Perryman, who worked as a journalist for 30 years. Candidates must be from an ethnic minority group, and they must be getting a four-year degree in communications.
Creative Writing Scholarship
For African Americans seeking to someday become noted American writers, there are scholarship funds that assist with the cost of preparatory study. The Jacqueline Woodson Fellowship specifically targets students of African or Caribbean descent, of which African Americans will qualify. The scholarship is available to students at Pine Manor College in Massachusetts, and it was named for Jacqueline Woodson, who has written several children's books. Those selected for the scholarship receive $1,000 for their tuition.
Minority-geared science scholarships are available for African American students that qualify. These scholarships tend be higher than others and are offered by large organizations. The GEM Fellowship Program from the National GEM Consortium, for instance, provides anywhere between $10,000 and $14,000 to selected fellows. The program supports African American students getting a Masters degree in Engineering and those studying for PhDs in Engineering or Science. GEM’s purpose is to improve diversity in the practice of the sciences.
Many of the most prominent American corporations offer scholarships to minority students for which African Americans can apply. Marathon Oil offers $15,000 to at least one successful applicant each year via it’s College Scholarship Program. Similarly, the Verizon Foundation also has a scholarship; in partnership with the United Negro College Fund, college students with a 3.0 can receive $5,097 to pay towards their school costs.
- Allison E. Fisher Memorial Fund: Scholarships and Awards
- United Methodist Communications: Leonard M. Perryman Communications Scholarship
- Pine Manor College: Financial Aid -- Fellowships
- The National Gem Consortium: About the GEM Fellowship Program
- Hispanic Scholarship Fund: HSF/Marathon Oil Corporation College Scholarship Program
- United Negro College Fund: For Students -- Scholarship Detail Information
Sydelle John is a lawyer who started writing professionally in 2007. She has written for the Guardian's Comment is Free and Pambazuka News, which focuses on pan-African issues. John has a Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Vassar College.