Finns first settled in the United States in 1638, but from around 1850 until 1930 about 300,000 left Finland for America. Many descendants strive to keep their ethnic heritage alive and several Finnish-American cultural societies grant scholarships. Some scholarships are restricted to American students of Finnish heritage. Other scholarships are available for both Finnish-Americans and other students who are interested in studying Finnish language, history or culture.
The American-Scandinavian Foundation
The American-Scandinavian Foundation provides funding for Americans who want to study or conduct research in Scandinavia, including Finland. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents who already have a well-defined project in mind. Awards are not exclusive to people of Finnish ancestry, but candidates should have some Finnish language competency.
Finlandia Foundation National
Finlandia Foundation National is the national network of Finnish-American organizations and its programs celebrate and support Finnish and Finnish American heritage and culture. Its scholarship committee considers financial aid but gives special consideration to students pursuing studies related to Finnish culture. Scholarships are available for graduate students and undergraduates at the sophomore level or higher.
Finlandia Foundation - New York Metropolitan Chapter
The Finlandia Foundation’s New York Metropolitan Chapter administers chapter scholarships in addition to those offered by the national organization. The New York Metropolitan Chapter Fund provides scholarships with preference to students of Finnish heritage. The Jean Sibelius Memorial Fund funds the study of Finnish arts. American students who want to study in Finland are eligible for the John A. Philman and Annie E. Wikander Scholarship.
The Finnish-American Social Club in Worcester awards an annual scholarship to graduating high school seniors of Finnish descent. Preference is given to students planning to study history, political science or economics. The Greater Worcester Community Foundation administers the scholarship program. Graduating high school students of Finnish heritage on Cape Cod may apply for scholarships from the Finnish-American Society of Cape Cod. Area high school guidance counselors distribute applications or interested applicants can call 508-362-5278.
Full-time juniors, seniors or graduate students at the University of Minnesota Duluth may apply for the FinnFest USA ’92 Scholarship. The scholarship is based on financial need and is worth $500. Preference is given to students from northeast Minnesota or northwest Wisconsin.
Finnish Center Association
The Minnesota-based Finnish Center Association grants scholarships to high school graduates. You or a parent, guardian or grandparent must be a member of the FCA. You also must have experience with the Finnish language or culture, have done volunteer work at the Finnish Cultural Center or plan to use the scholarship to study Finnish language or culture or in Finland to qualify.
University of Washington
University of Washington’s Department of Scandinavian Studies awards the Kalevala Scholarship to graduate or undergraduate students studying Finnish. You do not have to be of Finnish descent, but must be studying Finnish language, literature or area studies.
Annabella Gualdoni has written newsletters and reports for corporations and nonprofits since 1994. She is a real estate professional and also teaches subjects including international cooking and travel, dating/relationships and personal finance. Gualdoni has a Bachelor of Arts in international development from University of California, Berkeley, a Master of Arts in international relations from Boston University, and a Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School.