Many students and graduates fail to recognize the vast amount of money being reserved for qualified, well-educated and professional candidates. Scholarships and grants for Jewish students often are awarded at the local level (community or state), though there are some at the national level. The best way to find scholarships and grants for Jewish students is to check with local synagogues, B’nai B’rith and Hadassah chapters, Jewish federations, and community centers. Also, many colleges and universities set aside money for Jewish students as well as other ethnic/religious minorities.
Your local synagogue or temple is the first place to look for grant and scholarship money. While the synagogue itself may not be sponsoring a scholarship, your rabbi may know of different opportunities available to you in your community.
B'nai B'rith and Hadassah chapters
Chapters of international Jewish service organization B’nai B’rith and Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, often offer scholarships to help offset the cost of tuition. However, these scholarships usually are reserved for students who go to a college or university close to home.
Like the B’nai B’rith and Hadassah chapters, many Jewish federations help offset tuition costs and other education expenses for students who plan on attending school in the area. Jewish federations in your area can be found at ujc.org (United Jewish Communities, which is the umbrella group for the Jewish Federation system). Some funding from the federations may require academic merit in addition to financial need.
Jewish community centers are good places to ask about scholarships and grant money. There often are programs that incorporate working at the community centers as part of qualifying for the award. The Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) of North America Graduate Scholarship Program is that type of program. Students must agree to work for their local community center for a full two years after graduation to be eligible for the $10,000 (full-time students) or $3,000 (part-time students) award. Also, only students majoring in the fields of social work, nonprofit management, Jewish communal service, Jewish studies, business administration or education are considered.
Colleges and Universities
Those Jewish students who plan to obtain a degree in Jewish studies have a greater advantage in finding scholarships and grants. Some Jewish studies programs offer financial aid, but there also are national grants and scholarships reserved for Jewish students in Jewish studies. These include the $2,000 Robert and Beverly Natelson Family Award in Jewish Studies; the $5,000 Lipton Graduate Student Research Scholarship; the $1,000 per year Robert Berman Family Undergraduate/Graduate prize; the $5,000 per year Mazursky Undergraduate or Graduate Research Fund; and the $1,000 Ida and Isaac Lipton Certificate for undergraduates.