The availability of scholarships for Black students creates an opportunity for a more affordable education. As the cost of tuition continues to climb, it can be challenging to pay for college, leaving many students with no choice but to take out student loans and accrue thousands of dollars of debt before they even graduate.
Scholarships for Black students: 11 options
Students can greatly reduce the need to take out student loans by looking into scholarships for minority students. There are scholarships for Black women, scholarships for Black men, scholarships for Black students pursuing a career in medicine, law, public service or another field, and scholarships for Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students.
Here are 11 awards to investigate:
1. Ron Brown Scholarship
2. Thurgood Marshall College Fund/McDonald’s Black and Positively Golden Scholarship
3. Agnes Jones Jackson Scholarship
4. Hubertus W.V. Willems Scholarship for Male Students
5. James Weldon Johnson Scholarship
6. Carole Simpson Scholarship
7. FedEx/UNCF Scholarship
8. Blanche Ford Endowment Scholarship
9. James M. Rosin Memorial Scholarship
10. Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. Law School Diversity Scholarship
11. Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. Medical Diversity Scholarship
- Available to: High school seniors
- Amount: $40,000 ($10,000/year)
The Ron Brown Scholarship is a $40,000 renewable scholarship created for high school seniors interested in public service, global citizenship, community engagement and business entrepreneurship. This scholarship awards students who have demonstrated excellence in academics, exhibit leadership skills and engage in community service activities. To qualify, each applicant must be a U.S. citizen or holder of a permanent resident visa card, as well as demonstrate financial need.
- Available to: Undergraduates
- Amount: Up to $15,000 per year
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund/McDonald’s Black and Positively Golden Scholarship provides up to $15,000 in financial assistance to undergraduate students attending a TMCF-partnered HBCU or predominantly Black institution (PBI). To qualify, applicants must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident age 18 years or older, with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and demonstrated leadership skills and financial need. Additionally, applicants must submit an essay that explains what attending an HBCU means to them and upload a 1- to 2-minute video explaining what makes them “Black and positively golden.”
- Available to: High school seniors, undergraduates and graduate students
- Amount: Up to $2,000
The Agnes Jones Jackson Scholarship is a scholarship for up to $2,000 available to current NAACP members enrolled in or accepted to an accredited U.S college or university. Each high school senior and undergraduate applicants’ GPA must be at least a 2.5, while each graduate student applicant’s GPA must be at least a 3.0. All applicants must be U.S. citizens no older than 25 years old at the time of application and demonstrate financial need based on federal poverty guidelines.
- Available to: Male high school seniors, undergraduates and graduate students
- Amount: Up to $3,000
The Hubertus W.V. Willems Scholarship for Male Students awards up to $3,000 to male students majoring in STEM fields (engineering, physics, chemistry or mathematical sciences) at an accredited U.S. college or university. The minimum GPA requirement for high school senior and undergraduate applicants is 2.5, while the minimum for graduate student applicants is 3.0. All applicants must be U.S. citizens and demonstrate financial need, which will be based on federal poverty guidelines.
- Available to: High school seniors and undergraduates
- Amount: $1,500 to $3,000
The James Weldon Johnson Scholarship, or the Phi Beta Sigma James Weldon Johnson Scholarship, awards $1,500 to $3,000 to high school seniors and undergraduates who have been accepted to or are enrolled at an accredited U.S. college or university. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and current NAACP members under the age of 25 (at application deadline) with a minimum GPA of 2.5. This scholarship requires each applicant to write an essay describing how James Weldon Johnson’s life and legacy has impacted them, or an analysis of the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” explaining how they will contribute to both their community and society.
- Available to: Sophomores, juniors and seniors
- Amount: $2,000
The Carole Simpson Scholarship was established to aid minority students in overcoming challenges they may encounter pursuing careers in television, radio or digital journalism, and awards $2,000 to sophomores, juniors and seniors interested in those fields. When submitting the scholarship application, applicants must also submit work samples, as well as a resume, cover letter and letter of recommendation. In addition to the $2,000 scholarship, the recipient will also receive an invitation to the Excellence in Journalism Conference, held annually by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA).
- Available to: Freshmen
- Amount: $4,000
The FedEx/UNCF Scholarship awards $4,000 to five freshmen attending HBCUs. Each applicant must be a U.S. citizen, national or permanent resident who will enroll at a four-year HBCU for their undergraduate degree, and they must also have a GPA of at least 3.0 and demonstrate financial need. Supporting documents to be submitted with the scholarship application include an unofficial transcript, letter of recommendation and personal statement describing both your academic and careers goals. This scholarship is renewable, and applicants can be considered for renewal as long as they meet all required criteria.
- Available to: Sophomores
- Amount: Up to $10,000
Established in tribute, the Blanche Ford Endowment Scholarship awards up to $10,000 to college sophomores enrolled at one of the UNCF’s member colleges and universities who have unmet financial need, as stated by their school’s financial aid office; students can receive this award yearly until they graduate. A minimum GPA of 3.0 and participation in community service are required, and students must submit a current transcript when applying. If selected, recipients must complete a minimum of 20 to 25 hours of community service each year.
- Available to: Undergraduates
- Amount: Not specified
Students pursuing a career in health sciences can apply for the James M. Rosin Memorial Scholarship, which awards funding to those who attend a UNCF member college or university, have a GPA of at least 3.0 and demonstrate a financial need. When submitting the scholarship application, students should also submit an essay, unofficial transcript and recommendation form.
- Available to: Law students
- Amount: $2,000
The Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. Law School Diversity Scholarship awards $2,000 to help students in need attain their academic and professional goals as they pursue a career in law at an accredited school. To qualify, each applicant must be a U.S. citizen with a minimum GPA of 3.0 who is either a member of a racial or ethnic minority group, or has demonstrated that they are committed to issues of diversity. An official transcript and one-page essay discussing how the student has promoted ethnic diversity (or plans to do so with their degree) are to be submitted with the scholarship application.
- Available to: Medical students
- Amount: $2,000
Designed to award medical students who work within their community to promote ethnic diversity, the Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. Medical Diversity Scholarship provides the recipient with $2,000 to be used towards medical school. Each applicant should be a U.S. citizen with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and, similar to the law school scholarship, is either part of a racial or ethnic minority or someone who has shown their commitment to diversity. A one-page essay discussing the student’s work promoting ethnic diversity (or how attaining their medical degree will help them do so) and an official transcript should accompany the scholarship application.
Shannon Insler contributed to this report.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2022!
|3.24% – 14.86%1||Undergraduate|
|3.58% – 12.28%2||Undergraduate|
|4.62% – 14.96%3||Undergraduate|
|0.00% – 23.00%4||Undergraduate|
|3.25% – 9.69%6||Undergraduate|
|* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
1 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through Firstrust Bank, member FDIC, First Citizens Community Bank, member FDIC, or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC.. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Information advertised valid as of 11/15/2022. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Approved interest rate will depend on the creditworthiness of the applicant(s), lowest advertised rates only available to the most creditworthy applicants and require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.
2 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.
Interest Rate Disclosure: Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 4.24% APR to 13.03% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 3.83% APR to 12.53% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Although the rate will vary after you are approved, it will never exceed 36% (the maximum allowable for this loan). Please note, Earnest Private Student Loans are not available in Nevada. Our lowest rates are only available for our most credit qualified borrowers and contain our .25% auto pay discount from a checking or savings account. It is important to note that the 0.25% Auto Pay discount is not available while loan payments are deferred.
Auto Pay Disclosure: You can take advantage of the Auto Pay interest rate reduction by setting up and maintaining active and automatic ACH withdrawal of your loan payment from a checking or savings account. The interest rate reduction for Auto Pay will be available only while your loan is enrolled in Auto Pay. Interest rate incentives for utilizing Auto Pay may not be combined with certain private student loan repayment programs that also offer an interest rate reduction. For multi-party loans, only one party may enroll in Auto Pay. It is important to note that the 0.25% Auto Pay discount is not available while loan payments are deferred.
Loan Cost Examples: Earnest’s Loan Cost Examples: These examples provide estimates based on principal and Interest payments beginning immediately upon loan disbursement. Variable APR: A $10,000 loan with a 15-year term (180 monthly payments of $118.28) and a 11.69% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $21,290.40. For a variable loan, after your starting rate is set, your rate will then vary with the market. Fixed APR: A $10,000 loan with a 15-year term (180 monthly payments of $126.82) and a 13.03% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $22,827.79.
These examples provide estimates based on interest only payments while in school. Variable APR: A $10,000 loan with a 15-year term (180 monthly payments of $145.41) and a 11.69% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $26,173.03. For a variable loan, after your starting rate is set, your rate will then vary with the market. Fixed APR: A $10,000 loan with a 15-year term (180 monthly payments of $156.59) and a 13.03% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $28,186.67. Your actual repayment terms may vary. Other repayment options are available.
These examples provide estimates based on fixed $25 payments while in school. Variable APR: A $10,000 loan with a 15-year term (180 monthly payments of $169.92) and a 11.69% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $30,584.74. For a variable loan, after your starting rate is set, your rate will then vary with the market. Fixed APR: A $10,000 loan with a 15-year term (180 monthly payments of $188.42) and a 13.03% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $33,915.55. Your actual repayment terms may vary. Other repayment options are available.
These examples provide estimates based on deferred payments. Variable APR: A $10,000 loan with a 15-year term (180 monthly payments of $174.79) and a 11.69% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $31,462.16. For a variable loan, after your starting rate is set, your rate will then vary with the market. Fixed APR: A $10,000 loan with a 15-year term (180 monthly payments of $193.75) and a 13.03% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $34,874.28. Your actual repayment terms may vary. Other repayment options are available. It is important to note that the 0.25% Auto Pay discount is not available while loan payments are deferred.
Loan Eligibility criteria: Eligible students must: 1) For college Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors, attend, or be enrolled to attend, a Title IV school full-time. For college Seniors and Graduate students, attend, or be enrolled to attend, a Title IV school at least half-time; and 2) be pursuing a Bachelor’s or Graduate degree. Earnest private student loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information, self-certification of loan amount, and school certification.
Before applying for private student loans, it’s best to maximize your other sources of financial aid first. It’s recommended to use a 3-step approach to assembling the funds you need: 1) Look for funds you don’t have to pay back, like scholarships, grant and work-study opportunities. 2) Next, fill out a FAFSA® form to apply for federal student loans. Federal student loans do not require a credit check or cosigner, and offer various protections if you’re struggling with payments. 3) Finally, consider a private student loan to cover any difference between your total cost of attendance and the amount not covered in steps 1 and 2. For more information, visit the Department of Education website at https://studentaid.ed.gov.
Earnest Private Student Loans are made by One American Bank, Member FDIC. One American Bank, 515 S. Minnesota Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104.
Earnest loans are serviced by Earnest Operations LLC, 535 Mission St., Suite 1663 San Francisco, CA 94105, NMLS #1204917, with support From Navient Solutions, LLC (NMLS #212430). One American Bank and Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by agencies of the United States of America.
© 2022 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved.
LendingTree and associated sites by LendingTree may receive compensation from Earnest.
3 Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
4 Important Disclosures for Edly.
1. Loan Example:
About this example
The initial payment schedule is set upon receiving final terms and upon confirmation by your school of the loan amount. You may repay this loan at any time by paying an effective APR of 23%. The maximum amount you will pay is $22,500 (not including Late Fees and Returned Check Fees, if any). The maximum number of regularly scheduled payments you will make is 60. You will not pay more than 23% APR. No payment is required if your gross earned income is below $30,000 annually or if you lose your job and cannot find employment.
2. Edly Student IBR Loans are unsecured personal student loans issued by FinWise Bank, a Utah chartered commercial bank, member FDIC. All loans are subject to eligibility criteria and review of creditworthiness and history. Terms and conditions apply.
5 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
6 Important Disclosures for Funding U.
Funding U Disclosures
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are made by Funding University which is a for-profit enterprise. Funding University is not affiliated with the school you are attending or any other learning institution. None of the information contained in Funding University’s website constitutes a recommendation, solicitation or offer by Funding University or its affiliates to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments or other assets or provide any investment advice or service.