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 2021!
|0.99% – 11.98%1||Undergraduate|
|1.13% – 11.23%*,2||Undergraduate|
|0.99% – 11.44%3||Undergraduate|
|1.85% – 11.35%4||Undergraduate|
|2.20% – 6.17%5||Undergraduate|
|1.12% – 11.23%6||Undergraduate|
|1.15% – 11.01%7||Undergraduate|
|3.80% – 9.36%9||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 either Firstrust 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.
Rates shown are for the College Ave Undergraduate Loan product and include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a first year graduate student borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 7.10% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $141.66 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $16,699.21. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.
Information advertised valid as of 8/9/2021. 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 Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
3 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.
4 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Ascent loans are funded by Bank of Lake Mills, Member FDIC. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: AscentFunding.com/Ts&Cs
Rates are effective as of 09/01/2021 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 1.00% (for undergraduate outcomes income-based loans). Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: AscentFunding.com/Rates.
1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions, please visit AscentFunding.com/Cashback. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student borrowers must meet certain minimum credit criteria. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner. Lowest APRs are available for the most creditworthy applicants and may require a cosigner.
5 Important Disclosures for EdvestinU.
EDvestinU is a product of the nonprofit New Hampshire Higher Education Loan Corporation (dba The NHHEAF Network) NMLS ID#1527348.
APR range and repayment rates displayed assume a $10,000 loan disbursed in two equal disbursements. APR low assumes immediate repayment and 7 year repayment. APR high assumes deferred repayment and 15 year repayment. APR’s presented include a .50% interest rate reduction for electing to have payments automatically deducted from a bank account. The interest rate reduction for authorizing our servicer to automatically deduct monthly payments from a savings or checking account will not reduce the monthly payment, but will reduce the monthly finance charge, resulting in a lower total cost of loan. All examples are provided for educational purposes and actual terms may vary based on credit history, loan amount, applicable repayment term, and chosen repayment plan and method. Please note that the interest rate on variable rate programs may increase or decrease over time. The variable rate example assumes the same standard rate for the life of the loan. The NHHEAF Network reserves the right to modify or cancel its program at any time.
Eligibility: Dependent and independent U.S. citizen students. Currently residents of Washington and California are not eligible for EDvestinU programs.
Loan Limits: Minimum loan amount of $1,000.
Repayment: Standard or graduated repayment options available during repayment; 7, 10, or 15 year term selected by the borrower.
Cosigner Release: Cosigner release allowed if an account is in current standing, after 36 months of consecutive & on-time payments with a borrower FICO >749 for EDvestinU Private Student Loans and minimum income requirement of $30,000 with no foreclosures, repossessions, wage garnishments, unpaid tax liens, unpaid judgments or other public records having an open balance exceeding $100 during the last 7 years. The borrower must not currently be involved in bankruptcy proceeding or had any bankruptcy filings during the past 10 years and cannot have any defaults on education loans.
6 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
UNDERGRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.13% to 10.66% annual percentage rate (“APR”) (with autopay), variable rates from 1.12% to 11.23% APR (with autopay). GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.13% to 10.90% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.10% to 11.34% APR (with autopay). MBA AND LAW SCHOOL LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.08% to 10.86% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.05% to 11.29% APR (with autopay). PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.23% to 10.66% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.20% to 11.23% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin and your APR may increase after origination if the LIBOR increases. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Lowest rates are reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. If approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, the repayment option you select, the term and amount of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. Information current as of 4/1/2021. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. SoFi Lending Corp., licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. NMLS #1121636 (>www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org).
7 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.15% – 11.01% (1.15% – 10.24 APR)Fixed interest rates range from 4.18% – 11.70% (4.18% – 10.83% APR).
Graduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.89% – 10.66% (1.89% – 10.41% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.64% – 11.23%% (4.64% – 10.95% APR).
Business/Law Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.89% – 9.22% (1.89% – 8.50% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.38% – 10.44% (4.38% – 9.72% APR).
Medical/Dental Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.89% – 8.02% (1.89% – 7.72% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.28% – 9.24% (4.28% – 8.94% APR).
Parent Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.97% – 7.06% (1.97% – 7.06% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.94% – 8.58% (4.94% – 8.58% APR).
Bar Study Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 4.44% – 9.58% (4.44% – 9.52% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 7.39% – 12.94% (7.40% – 12.83% APR).
Medical Residency Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.53% – 7.03% (3.53% – 6.76% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 6.99% – 10.49% (6.98% – 10.09% APR).
Variable Rate Disclosure: Variable Rates are based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of June 1, 2021, the one-month LIBOR rate is 0.09%. Variable interest rates will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. The maximum variable rate is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%.
Fixed Rate Disclosure: Fixed rate ranges are based on applicable terms, level of degree, and presence of a co-signer.
Lowest Rate Disclosure: Lowest rates require a 5-year repayment term, immediate repayment, a graduate degree (where applicable), and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer. Borrowers should carefully review federal benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are considering possible loan forgiveness options, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision on our website including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
Eligibility Criteria: Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer is required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. Citizens Bank private student loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/Promissory Note, verification of application information, and if applicable, self-certification form, school certification of the loan amount, and student’s enrollment at a Citizens Bank participating school.
Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
8 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.
9 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. If you choose to complete an application, we will conduct a hard credit pull, which may affect your credit score. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.15% effective Jan 1, 2021 and may increase after consummation.