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Best Scholarships and Grants for African-American Students

4 PresbyterianScholarships and grants have always had a very noble ring to them.

The fact that the government and various other non-profit organizations or individuals go out of their way to encourage and support students to pursue their education is commendable.

When a minority community is taken into this purview and offered a few more incentives to ensure their education, it’s even better!

Here we try and consolidate relevant information about the best scholarships and grants available for the African-American students in The United States of America.

Page Contents

What are Scholarship Programs?

A scholarship is a type of financial aid that is awarded to a student to further his/ her education. The amount received by a student as scholarship is not require to be repaid. Most of the scholarships are merit based. The purpose of the scholarship, its value and the criteria to get the scholarship often varies for each scholarship.

What are the different types of scholarships?

There are various scholarships available. The different types of scholarships are:

  • Merit based – Scholarships based on a student’s academic, artistic, athletic or other abilities.


  • Student Specific – Scholarships for which a student has to qualify on the basis of gender, race, religion, family, medical history or other student specific factors. The minority scholarships fall under this category of scholarships.


  • Career Specific – Scholarships for students who plan to pursue a particular field of study mostly in high need areas like nursing or education.


  • College specific – Scholarships offered to highly qualified applicants by individual colleges or universities. These are usually based on academic or personal achievement.


  • Athletic – Scholarships for students with exceptional skill in a sport.


  • Brand Scholarship – Often known as branded scholarships these are sponsored by a brand to gain attention.


  • Creative contest Scholarship – Scholarships based on creative submission by the students. 

4 GrantsWhat are Grants?

Educational grants are non-repayable funds issued mostly by the government (also known as federal grants) to students as a financial aid to further their studies. These are need based financial aids provided to the students.

Grants may be school-sponsored or privately funded also.

In order to qualify for these grants, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

They analyze the family income and assets and the expected family contribution towards the cost of attendance of a particular school.

They do this with the help of a formula to assess the financial need of the student.

What are the different kinds of federal grants available to the students in United States of America?

There are various federal grants available to the students. They are:

  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplement Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants. 

How does a scholarship differ from a grant?

Usually, a scholarship is merit based whereas a grant is need based. The difference between a scholarship and a grant can be clearly understood from the following table:

Criteria Scholarships Grants
Is the money repayable? No No
Is there an interest charged on the money No No
Need of FAFSA application Sometimes Always
Limit to the money that can be received Students may seek as many non-UNLV scholarships as they need but the UNLV scholarships are limited to cost of attendance-other financial aids received. There is always a limit
Does the student have to be a U.S Citizen? No Most of the times Yes.

Are there Scholarships and grants available for African-American students?

Yes, there are various scholarships and grants available for African-American students in the United States of America. This helps in encouraging students to mingle and learn from different cultures. This provides a platform for all the students, whether or not belonging to the minority in gaining valuable academic knowledge and experience.

The need for such scholarships and grants is more because African-American students show the greatest need of financial assistance. The main aim of most of the programs is to assist students from poor financial background to get basic ad higher education.

Although, some of the programs recognize and award students excelling in education, sports and community service irrespective of their financial status.

The best part about some of the scholarships is that they can be used not only for tuition fees but also for accommodation, books and other college needs.

Apart from ethnicity, there are often other criteria to fulfill to get the scholarships. The qualifying criteria could obviously differ for each scholarship. It makes sense to conduct a free college scholarship search and learn about the eligibility criteria. This would also help by narrowing down the huge list of scholarships to the ones that are only relevant to the student.

[PDF]The Distribution of Grants and Scholarships by Race – FinAid

4 Scholarship ProgramsWhat are the scholarships and grants available for African-American students?

There are various Scholarship programs that are available for African-American Students. Some of them are:

  • Smithsonian Institution James E.Webb Internship
  • Presbyterian Church – U.S.A Student Opportunity Scholarships
  • Gates Millennium Scholars Program
  • AAAS Minority Science Writers Internship
  • ABA Diversity Scholarship
  • ACHE Albert W.Dent Graduate Student Scholarship
  • ACS Scholars Program
  • African American Network- Carolinas Scholarship Fund
  • CANFIT Nutrition, Physical Education and Culinary Arts Scholarships
  • Coca Cola Play It Forward Scholarship Program

These are just a few of the scholarships to name. There are many such scholarships which cater to different sections of African-American Students. Here we will discuss the first three scholarships listed above, in detail.

What is the Smithsonian Institution James E. Webb Internship all about?

This Scholarship program was established in honor of Regent Emeritus and former Administrator of the National Air and Space Administration (NASA), late James E. Webb. This scholarship is to promote excellence in the management of non-profit organizations. The scholarship also intends to encourage participation of the minority groups in the management of scientific and cultural organizations where they are under- represented.

What is the eligibility criteria for the Smithsonian Institution James E. Webb Internship?

To be eligible for Smithsonian Institution James E. Webb Scholarship, A student must:

  1. Be a United States Citizen or a United States Permanent Resident
  2. Be formally enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program of study in public or business administration
  3. Have a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3

What is the compensation offered under the Smithsonian Institution James E. Webb Internship?

At 40 hours a week, which is considered full time enrolment, for all sessions with a total duration spanning 10 weeks, a Stipend of $600 per week would be given to the student.

4 Smithsonian Institution James E Webb InternshipWhat is the paperwork required to be submitted for the Smithsonian Institution James E. Webb Internship?

The following are required to be submitted by a student to be considered for The Smithsonian Institution James E. Webb Internship:

  • Resume
  • Transcripts – transcripts or other materials in lieu of transcripts from the appropriate institutions. In case the transcripts are not in English, the translation of transcripts is needed.
  • References – Names and e-mail addresses of two academic references to be submitted through SOLLA, well within the deadlines mentioned.
  • An Essay. 2-4 pages, Double spaced, 12-point font, addressing the following
    1. What are the student’s career goals and interests?
    2. How does the student see an internship at Smithsonian Institution relating to his/her career goals?
  • The student’s past and present academic history and other experiences which they feel has prepared them for an internship in Public or Business Administration.

What is the selection criteria for the Smithsonian Institution James E. Webb Internship?

The major thing that the institute considers before awarding the scholarship is the relevance of an internship at the Smithsonian to the student’s academic and career goals.

How to get further information and apply for The Smithsonian Institution James E. Webb Internship?

Here is the address and contact information from where the student can get further information and details and apply for the Smithsonian Institution James E. Webb Internship.

Contact – Scholarship Committee


470 L

MRC 902 PO Box 37012

Washington, DC 20013

Website address: http://www.smithsonianofi.com/internship-opportunities/james-e-webb-internship

e-mail address[email protected]

What is the Presbyterian Church- U.S.A. Student Opportunity Scholarship?

The Presbyterian Church-U.S. A Student Opportunity Scholarship is a scholarship program that serves Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) college students. The Scholarship provides need-based aid for sophomores, juniors and seniors who are first-degree full time students in accredited institutions in the Unites States of America.

Under this program the applicants would explore who God created them to be. This would be done through a series of Essay questions which the student would explore with mentors and peers.

Here the preference is extended to racial ethnic students so as to promote diversity. The Student Opportunity Scholarship program requires the student to actively involve themselves, while attending college, in a worshipping community or campus ministry program.

What is the eligibility criteria under the Presbyterian Church U.S. A Student Opportunity Scholarship?

To be eligible for the Presbyterian Church U.S.A Student Opportunity Scholarship, A student must:

  • Be a member of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A
  • Have completed first year of college
  • Be enrolled full time at an accredited college or university in the United states of America
  • Have a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.5 or more.
  • Be seeking a bachelor degree
  • Demonstrate financial need.

What is the range of award under the Presbyterian Church U.S.A Student Opportunity Scholarship?

The range of award may go up to a maximum of $2000, under the Presbyterian Church U.S.A Student Opportunity Scholarship.

How to get more information about, and apply for the Presbyterian Church U.S.A Student Opportunity Scholarship?

Here is the address and contact information from where a student can get further information and details to apply for the Presbyterian Church U.S.A Student Opportunity Scholarship:

Contact: Financial Aid Director


Presbyterian Church- USA

100 Witherspoon St.

Louisville, KY 40202

Website address: http://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/theology-formation-and-evangelism/financialaid/undergraduate-opportunities/student-opportunity-scholarships/

E-mail address: [email protected]

What is the Gates Millennium Scholars Program?

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program was established in 1999. This scholarship is a1.6-billion-dollar initiative funded through grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This scholarship program was started as a 20-year commitment to provide an opportunity, for outstanding students from under-represented communities, to pursue and complete their higher and undergraduate education. Each year 1000 students get selected for scholarship under this program.

What are the Goals of the Gates Millennium Scholar Program?

The goal of the Gates Millennium Scholar Program is to provide an opportunity to outstanding minority students, who have significant financial need, to reach their maximum potential. The program aims to do this by:

  • Reducing financial barriers for students with high academic and leadership promise and a significant financial need. These students could be African – American, American Indian/ Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American or Hispanic American students.
  • Maximizing the target groups’ representation in the field of computer science education, Engineering, Library Science, Mathematics, Public Health and Sciences.
  • Facilitating successful completion of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees to develop a diversified cadre of future American leaders.
  • Providing solid and seamless support from undergraduate through doctoral programs for the selected candidates entering target discipline.

What are the benefits of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program?

The Benefits of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program are:

  • Covers unmet need and self-help aid and thereby provides support to the cost of education
  • Gates Millennium Scholars maintaining satisfactory academic performance are provided renewable rewards.
  • Gates Millennium Scholars in the disciplines of Computer Science, Education, Engineering, Library Science, Mathematics, Public Health or Science get graduate school funding.
  • Distinctive personal, academic and professional growth opportunities are provided through leadership development programs.

What is the eligibility criteria for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program?

To be eligible for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, a student must:

  • Have a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.3 on 4.0 scale.
  • Be African-American,American Indian/ Alaska Native, Asian &Pacific Islander American or a Hispanic American.
  • Be a U.S Citizen, Permanent resident, or Foreign National
  • Be a High School senior, GED Recipient, or a high school graduate entering an accredited college for the first time as a full-time, degree seeking, first year student.
  • Meet Pell Grant eligibility criteria.

How to get further information and apply for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program?

To get further information and apply for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program a student could visit the official website at: www.gmsp.org

College is a huge milestone for many American families, especially for first-generation learners. It’s important to make note of all the grants and scholarships available to such families so that they have a window of opportunity to realize their dream. 

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