Bold.org Scholarships Blog

The Top Exclusive Scholarships for Black High School and College Students

In the United States, having a college degree has become critical for career opportunities, and undergraduate enrollment rates have continued to rise as students seek out degrees. However, higher education is not equally distributed, with Black students having less access to higher education and the opportunities that come from it.

Barriers to higher education often begin during grade school, with 45% of Black students attending school in high-poverty areas as compared to only 8% of white students. Financial limitations can make the high college tuition costs difficult for many Black students to afford, but scholarships can help.

To help you fund your education, we've created a list of scholarships for Black students exclusively offered on Bold.org

Jump ahead to the scholarship list!

How important is higher education for an African-American?

Only 29% of African-American adults between the ages of 25 and 29 have a bachelor’s degree or a more advanced college degree, yet 45% of white adults in the same age group have one. Similarly, only 40% of Black 25 to 29-year-olds have a two-year college degree or more, while 56% of white adults of the same age have one.

The disparity in education between white and Black adults contributes to the underrepresentation of Black workers in high-paying fields, such as management, STEM, and law. The scholarships we provide for African-American students can help you pay for the degree you desire and break into the field of your choice beyond the oppressive societal barriers seen today.

Three students studying together on the lawn

How important are African-American scholarships?

Unequal education rates contribute to the racial wealth gap. The average white family has a net worth of $171,000, which is nearly ten times the $17,150 net worth of the typical Black family in the US. Lower economic resources lead to Black students being more likely to take out loans to pay for college.

Only 56% of white students taking out federal student loans as compared to 71% of Black students.

Scholarships are a critical way for African-American students to pursue higher education with minimal student loans. By completing a degree, Black students will have the opportunity to pursue careers in high-paying fields that are currently white-dominated, diluting the racial wealth gap and paving the way for more diversity in the US workforce.

The 21 African-American scholarships listed below are intended to help Black students achieve their goals in higher education and to provide these students with more career opportunities. Scholarships for African-American students have a variety of requirements and award amounts, but they are all great opportunities that you can apply to for free on Bold.org.

The Exclusive List of Scholarships for Black Students

  1. Bubba Wallace Live to be Different Scholarship
  • Amount: $10,000
  • Eligibility: Any high school or undergraduate student
  • Next Deadline: May 31st, 2021
  • Winners Announced: June 15th, 2021
  • Description: This scholarship encourages inclusion and is funded by NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace to continue his fight for racial justice. To apply, submit a short essay about a time you experienced adversity.
  1. Impact Scholarship for Black Students
  • Amount: $2,550
  • Eligibility: Any Black student
  • Next Deadline: May 11th, 2021
  • Winners Announced: June 11th, 2021
  • Description: This scholarship is part of the 15 grants given by Mechanism Ventures to promote equal opportunity. To apply, write a short essay about your goals and the steps you’re taking to achieve them.
  1. Make Your Mark BIPOC Arts Scholarship
  • Amount: $2,500
  • Eligibility: Any BIPOC student
  • Next Deadline: April 2nd, 2021
  • Winners Announced: May 5th, 2021
  • Description: This grant is intended to help BIPOC artists launch their careers, and the recipient will be able to work with Grind Arts Company to create an art project. To apply, submit a proposal for a project you want to create, and the grant will go towards the costs of creating the project.
  1. Future Black Leaders Scholarship
  • Amount: $1,610
  • Eligibility: Any Black undergraduate student
  • Next Deadline: March 31st, 2021
  • Winners Announced: April 27th, 2021
  • Description: To help give Black students more access to education and the opportunities that come from it, this scholarship will be awarded to one Black student with big dreams. To apply, submit a short essay about your goals, financial difficulties, and your activities.
  1. Homer L. Graham Memorial Scholarship
  • Amount: $1,500
  • Eligibility: Any male high school student planning to attend an HBCU
  • Next Deadline: July 15th, 2021
  • Winners Announced: August 15th, 2021
  • Description: This scholarship honors the legacy of Homer L. Graham by helping Black male high school students attend an HBCU in fall 2021. To apply, write a short essay about your story and if you’ve experienced barriers to opportunity.
  1. Black Design Leaders Grant
  • Amount: $1,050
  • Eligibility: Any Black graduate or undergraduate student
  • Next Deadline: May 11th, 2021
  • Winners Announced: June 11th, 2021
  • Description: This scholarship is also part of the Mechanism Ventures grant series and aims to assist Black students who are working towards careers in design at start-ups.
  1. Incarceration Impact Scholarship
  • Amount: $1,050
  • Eligibility: Any Black or Latinx high school or undergraduate student with an incarcerated parent or guardian
  • Next Deadline: April 18th, 2021
  • Winners Announced: May 17th, 2021
  • Description: Due to the disproportionate amount of incarcerated Black and Latinx people, this scholarship is open to Black and Latinx students who have an incarcerated parent or guardian and live in a low-income household. To apply, write a short essay about how incarceration has affected your life and your future goals.
  1. Elevate Minorities in the Arts Scholarship
  • Amount: $1,033
  • Eligibility: Any minority student
  • Next Deadline: April 1st, 2021
  • Winners Announced: April 13th, 2021
  • Description: Since minorities often don’t have the resources to break into the art and entertainment fields, this scholarship aims to help minority students who are pursuing a degree in the arts (or planning to). To apply, write a short essay about why you create art and how this scholarship will help you achieve your artistic dreams.
  1. Elevate Black Students in Public Policy Scholarship
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility: Any Black undergraduate or graduate student
  • Next Deadline: April 30th, 2021
  • Winners Announced: May 31st, 2021
  • Description: To help fight the lack of Black representation in public policy, this scholarship will be awarded to a Black student pursuing a career in public policy. This scholarship is also part of the Mechanism Ventures Impact Grants Series and you can apply by writing a short essay about yourself and your hopes for your career in public policy.
  1. Black Marketing Leaders Grant
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility: Any Black undergraduate or graduate student
  • Next Deadline: May 11th, 2021
  • Winners Announced: June 11th, 2021
  • Description: To support more diversity in start-ups, this scholarship will be awarded to a Black student who is pursuing a marketing career at a start-up. This scholarship is part of the Mechanism Ventures Impact Grants Series and you can apply by writing a short essay introducing yourself and your goals for your career in marketing.
  1. Black Engineering Leaders Grant
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility: Any Black undergraduate or graduate student
  • Next Deadline: May 11th, 2021
  • Winners Announced: June 11th, 2021
  • Description: Part of the Mechanism Ventures Impact Grants Series, this scholarship is for Black students pursuing engineering at start-ups. This is a great scholarship for Black women who hope to pursue engineering, since women are very underrepresented in STEM. To apply, write a short essay about your hopes for your engineering career and what you’re doing to prepare yourself to achieve your goals.
  1. African-American Journalism Scholarship
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility: Any Black student
  • Next Deadline: May 11th, 2021
  • Winners Announced: June 11th, 2021
  • Description: Due to the lack of Black journalists in leadership positions, this scholarship aims to create more diversity in journalism and will go to a Black student at any level of education who is pursuing a journalism career. This scholarship is also part of the Mechanism Ventures Impact Grants Series and you can apply by submitting a short essay about what you hope to achieve with your journalism career.
  1. Black Students in St. Louis Scholarship
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility: Any Black student in St. Louis
  • Next Deadline: June 11th, 2021
  • Winners Announced: July 11th, 2021
  • Description: This scholarship is part of the Mechanism Ventures Impact Grants Series and will be won by a Black student in St. Louis with big goals. To apply, write a short essay about your goals for your life and how you are working towards achieving them.
  1. Philadelphia Black Entrepreneurs Grant
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility: Any Black student from Philadelphia
  • Next Deadline: June 11th, 2021
  • Winners Announced: July 11th, 2021
  • Description: As part of the Mechanism Ventures Impact Grant Series, this scholarship will be awarded to a Black student from Philadelphia who hopes to start a new business. To apply, submit an essay about the business you hope to build (or one you are already building) and what you’re doing to pursue your goals.
  1. Undiscovered Brilliance Scholarship for African-Americans
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility: Any Black student
  • Next Deadline: May 16th, 2021
  • Winners Announced: June 16th, 2021
  • Description: This scholarship aims to support brilliant Black students with big dreams and is part of the Mechanism Ventures Impact Grant Series. To apply, write a short essay about yourself, your dreams, and the actions you take to improve yourself and the people around you.
  1. BIPOC Educators Scholarship
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility: Any BIPOC student
  • Next Deadline: April 1st, 2021
  • Winners Announced: April 23rd, 2021
  • Description: Due to the disproportionate amount of minority educators, this scholarship aims to support a student majoring in education or plan to. To apply, submit a short essay about when you realized you wanted to pursue a career in education.
  1. WayUp $1,000 Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility: Any student
  • Next Deadline: June 1st, 2021
  • Winners Announced: June 27th, 2021
  • Description: This scholarship promotes diversity and inclusion and is funded by the WayUp platform. Students who are passionate about inclusion can apply, and your chances of winning will be increased if you demonstrate community engagement on your Bold.org profile.
  1. Elevate Black Entrepreneurs Scholarship
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility: Any Black undergraduate or graduate student
  • Next Deadline: July 1st, 2021
  • Winners Announced: July 31st, 2021
  • Description: Due to the small percentage of venture-funded start-ups with Black founders, one Black entrepreneur building or hoping to build a business will receive this scholarship. To apply, submit an essay about your business or idea and how you became interested in business.
  1. Black Nurse Magic Scholarship
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility: Any first-generation Black undergraduate or graduate student studying nursing at Prairie View A&M University
  • Next Deadline: May 13th, 2021
  • Winners Announced: May 29th, 2021
  • Description: In memory of Melinda Edwards-Jackson, this scholarship will help Black first-generation college students majoring in nursing at Prairie View A&M University with a 3.0 GPA or higher. To apply, write a short essay about a time when you achieved something great despite hardship.
  1. Melissa Ludwig Diversity in Yoga Scholarship
  • Amount: $700
  • Eligibility: Any BIPOC student
  • Next Deadline: April 6th, 2021
  • Winners Announced: April 30th, 2021
  • Description: Due to the lack of diversity in yoga and the stereotypical image of yoga instructors depicted by the media, this scholarship will support a BIPOC student who is working to become a yoga teacher. The scholarship will go toward the training classes necessary to become a yoga teacher, and you can apply by writing about your passion for yoga and what you hope to change in the world by becoming a yoga teacher.
  1. Coding for Minorities Scholarship
  • Amount: $500
  • Eligibility: Any high school or undergraduate minority student
  • Next Deadline: July 1st, 2021
  • Winners Announced: July 31st, 2021
  • Description: To help give minority students in computer science an equal opportunity to succeed in coding, this scholarship will be awarded to one minority student. To increase your chances, include your goals for your coding career on your Bold.org profile.
Student with a backpack walking through a glass door

Many of these scholarships have approaching deadlines, so don’t wait to apply. The limited eligibility of many of these scholarships will give you a better chance at the awards, especially the scholarships limited not only by race but by field of interest, too.

To maximize your chances of winning, strive to grab the attention of scholarship panels by creating a unique and comprehensive profile.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are there STEM scholarships for Black students?

STEM is just one field where African-American workers are underrepresented. In computer science and other mathematics-based careers, there are 8 times as many white workers as Black workers. To help reduce this gap, there are several scholarships on Bold.org specifically for African-American scholars in STEM, such as the Coding for Minorities Scholarship and the Black Engineering Leaders Grant.

Are there scholarships on Bold.org for African-American students at HBCUs?

Historically Black Colleges and Universities are schools established prior to the 1964 Civil Rights Act and were created to give the Black population access to higher education. HBCUs are still critical to the Black community and though they make up only 3% of United States colleges, 10% of African American scholars attend an HBCU. Nearly 20% of Black graduates come from HBCUs and 25% of African-Americans with STEM degrees graduate from an HBCU.

Even though HBCUs have 28% lower costs than non-HBCUs, it can still be difficult for students to pay tuition, housing, and other fees. Bold.org has scholarships specifically for students attending HBCUs, such as the Homer L. Graham Memorial Scholarship listed above.

Should Black students only apply for scholarships with racial eligibility?

While the scholarships listed above as well as other scholarships specifically provided for Black students are great opportunities, Black students can also apply to more general scholarships. The limited eligibility from scholarships designed for African-American members will increase your chances of winning, but there are many other easy and helpful scholarships available for students to apply to. Check out our easy scholarships list for more opportunities.

What happens when I win a scholarship?

The scholarships listed above will go directly towards your tuition and will be sent to your financial aid office. If you’re a high school student, your award will be saved and sent to the college you choose for your education. Check out the terms for our scholarship opportunities here for more information.

Two female students studying on a table outside

Understanding the Takeaways

Overall, an African-American is more likely to face financial restrictions that make it difficult to complete a degree. For many systemic and systematic reasons, Black students have lower graduation rates than many other racial groups.

For example, only 18% of Black students graduate within six years at private for-profit schools, while 48% of Asian students graduate within this time. African-American scholarships are critical in making education equitable and accessible for high school and college students looking to get ahead in their careers.

By helping African Americans in higher education, scholarships for African-American students will combat the racial disparities seen in high-paying fields and can reduce the wealth inequality between Black and white adults. Scholarships for Black students also help with financial aid efforts and student loan debt, since Black students on average have the highest student loan debt, $26,723.

To reduce this debt and work towards the equal distribution of education and high-paying jobs, scholarships for Black students, like the twenty-one mentioned above, are available to better allow black and other minority students to pursue their dreams.