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Scholarships & Financial Aid for Women

Grants, Student Loans, & Fellowships

Paying for college is definitely one of the largest investments female students will make in their lifetime. And, although it can seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. Women scholars have a variety of financial aid options.
First, there is the obvious—federal and state aid—like every other student who attends an accredited college or university. Federal and state aid for women is handled the same as any other student. All women students are required to complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). All federal and state aid can be handled through the school’s financial aid office.

This article focuses on the other financial aid options female students are offered. These typically include women scholarships, women fellowships, and women grants.

Types of Scholarships and Grants for Women

There are plenty of women’s groups, organizations, and colleges and universities which support women students by offering scholarships. These scholarships, especially those within universities and colleges, can be hidden, and more difficult to find. Be sure to talk to department staff members and the school’s financial aid staff for guidance.

Below are examples of women scholarships available through universities, organizations, and corporations:

The University of Iowa offers a few scholarships for women. One in particular is the Ada Johnson/Otilia Maria Fernandez Scholarship —awarded to an undergraduate woman student of color taking classes within the Women’s Studies department. Award amount is $1,000.

The Iowa State University Women’s Club offers a Women’s Scholarship in the amount of $400 to a woman who is in her senior year or is an international student, pursuing a degree in design, landscape architecture, graphic design, or art and design.

At Virginia Tech, female undergraduates can apply for the Anne and George Gorsline Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship was designed to encourage women to pursue a computer science degree. Applicants must be a computer science major to apply. This is an endowed scholarships—award amounts vary.

Talbots Women’s Scholarship Fund —awards six women $10,000 scholarships; and, 60 women $1,000 scholarships. Applicants must be pursuing an undergraduate degree to be considered.

Google Anita Borg Scholarship —awarded to several undergraduate and graduate women who demonstrate strong academic achievements and leadership skills. Recipient is awarded $10,000. Finalists receive $1,000.

Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund —awarded to women 35 and older who demonstrate financial need. Woman scholar must be pursuing a bachelor degree, associate degree, or a technical or vocational field.

Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Scholarship —awarded to women pursing bachelor or graduate degrees in engineering, or computer science.

Career Development Grants —awarded to women with bachelor degrees, who are preparing to advance in their careers. Award amount ranges from $2,000 – $12,000.

AARP Foundation Women’s Scholarship Program —awarded to women 40+ who are seeking work skills, training, and other educational programs. Applicants must demonstrate a financial need to be considered. Amount awarded ranges from $500 – $5,000.

Anne Maureen Whitney Barrow Memorial Scholarship—awarded to women majoring in engineering. Award amount is $5,000. This scholarship is renewable for up to four years.

The YMCA Ames-ISU Scholarship —is awarded to female undergraduate or graduate student attending Iowa State University. Scholarship amount ranges from $375 to $750.

Women at Microsoft (WAM) Scholarship Fund offers two scholarships to undergraduate women attending a college or university in the state of Washington, seeking degrees in a computer-related field. Award amount is $2,500 each.

Fellowships for Women

In addition to scholarships, female students pursuing graduate studies can also reap the benefits from women fellowships. These are subject-specific and are sometimes eligible for international female students as well.

Below are some examples of fellowships from the American Association of University Women:

Selected Professions Fellowships —awarded to women attending college full-time in one of the following areas of study: architecture, engineering, computer information sciences, or mathematics/statistics. Amount awarded ranges from $5,000 – $18,000.

International Fellowships —awarded to women who are not U.S. citizens. To be used for research or full-time study in the U.S. Award ranges from $18,000 – $30,000.

At Michigan State University, the following fellowship is offered: National Physical Science Consortium Graduate Fellowships for Minorities and Women. This fellowship is geared toward qualified students, including women and minorities, pursuing a doctoral degree in computer science, physical sciences, engineering, or biochemistry. Students will receive up to $16,000 in stipends.

Key Points about Women Scholarships and Other Financial Aid Options

  • There are many financial aid options for women. Check the college you are attending for scholarships for women. Be sure to check those labeled ‘minority.’ In many cases, women are included as minorities.
  • Check women’s organizations, and women’s groups for scholarship and fellowship opportunities. Many assist women who demonstrate a financial need.
  • Use the Internet for your research needs. It is a great tool to search for the many women’s scholarships available out there.

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