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Scholarships & Financial Aid for GLBT Students

Grants, Student Loans, & Fellowships

College costs are soaring rapidly so it’s no wonder students are finding paying for college their biggest obstacle. As more and more gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) students become more visible on college campuses throughout the nation, it is important to note the many financial aid and scholarships available to them.

Some colleges and universities have GLBT resource centers that help students find local scholarships. Students can also seek outside scholarships dedicated to GLBT students by searching the Internet. There are many types of scholarships to choose from which are primarily funded by organizations, both regionally and nationally. Some are campus-specific, strictly regional, or offered nationally, while other scholarships are geared toward children of GLBT parents.

College Money for GLBT Students

Federal and State Financial Aid

Federal and state financial aid typically includes awards such as grants, work-study programs, and loan options. To be considered for financial and state financial aid, GLBT students need to complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form can be completed and submitted online at www.fafsa.ed.gov/ . Once the FAFSA is submitted and reviewed for federal aid, it is automatically sent off for state financial aid approval. The deadline to submit the FAFSA for federal aid is usually June 30. The deadline for state financial aid usually differs from federal financial aid, so students must inquire about state aid deadlines.

GLBT students in a same-sex marriage need to be especially careful when filling out the FAFSA. For federal and state student financial aid purposes, same-sex partners are not considered married. Even states allowing same-sex marriage licenses cannot treat students as married for state aid purposes. Therefore, it is important to consult a financial aid agent at the college or university of choice for instructions on filling out the application.

Scholarships for GLBT Students

There are many options for scholarships dedicated to GLBT students. Choices include regional and national scholarships, campus-specific scholarships, graduate and post-graduate scholarships, as well as athletic scholarships, and awards for children of GLBT parents.

Here are some examples of different types of scholarships available to GLBT students:

National and Regional Scholarships

National Gay Pilots Association Education Fund—provides educational assistance to students wanting to become pilots who are involved with and support GLBT communities. Award amounts vary.

Messenger-Anderson Journalism Scholarship and Internship Program—offered by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, this scholarship awards $10,000 to GLBT students studying communications or journalism at four-year institutions. It also includes a summer internship in Washington, D.C.

Models of Excellence Scholarships —awarded to gay or straight California high school students. Applicants must demonstrate interest in improving civil rights for GLBT communities. One $500 award and one $1,000 scholarship are awarded annually.

Lesbians for Change—scholarships are awarded to lesbians who are residents of New Mexico planning to further their education and are involved in the lesbian community. Two $500 scholarships are awarded annually.

Lax Scholarship Fund for Gay Men —awards several scholarships to gay male students who reside in the metropolitan Philadelphia area, or gay males enrolled in educational institutions in the Philadelphia area. Award amounts vary.

George Choy Memorial Scholarship/Gay Asian Pacific Alliance Award —this scholarship is dedicated to GLBT Asian and Pacific Islanders living in the San Francisco Bay area who are planning to, or are attending college. Maximum award amount is $1,000.

Campus-specific scholarships

Gill Foundation Scholarship—awarded to GLBT students attending a Colorado college or university. Scholarship is awarded through the educational institution in the amount of $2,000 per year, for up to four years. This scholarship is renewable.
Dr. Connell Persico Scholarship—awarded by Alliant International University in California to students making an impact, or who are involved, in GLBT communities. Award amount is $2,500.
Dan Allen Memorial Scholarship —awarded to GLBT students enrolled at City College of San Francisco in the amount of $600.
Bruce Wade Memorial Scholarship—awarded to gay, lesbian, and bisexual University of California—Irvine students who require financial assistance. Applicants must be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student, and demonstrate service to the campus environment for gay, lesbian, and bisexual students.

Ohio State University GLBT Alumni Society awards incoming freshmen or transfer students several scholarship options:

  • The Eric Kohring – PFLAG Scholarship—this award is given to students who have contributed to the GLBT community.
  • The Harold McIntosh Scholarship for GLBT Students—three scholarships are awarded. One to students with significant financial need; the second for first-year students or transfer students; and, the third scholarship is unrestricted. Award amounts for the scholarships vary.
  • Mark Moffett, Jr. Memorial Scholarship—this award is given to music students who have made contributions to the GLBT community.

Graduate and Post-Graduate Scholarships for GLBT Students

Maylon-Smith Scholarship Award—awarded by the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Issues, this scholarship is offered to assist graduate students researching GLBT communities. Amount awarded is up to $1,000.

GLAAD Dissertation Fellowship—awards two $5,000 fellowships to graduate students for research on GLBT-related communities.

Kenneth W. Payne Student Prize—awarded by The Society of Lesbian and Gay Anthropologists of American Anthropological Association to graduate students in the amount of $400.

NWSA Graduate Scholarship in Lesbian Studies —sponsored by the Lesbian Caucus of the National Women’s Studies Association. This is a research award of $500 for graduate students. NWSA membership preferred, but not required. Deadline is May 1 of each year.

Other Scholarships for GLBT Students

Just Out Scholarships—awarded to children of GLBT parents residing in the states of Washington and Oregon. Award amounts vary. Preference given to those residing in rural areas.

Duane Bremond Memorial Scholarship—this scholarship is awarded to a person of color who is GLBT, or a child of a GLBT parent. Recipient must be attending a four-year institution and involved and committed to the GLBT community. Award amount is $1,000.

ZAMI Awards—awards up to ten $1,000 scholarships to black gay male students who contribute to and positively impact GLBT communities.

Queer Foundation Effective Writing and Scholarships Program —administered by Queer Foundation, this program awards $1,000 college scholarships to GLBT students who demonstrate outstanding academic records. Applicants must submit an essay to be considered.

Points about Financial Aid for GLBT Students

  • Be careful when filling out the FAFSA if in a same-sex marriage. Consult a financial aid representative from the school of choice.
  • Speak with an admissions representative to find out if there is a GLBT resource center on campus. These centers typically provide information and access to activities, resources, and support services to GLBT students.
  • Seek outside scholarships to supplement financial assistance. There are many organizations offering scholarships dedicated to GLBT students.

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