Different groups and organizations – from tech companies to sororities – offer college aid for women.
Although this wasn’t always the case, women outnumber men on America’s college campuses. And scholarship funds aimed at women remain plentiful.
“Historically, before the civil rights movement, women weren’t going to college in large numbers and certainly weren’t getting any aid to go to college,” says Kevin Ladd, chief operating officer at Scholarships.com. Women “became a focal point of people offering scholarships.”
Bringing women to college campuses hasn’t been a problem since the late 1970s, and now women are projected to comprise more than 56 percent of the undergraduate college population this fall, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Women may find scholarships offered by groups that have a stake in whether they enroll in college, such as science and technology organizations that want to see more female scientists or corporations that want to encourage more women in leadership roles.
“Religious affiliations, minority advocacy groups, professional organizations, corporate sponsors and many colleges and universities will have specific scholarships for female students,” says Ronald Ramsdell, founder of College Aid Consulting Services.
If you’re a woman searching for money for college, check out these five types of scholarships.
1. STEM scholarships: Women who are interested in pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering or math, or STEM, will find this area rife with scholarship programs, since trade groups and corporations try to attract women to this still male-dominated field.
Financial aid packages from colleges will sometimes include grants or scholarships for female students who score well in math and science or who want to pursue a career in STEM fields, says Ladd.
But women can also look beyond their undergraduate institutions for STEM scholarships. Among the possibilities: the Women Techmakers Scholars Program, offered by Google, which seeks to create gender equality in computing and technology with $10,000 scholarships, and the Society of Women Engineers, which gave out about 230 scholarships worth $750,000 in 2016.
2. Business scholarships: Female students who are interested in business or leadership may also find a number of scholarships, in some cases from women-led businesses that are seeking to help like-minded students pay for tuition.
“Sometimes it’s coming from a woman CEO or a woman director from a company, who’ll say, ‘We want to help you out, to push you forward in your career or in your education so that you can join the workforce,’” says Jessica Velasco, founder of JLV College Counseling and a former director of admissions at Northwest University.
For instance, the WIIT Charitable Trust offers a merit-based scholarship twice a year to encourage women to pursue their interests in international trade and global development. The Professional BusinessWomen of California recognizes high school seniors who are California residents with a scholarship program for women.
3. Parent scholarships: Some scholarship providers focus on supporting women who are overcoming the hurdle of trying to attend school while also being a parent.
“A lot of times if you look at the scholarship providers, it’s because they have some sort of connection to that population,” Velasco says. “So, it might be someone at the company who put off education because they started a family early and then they went back to school.”
4. Diversity and minority scholarships: Scholarships may also help women from ethnic, racial or other minority groups pay for college.
For example, the Asian Women in Business Scholarship encourages Asian female undergraduates with a $2,500 scholarship; the Chicana/Latina Foundation Scholarshipprogram offers 35 scholarships at $1,500 each to women; and the Girls* Who Illustrate Awesomeness scholarship is open to young women or gender nonconforming individuals of color.
5. Sorority scholarships: Awards from sororities are sometimes open to high school students and may not require them to rush the sorority once they enroll in college. Ladd says that’s an opportunity everyone looking for scholarships should explore.
For instance, the Omega Phi Beta Sorority offers a scholarship for incoming freshmen, and the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority has general scholarships for high school seniors, undergraduate students and graduate students.
“They’re just trying to empower females to get to college,” Velasco says.