Scholarships for HBCU Students | BestColleges (2023)

Learn how HBCU scholarships and grants can help Black students pay for college. Fund your degree through alternatives to student loans.


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For students attending historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), scholarships, internships, and fellowships can make higher education more affordable. HBCU scholarships and grants can supplement federal financial aid to help students fund their degrees and, ultimately, launch their careers.

(Video) How to get a *Full Ride Scholarship* at an HBCU! (For HS Seniors/Transfers)

While the majority of college students need financial aid to afford college, HBCU scholarships recognize the merit and potential of Black students with unique financial considerations. Read on to learn more about scholarships for HBCU students and related resources.

Financial Considerations for HBCU Students

Pursuing a college degree is a costly proposition for most students, but it can be disproportionately expensive for Black students. Many Black students at HBCUs face hardships beyond those of their white peers, including increased student debt and less available institutional aid.

A 2016 report from the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) found that 80% of HBCU students used federal loans for college, versus only 55% of non-HBCU students. Additionally, according to the Brookings Institute, Black students attending four-year colleges owed an average of $7,400 more in student loans than white students as of 2016. And that average debt gap more than tripled for Black graduates over the next several years. As a result, many Black students face significant student loan debt.

HBCU scholarships and grants, which typically do not require repayment, can help alleviate these critical deficiencies in federal financial aid for Black students. Scholarships may be awarded based on a variety of factors, including merit and financial need. The following sections describe some of the most generous and inclusive HBCU scholarships and grants.

Scholarships for HBCU Students

Many HBCUs offer partial and full scholarships to enrolled students. Learners should inquire about these institutional scholarships when applying to college. Additionally, local chapters of Black fraternities and sororities, alumni chapters, and other organizations offer scholarships, including those described below.

The ABOUT LOVE Scholarship

  • Who Is Eligible?: Beyoncé's ABOUT LOVE Scholarship supports students at Lincoln State University in Pennsylvania, Norfolk State University in Virginia, Bennett College in North Carolina, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and Central State University in Ohio. Applicants must qualify for financial aid as determined by their institutions and pursue majors in creative fields.
  • Application Deadline: September
  • Scholarship Amount: Varies

Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship

  • Who Is Eligible?: Applicants must be full-time, first-generation undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in a UNCF-approved school, excluding Morehouse College, Spelman College, the Interdenominational Theological Center, or Clark Atlanta University. Students must possess a minimum GPA of 3.0 and demonstrate unmet financial need.
  • Application Deadline: April
  • Scholarship Amount: Up to $5,000 per year, for four years

The Frederick Douglas Bicentennial Scholarship Program

  • Who Is Eligible?: Applicants must be rising seniors, enrolled full time at a qualifying HBCU. Students also need to demonstrate a commitment to community service and have a minimum GPA of 3.5. Applicants must indicate unmet financial need, as verified by their school, and fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aide (FAFSA) form.
  • Application Deadline: TBD
  • Scholarship Amount: $10,000 per year

Fund II Foundation UNCF STEM Scholars Program

  • Who Is Eligible?: Applicants must be African American, full-time, first-year students with demonstrated unmet financial need. They must have completed advanced math and science courses in high school, including precalculus. This scholarship is specifically for students intending to pursue science, technology, mathematics, or engineering (STEM) majors.
  • Application Deadline: April
  • Scholarship Amount: Up to $25,000

Intel Scholarship

  • Who Is Eligible?: Applicants must be African American U.S. citizens attending school full time as juniors, seniors, or graduate students. Students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and be enrolled in an approved STEM program.
  • Application Deadline: June
  • Scholarship Amount: $5,000

Target Scholars Program

  • Who Is Eligible?: Applicants must be Black first-year students enrolled full time at an approved HBCU. Potential awardees must demonstrate financial need, have a minimum GPA of 2.75, and plan to pursue a career in technology, leadership, or design.
  • Application Deadline: July
  • Scholarship Amount: $5,000

Thurgood Marshall College Fund/Lowe's Scholarship

  • Who Is Eligible?: Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have never received the TMCF/Lowe's Scholarship before and who aren't receiving another TMCF scholarship the same year. Students must be full-time sophomores, juniors, or seniors at a TMCF-member school with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and unmet financial need.
  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • Scholarship Amount: Varies

Thurgood Marshall College Fund/Wells Fargo Emergency Scholarship

  • Who Is Eligible?: Applicants must be seniors enrolled full time at a TMCF-approved HBCU and have verified U.S. citizenship or legal permanent resident status. Students also need a minimum GPA of 3.0, demonstrated leadership abilities, and unmet financial need.
  • Application Deadline: TBD
  • Scholarship Amount: $750

UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship

  • Who Is Eligible?: Applicants must be undergraduate juniors at a qualifying HBCU. Students should be willing to relocate for a 10-week summer fellowship, which includes a paid internship within a K-12 organization or school. All majors are welcome to apply.
  • Application Deadline: February
  • Scholarship Amount: Varies

UNCF/Koch Scholars Program

  • Who Is Eligible?: Applicants must be Black or African American U.S. citizens or permanent residents who attend or plan to attend an eligible four-year university. Students are also required to maintain a minimum GPA of 2.7. This program is for students with an interest in principled entrepreneurship, innovation, and economics.
  • Application Deadline: TBD
  • Scholarship Amount: Up to $5,000 per year, for four years

Grants for HBCU Students

Federal Pell Grant

  • Who Is Eligible?: Applicants must be undergraduate students who have not previously earned bachelor's, master's, or professional degrees. They need to submit the FAFSA to demonstrate financial need.
  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • Scholarship Amount: Up to $6,495 (for the 2021-2022 award year)

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

  • Who Is Eligible?: Eligible students, as determined by the FAFSA, include undergraduates who have not previously earned bachelor's degrees. Priority is given to students with exceptional financial need.
  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • Scholarship Amount: $100-$4,000 per year

HBCU Tuition and Travel Grant

  • Who Is Eligible?: Applicants must attend an HBCU that belongs to the IES Abroad consortium and apply to an IES Abroad program.
  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • Scholarship Amount: $2,000

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

  • Who Is Eligible?: Eligible students do not qualify for a Federal Pell Grant based on their expected family contribution but meet all other criteria. Applicants must also have been younger than 24 or enrolled in college at least part time when their parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11.
  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • Scholarship Amount: Up to $6,425

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant

  • Who Is Eligible?: Applicants must meet the general criteria for federal student aid programs and be enrolled in a TEACH Grant-eligible program. Enrollees must score above the 75th percentile on one or more portions of a college admissions test or maintain a minimum GPA of 3.25. Awardees must also agree to complete a teaching-service obligation after graduation.
  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • Scholarship Amount: Up to $4,000 per year

Additional Resources for Financial Assistance

CBCA walks students through completing The Common Application, which allows students to apply to multiple colleges and universities at once. For a single $20 fee, students can submit their application to all 65 CBCA-member institutions, including HBCUs. Among the nation's leading internship programs for HBCU students, HBCU First provides career-centered experiences for Black youth. Internships include a variety of programs focused on leadership, mentoring, HBCU equity, career exploration, and STEM. TMCF partners with major national corporations and esteemed HBCUs to provide resources for Black students, including scholarships and talent acquisition and career placement services. This resource caters to current HBCU students, HBCU alumni, and their parents. The portal offers services like HBCU rankings, job listings, and career development assistance. HBCU Lifestyle also connects students with scholarships and college tours. United Negro College Fund hosts a variety of free, virtual events throughout the year to promote college- and career-readiness among Black high school and college students. UNCF also offers multiple merit scholarships to students attending the events.

Frequently Asked Questions About Scholarships for HBCU Students

Which HBCU gives the most scholarships?

While exact scholarship numbers vary each year, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania awarded the most HBCU scholarships during the 2016-2017 academic year — according to HBCU Lifestyle — totaling more than $6,750 per student. Many other schools, including South Carolina State University, Delaware State University, Tuskegee University, and Virginia State University also award generous scholarship packages to students.

What GPA do you need to get a full-ride scholarship?

Most full-ride scholarships require a GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. However, many programs consider additional criteria, such as class rank and standardized test scores. Students should carefully read the scholarship's requirements to manage their own expectations. Scholarships that specify a particular minimum GPA tend to remain firm on that requirement, while others may give a range or state a willingness to consider other factors.

What is the least-expensive HBCU?

Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina is among the most affordable HBCUS. Annual tuition for the 2021-2022 school year totals $6,664 for in-state students and $10,664 for out-of-state learners. Shorter College — a private, two-year HBCU in Arkansas — is another affordable school, with estimated tuition and fees of about $6,000 a year. Even many of the most expensive HBCUs keep costs lower than the national average for tuition.

What percentage of HBCU students receive financial aid?

According to TMCF,more than 75% of students at HBCUs receive Federal Pell Grants and nearly 13% pursue PLUS Loans to attend college. Outside of federal financial aid, many HBCU scholarships are distributed based on available institutional funding, which pales in comparison to that of primarily white institutions. On average, HBCU's endowments are roughly 13% the size of non-HBCU institutions' endowments.

Which HBCU has the highest tuition?

Atlanta's Spelman College tops the list of the most expensive HBCUs in the U.S., with tuition and fees exceeding $28,000 annually for students during the 2021-2022 academic year.

(Video) How I earned 130,000+ in scholarship money// Scholarship Tips & List


Can you get a full ride to an HBCU? ›

There are full ride HBCU scholarships. These awards pay tuition, fees, and an allowance. They tend to be merit based for high achievers with other qualities such as leadership.

Do HBCU offer minority scholarships? ›

The scholarship program makes available several $1,000.00 scholarships for minority applicants who attend or plan to attend a Historically Black College or University.

What is the lowest HBCU tuition? ›

Most and least affordable HBCUs

Coahoma Community College in Clarksdale, Miss., is the most affordable HBCU in the U.S. This two-year public school has a net cost of $1,004, less than half that of the next college — Elizabeth City State University, a four-year public school in North Carolina — at $2,350.

What GPA does HBCU require? ›

What GPA do you need to get into an HBCU? The typical GPAs for students accepted into many HBCUs schools range from 2.5-3.0. Other HBCUs may require higher GPAs. For example, students accepted at Hampton University and Florida A&M had average GPAs above 3.25.

Why are HBCUs struggling? ›

Smaller endowments reduce available resources such as faculty salaries, scholarships, research, expansion, and day-to-day operations at HBCUs. HBCU underfunding is also happening because Black institutions pay higher rates than white universities to borrow money, which affects operating budgets and cash flow.


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