Women are pursuing higher education at increased rates compared to men. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), women made up 58.6% of students enrolled in the 2020-2021 academic year regardless of degree type or institution. Men accounted for 41.4% of enrolled students.
As more women are pursuing higher education, they also are dealing with more student loan debt to make their educational dreams a reality. Before taking on student loans, it’s important to look for grants and scholarships that reduce the cost of a degree. Below are 10 education grants for women to help cover education expenses.
1. Career Development Grants from AAUW
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has been around since 1881 and has invested in education grants for women since 1888. For the current academic year (2021-2022), AAUW awarded $5 million dollars to over 260 students.
Currently, applications for the 2022-2023 school year are open and there are various grants available to women, including a career development grant. This is a good option if you’re looking to shift careers into the medical field.
- Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- Must have a Bachelor’s degree from before June 30, 2014.
- Applicants may not have already obtained a graduate degree.
- May be used for a different bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, master’s degree, certification program, or technical school.
- Women applicants looking to advance or switch careers and pursue medical or health fields, education, or social science.
- Not eligible for doctoral-level studies.
Amount: $2,000 to $12,000
Find more info about the AAUW’s Career Development Grant.
2. The P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education (PCE) grant
P.E.O., which stands for “Philanthropic Educational Organization”, has offered education grants for women in the United States and Canada since 1973. Its Program for Continuing Education (PCE) is a grant that’s geared toward women who paused their education and now are going back to school to financially support their families.
- U.S. or Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
- Enrolled in an education program.
- Has had a two-year break from school in adult life.
- Within 18 months shy of getting a degree.
- Must demonstrate need.
- Can’t be used for living expenses or student loan debt.
- Doesn’t need to be a member of P.E.O. but needs a sponsor from a local chapter.
Amount: Up to $3,000
3. M. Hildred Blewett Fellowship
One of the more enticing education grants for women is through the M. Hildred Blewett Fellowship, which offers women in physics an award of up to $45,000. Up to half of the award can go toward dependent care as well.
- Must be a U.S. or Canadian citizen or legal resident.
- Are working toward a Ph.D.
- Provide proof of institutional affiliation.
- Need 1 to 3 letters of recommendation.
- Letter of support for your institution.
- Must be studying physics.
Amount: Up to $45,000 for one year
4. Soroptimist’s Live Your Dream Award
Soroptomist has been an organization supporting women since 1921. Part of doing so includes awarding funds to women who are pursuing their education. The organization gives out over $2.8 million dollars in education grants for women to over 1,700 awardees.
The organization has the Live Your Dream Awards for women who’ve survived domestic abuse, sexual assault, pregnancy, addiction, and more. What’s unique about this offering is that you can use the award for anything related to your education, including childcare and transportation.
- Demonstrate financial need.
- You are the primary financial support for yourself or your family.
- Enrolled in an undergraduate program or training program.
- Must complete two essays.
- Include your financial information.
- Must provide references.
Amount: Between $1,000 to $16,000
5. Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation
The Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation was founded in 2003 and serves low-income women and children. The foundation awarded five applicants with awards of $5,000 in 2021. New applicants can check back in spring 2022.
- Must be 17 years of age or older.
- Must be a mother with young children.
- Applicant must pursue a degree.
- Must be low-income. The foundation defines this as a family income of less than $20,000 for 2 people, less than $24,000 for 3 people, and less than $28,000 for 4 people.
Amount: Up to $5,000
Learn more about grants from the Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation.
6. The Association for Women in Mathematics
If you’re studying mathematics and would like professional development opportunities, The Association for Women in Mathematics offers a unique education grant for women.
It offers travel grants and mentor travel grants that help women mathematicians cover the cost of attending conferences for research. Its mentoring Travel Grants help fund the cost of travel for participants who are being mentored.
- Applicants must hold a doctorate in mathematics.
- Must work in the U.S.
- Need to include a research proposal.
- Provide your CV.
- Submit a proposed budget.
- Describe any current or prospective funding that you might receive.
Amount: $2,300 to $5,000 depending on the grant
7. Jeannette Rankin Scholar Grant
The Jeannette Rankin Foundation has supported education grants for women for over 40 years. Though the 2021-2022 cycle is currently closed, the Jeannette Rankin Scholar Grant offers women aged 35 and up financial assistance.
The award amount varies, but the first award granted in 1978 was $500, and since then, it has given $3 million in funding to more than 1,000 women.
- Must identify as a woman and be age 35 and up.
- Must demonstrate financial need.
- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- Obtain an associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, or technical or vocational education.
- Must meet the program’s financial requirements.
- Submit references and letters of recommendation.
8. American Fellowships by AAUW
Education grants for women through the American Association of University Women (AAUW) also include American Fellowships. These programs offer financial assistance to women toward higher education.
This particular grant is designed for women who are completing dissertations, doing postdoctoral research or preparing for publication.
- Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- Focused on research and scholarly excellence.
Applicants can apply for one of the following programs:
- Dissertation fellowships.
- Postdoctoral research leave fellowships.
- Short-term research publication grants.
Amount: $6,000 to $30,000
9. Selected Professions Fellowships by AAUW
This fellowship originated in 1970, starting with a $25,000 grant to help get women into male-dominated fields. This grant program for women is designed to help students who want to pursue getting a master’s degree in architecture, computer/information science, engineering, and math/statistics.
Women of color may be granted an award if they pursue a master’s in business administration, a law degree, or a doctorate in medicine.
- Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- Full-time student at an accredited U.S. university.
- Must be in one of the fields listed above.
- Submit a proposal.
- Secure three letters of recommendation.
- Provide post-secondary academic transcripts.
- Writing or projects as requested.
Amount: $5,000 to $18,000
10. Stephen Bufton Memorial Educational Fund
The Stephen Bufton Memorial Education Fund offers education grants for women that support women in pursuing post-secondary education and professional development.
- Grants are available to women students.
- Eligibility varies, depending on the grant or scholarship; all applicants must meet requirements designated by SBMEF Board of Trustees.
- For a grant to be funded, a minimum of three qualified candidates must submit an application.
Amount: $2,000 to $10,000
If you’re a woman looking to continue your education, there are financial resources available. You can look at education grants for women, scholarships, and opt for student loans as a last resort.
If you need help creating a financial plan before loans, schedule a pre-debt consultation with Student Loan Planner.
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