In remembrance of the 49 lives lost in the Orlando shooting massacre on June 12, 2016, we’d like to present great LGBTQ scholarships for college.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars are available to help lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students afford rising tuition. Approximately 12 percent of U.S. undergraduates have courageously come “out.” College campuses have become more accommodating to LGBTQ students in recent years, but there are still obstacles to overcome. One DoSomething survey found that 60 percent of LGBTQ students report feeling unsafe on-campus due to their sexual orientation. Over one-third have experienced harassment in the last year.
Luckily, cost is one less worry for LGBTQ students to concern themselves with. The following are 20 of the most generous scholarships awarded to students who self-identify as LGBTQ or straight allies.
1. Acorn Equality Fund Scholarships
Deadline: September 23rd
Ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, the Acorn Equality Fund (AEF) distributes annual scholarships for LGBTQ students who legally reside in downstate Illinois, excluding Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties. Eligible applicants who are attending accredited U.S. colleges must write a 500-word essay describing how being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer has impacted their life. One award, the Pauls Scholarship, is reserved for those pursuing careers in business or mathematics.
Acorn Equality Fund Scholarships
P.O. Box 6286
Peoria, IL 61601
2. Audre Lorde Scholarship Fund
Deadline: July 30th
Since 1995, the Audre Lorde Scholarship Fund has been operated by the National Organization of Black Lesbians on Aging (NOBLA) to provide $1,000 to African American “out” lesbians who are attending any undergraduate or graduate school nationwide. Eligibility criteria requires being at least 40 years old, registered for full-time or part-time attendance, possessing a minimum 3.0 grade point average, answer two essay questions, and attach three letters of recommendation.
Audre Lorde Scholarship Fund
P.O. Box 90986
Atlanta, GA 30364
3. Bill and Ann Shepherd Legal Scholarship
Deadline: March 16th
Oregon’s Equity Foundation has established the Bill and Ann Shepherd Legal Scholarship to bestow $3,000 to $8,000 annually to third and fourth-year law school students who exhibit dedication to advancing equality for LGBTQ individuals and same-sex couples. Qualified applicants must be U.S. citizens, attend an ABA-accredited Juris Doctor program, and intend to take the Bar Exam to practice law. Other funding includes the David M. Crawford Memorial Scholarship and Larry McDonald Scholarship.
Bill and Ann Shepherd Legal Scholarship
P.O. Box 5696
Portland, OR 97228
4. Fund for Education Abroad Rainbow Scholarship
Deadline: January 18th
Valued at $5,000 each, the Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) Rainbow Scholarship is presented annually to deserving LGBTQ students who are participating in high-quality, rigorous study abroad programs at least 30 days long. To qualify, candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, be enrolled as undergraduates at accredited colleges, exhibit financial need, and show active involvement in volunteer service. Preference is given to non-traditional destinations, such as Asia, South America, and Africa.
Fund for Education Abroad Rainbow Scholarship
1155 Connecticut Avenue Suite 300
Washington, DC 20036
5. Gamma Mu Foundation Scholarships
Deadline: March 31st
Each year, the Gamma Mu Foundation distributes multiple scholarships of $1,000 to $2,500 to support gay men under 35 years old who are advancing their education into a college, university, or vocational training program. Eligible recipients must have completed a high school diploma or GED, be U.S. citizens, demonstrate leadership qualities, have strong academic merit, and exhibit perseverance in overcoming discrimination. Priority is granted to male students from rural and/or under-served communities.
Gamma Mu Foundation Scholarships
P.O. Box 23520
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33307
6. Gene and John Athletic Fund Scholarship
Deadline: April 15th
The Stonewall Community Foundation strives to strengthen the LGBTQ community with five distinct scholarship funds, such as the Gene and John Athletic Fund Scholarship. Since 2002, this scholarship has awarded $2,500 to $5,000 yearly to LGBTQ student-athletes who are pursuing post-secondary education and a professional or amateur sports career. Graduating high school seniors from the New York City Metro who are accepted into accredited U.S. colleges may apply.
Gene and John Athletic Fund Scholarship
446 West 33rd Street
New York, NY 10001
7. George Choy Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: June 30th
Funded by the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance (GAPA), the George Choy Memorial Scholarship offers $1,000 in tuition assistance to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students of Asian or Pacific Islander heritage who are entering their freshman or sophomore year. Qualified candidates must have at least 25 percent API ancestry, attend an accredited U.S. institution, reside in California’s Bay Area, maintain a minimum 2.75 GPA, and support community efforts to end social issues affecting LGBTQ communities.
George Choy Memorial Scholarship
P.O. Box 22482
San Francisco, CA 94122
8. Kay Longcope Scholarship Award
Deadline: May 31st
In honor of the Boston Globe’s first “out” reporter, the Kay Longcope Scholarship Award is granted for $3,000 by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) each year. Interested applicants must be LGBTQ students of color, attend an accredited four-year U.S. college, have a declared major in journalism or communications, and showcase scholastic ability. Applications aren’t complete without a one-page resume, five work samples, official transcripts, and an original LGBTQ news story.
Kay Longcope Scholarship Award
2120 L Street NW Suite 850
Washington, DC 20037
9. Live Out Loud Educational Scholarship
Deadline: March 14th
LGBTQ youth from the Tri-State Area of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey should apply for the Live Out Loud Educational Scholarship, which provides three $10,000 awards yearly. To qualify, applicants must be graduating high school seniors, be pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree at an accredited U.S. college, demonstrate past leadership in community service, possess academic merit, submit two letters of recommendation, and have unmet financial need.
Live Out Loud Educational Scholarship
45 West 36th Street 6th Floor
New York, NY 10018
10. Malyon-Smith Scholarship Award
Deadline: February 1st
The American Psychological Association (APA) Division 44 honors its founders, Alan Malyon and Adrienne Smith, by granting the $1,000 Malyon-Smith Scholarship Award each year. Qualified recipients must be enrolled full-time at accredited U.S. graduate schools, have declared a major in psychology or allied disciplines, exhibit academic achievement, and be advancing research on sexual orientation. Applications aren’t complete without a detailed, APA-style project proposal that clearly affects the LGBTQ community.
Malyon-Smith Scholarship Award
750 First Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
11. Markowski-Leach Scholarship Fund
Deadline: April 22nd
In memorial of Tom Markowski and Jim Leach, a beloved gay couple, who died from AIDS, the Markowski-Leach Scholarship Fund awards $1,000 to $2,000 to LGBTQ students who are accepted at San Francisco State, Stanford, UC Berkeley, or UC San Francisco. Eligible undergraduates must earn a minimum 2.5 GPA, maintain full-time enrollment, pursue a bachelor’s degree or teaching credential, and exemplify excellence in being a role model for LGBTQ individuals.
Markowski-Leach Scholarship Fund
P.O. Box 13315
Oakland, CA 94661
12. Matthew Shepard Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: April 30th
The LEAGUE Foundation created the Matthew Shepard Memorial Scholarship in 1999 to remember the gay University of Wyoming student who was brutally beaten and murdered the previous year. For $1,000 to $2,000 in funding, qualified applicants must be graduating from high school, be accepted into accredited U.S. or Canadian colleges, hold American citizenship, achieve a cumulative GPA above 3.0, promote equality for the LGBTQ community, and send two letters of recommendation.
Matthew Shepard Memorial Scholarship
1407 North West Street
Wilmington, DE 19801
13. Out to Innovate STEM Scholarship
Deadline: June 10th
In the amount of $5,000, the Out to Innovate STEM Scholarship is presented by the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP) annually for self-identified LGBTQ students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics fields. Eligibility criteria requires attaining at least junior standing, attending an accredited U.S. college full-time, possessing a minimum 3.0 GPA, and be active supporters of LGBTQ inclusion organizations.
Out to Innovate STEM Scholarship
P.O. Box 91803
Pasadena, CA 91109
14. Queer Foundation Scholarships
To advocate social change, the Queer Foundation will award several $1,000 LGBTQ Scholarships for academically gifted queer youth who are graduating from high school and planning to attend accredited U.S. colleges or universities full-time this fall. For consideration, applicants must write an essay that discusses medical, legal, political, or social issues affecting America’s queer population. Selected scholars also benefit from mentoring and academic advising during their collegiate careers.
Queer Foundation Scholarships
3212 West Wheeler Street Suite 145
Seattle, WA 98199
15. Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship
Deadline: May 2nd
Sponsored by UnitedHealthcare, the National AIDS Memorial Grove has established the Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship to award $2,500 to $5,000 for LGBTQ high school seniors and college students under 27 years old who exhibit active involvement in public service to fight HIV/AIDS. Applicants must send an application with 1,500-word personal essay, official transcript showing a minimum 2.5 GPA, and at least one signed letter of recommendation.
Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship
P.O. Box 2270
San Francisco, CA 94126
16. PFLAG National Scholarship Program
Deadline: April 30th
Awarding over $75,000 annually, the Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) National Scholarship Program is open to graduating high school seniors entering their freshman year of higher education at an accredited U.S. institution. Qualified candidates must self-identify within the LGBTQ family, not be receive full-tuition coverage, maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA, and be actively involved in volunteer service that keeps LGBTQ communities safe.
PFLAG National Scholarship Program
1828 L Street NW Suite 660
Washington, DC 20036
17. Point Foundation LGBTQ Scholarships
Deadline: January 19th
Nationally, the Point Foundation offers LGBTQ Scholarships for up to $13,600 to “out” high school seniors and college undergraduates who will be attending an accredited U.S. college full-time for an associate or bachelor’s degree. Chosen finalists will be studying on-campus rather than online, legally reside in the United States, showcase strong academic merit, have significant unmet need, be active LGBTQ community advocates, and pass an interview.
Point Foundation LGBTQ Scholarships
1357 Broadway Suite 401
New York, NY 10018
18. Reaching Out LGBT MBA Fellowship
Annually, the Reaching Out LGBT MBA Fellowship is awarded for $10,000 to graduate students who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender and require financial assistance to obtain a Master of Business Administration in any business discipline. Qualified fellows must serve as ambassadors to the LGBT community, display leadership potential, be accepted at one of the participating U.S. business schools, and have good academic standing. Recipients will attend the Annual ROMBA Conference in Chicago.
Reaching Out LGBT MBA Fellowship
PO Box 515381
Los Angeles, CA 90051
19. Tidal Wave Scholarship Fund
Deadline: May 15th
Operated by Orlando’s GLBT Community Center, the Tidal Wave Scholarship Fund gifts one-time $1,000 awards to openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students under 23 years old who are pursuing a degree-granting program at an accredited U.S. post-secondary school. Eligible applicants must demonstrate financial need, show pride in their out-and-proud lifestyle, achieve a minimum 3.5 GPA, clearly communicate their future career pursuits, and positively contribute to the GLBT community.
Tidal Wave Scholarship Fund
946 North Mills Avenue
Orlando, FL 32803
20. Vazquez Pride in Health Scholarship
Deadline: January 11th
Among the Pride Foundation’s numerous scholarships for LGBTQ students is the Vazquez Pride in Health Scholarship, which presents $2,500 annually. Qualified recipients from the Pacific Northwest must be pursuing advanced degrees in medicine, public health, health science, nursing, or other healthcare professions at accredited U.S. colleges. Priority is given to transgender individuals, minorities of color, and students from rural towns. Other funds include the Dunham-Kerley Scholarship and Bashert Scholarship.
Vazquez Pride in Health Scholarship
2014 E. Madison Street Suite 300
Seattle, WA 98122
Scholarships provide free, non-binding tuition money to diverse student demographics. Gay pride initiatives have sparked a surge in scholarships awarded to LGBTQ individuals. These scholarships reward students for having the bravery to embrace their gender identity and pursue their professional dreams. Some also cater to straight allies who actively promote LGBTQ equality because love is love.
Any of these 20 great LGBTQ scholarships will help celebrate what makes you special with monetary compensation.