Private scholarships and fellowships are helpful ways to reduce student loan debt and stress at graduation. And today, with more than half of college students are female, it's critical to figure out how to lessen the amount of debt you carry after finishing school.
We've searched high and low to put together some of the best scholarships for women specifically.
If you're in search of the best scholarships and fellowships for women, here's a lengthy list of some of the best ones.
The Best Scholarship Search Websites
These include scholarships and fellowships that are open to both men and women, as well as ones that are limited to students of a specific gender.
Some of these scholarships are also available for graduate school.
Adobe Research Women in Technology Scholarship This nonrenewable scholarship is worth $10,000 toward an undergraduate or Master’s degree in computer science or computer engineering. Fields of interest include artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, and mobile/web development. The scholarship can be used at colleges in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Alice T. Schafer Mathematics Prize This scholarship, which is worth $1,000, is open to female undergraduate mathematics students. The student must either be a U.S. citizen or attending a college in the U.S.
Alliance for Women in Media Scholarships This organization sponsors several scholarships for female journalism students, worth up to $5,000. Some of the scholarships are open to undergraduate students and some to graduate students.
Alpha Omega Epsilon National Foundation Scholarships This organization offers two scholarship programs. One requires the applicant to be a member of the sorority or the child or grandchild of a member. The other does not. The former requires a minimum 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale, while the latter requires at least a 3.0 GPA. Both require the applicant to be an undergraduate student in the sophomore, junior or senior year in college, majoring in engineering or technical science.
Army Women’s Foundation (AWF) Legacy Scholarship Program This scholarship is worth up to $3,000 for women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and their lineal descendants. The scholarship is available for undergraduate and graduate school. The applicant must have at least a 3.0 GPA, except for students in community colleges, where a minimum 2.5 GPA is required.
Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG) Scholarships This organization offers several scholarships in geosciences. The Geoscience IDEA scholarship is worth up to $5,000 and is available to women from underserved communities. Winners are also matched with an AWG mentor. The AWG Undergraduate Excellence in Paleontology Award is worth up to $1,000. The Winifred Goldring Award is available to female graduate students in paleontology and is worth up to $2,000.
Association for Women in Science (AWIS) This organization sponsors several scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students. The Dr. Vicki L. Schechtman Scholarship is worth $2,000 for an undergraduate woman in the freshman through junior years, majoring in a STEM field. The Kirsten R. Lorentzen Award provides $2,000 for an undergraduate woman studying physics, geophysics, or geoscience. The AWIS Opportunity Scholarships for Career Re-Entry provides $2,500 for a woman returning to a STEM career after being out of the workforce for more than two years. The AWIS Distinguished Doctoral Research Scholarship provides $10,000 for graduate students in STEM fields.
Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation (AWAF) Scholarships This scholarship provides $2,500 for female undergraduate students who are interested in the automotive, mobility, and related industries. The scholarship is limited to North American citizens. The applicant must already be in college with at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale.
Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting Scholarships This organization sponsors several renewable scholarships worth up to $4,000 per year for female undergraduate accounting students. A 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale is required. U.S. citizenship is required.
Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE) UPS Scholarship for Female Students This scholarship is worth up to $4,000 and is available to undergraduate and graduate students majoring in industrial engineering. A GPA of at least 3.4 on a 4.0 scale is required. Some of the scholarships require nomination by the Industrial Engineering department head or faculty advisor.
Jeannette Rankin Foundation This scholarship is available to women age 35 and older who demonstrate financial need. It is available for technical, vocational, Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree programs. The student must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
Lifetime Adoption Foundation–Educational Scholarships for Birth Mothers This scholarship is available to birth mothers who placed their children up for adoption after 1990.
LPGA Foundation Scholarships The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) sponsors several golf scholarships worth up to $5,000 for female high school seniors.
P.E.O. STAR Scholarship The Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO) provides scholarships worth $2,500 to female high school seniors for enrollment at a U.S. or Canadian college in the next academic year. The student must have at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale and be age 20 or under at the end of the calendar year. The scholarship is open to citizens and legal permanent residents of the U.S. and Canada.
Palantir Women in Technology Scholarship This scholarship, worth up to $7,000, is available to female undergraduate students majoring in computer science, software engineering and technical studies at a U.S., Canadian, or Mexican college. Applicants must be freshmen, sophomores, or juniors.
Patsy Takemoto Mink Scholarship This scholarship, worth $5,000, is available to low-income women with children. The student must be at least 17 years old, a mother of minor children and pursuing the first college degree.
Priscilla Carney Jones Scholarship This scholarship, worth $1,500, is sponsored by the American Chemical Society (ACS). It is available to female undergraduate students majoring in chemistry who are beginning their junior or senior years of study. The scholarship may be used for tuition, books and lab fees. The student must be enrolled full-time and have a GPA of at least 3.25 on a 4.0 scale. U.S. citizenship or permanent residency is required. The student must demonstrate financial need.
Sara Scholarship This golf scholarship is worth $2,000 per year and is renewable for up to 4 years.
Science Ambassador Scholarship This is a full-tuition scholarship for female undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The student does not need to be a U.S. citizen to apply, but they do need to attend or plan to attend a college in the U.S. It is renewable for up to four years.
Society of Women Engineers (SWE) SWE offers scholarships worth up to $10,000 for full-time undergraduate and graduate students in engineering, technology and computer science. Applicants must have a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale if they are a sophomore student or higher, 3.5 if they are a freshman. The scholarships may be used for tuition, fees, and books. Some of the scholarships are renewable and some are not.
Soroptimist Live Your Dream Awards This scholarship, worth up to $10,000, is provided to women who are the primary wage-earners for their families. The student must demonstrate financial need and reside in a Soroptimist member country. The scholarship is available to undergraduate students who do not have a graduate degree.
Women in Aviation International (WAI) Scholarships WAI provides several flight scholarships, worth up to $4,000, to female students.
Women in Computing Scholarship This scholarship, worth up to $1,000, is available to female undergraduate students who are majoring in computer science and enrolled full-time in a U.S. or Canadian college.
Women in Defense – WID Scholar This scholarship, worth up to $20,000, is available to female undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing a career in U.S. national security with a focus on defense or foreign policy. Undergraduate students must be at least college juniors in the fall. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and have at least a 3.25 GPA on a 4.0 scale. U.S. citizenship is required.
Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) Scholarship Program This scholarship provides $1,500 to female undergraduate students enrolled full-time at a 4-year college and who are majoring in criminal justice or related disciplines. Applicants must have completed at least one full year of college work and have at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. U.S. citizenship is required.
Women’s Independence Scholarship Program (WIPS) This scholarship, worth up to $2,000 per term, is available to female survivors of intimate partner abuse. The student must have separated from their abuser for at least one year but no more than 10 years. The student must also have sought services for at least six consecutive months from a non-profit agency that provides services to survivors. There is a preference for single mothers of young children. Students must be seeking their first undergraduate degree. Applicants must demonstrate financial need. The scholarship is open to U.S. citizens, permanent residents and eligible non-citizens, as defined by the FAFSA.
Zonta International Zonta International sponsors several scholarships worth $5,000 each. The Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship is available for undergraduate and Master’s degrees in accounting, finance, business management, business technology, IT, marketing, operations management, human resources management, international business, and entrepreneurship. Undergraduate students must be in at least the second year of their program. The Young Women in Public Affairs Award is available to students age 16-19 who are enrolled in a secondary school or college.
Some of the previous scholarships are available for graduate school too. The following fellowships are limited to graduate school.
American Association of University Women (AAUW) The AAUW offers several fellowships. The American Fellowships are dissertation fellowships. The International Fellowships are available to students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents but who are studying at a U.S. college. The Selected Professions Fellowships are available for fields in which women are underrepresented, including STEM, law, business, and medicine. They are also available for a Master’s degree in architecture, computer, and information sciences, engineering, mathematics, and statistics. Scholarships for MBA, JD, MD, and OC programs are restricted to women of color.
American Geosciences Institute (AGI) Harriet Evelyn Wallace Scholarship for Female Graduate Geoscience Students This fellowship is worth $5,000 toward a Master’s or doctoral degree program in geoscience. U.S. citizenship or permanent residency is required.
American Physical Society (APS) M. Hildred Blewett Fellowship This fellowship provides a $45,000 one-year award to a student who is returning to a physics research career after an interruption. Applicants must have completed work toward a Ph.D. The student must be a U.S. or Canadian citizen or legal resident.
Gertrude M. Cox Scholarship for Women in Statistics This fellowship is worth $1,000 and is available to graduate students (Master’s or Ph.D.) in statistics. Applicants must be citizens or legal permanent residents of the U.S. or Canada.
Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) National Fellowship Program This fellowship provides up to $10,000 for female graduate students in the natural and social sciences. Applicants must demonstrate financial need for research funding. The award may be used only for research funding.
NOAA Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship This fellowship is available for Master’s and doctoral degree programs in oceanography, marine biology, maritime archaeology and ocean engineering. Women are encouraged to apply. Applicants must submit a research proposal and demonstrate financial need. The students should not be in the last year of a Master’s or Ph.D. program. The students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents enrolled at U.S. accredited colleges. A GPA of at least 3.3 on a 4.0 scale is required. The fellowship provides financial support of up to $42,000 per year (a $30,000 stipend plus an education allowance of $12,000) and up to $10,000 for a 4-6 week program collaboration at a NOAA facility. Students in Master’s degree programs can be supported for up to two years and students in doctoral degree programs can be supported for up to four years.
P.E.O. Scholar Awards The Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO) provides nonrenewable fellowships worth $20,000 for doctoral-level programs. The student must be within two years of graduation and have at least one full year of academic work left. The applicant must be a citizen or legal permanent resident of the U.S. or Canada and enrolled at an accredited U.S. or Canadian college.
Zonta International - Amelia Earhart Fellowship This fellowship provides $10,000 for a female graduate student enrolled in a Ph.D. program in aerospace engineering and space sciences.
Scholarship Pageants and Beauty Pageants
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 USC 1681 et seq.) bans colleges that receive federal financial assistance from discriminating on the basis of sex. However, there is an exception for colleges awarding college scholarships through “beauty” pageants at 20 USC 1681(a)(9). The exception applies to pageants in which receipt of the award is based on personal appearance, poise, and talent.
There are several such pageants where some of the scholarships are provided by colleges and pageant entries are limited to women.
- Americas Pageants: Miss High School America Pageant (Up to $10,000) Miss Junior High School America Pageant, Miss Collegiate America Pageant
- America's National Teenager Scholarship Organization (ANTSO) ($1,000 to $30,000)
- Cinderella International Scholarship Pageant ($500 to $5,000)
- Distinguished Young Women Scholarships (Formerly America's Junior Miss, $1,000 to $40,000)
- Miss America Foundation Scholarships ($500 to $50,000)
- Miss American Coed (MAC) Pageant ($250 to $10,000)
Mark Kantrowitz is an expert on student financial aid, scholarships, 529 plans, and student loans. He has been quoted in more than 10,000 newspaper and magazine articles about college admissions and financial aid. Mark has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Reuters, USA Today, MarketWatch, Money Magazine, Forbes, Newsweek, and Time. You can find his work on Student Aid Policy here.
Mark is the author of five bestselling books about scholarships and financial aid and holds seven patents. Mark serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Student Financial Aid, the editorial advisory board of Bottom Line/Personal, and is a member of the board of trustees of the Center for Excellence in Education. He previously served as a member of the board of directors of the National Scholarship Providers Association. Mark has two Bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and philosophy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Master’s degree in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).