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8 top scholarships for women

Find a scholarship that's right for you!

There’s nothing better than free money — especially with the cost of many private colleges topping $70K a year. If you’re a woman trying to navigate the labyrinth of ways to fund your education, you might want to consider one of these scholarship programs first.

How we picked these top scholarships

When selecting these top scholarships for women, we looked for programs that were open to the most number of women, offered relatively high amounts and helped women in need. We also tried to find scholarships that were either renewable or had multiple recipients each year.

Adobe Research Women-in-Technology Scholarship

Amount$10,000
DeadlineSeptember 27th
Eligibility requirementsTo qualify for this scholarship, you need to meet the following requirements:
  • Female student in at least your second year of undergraduate study or pursuing a master’s degree
  • Enrolled full-time for the upcoming academic year
  • Majoring in computer science, computer engineering or a closely related technical field
  • Strong academic record
  • Not related to an Adobe Research employee

The Adobe Research Women-in-Technology Scholarship is geared toward women pursuing a computer science or technical degree. Applicants are selected based on their academic record, personal statement and letters of recommendation they submit with their application.

Take note that this scholarship isn’t open to rising high school seniors or first-year college students. You must be entering your second year of college or higher to qualify.

Leslie Andree Hanna Medical Scholarship

Amount$5,000
DeadlineFebruary 10th
Eligibility requirementsTo qualify for this scholarship, you need to meet the following requirements:
  • Female student
  • US citizen
  • Attending medical school
  • 3.25 GPA or higher

For female students who are pursuing a medical degree, the Leslie Andree Hanna Medical Scholarship is a perfect fit. The application process is based solely on merit, so the scholarship committee will be looking for students who excel in their field. The scholarship is not automatically renewable, but students can reapply each year if they continue to meet the criteria.

PEO Program for Continuing Education (PCE) Scholarship

Amount$3,000
DeadlineNot listed
Eligibility requirementsTo qualify for this scholarship, you need to meet the following requirements:
  • Female student
  • Citizen or permanent resident of the US or Canada
  • Enrolled in a certification or degree program
  • Living and studying in the US or Canada for your entire course of study
  • Has had at least 24 consecutive months as a nonstudent sometime in your adult life
  • Within 24 consecutive months of completing your educational program that will lead to employment or job advancement
  • Nominated for the award by a current PEO member or chapter

The PEO Program for Continuing Education Scholarship is geared toward women who’ve spent at least two years of their adult life out of school and have since decided to go back to earn their degree. On top of the eligibility requirements for the scholarship, prospective recipients have to be nominated by a current PEO chapter or member. In order to be nominated, applicants must explain why they’re interested in pursuing their chosen degree and discuss their employment goals once their education is completed.

Soroptimist Live Your Dream Awards

Amount$1,000 to $16,000
DeadlineNovember 15th
Eligibility requirementsTo qualify for this award, you need to meet the following requirements:
  • Provide the main financial support for yourself and your dependents*
  • Show financial need
  • Enrolled in or accepted to a vocational or skills training program or an undergraduate degree program
  • Reside in one of Soroptimist International of the Americas’ member countries or territories
  • Not have a graduate degree
  • Not a Soroptimist member, related to a member or employed through Soroptomist

*Dependents can include children, a spouse or partner, siblings and/or parents.

Eligible countries and territoriesSoroptimist International of the Americas’ member countries or territories include:
  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Guam
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Mexico
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Palau
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Puerto Rico
  • Taiwan
  • United States
  • Venezuela

The Soroptimist Live Your Dream Awards are designed for women who are doing it all. If you support your family and are ready to pursue a degree to help further your career, this scholarship is tailor made for you. Awards go up to $16,000 — and unlike many scholarships, it’s not limited to US residents. Women from over 20 countries and territories are eligible. But keep in mind this is a one-time scholarship — previous recipients aren’t allowed to apply a second time.

Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Support Awards

Amount$5,000
DeadlineLate spring
Eligibility requirementsTo qualify for this scholarship, you need to meet the following requirements:
  • Female student
  • At least 17 years old
  • Mother with children under 18 years old
  • Pursuing a first-time vocational, associate, bachelor’s, professional, master’s or doctoral degree
  • Attending an accredited nonprofit US institution
  • Considered a low-income family

The goal of the Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Support Awards is to open up access to education to low-income mothers. Five recipients are chosen annually based on their financial need, career goals, educational path and community service. If chosen, the award can be used for both tuition and living expenses while you’re enrolled in an eligible program.

Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship

Amount$2,000
DeadlineMarch 1st
Eligibility requirementsTo qualify for this scholarship, you need to meet the following requirements:
  • Female student
  • At least 35 years old
  • Considered low Income — as determined by the Department of Labor’s Lower Living Standard
  • Pursuing a technical, vocational, associate or first-time bachelor’s degree
  • Enrolled in or accepted to a nonprofit, regionally accredited institution
  • US citizen or permanent resident

The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship is a need- and merit-based program specifically designed to help low-income women over 35 years old pursue post-secondary education. Not only are multiple women chosen each year, but the award is renewable annually. The number of awards given each year varies depending on the number of applicants, though there have been over 1,000 scholarships awarded since 1978.

To be considered low income, your household income must fall within these 2019-2020 guidelines:

Household sizeMaximum annual household income
1$23,500
2$38,511
3$52,863
4$65,257
5$77,014
6$90,059

National Pathfinder Scholarship

Amount$2,500
DeadlineJune 1st
Eligibility requirementsTo qualify for this scholarship, you need to meet the following requirements:
  • Female student
  • In at least your second year of undergraduate study or pursuing a master’s degree
  • US citizen

Founded by the National Federation of Republican Women in honor of First Lady Nancy Reagan, the National Pathfinder Scholarship awards five women with $2,500 each year. The scholarship is based on merit, with recipients selected based on their letters of recommendation, scholarly achievement, civic or political activism and career goals. Take note that high school seniors and first-year college students aren’t eligible to apply. And the award can only be received once.

Society of Women Engineers Scholarship

AmountVaries
DeadlineMay 1st for first-year college applicants; February 15th for all other applicants
Eligibility requirementsTo qualify for this scholarship, you need to meet the following requirements:
  • Identify as female
  • Enrolled or accepted in an ABET-accredited program in engineering, computing, or technology
  • Plan to attend full time
  • Demonstrate financial need for tuition, fees and books
  • English transcripts

Students interested in pursuing engineering, computing or technology at the undergraduate or graduate level might find the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) a helpful resource. In 2018, over 238 new and renewed scholarships valuing over $830,000 were awarded through the SWE. The reason that number is so high is because you’re automatically considered for all associated SWE scholarships when you submit your application through the SWE portal.

How else can I pay for school?

Did your scholarship funds come up short? Here are some other ways to fund your degree:

  • Grants. Like scholarships, grants don’t need to be repaid. You can find options through both the state and federal government, as well as from the college you’re attending and outside organizations.
  • Federal student loans. The Department of Education offers federal loans specifically for education expenses. How much you can borrow varies depending on your year in school and whether you’re considered a dependent or independent student. These typically come with lower rates and more flexible repayment plans than their private counterparts.
  • Private student loans. These are also education-based loans, but they’re supplied through private lenders. Qualifying for a private student loan can be more difficult than a federal loan, and interest rates are typically higher. However, private loans are more flexible when it comes to borrowing amounts.

Compare student loan providers

Explore your options by APR, minimum credit score, loan amount and loan term. Select the Get started button to start an application with a specific lender.

Name Product APR Min. Credit Score Loan amount Loan Term
EDvestinU Private Student Loans
4.092% to 8.609% with autopay
675
$1,000 - $200,000
7 to 20 years
Straightforward student loans for undergraduate and graduate students.
CommonBond Private Student Loans
3.74% to 10.74%
700
$5,000 - $500,000
5 to 15 years
Finance your college education through this lender with a strong social mission and terms that fit your budget.
Edvisors Private Student Loan Marketplace
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Quickly compare private lenders for your school and apply for the right student loan.
Credible Labs Inc. (Student Loan Platform)
Starting at 0.99% with autopay
Good to excellent credit
Starting at $1,000
5 to 20 years
Get prequalified rates from private lenders offering student loans with no origination or prepayment fees.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Women who are dedicated to their field of study or interested in going back to school to further their career have several scholarship options to choose from. While many are based on financial need, others consider your academics and community activism.

You can explore more ways to pay for school with our guide to student loans.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to fill out the FAFSA to qualify for scholarships?

Not necessarily — the Department of Education doesn’t offer scholarships. However, scholarships provided through your college or other outside organizations might ask you to fill out the FAFSA to prove your financial need. Scholarships that are strictly based on merit might not require the FAFSA, though.

Regardless, if you’re planning on attending college, you should always start by filling out the FAFSA to see if you’re eligible for federal grants and loans.

How much scholarship funding can I receive each year?

This will vary greatly depending on the scholarships you qualify for and if those funds are renewable annually. There’s no limit to the amount of private scholarships you can receive. However, you can be taxed on any scholarship funds that surpass your need for covering education expenses.

Can I combine my scholarships with other forms of funding?

Absolutely — most students have a financial aid package that includes many different types of funding. However, every school has a cost-of-attendance maximum. If you received enough scholarships to reach the maximum, you won’t be eligible for other types of funding such as federal loans or grants.

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