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8 top scholarships for LGBTQ+ students

Turn your pride into free money for college.

Updated

LGBTQ+ students and allies who are heavily involved in the community have a variety of scholarship opportunities to look into. While many are based on financial need, others consider your academic record and leadership skills instead.

How we chose these scholarships

When choosing these scholarships, we focused on options that celebrated students who were leaders in the LGBTQ+ community. We also looked for scholarships that offered a large payout and were based on both merit- and need-based criteria.

Point Foundation Scholarship

Things we love about the Point Foundation Scholarship: It’s open to a wide range of applicants, international students are welcome and it awards a decent chunk of change. This scholarship program is designed to cover any remaining financial need — up to $13,500 — after you’ve exhausted all other grant, scholarship, loan and work-study options. Aside from considering your financial need, the committee is also looking for a proven track record of leadership and community involvement, strong academic achievement and students who’ve worked to better the LGBTQ community.

Live Out Loud Young Trailblazers Scholarship

Graduating high school seniors from the tri-state area won’t want to pass up this sizable scholarship. Offered by the Live Out Loud Foundation, this program is designed to help LGBTQ youth with financial need pursue a college degree. Applicants are considered based on their past leadership and community service involvement, academic credentials and future goals.

PFund Foundation Scholarship

The PFund Foundation Scholarship is open to such a wide range of people, you don’t even need to be enrolled in college to qualify. Anyone who can show proof they want to develop their leadership skills to further support their local LGBTQIA community is encouraged to apply. Aside from completing an application, you need to provide two letters of recommendation from mentors or community members who can speak to your commitment to leadership in LGBTQIA communities.

Pride Foundation Scholarship

The Pride Foundation Scholarship is geared toward LGBTQ+ and allied student leaders in the Northwest looking to further their education. Unlike some scholarships, the funds can even be used for graduate school. Preference is given to students who show financial need and have a barrier to accessing education. You also must demonstrate leadership potential either within the LGBTQ+ community or your area of study.

Rainbow Scholarship

The Rainbow Scholarship is unique in that it’s specifically designed to help LGBTQ+ college students pay for a study abroad program. You must be eligible to earn credit for the program, however, and it must be at least four weeks long. Along with the application, you also need to submit financial information from your school’s financial aid office and a letter of recommendation from a mentor, professor or supervisor.

Out to Innovate Scholarship for LGBTQ+ Students

Pursuing a STEM degree? This scholarship is for you. Offered by the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals, its mission is to encourage students to be out in their careers and support diversity in the STEM workforce. Two scholarships are awarded each year to an undergraduate and graduate student, and funds can be used for both education expenses and research.

SOULE Scholarship

LGBTQ persons of color from the tri-state area will want to pay extra attention to this scholarship. Up to three awards are given each year to applicants with strong leadership skills, community service involvement and academic credentials who can demonstrate financial need. Unlike other scholarships on this list, funds are disbursed both to you and your school — with $1,500 paid directly to you and $1,000 paid to your college. This means you can use this scholarship to cover education expenses outside of tuition and fees.

Hampton Roads Pride Scholarship

For over 10 years, the Hampton Roads Pride Scholarship Program has awarded more than $60,000 in scholarships to LGBTQ students and allies. Four recipients are chosen each year based on factors like your service to the LGBTQ community, extracurriculars and educational goals. Though the organization is based out of Norfolk, Virginia, you don’t need to be local to apply.

How else can I pay for school?

Didn’t get enough scholarship money? Here are a few other options for covering your education expenses:

  • Federal grants. Similar to scholarships, grants don’t need to be paid back. The federal government offers several programs, including the need-based Pell Grant and the TEACH Grant to students pursuing a degree in education.
  • Federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Provided through the Department of Education (DoE), subsidized and unsubsidized loans are available to both undergraduate and graduate students. While these typically come with the lowest rates of federal loans, there are limits to how much you can borrow.
  • Federal PLUS Loans. Also provided through the DoE, PLUS Loans are open to dependent and graduate students, as well as parent borrowers. They’re ideal for covering gaps in funding after you’ve maxed out your subsidized and unsubsidized options.
  • Private student loans. Once you’ve exhausted your federal loan options, you might want to look into private student loans. These are best saved for last, since they tend to come with higher rates and less-flexible repayment options.

Compare private student loan offers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR
EDvestinU Private Student Loans
675
$200,000
4.092% to 8.609% with autopay
Straightforward student loans for undergraduate and graduate students.
CommonBond Private Student Loans
700
$500,000
3.31% to 9.74%
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
Quickly compare private lenders for your school and apply for the right student loan.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Whether you’re an LGBTQ+ student or an ally in the community, you have a variety of options when it comes to free money for college. And if you’re interested in learning more ways to fund your degree, take a look at our A-to-Z list of scholarships and our guide to student loans.

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