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Scholarships and Grants for Online Communications Students

Scholarships and Grants for Online Communications Students

Paying for college can be a big challenge for communications majors. Fortunately, there are lots of great scholarships and grants to help you pay for your education. This guide introduces you to 30 of the best and offers valuable advice for winning the ones you want the most.

College is expensive. Like all college students, online communications majors need to secure help in paying for their education. The good news is that the full range of financial aid resources is available to qualifying online communications students, including scholarships and grants. Scholarships and grants are the best because they are, essentially, free money since you don’t have to pay them back. They’re almost always competitive, though, so there are lots of other students vying for them. You have to put real time and effort into going after the ones you’re interested in.

Below is great information and advice on what you can do to maximize your chances of landing the scholarship and grant awards you want the most. Most importantly, we also introduce a bunch of valuable scholarships and grants currently available to communications students. If your dream is earning a communications degree online, let’s get you started in finding the money to turn that dream into reality with our picks for today’s best scholarships and grants for communications students.

30 Scholarships and Grants for Communications Students

We’ve scoured the world of college financial aid and come up with 30 of the best scholarship and grant opportunities currently offered to undergraduate communications majors attending or planning to attend U.S. colleges and universities. These awards are provided by a variety of sources, from communications-focused professional associations and private sponsors to the colleges and universities offering communications degrees themselves. You won’t be eligible for every opportunity, but it’s important to give them all a good look. Remember, you’re not limited to applying to or landing just one or two. When it comes to scholarships and grants, the more you win, the better.

  • General Scholarships for Online Communications Students

    AQHF Scholarship Program

    • Amount: Varies 
    • Description & eligibility: Not strictly for communications majors, the American Quarter Horse Foundation offers a number of scholarship opportunities to students who demonstrate outstanding communication and leadership skills. Other criteria considered include academic achievement, financial need, and Quarter Horse involvement. See additional requirements by specific scholarship.
    • Deadline: January 15, 2024

    Bob Horner Scholarship

    • Amount: $2,500
    • Description & eligibility: Sponsored by the Radio Television Digital News Association, this scholarship is open to undergraduate communications and journalism students. Priority is given to applicants intending careers in broadcast journalism or a form of journalism that emphasizes the use of video.
    • Deadline: March 31, 2024

    Bodie McDowell Scholarship

    • Amount: $1,000 to $5,000
    • Description & eligibility: Awarded to three or more students annually, this scholarship is available to undergraduate and graduate students in any of several outdoor communications-related fields, including broadcasting, print, art, photography, and film. Candidates must demonstrate “clear, significant goals in outdoor communications” and provide examples of their work and letters of recommendation. Academic achievement is considered but is not among the top three selection criteria.
    • Deadline: March 30, 2024

    Carole Simpson Scholarship

    • Amount: $2,000
    • Description & eligibility: Created in 1991 to aid and encourage minority students in overcoming the hurdles to entering the electronic journalism profession, the Carole Simpson Scholarship is offered to undergraduate students (sophomore or above) enrolled full-time in a college or university program in pursuit of a career in radio, television, or digital journalism.
    • Deadline: March 31, 2024

    Dairy Shrine McCullough Freshman Communications Scholarship

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Description & eligibility: Open to freshmen at a four-year college or university majoring in dairy/animal science with an emphasis in communications or agricultural journalism. Selection is based on academic and communication abilities, student activities, and future plans.
    • Deadline: TBD 2024

    IAPD Scholarship Program

    • Amount: Up to $5,000
    • Description & eligibility: Sponsored by the International Association of Plastics Distribution, this scholarship is available to current college and university students and college-bound high school seniors who are either employed by the IAPD or a child of an IAPD employee or pursuing degrees in communications or a variety of other majors. 
    • Deadline: TBD 2024

    IFEC Foodservice Communications Scholarships

    • Amount: $1,500 to $6,000
    • Description & eligibility: The International Foodservice Editorial Council provides several awards annually to full-time students enrolled in associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs in preparation for careers in the communications field (e.g., writing, editing, public relations, marketing, etc.). Selections are made considering a combination of the applicant’s food/food service and communication arts experience and/or education.
    • Deadline: TBD 2024

    Islamic Scholarship Fund Media Scholarship Program

    • Amount: $3,000 to $5,000
    • Description & eligibility: Full-time junior and senior undergrads in communications-related majors (e.g., media studies, journalism, writing, etc.) who are Muslim or active in the Muslim community are eligible. Application submittals include a video introduction, resume, college transcripts, work samples, essay questions, and two letters of recommendation.
    • Deadline: TBD 2024

    LAGRANT Foundation (TLF) Scholarship Program

    • Amount: $2,500 to $3,000
    • Description & eligibility: This program includes 58 awards made annually to ethnic minority undergraduate students pursuing majors like communications with an emphasis in advertising, marketing, or public relations. Applicants must be studying full-time, have GPAs of 3.0 or higher, have at least one year to go in completing their degrees, and agree to participate in TLF scholarship activities.
    • Deadline: February 29, 2024

    Leonard M. Perryman Communications Scholarship for Racial Ethnic Minorities

    • Amount: $2,500
    • Description & eligibility: One scholarship is awarded annually to support a United Methodist undergraduate student studying religion journalism or mass communications at a U.S. college or university. Award criteria include academic achievement, experience or evidence of talent in journalism, Christian commitment, and clarity of purpose regarding the applicant’s goals and plans for the future.
    • Deadline: March 15, 2024

    Media Alliance of Houston Scholarship

    • Amount: Up to $5,000
    • Description & eligibility: Sponsored by the Houston Chapter of the MAH, this award is offered to outstanding college juniors and seniors interested in media careers. Application submittals include a resume, two letters of recommendation, and a 30-second home video answering the question, “Why did you choose media or related field as your major?” 
    • Deadline: May 24, 2024

    Media Fellows Scholarships

    • Amount: $2,000
    • Description & eligibility: Sponsored by the Washington Media Scholars Foundation, which offers multiple awards annually (70 in 2023). Scholarships are available to undergraduate students (except for rising freshmen) with academic interests at the intersection of public policy and advertising, including communications majors. Application submittals include an essay (500 words or less), a current resume, and a letter of recommendation.
    • Deadline: TBD 2024

    National Dairy Promotion and Research Board (NDPRB) Scholarships

    • Amount: $2,500 to $3,500
    • Description & eligibility: One $3,500 and 11 $2,500 scholarships awarded annually. Open to rising sophomore through senior students with demonstrated academic achievement, leadership, and interest in a career in a dairy-related discipline (e.g., communications, public relations, journalism, and others). 
    • Deadline: TBD 2024

    NHA Past Chairs’ Legacy Scholarship

    • Amount: $2,500
    • Description & eligibility: Sponsored by the National Hydropower Association, this scholarship is awarded annually to a student with demonstrated academic skills and interest in a career in the U.S. waterpower industry. Applicants must be pursuing a program of study, like communications, related to the waterpower industry.
    • Deadline: TBA 2024

    Peter Agris Memorial Journalism Scholarships

    • Amount: $5,000
    • Description & eligibility: This non-renewable award, sponsored by the Alpha Omega Council, is available to current full-time communications and journalism majors who are U.S. citizens of Greek descent. Other requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA, active participation in community, school, and church organizations, and demonstrated financial need.
    • Deadline: March 31, 2024

    RDW Group Communications Scholarship for People of Color

    • Amount: Up to $2,500
    • Description & eligibility: Offered to all Rhode Island undergraduate and graduate students and high school seniors who identify as Black, Indigenous, or a person of color who are currently studying in any a variety of communications-related fields (e.g., advertising, communications, marketing, public relations, media, and more). Applicants must submit two essays explaining their extracurricular activities and the impact they would like to have on the communications field. 
    • Deadline: TBD 2024

    10X Digital Marketing Scholarship

    • Amount: $4,000
    • Description & eligibility: Available to current high school seniors and undergraduate students pursuing (or planning to pursue) a degree in a field related to digital marketing, such as communications, marketing, business, or tech. Applicants must submit an essay (minimum 500 words) discussing their life story, intended study field and career, and how they intend to make an impact on the world.
    • Deadline: TBA 2024
  • School-Based Scholarships for Communications Students

    Adi Patel Memorial Scholarship (University of Delaware)

    • Amount: $1,500 and $750
    • Description & eligibility: One scholarship in each amount is awarded annually to University of Delaware Communication or Communication Interest students desiring to take leadership roles in the news and public affairs department at the university’s Student Television Network (STN) or WVUD campus radio station. Candidates must have at least one semester of work experience at STN or WVUD. 
    • Deadline: TBD 2024

    Crosson Scholarship (Stony Brook University)

    • Amount: $2,000
    • Description & eligibility: Available to full-time junior and senior Stony Brook School of Communications and Journalism students with records of high academic achievement. Submittals include two academic or professional references, three examples of outstanding journalism, and both an essay and personal statement.
    • Deadline: TBD 2024

    Dan Mason Broadcasting and Electronic Media Endowed Scholarship (Eastern Kentucky University)

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Description & eligibility: Open to current Broadcasting and Electronic Media majors with overall GPAs of 2.5 or higher and minimum 3.0 GPAs within the School of Communications at Eastern Kentucky University. Applicants must submit a short (500-1000 words) essay describing their aspirations and how the scholarship funds will enhance their professional opportunities. 
    • Deadline: March 1, 2024

    James Alexander Scholarship (California State University Fullerton)

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Description & eligibility: This scholarship was created to recognize students who demonstrate strong academic achievement and active participation in their high school newspaper, magazine, or yearbook production. Candidates must be full-time CSUF Department of Communications students with minimum 2.85 GPAs. Submittals include a short essay describing their high school writing experience, a sample of writing that has been published, and a letter of recommendation from a high school faculty member.
    • Deadline: TBD 2024

    Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Endowed Scholarship (Wayne State University)

    • Amount: $500
    • Description & eligibility: Created to provide hope and financial support to meritorious students demonstrating a “positive sensitivity to and involvement in LGBT issues.” Available to students (at least half-time) in good standing in a major program in the College of Fine, Performing, and Communication Arts at Wayne State.
    • Deadline: February 1, 2024

    Stephen W. Gibson Entrepreneurial Scholarship (Brigham Young University)

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Description & eligibility: Available to third-year communications students preparing for a career in entrepreneurial endeavors as demonstrated by evidence of ownership in or desire to initiate a business venture in a communications-related field (e.g., PR agency, newspaper, radio station, etc.). Preference is given to U.S. citizens or permanent residents and minority students. 
    • Deadline: February 1, 2024

    Swim Family Scholarship (Ball State University)

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Description & eligibility: This scholarship provides additional funding to junior and senior students with majors or minors in Ball State’s Department of Media while completing a media internship. Applicants must meet all internship requirements, possess a minimum 3.0 GPA, and provide a one to two-page statement explaining why the scholarship will benefit them during their internship experience.
    • Deadline: TBD 2024
  • Grants for Communications Students

    Bob & Millie Lynn Grant

    • Amount: $4,000
    • Description & eligibility: This grant is awarded annually to a photojournalist student or professional to support the creation and execution of a “significant project that will shed light on important social issues.” Submittal requirements include a statement of purpose and project summary, a proposed timeline, a resume, a portfolio, and three references. It’s sponsored by the National Press Photographers Foundation.
    • Deadline: TBD 2024

    Elon University Awards and Competitions Grants

    • Amount: Up to $500
    • Description & eligibility: These grants are available to School of Communications students at Elon University to aid in the development of “high-quality and innovative projects” and to help fund the exhibition of their work at academic competitions or in other professional settings.
    • Deadline: Ongoing

    Frank Fund Grant for Professional Development

    • Amount: Up to $1,000
    • Description & eligibility: This fund provides funding to advertising and public relations students in the School of Communications at Grand Valley State University for travel to and attendance at conferences in support of their professional development. Applicants must be in good academic standing at GVSU and have their creative activity or research accepted for presentation at the conference or accepted for exhibition at a competitive juried event.
    • Deadline: 30 days before the conference date or intended travel.

    James B. Pendleton Student Research and Production Grants

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Description & eligibility: This grant provides funding to students enrolled in the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College for the completion of education-related projects like creative or journalistic writing, scholarly research, and media productions worthy of exhibition and distribution.
    • Deadline: TBD 2024

    NCA Student Caucus Travel Grant

    • Amount: Up to $300
    • Description & eligibility: This award was made to help fund the travel of National Communication Association student caucus members to attend the NCA’s Annual Convention in National Harbor, Maryland. Applicants must be active NCA student members and signed up for at least one of nine NCA caucuses. 
    • Deadline: TBD 2024

    William M. Cavanaugh Student Grant

    • Amount: $1,000
    • Description & eligibility: Sponsored by the PR Club and designed to encourage the next generation of public relations professionals, this grant award is made to a PR Club junior or senior undergraduate student enrolled in a public relations, journalism, or communications program at a New England college or university. Applicants must be recommended for the award by a work/internship supervisor or faculty member.
    • Deadline: TBD 2024

Key Ways to Increase Your Chances of Earning a Communications Scholarship

Once you find some scholarships and grants worth applying for, it’s time to get down to the critical task of creating the very best application you can for each one. Here are five important tips to help you do just that.

  • Highlight Community Involvement & Extracurriculars

    Scholarship committees like applicants with great academic records, but they’re looking for more than that. They want well-rounded recipients for their awards, and one of the best ways to demonstrate your well-roundedness is through participation in school- and community-related extracurricular activities. Obvious activities include school government, sports, academic teams, and hobby-related clubs. There’s also stuff like part-time jobs and internships, work on political campaigns, and even travel experiences. The very best of all is community volunteer work. Whatever you participate in, the more you do it, the better. Obviously, if some of your activities are related to the communications field, that’s also a big plus. If you don’t have a lot of extracurricular activities to boast about, don’t panic. It’s never too late to get active.

  • Write an Impactful Essay or Personal Statement

    Crafting a well-written and thoughtful essay or personal statement might be the determining factor in your selection by an awards committee. Be sure that you’ve read and understand the essay prompt and that you address that prompt clearly and directly in your writing. We cannot emphasize this point too strongly. You’d be shocked at how many applicants fail to do so, resulting in their applications being sent straight to the rejection pile. Start the writing process as soon as possible and expect to do several revisions. Be sharp and concise in your content but not at the expense of expressing your personality. Include vivid examples and personal anecdotes that illustrate your passion for communications. Finally, enlist the help of an English professor or grad student to review your essay and suggest changes before you send it in. 

  • Showcase What Makes You Unique

    Speaking of essays, personal statements, and extracurricular activities, if the point hasn’t come across already, let’s spell it out now. Along with the impressive nuts and bolts of your high school academic career, what makes a scholarship committee really stand up and take notice is an application that effectively communicates your unique personality and passions. Take your personal statement, for example. You want to cover your accomplishments and goals but in a way that’s purposeful, passionate, and speaks straight from your heart. If you have a passion for animals, for example, explain what drives that passion through actual events in your life. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, even edgy. Most importantly, be honest.

  • Source Solid Letters of Recommendation

    Scholarship programs do not always require letters of recommendation from their applicants. When they do, it’s likely because the scholarship committee gives them particular weight in making their award selections. So, make them count. Start by finding letter writers that precisely fit the scholarship application’s requirements. If, for example, the application calls for a letter from a previous professor or instructor or an employer, be sure that’s who you get to write that letter. Second, choose recommenders who know you well and can speak honestly about your abilities, accomplishments, and character. Next, inform your letter writers about the specific scholarship program’s purpose as well as your academic and career goals, so that they can tailor their letter’s content to suit those factors. Finally, choose your recommenders as quickly as possible and give them plenty of time to write a great letter and get it in before the deadline.

  • Follow Directions and Submit Early

    We’re now down to the final two, and possibly most important, pieces of advice we have for you. First, follow the application directions exactly. Nothing destroys your credibility faster than submitting a sloppy application that fails to provide the selection committee with what they asked for. Second, get your application and required supplemental documentation into the scholarship committee as early as you can. That means getting started as early as possible. It’s inevitable to have unexpected hiccups in the process, so plan to submit early to give yourself the time needed to adjust. Also, selection committees often give special consideration to early submittals. Whether they do or not, one thing is certain: Scholarship committees are notoriously strict when it comes to submittal deadlines. In other words, if you miss a deadline, you’ve likely lost your chance of winning the scholarship.