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Scholarships for LGBTQIA+ College Success: Your Ultimate Resource

Scholarships for LGBTQIA+ College Success: Your Ultimate Resource

If you are college-bound and part of the LGBTQIA+ community, these scholarships are for you! Keep reading to find a list of 35 scholarships you can apply for now, as well as some basic strategies to help you with your applications.

Navigating higher education is challenging for everyone, but LGBTQIA+ students face unique challenges — including financial barriers. According to the May 2022 Access to Higher Education Survey, 22% of LGBTQIA+ people pick colleges away from home in search of more welcoming environments. And the further you move away from home for school, the more you’ll pay for college.

But whether you select a school that’s far away or close to home, college is expensive, even at the most affordable schools. Fortunately, scholarships can play a key role in helping you pay for college.

Plenty of organizations and institutions have established scholarship programs to specifically help LGBTQIA+ students defray the costs of higher education, making college more accessible. Whether you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, or any other non-heteronormative identity, you can find scholarships to apply to. This comprehensive guide shares 35 scholarships curated for LGBTQIA+ students like you. 

Each scholarship below gives you the opportunity to lessen your financial strain while pursuing your academic dreams. You can consider this guide an essential resource as you pursue scholarships, as we also provide strategies to enhance your application process. 

Ready to find scholarships potentially tailor-made for you? Let’s dive in. 

35 Scholarships for LGBTQIA+ Students

The journey to higher education holds both excitement and challenges. To help you navigate the financial challenges, we’ve compiled a list of scholarships designed for queer students. The following is a big collection of scholarships specifically designed to help LGBTQIA+ students complete their college degrees. These resources include both scholarships and grants.

49 Legacy Scholarships

  • Amount: $10,000
  • Description & eligibility: Offered by the onePULSE Foundation in honor of the 49 lives taken in the Pulse Nightclub shooting, this scholarship provides 49 annual awards of up to $10,000 to use at an accredited higher education institution, including technical and career schools. Applicants are selected based on their personal story, financial need, leadership, community involvement or work experience, and an interest in academic improvement. 
  • Deadline: TBD 2024

Acorn Equality Fund Scholarships

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: This fund provides a total of $40,000 in scholarships, each ranging from between $1,000 to $4,000. Applicants must hold permanent residence in the Acorn Equality Fund service area of downstate Illinois and attend any accredited higher education institution. 
  • Deadline: September 2024

Asian Pacific Islander Queer Women and Transgender Community Scholarship

  • Amount: $3,500
  • Description & eligibility: This scholarship offers three awards of $3,500 each to three Asian/Pacific Islander LBTQ women pursuing tuition-based learning. This includes technical, professional, and trades certificates. Selection criteria requires students to submit a resume, cover letter, a two-page essay, and two letters of recommendation. 
  • Deadline: Feb. 14, 2024

Audria M. Edwards Scholarship Fund

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: Awarded to students pursuing undergraduate degrees in an accredited program during the coming school year, applicants must be lesbian, gay, transgender, queer, intersex, or have an LGBTQI parent. Applicants must hold at least one year of residency in Oregon or in certain Washington counties (Clar, Cowlitz, Skamania, or Wahkiakum). 
  • Deadline: April 1, 2024

Bisexual Foundation Scholarship Award

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Description & eligibility: This scholarship, funded by the Society for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, awards up to $1,000 annually to graduate students who advance research on the psychology of bisexuality. Applicants must be enrolled in full-time psychology or counseling graduate programs. 
  • Deadline: TBD 2024

Colin Higgins Foundation Youth Courage Awards

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: These awards go to young filmmakers who demonstrate courage in the face of hardship while refusing to be silenced by heteronormative societal norms. In 2023, the program awarded $15,000 in grants to support young, queer filmmakers in the film industry. 
  • Deadline: TBD 2024

eQuality Scholarships

  • Amount: $6,000
  • Description & eligibility: These scholarships award California students for their service to the LGBTQ community. Eligible applicants are LGBTQ+ residents of northern or central California who expect to graduate high school or community college between July 1, 2019 and July 30, 2024. Those pursuing medical degrees at an accredited medical school in California can also apply.
  • Deadline: June 30, 2024

Follansbee-Hansen Scholarship

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: PFLAG Sacramento awards these scholarships of $2,000 or more to qualified students from Sacramento. Eligible scholarship recipients must identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and have applied to, or are enrolled in, an accredited college, university, technical, or vocational school. A GPA of at least 2.5 is also required. 
  • Deadline: TBD 2024

Gamma Mu Foundation Scholarships

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: These need-based scholarships award between $1,000 to $2,500 to LGBT students who have completed high school or the GED by June of the application year. Applicants must hold United States citizenship and enrollment in an accredited higher education institution.
  • Deadline: March 31, 2024

Greater Seattle Business Association LGBTQ Scholar Program

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: Applicants must be students who identify as LGBTQ+, members of LGBTQ+ families, and straight allies who’ve demonstrated active support of the LGBTQ+ community. Each applicant must also be pursuing a certificate program or undergraduate degree and hold residency in Washington State. Those who live in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and Oregon can also apply. 
  • Deadline: TBD 2024

Jan Kieling Rainbow Scholarship

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: This scholarship awards LGBTQ+ students attending a study abroad program up to $5,000 of financial support; open to all U.S. citizens and permanent residents of the United States. 
  • Deadline: TBD 2024

Kay Longcope Scholarship Award

  • Amount: $3,000
  • Description & eligibility: This scholarship is open to LGBTQ+ journalists of color who plan to pursue a journalism career. Applicants must demonstrate their passion and commitment to journalism, as well as an awareness of LGBTQ+ issues, as winners are selected based on journalistic and scholastic ability. 
  • Deadline: May 2024 

LEAGUE Foundation Scholarships

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: Four annual scholarships are awarded to graduating high school LGBTQ students moving directly into higher education. Applicants must be high school seniors entering their first year of college. Application requirements include writing two personal essays and providing at least two letters of recommendation from non-family members. 
  • Deadline: April 2024

Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship Award

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: These scholarships are awarded to students pursuing journalism careers. Winning applicants demonstrate an awareness of LGBTQ+ issues and passion and commitment to journalistic and scholastic ability. Applicants must submit a one-page resume, five work samples, transcripts, and proof of attendance from a higher education institution. 
  • Deadline: TBD 2024

Lesbian Caucus Award

  • Amount: $500
  • Description & eligibility: A $500 research award is granted for a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation that covers LGBT studies and resonates with the mission of the National Women’s Studies Association. While the degree is open to any field, the work must focus on lesbian lives, identified broadly. 
  • Deadline: TBD 2024

Malyon Smith Scholarship Research Award

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: Graduate students in psychology who research sexual orientation and gender identity can be awarded up to $1,000. Eligible applicants are enrolled as full-time graduate psychology students. 
  • Deadline: March 20, 2024

Milton E. Ford LGBT Scholarships

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: The Milton E. Ford LBGT Resource Center grants three scholarships, including two for LBGT students. These awards vary and tend to give preference to LBGT students who support their communities. 
  • Deadline: TBD 2024

Missouri Courage Scholarships

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: Four scholarships are awarded to Missouri students pursuing higher education who have worked to advance the dignity and equality of marginalized communities such as the LGBTQ community. This scholarship program is open to Missouri students seeking higher education. 
  • Deadline: TBD 2024

Morehead McKay LGBT Scholarship

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: This scholarship is awarded to a full-time LGBT Morehead undergraduate who has demonstrated a commitment to equality for the LGBT community. Students from the state of Kentucky’s Mason, Bracken, Robertson, and Fleming counties receive preference. 
  • Deadline: TBD 2024

National Gay Pilots Association Scholarships

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: NGPA awards two memorial scholarships to LGBTQ aspiring aviators who want to become qualified members of the aviation professions. Applicants must be members of NGPA to earn a scholarship.
  • Deadline: TBD 2024

Northern Michigan University Allies Scholarship

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: This award of at least $500 annually, split between two semesters, goes to applicants who show documented leadership or involvement in organizations that promote awareness and acceptance of the LGBT community at Northern Michigan University. 
  • Deadline: TBD 2024

Out to Innovate Scholarships

  • Amount: $2,000
  • Description & eligibility: These awards are intended for LGBTQ+ undergraduate and graduate students pursuing STEM degrees. While the program has several scholarships for LGBTQ+ students, their new scholarship, the Amy A. Ross Scholarship in Bioscience, is designed for those who demonstrate a commitment to furthering LGBTQ+ representation and inclusion in the bio sciences. 
  • Deadline: TBD 2024

Out to Protect Scholarships

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: Here you’ll find four scholarship and grant programs with various criteria. The John Reinert Student Scholarship and three grant programs share in their support for LGBTQ law enforcement to come out, live authentic lives, and support local LGBTQ+ communities. 
  • Deadline: TBD 2024

Pacific Gas & Electric Company PrideNetwork ERG Scholarship

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: Scholarships are awarded to students who’ve shown commitment to specific communities or causes, such as the LGBTQIA+ community. Student must be pursuing higher education and submit references in addition to general and supplemental ERG applications. 
  • Deadline: TBD 2024

PFLAG Chapter Scholarship Programs

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: PFLAG scholarships aim to create a fair, affirming world for LGBTQ+ people and their allies. Award amounts range between chapters, and some states have more than one chapter. 
  • Deadline: TBD 2024

PFund Scholarships

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: These scholarships are designed for LGBTQ+ learners from the upper Midwest at all educational stages, from undergraduate to graduate and doctoral students. Applicants must be either from or attending a school in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota, or South Dakota. 
  • Deadline: June 1, 2024

Point Foundation Scholarships

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: The Point Foundation awards scholarships to LGBTQ students at accredited United States institutions of higher education. These scholarships are available for community college students, undergraduates, graduates, and doctoral students. 
  • Deadline: TBD 2024

Pride Foundation Scholarships

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: LGBTQ+ students who live in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington can apply for one of 60 Pride Foundation scholarships. Applicants only have to submit one application to earn eligibility for all 60 scholarships.
  • Deadline: Jan. 5, 2024

Pride Scholarship at Michigan State University

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: This scholarship is awarded to undergraduates who demonstrate academic achievement and contributions to the LGBTQ community. Incoming freshman take preference. Students must submit proof of enrollment or admission to MSU and submit a resume and personal statement. 
  • Deadline: March 2024

Prism Foundation Scholarships

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: These awards, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, empower students who make a positive impact on the Asian & Pacific Islander and LGBTQIA+ communities. Recipients include undergraduate and graduate students of a wide range of ethnicities and gender and sexual identities. 
  • Deadline: TBD 2024 

Reaching Out LGBTQ+MBA Fellowship

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description & eligibility: Known as the ROMBA Fellowship, this joint effort between prominent business school programs and Reaching Out grants at least $20,000 for each fellow and provides access to exclusive leadership programming as well as a retreat. 
  • Deadline: TBD 2024

Stonewall Community Foundation Scholarships

  • Amount: Varies 
  • Description & eligibility: The Stonewall Community Foundation funds three scholarships: the Aritzia Scholarship, the Traub-Dicker Rainbow Scholarship, and the Little Bird Scholarship for LGBTQI immigrants. All scholarships are designed to help LGBTQ students overcome complex social and economic barriers. 
  • Deadline: Spring 2024

Study.com Scholarship for Transgender Students

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Description & eligibility: Any transgender student pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree can apply to earn a $1,000 academic award from Study.com, awarded annually. Graduating high school seniors may also apply if they’ve been accepted by a United States college or university. 
  • Deadline: May 1, 2024

Trans/Gender-Variant Caucus Award

  • Amount: $200
  • Description & eligibility: The National Women’s Studies Association provides a $200 prize to any caucus member whose paper is accepted at the 2024 annual conference. Applicants should be members of the trans/gender-variant caucus and hold a 2024 NWSA membership. 
  • Deadline: March 30, 2024

Women in Medicine LGBTQ Leadership Scholarships

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Description & eligibility: Two annual scholarships are awarded to female medical students enrolled in their first, second, or third year of allopathic, osteopathic, or naturopathic medical schools in the United States or Canada. Applicants must hold good academic standing and have actively demonstrated leadership for the LGBTQ community. 
  • Deadline: March 15, 2024

Optimize Your Chances of Earning a Scholarship

Let’s look at some ways you can increase your changes of earning a scholarship. Remember that scholarship committees are looking for candidates who not only meet their criteria, but also align with their goals, values, and mission. To truly stand out, show your authentic, genuine, passionate self in your application.

Do Your Research

As you’re researching, remember to make a list of scholarships you’re eligible for based on your background, interests, and goals. Ignore scholarships for which you’re not eligible. There are many scholarship search websites and databases available to help you find opportunities such as the U.S. Department of Labor, Sallie Mae, and College Board.

Pay Attention to Details

Every scholarship program is different, so it’s important that you carefully read and understand each scholarship program’s requirements and guidelines. Make sure you meet all eligibility criteria before applying, so you don’t waste time on programs you’re not a fit for. Once you’ve ensured you meet the eligibility criteria, write down the deadlines of each application and begin your application as soon as you can. 

Personalize Each Application

Because every scholarship is different, you’ll benefit from customizing your application for each scholarship. Tailor your essays and responses to match the specific requirements you read in the guidelines. Each program will want you to demonstrate, for example, why you selected them to apply to and why you’re a good match for their program. 

Highlight Achievements & Community Efforts

You deserve to brag about yourself! In your application documents, highlight your achievements. These could be your academic laurels, leadership roles, extracurricular activities, and any awards or honors you’ve received. Show them in your essays, but also highlight your accomplishments in your resume. And reach out to trusted teachers and employers who will write you winning recommendation letters. 

Proofread and Edit

After you’ve completed your application, carefully proofread your admission materials for spelling, grammar, and formatting errors. You might read the documents backwards, print them out and mark them up with a bold-colored pen, or ask a trusted friend or family member to read the document for you to ensure accuracy. 

Follow Up

After you’ve submitted your application, confirm that the school or organization has received it. Some scholarships may require additional information or documentation after the initial submission. And some scholarship granters may not send you a notification to let you know they’ve received your application. You may simply need to send an email or make a phone call; this small act can quiet your nerves as you wait. 

Apply for As Many Scholarships as Possible

Try not to put all your hopes into one application. Scholarships are competitive, so apply for as many scholarships as possible — ensuring, of course, that you’re eligible for the scholarships to which you’re applying. Also look for scholarships offered by local organizations, as these may have fewer applications and a higher chance of success.