The Best Grants and Scholarships for Women in 2021

December 3, 2020 Loans & Finance

Deciding to go back to school after taking time off to build a career or spend time with your family can be daunting.

And between tuition, textbooks and other fees, returning to college can be prohibitively expensive.

Luckily, there are many grants for adults returning to school, as well as scholarships for women who want to go back to college to get their degrees.

Below are seven grants and scholarships designed specifically for women.

1. Go Girl! Grant
2. Jeanette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund
3. Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Award
4. PEO Program for Continuing Education Grant
5. Society of Women Engineers Scholarship
6. Soroptimist Live Your Dreams Award
7. Women’s Independence Scholarship Program

1. Go Girl! Grant

The Go Girl! Grant is offered by The Girlfriend Factor, an organization that provides educational grants and emotional support for women who are bettering their lives through higher education.

Since 2006, the organization has provided over 147 women in California’s Coachella Valley with $500,000 in grants.

To be eligible, applicants must be at least 25, demonstrate financial need and be passionate about an educational path that will lead to a career.

If you want to apply, you’ll need to write a one-page autobiography, provide information about your education and career goals, submit three references and prepare for an interview.

Check their website to be sure, but previously applications were reviewed twice a year: in January and July. To be eligible for consideration, you had to submit your application by the 15th of the previous month (Dec. 15 and June 15).

2. Jeanette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund

Jeanette Rankin was the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress. Upon her death, she left a portion of her estate to create a scholarship for women returning to school.

Since its launch in 1978, the Jeanette Rankin Foundation has awarded about $3 million in scholarships to more than 1,000 women.

The Jeanette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund is for low-income women over the age of 35 who want to get their associate’s or bachelor’s degrees. To be eligible for a scholarship, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Awardees are selected based on their goals, their plan forward and how they plan to give back to the community.

Review detailed eligibility information, including income restrictions, via the scholarship’s website. Check there for the deadline — the previous round of applications were due in February.

3. Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Scholarship for Moms

Patsy Takemoto Mink served in Congress and was the first woman of color to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

In her honor, the Patsy Takemoto Mink Foundation was launched in 2003. Since then, it has assisted low-income women, particularly mothers. This is a unique scholarship for moms looking to reduce their educational costs.

The organization offers five awards of up to $5,000 each for low-income mothers pursuing an education. Awardees are chosen based on financial need, personal history and future goals. Funds could be used on educational costs or to afford child care expenses.

To be eligible, applicants must be mothers and at least 17 years old. You must also be entering a vocational training course or pursuing your associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

What’s more, an applicant’s income cannot exceed $20,000 for a family of two or $28,000 for a family of four. The organization opens up the scholarship to applicants in the spring of each year.

4. PEO Program for Continuing Education Grant

The Philanthropic Education Organization (PEO) offers up to $3,000 in need-based grants to women whose education was interrupted, but who now want to pursue a degree to better support themselves and their families.

To be eligible, a woman must be enrolled in school and be within 24 months of completing an educational program.

If you meet these requirements and would like to apply, you must have the sponsorship of a local PEO club. However, membership is not required. You can complete the form for the sponsorship and submit it to a local chapter.

5. Society of Women Engineers Scholarship

For women interested in engineering or computer science, the Society of Women Engineers offers scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $16,000 in value.

While the society offers general scholarships for women, it also designates funds for non-traditional students and women looking to re-enter the workforce.

To apply for a scholarship for the coming school year, check their website for the latest deadlines. In previous years due dates were as follows:

Sophomores through graduate students: Applications are usually accepted between December and February
Freshmen: Applications are usually due between March and the beginning of May

6. Soroptimist Live Your Dreams Award

The Soroptimist Live Your Dreams Award provides support and financial assistance to women who are the primary earners in their families. Each year, the organization gives out more than $2.6 million in grants to nearly 1,700 women.

If you would like to apply, you must be the main source of financial support for your family. And, you must be enrolled in or accepted to a vocational training program or a four-year college or university. Applicants must also be able to demonstrate financial need.

In previous years, the Soroptimist accepted applications between August and mid November. To apply, complete the online application along with two reference forms. Then, submit your application during the acceptance period.

7. Women’s Independence Scholarship Program

The Women’s Independence Scholarship Program (WISP) provides scholarships to women who are survivors of intimate partner abuse. The program is designed to help survivors regain independence and self-sufficiency through education and employment.

Full or part-time students with financial need are eligible. The primary goal of WISP is to help women who have been separated from their abusive partner for at least one year.

Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, and you can apply via the WISP website.

Scholarships designed for women make going back to school possible

If you’ve put off going back to school because of costs, make sure you check out all of your grant and scholarship options.

There are many opportunities for women that are designed to help meet educational and professional goals. These scholarships could help reduce your costs and prevent you from borrowing more federal or private student loans than necessary.

For more information, check out our guide for all adults returning to school.

Andrew Pentis contributed to this report.

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