Though we’ve seen a lot of progress in the last few years, minorities, and especially minority women, are still vastly underrepresented in the tech industry and in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields. To combat this and bring a more diverse workforce into these fields, federal, state, and local governments, as well as private foundations, have created a number of grants and partial or full ride scholarships for African Americans interested in the STEM majors.

Minorities have historically been banned from gaining higher education and they have faced continued hardships and difficulties in entering and completing university programs, even after the Civil Rights Movement and desegregation. Recognizing this ongoing phenomenon, our government and many institutions, private companies, and individuals have noted the need to level the financial playing field and are stepping up by offering with need and merit-based grants and scholarships for African Americans.

For example, the Galvanize Foundation is a new nonprofit organization, backed by Galvanize, a technology education startup. The entire purpose behind the Galvanize Foundation is to give minorities and women a chance to grow and thrive in the tech sector by funding scholarships to send them to tech schools. For the moment the Galvanize Foundation is only able to give scholarships large enough to cover partial or full tuition. In the future, though, the foundation’s founders hope to look into covering housing, food, books, and other expenses, as well.

These scholarships are everywhere, but you have to know where to look for them, how to find them, and how to apply. Fortunately, if you have access to the Internet, you can find lists upon lists of scholarships to help lift the load of student debt from your back and allow you to get the education you need for success in your career.

Start Your Online Search

First of all, the US Department of Labor has a free searchable database of scholarships and grants. You can tailor your search to include minorities, women, and/or your field of study or university of choice. There are literally thousands of funding opportunities out there that won’t saddle you with giant loans to pay back once you graduate.

In addition to the Department of Labor’s database, you can find out if you’re eligible for a Pell grant or any other federal aid at the US Department of Education’s website.

Scholarships for African Americans Across Industries

If you’re concerned about finding a scholarship that is not specifically aimed at the technology industry, have no fear. There are scholarships for college students, high school students, and African American students going back to school after several years. And they are available across all industries, including, but not limited to journalism, television and media, insurance and risk management, accounting, engineering, and more.

For example, the Ohio Newspaper Foundation Minority Scholarship is a journalism scholarship for African American students who are high school seniors and who will enroll as freshmen majoring in journalism at any college or university in Ohio. Students must have a 2.5 GPA or higher, and this scholarship requires two letters of recommendation. The application deadlines vary for this scholarship, so if you plan on applying for it, make sure the deadline hasn’t already passed.

The Augustana College Diversity Scholarship, on the other hand, does not require you to choose any particular major or school locale. To be eligible, you simply have to be a minority and bring diversity to the college campus you attend.

Finding Out if You’re Eligible

While some college scholarships for African Americans require you to meet a certain GPA, others will may you to demonstrate a certain level of need. Each of these scholarships is designed, in some way, to bring African American college students up and to spread diversity to college campuses across the country.

Some do this based on need, some do it based on merit, and some choose a combination of the two. Finding out if you are eligible is pretty easy. Just read the information available online about the scholarship you’re interested in. If you are not eligible, you can either move on to the next scholarship option or find out if there is some way that you might become eligible.

For example, if you are in your first semester of your senior year of high school and your GPA is not quite high enough to qualify for a particular scholarship, is there any way that you could bring your grades up enough in the coming semester before your application deadline? If not, don’t worry about it. Just move on to the next scholarship. There are literally thousands to choose from, and you are sure to be eligible for a large number of them.

The Benefits of College Scholarships for African Americans

If you’re not yet convinced that you should be scouring government and private databases for scholarships, let’s discuss some of the benefits of these particular grants and scholarships for African Americans. While President Obama talks about student loan forgiveness and free college, loan companies are still coming after students and former students. And the 2 years of free college that the president has proposed will most definitely not go into effect for some time, if at all.

Time is marching on, and a college education could mean the difference between working a job that barely makes ends meet, or finding a fulfilling career and great success. Student loans may be an option, but you will eventually have to pay them back.

Grants and scholarships for African American students are designed to help you pay for your education without putting a major burden of debt on your shoulders for years to come. Applying for these funding opportunities cannot hurt you, and it could make all the difference for your college career and the rest of your life.

Search and Apply for Scholarships on ScholarshipChart.com

ScholarshipChart.com helps students and parents search and apply for scholarships, grants, awards and other financial aid options to help pay for college. Whether you are a high school senior starting college or a single mom going back to school, you can find money for college through ScholarshipChart.com.