While those in the LGBTQ+ community have previously struggled to pursue higher education, there are now many financial aid opportunities to consider. With college expenses continually rising year after year, having financial aid to cover costs is necessary. Through FAFSA and private scholarship options, many students find the money they need to complete their education.
1. Student Loans
Funds not covered under grants and scholarships may often be secured through low-interest student loans. These loans are typically offered after completing your FAFSA and usually have a grace period before interest will begin to accrue. Loans are a great way to pick up additional costs of room and board that are not often covered under scholarship or grant money.1
You will also need to research any grants you qualify for when completing your FAFSA. The grant money will not need to be repaid if you satisfy the requirements, such as maintaining a passing GPA and enrolling for a specific number of credit hours. These funds may be used for tuition, books, fees, and room and board.1
3. General Scholarships
Scholarships are awarded to students for several reasons. Some will be offered directly by the school. Others may be offered after you complete your FAFSA. In some cases, you may need to complete a separate scholarship application. Each scholarship will have parameters and requirements to be followed to maintain the scholarship.1
Over the years, there have been more scholarships devoted to those in the LGBTQ+ community. Some regions and states may have special scholarships for students in the LGBTQ+ community, while others will be offered by private organizations.2 Some available scholarships for LGBTQ+ students include:
- The Stonewall Community Foundation which provides scholarships to several LGBTQ+ students a year.
- The SOLGA Kenneth W. Payne Student Prize Competition provides funds to a student in the LGBTQ+ community each year.
- Gamma Fu Foundation Scholarships are available for gay male students.
- The League Foundation provides several scholarships for LGBTQ+ high school students, such as the Matthew Shepard Memorial Scholarship.
- Malyon-Smith Scholarship Award goes to graduate students researching relevant psychological issues facing the LGBTQ+ community.
- The Live Out Loud Annual Scholarship Program gives out five $5,000 scholarships per year for LGBTQ+ teens displaying courage, leadership, and achievement.
- The Point Foundation manages a scholarship fund that supports undergraduates, graduates, and post-graduates who have been marginalized due to their gender orientation or sexual identity.2
4. Athletic Scholarships
Athletic scholarships are available in a wide range of sports, depending on the schools and the needs of their sports programs. Unfortunately, the LGBTQ+ community has suffered many setbacks when it comes to athletic scholarships, such as confusing regulations for the eligibility of transgender students in gender-based sports teams. To bring awareness to the struggle that many in the LGBTQ+ community face when applying for athletic scholarships, the Team DC Student-Athlete Scholarship was created to award college funds to LBGTQ+ students who have helped change the perception of the LGBTQ+ community through their contributions to their sport.2
For more information on available scholarships and grants available to LGBTQ+ students, be sure to fill out your FAFSA each year, contact the financial aid office in your chosen school, and talk to local community leaders to find available private scholarships in the area.
1Types of Financial Aid, studentaid.gov, https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types
2Financial Aid for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Students, Fastweb.com, https://www.fastweb.com/financial-aid/articles/financial-aid-for-lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender-students
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