Scholarships for LGBTQIA+ Students
Reviewed by Angelique Geehan
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Members of the LGBTQIA+ community may face unique challenges in paying for college. Potential difficulties include a lack of family financial and emotional support. They may also face exclusion from some scholarship opportunities due to discriminatory practices. LGBTQIA+ youth also experience homelessness more often than other young people.
Most students need financial aid to afford a degree. A Georgetown University report found that college costs increased 169% between 1980 and 2019. The College Board found that four-year public college tuition costs $10,740 annually on average for in-state students for 2021-2022. Out-of-stater students paid $27,560 a year.
The 2021-2022 school year was the first time in many years that tuition increased less than the rate of inflation. Many organizations offer LGBTQIA+ scholarships, which can help make higher education more affordable. This page explores benefits of cybersecurity scholarships and other types of financial aid for LGBTQIA+ students.
How Scholarships Help LGBTQIA+ Cybersecurity Students
Cybersecurity scholarships for LGBTQIA+ students can help offset the costs of college. In addition to paying for tuition, some scholarships can be used for books, costs of living, and travel. Other scholarship benefits may include mentorship, networking opportunities, and professional memberships.
- 1. Reduces Financial Burden
LGBTQIA+ students may come from financially precarious backgrounds for various reasons, including a lack of family and community support. Cybersecurity scholarships for LGBTQIA+ students can help pay for some or all of college tuition plus school-related expenses.
- 2. Helps You Stand Out
Earning a prestigious, merit-based scholarship may open the door to various career or network opportunities. Adding accomplishments, like scholarships, can help your resume stand out.
- 3. Boosts Your Self-Esteem
Winning a scholarship can offer psychological benefits like pride, self-respect, and self-worth.
- 4. Lets You Focus on School
A cybersecurity scholarship can make it easier for LGBTQIA+ individuals to enter this field and focus on their studies.
There are many scholarships available to college students, including some intended specifically for the LGBTQIA+ community. This section lists some of these opportunities. Taking the time to research and apply to scholarships can offer promising results.
Eligibility Requirements: This scholarship is available to undergraduate and graduate students who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Undergraduate applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA. Students must be accepted into one of several California universities.
Out for Education Scholarship
Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must identify as LGBTQ+, attend a Houston-area school, be between the ages of 17 and 25, and hold a minimum 2.75 GPA.
The Out to Innovate™ Scholarships
Eligibility Requirements: LGBTQ+ undergraduate and graduate students pursuing STEM degrees can apply. Applicants must be supporters or participants of organizations that promote LGBTQ+ visibility and inclusion.
Pride Foundation Scholarships
Eligibility Requirements: Students pursuing post-secondary education and attending or planning to attend an accredited institution can apply. Applicants must identify as LGBTQ+ and live in Montana, Oregon, Alaska, or Idaho. The scholarships do not stipulate citizenship status.
LEAGUE Foundation Scholarship
Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be U.S. citizens graduating from high school in the year they apply. They must submit proof of acceptance to an accredited school in the U.S. or Canada and hold a minimum 3.0 GPA. The program requires community involvement with preference for applicants whose activities support the LGBT communities.
Various organizations offer scholarships for students pursuing STEM and cybersecurity degrees. This section lists some but not all cybersecurity scholarships. LGBTQIA+ students can use these scholarships to pay for tuition and other expenses in cybersecurity programs.
Central Intelligence Agency Scholarships
Eligibility Requirements: Undergraduate and graduate applicants must demonstrate financial need and attend an accredited university. The program accepts various STEM-related majors including cybersecurity. Scholarship recipients must work at the CIA for 1.5 years for each year they receive the scholarship.
KnowBe4 Scholarship for Black Americans in Cybersecurity
Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be Black or African American, studying or planning to study cybersecurity, and U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Undergraduate or graduate students with a minimum 3.2 GPA or higher can apply. Submission requirements include transcripts, letters of recommendation, a resume, and essays.
(ISC)² Womens Cybersecurity Scholarship
Eligibility Requirements: Students must be pursuing or planning to pursue a degree in cybersecurity or a related field. Students need a minimum 3.0 GPA and must attend college full time or part time, anywhere in the world.
Stokes Educational Scholarship Program
Eligibility Requirements: Application requirements include a resume, a letter of recommendation, transcripts, and an essay. Applicants need a minimum 2.75 GPA their first year and a minimum 3.0 GPA in following years.
CyberCorps Scholarship For Service
Eligibility Requirements: Students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and currently study cybersecurity full time. Recipients must agree to work for the U.S. government in a cybersecurity-related job for the same amount of time they receive the scholarship.
Steps to Getting a Scholarship
Getting a scholarship usually takes significant research, hard work, and planning. Some of the organizations and resources discussed above may be able to help LGBTQIA+ students find cybersecurity scholarships.
To improve your chances of winning these scholarships, consider following the steps below. Be sure to research how winning a scholarship can impact your financial aid eligibility.
- 1. Visit the Financial Aid Office
Students can find information about financial aid for LGBTQIA+ cybersecurity majors at their schools' financial aid office. Many financial aid offices have financial aid specialists who can assist students.
- 2. Use the U.S. Department of Labor's Scholarship Search Tool
Use this free scholarship search tool to look for Cybersecurity scholarships for LGBTQIA+ students.
- 3. Apply and Gather Materials Early
Apply for scholarships, ask for letters of recommendation, and submit supplemental materials as early as possible.
- 4. Read Requirements Thoroughly
Do not waste your time applying for scholarships if you do not meet the eligibility criteria.
- 5. Proofread Your Applications
Ask a friend, parent, or teacher to proofread your scholarship applications before submitting them.
Financial Aid for LGBTQIA+ Cybersecurity Students
Cybersecurity scholarships for LGBTQIA+ students are just one of many types of financial aid available. Additional funding sources include grants, loans, fellowships, and the work study program. Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for college financial aid.
Similar to scholarships, grants do not require repayment. Students can apply for various grants from the federal government, state governments, nonprofit groups, or schools. Grants typically require applicants to demonstrate financial need. Other eligibility criteria may exist. Students may need to repay a grant if they do not maintain their eligibility.
Many students apply for loans to fund their education. Federal student loans may offer benefits over private loans, including lower interest rates, special repayment programs and agreements, and less stringent application requirements. Because loans require repayment, try to get other types of financial aid before seeking this type of aid.
Typically merit-based and competitive, fellowships usually pay for students to pursue advanced academic work in their area of interest. Fellowship programs provide funding to graduate and post-graduate students. Fellowships typically cover tuition, but students may use the funding for conferences, dissertations, or living expenses.
The federal government's work study program helps subsidize student employment in off- and on-campus jobs. Undergraduate and graduate students with demonstrated financial need can work part-time while in school and get paid. When possible, a student's work assignment should be related to their field of study.
Work Study Programs
Employer-sponsored programs help pay some or all of an employee's college tuition. In many cases, the academic program must prepare the student for a career relevant to their employer's business. Some employers may require employees to stay with the business after graduating for a set amount of time.
Employer Sponsored Programs
Additional Resources for LGBTQIA+ Students
The biggest nonprofit community of LGBTQ+ tech leaders in the world, Out In Tech helps offer its 40,000 members professional networking, career development, and tech events.
A global LGBTQ+ tech community, Unicorns in Tech started in Berlin in 2014. The group offers an online platform, year-round events, and a job board.
Formerly called the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals, Out to Innovate offers professional networking, science education, role modeling, and employment opportunity for LGBTQ+ people working in STEM.
A charitable trust, Pride in STEM supports LGBTQIA+ people in STEM fields. The group organizes events like LGBTQ+ STEM Day.
QTC creates networking and professional development opportunities for LGBTQ+ technologists.
A non profit organization for LGBTQ+ people in STEM, oSTEM boasts 100 student chapters and professional groups in cities across the U.S. and globe.
Lesbians Who Tech is a professional group of LGBTQ women, trans, and non-binary people in and around the tech world.
FAQ About LGBTQIA+ Scholarships and Cybersecurity
Are there cybersecurity scholarships for LGBTQIA+ students?
Yes. There are general, STEM, and cybersecurity scholarships for LGBTQIA+ students. Many scholarships for LGBTQIA+ people do not specify a certain major or academic program.
Can LGBTQIA+ scholarships be used for cybersecurity programs?
Yes, many can. Some LGBTQIA+ scholarships require applicants to pursue a degree in a specific major or field but many do not. Make sure to read all eligibility criteria carefully before applying for scholarships.
How can I get a scholarship for cybersecurity?
Check out our lists of cybersecurity scholarships for LGBTQIA+ students above. To increase your chances of winning a cybersecurity scholarship, research potential funding sources thoroughly and apply as early as possible.
Is cybersecurity a good field to work in?
The cybersecurity field offers benefits like high-paying jobs and high demand in the coming years. Many cybersecurity professionals appreciate the challenge of solving technical problems and helping organizations keep their information secure.
Angelique Geehan works to support and repair the connections people have with themselves and their families, communities, and cultural practices. A queer, Asian, gender binary-nonconforming parent, Geehan founded Interchange, a consulting group that offers anti-oppression support. She organizes as part of several groups, including the National Perinatal Association's Health Equity Workgroup, the Health and Healing Justice Committee of the National Queer and Trans Asian and Pacific Islander Alliance, QTPOC+ Family Circle, and Batalá Houston.
Page last reviewed February 24, 2022
Featured Image: Hill Street Studios / Stone / Getty Images
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