According to a US transgender survey, 0.6% of US adults (about 1.4 million) identify themselves as transgender. Nearly 3% of them are teens.
The 2019 National School Climate Survey found that 10% of LGBTQ+ students didn’t plan on going to college because of the frequent verbal harassment they experienced in high school.
The good news is that more and more US colleges are becoming transgender-friendly. About 20% of US colleges and universities are trans-inclusive (over 1,070 of them), having clear non-discrimination policies that include gender identity/expression.
Still, the latest national transgender survey shows that nearly 19% of first-year transgender students worry about financing their higher education.
Fortunately, a growing number of colleges, universities, and organizations in the US offer transgender scholarships. This guide will walk you through some of the most popular opportunities and help you land your desired fin aid.
5 Tips for Winning a Transgender Financial Aid
Some scholarships are need-based and require proof of financial need, while others are merit-based and require a certain GPA score. There are also aids that you can win only by submitting a personal statement that stands out.
In any case, these tips will help you land your desired financial help:
- Apply early - The earlier you apply, the higher your chances of landing a scholarship will be, as the funds are limited. You’ll show initiative as well, which ranks high with award committees.
- Submit applications for many scholarships - The more programs you apply for, the more opportunities you’ll have to offset your college costs.
- Research local opportunities - Most transgender scholarships are national and quite competitive, so don’t forget about your local options as well.
- Write a winning essay - If you apply for a scholarship that requires a personal statement essay, highlight your strengths, write about your career goals, and connect both to the organization’s mission and goals.
- Seek help from previous recipients and transgender graduates - They might help you find and win an excellent scholarship and provide useful tips for transitioning to college.
Most Popular Transgender Scholarships
You can always apply for general programs and federal grants, as they’re open to all students. However, they’re highly competitive, so student-specific financial aid opportunities offered by LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations might be your best bet.
Some offer financial support to all LGBTQ+ students, while others are exclusive to transgender students. Here are some of the best you can apply for.
The TransgenderFirst Scholarship is open to underserved transgender or non-binary US citizens who plan on earning a degree at an accredited US college, regardless of the program they choose.
Deadline: December 31
This program offers two scholarships for STEM majors. One is for students who identify as women, and the other is for African American, Hispanic, and Indigenous students. Those belonging to both groups can apply for both aids, which require a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Deadline: February 15
The SWE Scholarship Program awards new and renewable transgender scholarships to students who identify as women and are pursuing a degree in technology, engineering, or computing.
Deadline: May 1
The need-based TSER Scholarship program provides financial support to all documented or undocumented transgender, gender-diverse, and non-binary students in the US.
Amount: Varies (Minimum $500)
Deadline: April 12
The National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP) offers several Out to Innovate Scholarships to LGBTQ+ students majoring in STEM or a STEM-related field. They must be full-time students with a minimum 2.75 GPA and active supporters of LGBTQ+ inclusion.
Deadline: June 5
Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad/Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, Inc. offers this scholarship to high-school graduates who identify as female or non-binary. They must demonstrate strong leadership potential, academic achievement, and involvement in the community.
Amount: Up to $1,000
Deadline: May 31
The League Foundation awards several annual scholarships to high-school seniors in the LGBTQ+ community with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Those who provide proof of community involvement have higher chances of landing the scholarship.
Amount: Up to $4,000
Deadline: April 15
The Intention Co. Scholarship Fund offers transgender scholarships to students who identify as Black women. The fund doesn’t consider age, GPA, and test scores.
The Proud Foundation offers over 60 financial programs to LGBTQ+ students in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, who don’t need to be US citizens. Interested students need to fill out only one application to be considered for all the funds, and they can receive multiple opportunities.
Amount: Varies (Up to $12,000 for a single scholarship award)
Deadline: January 8
The APIQWTC (Asian Pacific Islander Queer Women & Transgender Community) Scholarship is available to trans and queer Asian and Pacific Islander students looking to earn a certificate or college degree. They must demonstrate strong academic achievements and community involvement.
Deadline: February 14
This need-based scholarship is available to all transgender students pursuing a degree or certificate at an accredited college, university, or a vocational/technical program in Kent County, Michigan. The program doesn’t have GPA or age requirements.
Amount: Up to $2,500
Deadline: May 1
The Point Foundation awards this need-based, merit-based, and renewable scholarship to full-time LGBTQ students attending a four-year accredited US college. They must provide proof of community involvement. Students enrolled in post-doctoral research programs aren’t eligible to apply.
Amount: Varies (The average award is $10,000)
Deadline: January 27
The Pearl I. Young Scholarship from the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium offers transgender financial aid to students who identify as women or non-binary. They must be US citizens with a minimum 3.5 GPA and a STEM or STEM-related major. Ideal candidates are those involved in a NASA research project.
Amount: Up to $2,500
Deadline: February 15
The Gamma Mu Foundation awards one annual scholarship to a gay man under 35 and two annual scholarships to LGBT students. Both are need-based and aimed at US citizens, preferably in underserved or rural areas, who demonstrate strong leadership skills and academic excellence.
The Foundation doesn’t provide financial aid to online education degree programs.
Deadline: March 31
The need-based Live Out Loud Scholarship is open to three LGBTQ+ students from New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey who plan on attending an accredited US college, university, or technical/vocational program. They must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and be actively involved in the community.
Deadline: March 31
10 Useful Resources for Transgender Students
If you need additional information on various transgender financial aid opportunities, the requirements for applying for ones, options of trans-friendly colleges, transitioning to college, and more, these resources will come in handy:
- It Gets Better Project - A non-profit organization that connects and empowers LGBTQ+ young people worldwide through inspirational stories, live online events, and social media campaigns. It offers lots of educational resources to students as well.
- Campus Pride - A non-profit organization focused on building LGBTQ-friendly college awareness. It offers campus resources, programs, and services to US students, including a five-day Summer Leadership Camp.
- GLSEN - The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network provides research and policy resources for educators and LGBTQ students and free GSA and school resources.
- National Center for Transgender Equality - This non-profit organization advocates for policy changes and social justice and provides a wealth of information on transgender issues and rights. There are also self-help guides on obtaining health insurance, ID documents, and legal assistance.
- GLAAD Transgender Media Program - The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation uses this program to raise awareness of transgender issues and provides a wide range of resources for students and their allies.
- TRANSATHLETE - This website provides transgender students, coaches, athletes, and college administrations with college policies and documents on trans-inclusion in sports.
- PFLAG - This organization provides educational resources, peer support, and advocacy programs to parents, families, and allies of LGBTQ individuals. It promotes community engagement and shares relevant news and events.
- National Association of Colleges and Employers - This website provides a host of LGBTQ resources and career advice for helping transgender students prepare for the workplace.
- Transgender Employment Program - The San Francisco LGBT Center program provides transgender people with career coaching, mentoring, job search support, job referrals, workshops, networking, community events, legal services, healthcare resources, and more.
- Trans Student Educational Resources - This youth-led organization supports transgender students through workshops, school training seminars, conferences, and policy initiatives. It shares relevant news and information on scholarships.
Check out all the transgender financial aid opportunities above and choose the one that suits you most. Apply for as many as possible to offset your college costs, and find a trans-inclusive college that will make you feel right at home. Don’t forget to make the most of online and campus resources to ensure a smooth college transition and open the door to fantastic college experiences.