American Atheist Scholarships

American Atheists Founders’ Scholarships - In honor of Irving Yablon, Dr. Phillip Butler, Rice O’Dell, and others, the American Atheists Center provides four Founders’ Scholarships for $500 apiece to agnostic students who display activism in their communities. Interested atheists must be attending U.S. colleges or vocational schools full-time this Fall, carry a minimum 2.5 GPA across all academic subjects, show dedication to the separation of religion and government, and present a well-written, 1,000-word essay detailing their motivations.

Antelope Valley Freethinkers Scholarship - Launched in 2016, the Antelope Valley Freethinkers Scholarship provides $1,000 for first, $500 for second, and $250 for third place winners of the essay competition. Accepted entrants must be college-bound high school seniors who live between the Tehachapi and San Gabriel Mountains in northern Los Angeles County. Californians must write 500 to 750 words describing how free thought based in science and reason could help resolve society’s pressing challenges.

Brian Bolton Graduate Scholarship Contest - Since 1979, the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) has offered four scholarships for atheists, including the Brian Bolton Graduate Scholarship Contest. Ranging from $400 to $3,000, this program grants prizes to agnostics above 22 years old who are attending accredited institutions or graduate schools for advancement. The essay requests 600 to 800 typed words answering this question: “Why are God and politics/government a dangerous mix?”

Byron Thayer Scholarship Award - The Philanthrofund Foundation in Minneapolis confers the Byron Thayer Scholarship Award for at least $2,500 to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer atheists or humanists who are enrolling full-time for post-secondary education. Eligible candidates living in the Upper Midwest from Wisconsin to the Dakotas must demonstrate a minimum 2.0 GPA, significant community service, and leadership skills. Don’t forget to attach a 300-word personal statement of your short- and long-term professional goals.

Chinn Scholarship for LGBT Atheist Activism - Another of the American Atheists Center’s funding opportunities is the Chinn Scholarship for LGBT Atheist Activism, which gifts $500 and a free one-year membership. Suitable applicants would be agnostics who have fought to end religious discrimination for sexual orientation, are matriculated full-time at accredited colleges worldwide, sustain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher, and enter an impressive 500-word essay about their activism. Being LGBT isn’t required; straight allies are also considered.

Clara Carlson Scholarship from Womanfest - The Clara Carlson Scholarship from Womanfest was established in 2009 to honor the 102-year-old Washington native and freethinker who relentlessly advocated for women’s rights. This $500 fund could help agnostic women with a passion for gender equality afford post-secondary courses at any accredited U.S. colleges or trade school. Recipients also participate in women-centered projects at the Annual Womanfest Fall Retreat at Camp David Jr. in September.

Cliff Richards Memorial Student Activist Award - Bequeathed in 2014, the Cliff Richards Memorial Student Activist Award grants $1,000 yearly to support the Freedom from Religion Foundation’s (FFRF) mission to protect the constitutional principle of separation of church and state. Qualified recipients will be atheist or agnostic high school seniors who are preparing for any post-secondary degree full-time while actively involved in community activism. Preference is given to female students of Native American or Alaskan Native heritage.

Everett Hill Memorial Scholarship Fund - Valued at $2,000, the Everett Hill Memorial Scholarship Fund is managed by Oregon’s Molalla High School in Clackamas County to honor the alumnus and freethinker who have creatively striven to improve the community. Agnostic or humanist seniors could apply if they’re accepted at accredited, four-year U.S. colleges, excelling academically with a 3.5 GPA or higher, recommended by two adults, and involved in community service.

First in the Family Humanist Scholarship - Black Skeptics Group Los Angeles started the First in the Family Humanist Scholarship for $1,000 to support atheist high school seniors of color in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Eligible first-generation, irreligious applicants must be admitted into two- or four-year U.S. colleges, participate in community-based organizations, and believe social justice is secular. Priority is given minorities who are undocumented, living in foster care, or homeless.

Gladys Carol Scholarship Program - Offering $5,000 over two years, the Gladys Carol Scholarship Program is an option for agnostic high school seniors or current undergraduates who are applying their freethinking thought to STEM majors, such as evolutionary biology, astrophysics, or civil engineering. Eligibility criteria requires studying full-time at accredited U.S. nonprofits, achieving a minimum 3.0 GPA, working or volunteering for 16+ hours weekly, and having unmet financial need on the FAFSA form.

Hispanic American Freethinkers Scholarships - The Hispanic American Freethinkers, Inc. bestows several $2,000 scholarships for atheists and agnostics annually to advance Latino culture through science and reason. It’s intended for first-generation, financially needy high school seniors of Hispanic heritage who are matriculating full-time in accredited bachelor’s programs for science, technology, engineering, or math disciplines. Applications are incomplete without an official transcript, faculty recommendation, and 500-word essay about the difference between what’s real and imaginary.

Humanists of Greater Portland Scholarship - Oregonians who uphold an agnostic or non-theistic philosophy could enter the Humanists of Greater Portland Scholarship contest to win up to $3,000 for college. Eligible entrants must be graduating from public or private high schools in-state, pursue higher education this Fall, attain a minimum “B” average, and display leadership capacity in community service. Judges review students’ 750-1,000 word essays about how a moral compass is developed without religion.

Humanists of Sarasota Bay Scholarship - The Humanists of Sarasota Bay fund a similar $1,000 scholarship for Florida high school seniors from Sarasota, Bradenton, Tampa, Fort Myers, Orlando, and the surrounding area who have an agnostic identity. Appropriate applicants will be entering full-time undergraduate study at accredited U.S. colleges, carrying a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better, participating actively in secular activism, and submitting a well-written essay titled “How Humanism Defines My Life.”

James Randi Educational Scholarships - Founded in 1996, the James Randi Educational Foundation honors the world-famous magician who won the American Humanists’ Lifetime Achievement Award for books like The Faith Healers. Scholarships are available for up to $5,000 for agnostic undergrad and graduate students who are applying rational skepticism in diverse fields, such as psychology, philosophy, science, or computer science. Applying will involve writing a two-page essay that inoculates that public against pseudoscience and superstition.

Jerry Carpenter Memorial Scholarship - Iowa Atheists & Freethinkers funds the Jerry Carpenter Memorial Scholarship for $1,000 each year to support high school seniors in the “Hawkeye State” who don’t believe in God. Qualified applicants must have lived in Iowa for 24+ months, identify as atheists, be entering college the upcoming year, show academic merit with a minimum overall GPA of 2.5, and demonstrate secular activism in their school communities. Board members, officers, and their immediate relatives aren’t eligible.

Kappa Omicron Nu Master’s Fellowships - Atheists and agnostics seeking scholarships could turn to Kappa Omicron Nu, the national honor society for the human sciences. Ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 each, the Master’s Fellowships help active members fund graduate tuition at accredited U.S. colleges with rigorous, research-based human science programs, including anthropology, sociology, and psychology. Applicants for programs like the Eileen C. Maddex Fellowship will require three recommendations, a transcript, and research proposal.

Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship - Although not reserved for atheists, the Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship from the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) could provide $1,700 for non-believers with an ideology rooted in science. Interested candidates must be following in the invertebrate zoologist’s footsteps by enrolling as full-time juniors, seniors, or graduate students for accredited degrees in biological sciences. Funding helps cover proposed research on species lacking a backbone at marine or terrestrial field stations.

Michael Hakeem Students of Color Scholarships - Atheists of African American, Hispanic, Asian, or American Indian heritage could obtain one of the 10 Michael Hakeem Students of Color Scholarships bestowed by the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) each year for $400 to $3,000. Eligible minorities must be actively participate in the freethought movement, enroll at accredited two- or four-year colleges, and submit an original 1,000-word personal essay reflecting on their irreligious reasoning.

NAP Scholarship for Our Secular Future - The National Atheist Party (NAP) presents the Scholarship for Our Secular Future annually for $1,000 to two outstanding high school seniors or current undergraduates who’re devoted to keeping government free of superstition and religious bias. To qualify, applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal residents, have less than 70 credits at accredited colleges, carry a minimum “B” average, perform charitable acts , and write a 500-word essay supporting secular activism.

Out to Innovate STEM Scholarships - Agnostic freethinkers could seek funding from the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP) through the $5,000 Out to Innovate STEM Scholarships. Religious preference isn’t considered, but atheists who identify as LGBTQ or straight allies, have completed two years of post-secondary education, declare scientific majors, take 12+ credits per term, and achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher would qualify.

Richard Dawkins Foundation Scholarship - Partnered with the Atheists Alliance of America, the Richard Dawkins Foundation started a $1,000 scholarship in 2006 to remove the stigma surrounding non-belief. The program helps outspoken atheists devoted to secular activism to afford rising tuition costs at accredited two- and four-year colleges globally. Entering the contest involves writing 500 to 1,000 words about the importance of protecting atheist civil liberties. Scholars also earn free AA membership and registration to the National Conference.

Secular Student Alliance Scholarships - Agnostic members of the Secular Student Alliance (SSA) could claim the four $2,500 and five $1,000 scholarships delivered yearly based on activism. One $1,000 award is specifically reserved for secularists attending historically black colleges. Eligible recipients must enroll full-time at United States universities, carry a minimum “B” average, organize large-scale projects that normalize secular identity, and write an essay on how their goals align with SSA’s mission.

Silverman Secular Humanist Scholarship - At the College of Charleston, the Department of Mathematics honored the Emeritus Professor’s contributions by presenting the Silverman Secular Humanist Scholarship for $1,500 per year. It’s designed for COFC undergraduates who self-identify as atheists or humanists, take 12+ credits per semester, possess a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater, and exhibit moral, ethical behavior not on the basis of religious systems. Applications must include tentative post-graduation plans, two recommendations, and three short answers.

The Secular Society Scholars Program - Celebrating its 175th anniversary, Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, offers The Secular Society Scholars Program to agnostic, first-year students who are entering their liberal arts education full-time next Fall. Recipients receive full-tuition coverage that’s valued at approximately $36,200. Freshmen are selected based on academic merit, SAT/ACT scores, enthusiasm for extracurricular activities, aptitude for creative work, and activism for secular values. Finalists must pass a weekend, face-to-face interview in mid-late February.

William J. Schulz Scholarship Essay Contest - High school seniors with agnostic beliefs could pursue the Freedom from Religion Foundation’s (FFRF) funding opportunities through the William J. Schulz Scholarship Essay Contest. This program gifts $400 to $3,000 to 16 college-bound seniors who are matriculating as incoming freshmen at accredited U.S. institutions full-time. Current recipients attend Duke, Oregon State, Pittsburgh, Dartmouth, and more. Judges seek a well-written, 750-word essay about the challenges of growing up a freethinker.

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