Writing scholarships provide free tuition money for talented wordsmiths entering college or graduate school. Scholarships for aspiring writers can sometimes be applied to any higher education degree. Other scholarships are reserved for English, journalism, writing, and related communications majors. In either case, scoring scholarships for writers will reduce the financial burden of post-secondary studies. Most scholarships for writing require putting pen to paper and crafting a cohesive, proofread essay. Scholarship writing competitions allow students to flex their writing muscles and tell riveting stories. Scholarship winners get the reward of big scholarship prizes and often publication. Write an application for the following great writing scholarships to earn the recognition and funding you deserve.
1. Bob Eddy Scholarship
The Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists Foundation Inc. awards the Bob Eddy Scholarship each Spring for $1,000 to $2,500. Four college juniors and seniors are selected based on their submission of an exceptional 500-word essay. Eligible applicants must be Connecticut residents or out-of-state residents attending Connecticut colleges for journalism degrees. By the April 1st deadline, students need to submit an online application, PDF portfolio, unofficial transcript, and their original essay. Writers should focus the essay on a current newsworthy event that affected their lives and drew them to journalism.
2. Horror Writers Association Scholarships
Since 2014, the Horror Writers Association has granted scholarships worth $500 to $2,500 each to professionally develop the next generation of horror writers. The writing scholarships have an annual application period of June 1st to August 1st. The Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship is reserved for female HWA members following in the Frankenstein author’s footsteps. The Rocky Wood Memorial Scholarship goes to writers working on dark nonprofit projects. The Dennis Etchison Young Writers Scholarship celebrates high schoolers in grades 10-12 who’ve written short horror stories over 1,000 words long.
3. AEL Collegiate Essay Contest Scholarship
At Pepperdine University, the Americanism Educational League sponsors an annual competition for three writing scholarships worth $1,000, $1,500, and $2,500. Entries must include at least 1,500 well-written words about how diversity enriches American society. Writers must be native or naturalized U.S. citizens who attend a regionally accredited undergraduate school. Judges are looking for original essays in MLA or Chicago style with properly cited sources. Contest applications are available on Google Drive until the June 30th deadline. Each emailed essay must be accompanied by a brief, 300-word writer biography.
4. BESLA Student Scholarship
The Black Entertainment & Sports Lawyers Association has bestowed more than $150,000 since 2000 for gifted writers entering the legal profession. Up to seven legal writing scholarships are available annually until October 14th. Applicants must be second- or third-year Juris Doctor students at accredited U.S. law schools. Preference is given for HBCU students at Florida A&M, Howard, North Carolina Central, and Texas Southern. Entrants must write a five-page, double-spaced legal memorandum or article. Submission topics center on the unique client needs of minority clients in entertainment and sports law.
5. Edward L. Stockton Jr. Graduate Scholarship
For $4,000, the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society gives the Edward L. Stockton Jr. Graduate Scholarship for writers entering master’s programs. Only pledged members with minimum 3.0 GPAs in English language and literature courses can apply. Entrants should plan to enroll full-time in graduate school for English or writing majors this Fall. Applications are due April 6th with an electronic college transcript and two recommendation letters. Sigma Tau Delta members also apply for the $3,000 Study Abroad Scholarship, $2,000 P.C. Somerville Award, and $3,000 E. Nelson James Scholarship.
6. Bill Walsh Scholarship
Founded in 1999, the American Copy Editors Society Education Fund presents the Bill Walsh Scholarship for $3,500 in memory of the late Washington Post copy editor. Junior, senior, and graduate students studying any major at accredited U.S. institutions can qualify. Interested writers must submit a resume, three references, and a 500-word essay. Entrants must also pass a copy editing test by rewriting an article sample and crafting creative nine-word headlines. Completed applications are emailed as Word or PDF documents by November 15th. Candidates are concurrently considered for the $2,500 Merv Aubespin Scholarship.
7. Ella T. Grasso Literary Scholarships
The UNICO National Foundation Inc. confers two Ella T. Grasso Literary Scholarships for $1,000 each to United States citizens with Italian ancestry. Italian-American applicants must provide proof of full-time enrollment in a campus-based university program. Entrants also need a cumulative GPA above 3.0 and sponsorship by active UNICO chapters in 13 states. Students are judged by the literary merit of their original, unpublished essays. Writing 1,500 to 2,000 words about unique Italian-American experiences by May 15th is required. There’s also the $2,500 Ralph Torraco Fine Arts Scholarship for creative writers.
8. John Lennon Scholarships
The Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) Foundation has partnered with Yoko Ono since 1997 to provide over $400,000 in the John Lennon Scholarship program. Each Spring, a panel of esteemed musicians and industry executives award three $20,000 scholarships for writers. Entrants must be current U.S. college students or recent graduates aged 17 to 24 with a gift for songwriting. Applications must include the lyrics and score for an original song that’s not controlled by a record label. Country, bluegrass, and folk songwriters can also submit another song for the $5,000 Nashville Songwriting Scholarship by January 1st.
9. Barbara Deming Memorial Fund
The Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, America’s oldest continuous feminist grantor, contributes $500 to $1,500 to cisgender and transgender woman writers. Empowered feminists living in the United States and Canada can apply from January 1st to January 31st. Unlike most writer scholarships, these grants aren’t used for college tuition. Instead, recipients fund writing projects that explore feminist issues and advocate for equality. Applications must include a 400-word project description, budget, and writer resume. Attaching 10-15 pages of sample fiction, nonfiction, or poetry works in PDF format is mandatory to assess writing skills.
10. GardenComm Academic Scholarships
Located in New York City, Garden Communicators International is a nonprofit writers organization started in 1948 that offers $1,000 GardenComm Academic Scholarships. These journalism scholarships uniquely focus on the horticulture and floriculture industry. Entrants must be pursuing bachelor’s or master’s degrees full-time at American colleges. Students in technical certificate and associate degree programs qualify for the $500 Kathleen Fisher Memorial Scholarship instead. Future garden communicators must excel in both journalism and plant science courses. Up to nine Academic Scholarship winners are selected after December 13th. The $1,000 NextGen Conference Scholarship runs until July 1st.
11. Aspiring Literary Scholar Award
Launched in 1991, the Go On Girl! Book Club has 300+ members engaging in over 30 chapters across 16 U.S. states to read books by Black Diaspora authors. GOG now offers a $1,000 Aspiring Literary Scholar Award for young African-American writers too. Applicants must be full-time undergrads at historically Black colleges with overall GPAs of 2.50 or higher. Interested U.S. citizens and legal residents must submit an original essay of 800 words by March 31st. Winning essays about the power of written literary works on the Black experience. get published in GOG’s Magajournal.
12. Penguin Random House Creative Writing Awards
Penguin Random House, a leading publishing conglomerate worth $3.7 billion, gives back by providing five $10,000 Creative Writing Awards annually. Scholarship America runs this program for high school seniors and full-time college undergrads under age 21 only. One scholarship for aspiring writers is guaranteed to New York City metropolitan residents. Entrants must upload a typed, double-spaced literary work of 4+ pages before April 15th. Apply early because only the first 900 pieces of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and spoken word will be read. Also, look into Penguin Random House’s $1,000 Signet Classics Student Scholarship.
13. Many Voices Fellowships
The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis has worked with the Jerome Foundation since 1994 to provide Many Voices Fellowships to minority and indigenous writers of color. Each fellow receives an $18,000 stipend for a 12-month Minnesota playwriting residency. Another $2,500 helps dramatists develop the original plays they’ve written and scored. Interested playwrights must apply via SlideRoom by December 5th. The Playwrights’ Center requests a theatrical production resume, a one-page personal statement, and two recommendation letters. Entrants are judged based on their submitted scripts of full-length plays over 60 minutes long.
14. Edward J. Nell Memorial Scholarships
Established in 1926, the Quill & Scroll International Honor Society currently has 510,214 high-achieving members at 11,463 chartered high schools who vie for journalism scholarships. The Edward J. Nell Memorial Scholarship is one such $1,500 prize open until May 10th annually. It’s intended for incoming, full-time U.S. freshmen choosing journalism or related communications majors. Students must carry a minimum “B” average and work for a school magazine or newspaper. Graduating high school seniors must submit a 500-word autobiographical essay, two official recommendations, and links to three online journalistic samples.
15. Carlozzi Family Scholarship
The New York Women in Communications (NYWICI) delivers the Carlozzi Family Scholarship for up to $10,000 each year to assist female students pursuing media writing careers. Only sophomores, juniors, and seniors attending accredited U.S. institutions full-time are considered. Priority is given to women from the Tri-State Area. Ladies need a minimum 3.20 GPA in English, communications, journalism, professional writing, and related majors. Applications must arrive by January 31st with two references, unofficial transcripts, and a writing portfolio. Aspiring writers also apply for the Espranza Scholarship, Hearst Scholarship, Ann Liguori Foundation Scholarship, Meredith Scholarship, and Interpublic Group Scholarship.
16. Frank R. Mundy Scholarship
The South Carolina Press Association has a $1,000 Frank R. Mundy Scholarship to honor the late president and Greenwood Index-Journal editor. Recipients get two $500 checks mailed to the bursar’s office each semester for tuition assistance. Mundy scholars must either legally reside in South Carolina or attend an accredited, four-year college within the state. Only rising juniors and seniors in journalism-related majors are qualified. Future beat reporters must exhibit exceptional writing ability for their school’s newspapers. Before the January 1st deadline, South Carolinians can apply for the eight-week SCPA Internship worth $3,200 too.
17. Pauline Frederick Robbins Scholarship
At American University, the School of Communication created the Pauline Frederick Robbins Scholarship in memory of the 1930 alumna and journalism pioneer who worked for NBC. This merit-based scholarship for aspiring writers has an April 15th deadline. Outstanding graduate-level female journalism majors receive varying amounts to pursue their radio or TV careers. Entering the MA in Journalism tracks requires a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 bachelor’s credits. Applicants submit a transcript, a $55 admission fee, a resume, a 500-word essay, and two recommendations. Similar AU funds include the Ed Bliss Scholarship, Robert Allen Bunnell Scholarship, and Horace Donald Crawford Award.
18. Grattan & Stephen T. Gray Scholarship
Started by David Hehl in 1978, the Community Foundation of Monroe County is a Michigan nonprofit that runs 120+ endowed scholarship funds. The Grattan & Stephen T. Gray Scholarship is one such opportunity supported by Monroe News. This $500 award goes to Monroe County high school seniors who are beginning full-time postsecondary education. Plans to enter the journalism field with related majors, such as digital media or publishing, are required. Michiganders can apply from December 2nd to February 21st regardless of GPA. First-time applicants create online accounts to submit transcripts and writing samples.
19. Patricia Cornwell Creative Writing Scholarship
Davidson College confers the Patricia Cornwell Creative Writing Scholarship, one of America’s largest writing scholarships, for $30,000 each Spring to nurture future best-sellers. Scholarship funding covers more than half of the current $55,000 Davidson tuition. First-year freshmen enrolling full-time with 15+ semester credits in any major are eligible. Applicants submit a portfolio with 10 pages of creative writing in diverse genres from romance to science fiction. Writing samples must be accompanied by a 500-word letter about the role of writing in one’s life. Deadlines are November 15th for Early Decision and January 6th for Regular Decision entrants.
20. Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference Scholarship
In 1999, the Freedom Forum Institute developed the Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference Scholarship in honor of the Cronkite Award-winning USA Today founder. This unique scholarship for aspiring writers offers $1,000 for college tuition plus free conference attendance. Recipients travel to Washington, DC in mid-June and write about their conference experience. To apply, high school juniors must be free spirits ready to pursue four-year journalism bachelor’s degrees. February 1st is the deadline for completing the 45-minute online application. Don’t forget the three journalistic work samples and two 500-word essays.
21. Lycoming Creative Writing Scholarships
Ranked the U.S. News & World Report’s 117th top liberal arts school, Lycoming College in Williamsport funds six $3,000 Creative Writing Scholarships to empower young writers. Qualified applicants will be enrolled full-time in the English Department for the Creative Writing (B.A.) Major. Admitted Lycoming students have a median 3.46 GPA and 1107 SAT score. The Arthur & Joanne Haberberger Scholarship provides even more money to the top contender. Interested Warriors must submit five poems or short stories before March 15th. Scholarships are renewable for undergrads who pass ENGL 240 and major courses with at least A- averages.
22. NABJ Scholarships
The National Association of Black Journalists distributes nearly $100,000 in scholarships each Spring to support ambitious writers of color. Nine named writing scholarships, such as the Les Payne Founders Scholarship and Acel Moore Scholarship, award up to $3,000 each. Applicants must be current NABJ student members who register full-time at accredited U.S. colleges. Majors in communications-related fields must have at least one full year remaining and 3.0 GPAs. Applications start with an 800-word cover letter describing one’s journalism experience and goals. Five work samples, three references, and a 2,000-word essay must arrive by December 31st too.
23. NYFWA Scholarships
Chaired by the Financial Times deputy editor, the New York Financial Writers’ Association has contributed journalism scholarships since 1976. Currently, the NYFWA funds five $5,000 scholarships each year for $25,000 in total. Example funds include the George Auerbach Scholarship, Norman Stabler Scholarship, and Clare Reckert Scholarship. Eligible recipients are bachelor’s and master’s journalism majors in the New York City metropolitan. Students must showcase exemplary skills for reporting on finance and business topics. The NYFWA judges seek a one-page career goals essay, current resume, and a portfolio of five financial articles by April 15th.
24. Harold K. Douthit Scholarship
Based in Columbus, the Ohio News Media Association grants the $1,000 Harold K. Douthit Scholarship for current in-state undergrads who seek newspaper industry jobs. It’s named for the Ohio legend who founded Douthit Communications Inc. in 1956 in Sandusky. Applicants must be at least sophomores with 2.5 or better GPAs in English, journalism, writing, marketing, and communications majors. Verified applications are due May 15th with a list of journalism activities, official transcript, 750-word essay, and references. There’s also the $1,250 ONMA University Scholarship, Minority Journalism Scholarship, and High School Scholarship available.
25. National Press Club Diversity Scholarship
Honoring the late Executive Director Julie Schoo, the National Press Club started the $2,000 Scholarship for Journalism Diversity in 2018 to encourage writers of various ethnicities. It’s open to minority U.S. high school seniors who are entering four-year journalism programs. If cumulative GPAs above 2.99 are maintained, the scholarships are renewed for $2,500 annually. Freshman winners receive the $500 Ellen Masin Persina Scholarship for textbooks as well. Future journalists must submit a triplicate application by March 1st with a transcript, FAFSA form, acceptance letter, 500-word essay, and recommendation. Five recent writing samples should be included on a USB drive.
26. Mike Reynolds Scholarship
The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Foundation runs the Mike Reynolds Scholarship each Fall to memorialize the former KCCI-TV editor who passed in 1988. Winners obtain $1,000 for college tuition and an Excellence in Journalism Conference ticket. Hopeful applicants must be full-time sophomores, juniors, or seniors in good academic standing at U.S. colleges. Recent recipients attended Emerson, Arizona State, Missouri, and Washington State. Active journalism majors must exhibit outstanding writing ability with three to five samples in English. Other application materials, such as the cover letter and resume, are also needed by January 31st.
27. Valley Press Club Scholarships
Incorporated in 1962, the Valley Press Club awards up to six $1,000 scholarships each year to assist aspiring writers in western Massachusetts. Among the named options are the Al Jaffe Scholarship, Rhonda Swan Memorial Scholarship, and Ed Malley Scholarship. High school seniors apply between January 15th and April 1st. Eligible applicants must reside in Hampden, Hampshire, Berkshire, or Franklin counties. Recipients need to enroll full-time in U.S. colleges for bachelor’s degrees with a journalism major or minor. The application checklist includes a transcript, SAT score, recommendation letter, financial budget, resume, and 300-word news story.
28. Dr. William C. Johnson Scholarship
Sigma Kappa Delta, America’s English honor society for two-year community colleges, gifts a $1,000 Dr. William C. Johnson Scholarship each Fall. Active pledges must be transferring to a four-year, senior college for an English or English education bachelor’s major. Sophomores need a minimum 3.0 GPA with no grades below “B” in 100- and 200-level English courses. Aspiring writers show off their talent by crafting a 600-word autobiographical essay by November 15th. Applications must include a cover sheet, official transcript, and two references. There are also four $750 Sigma Kappa Delta Service Scholarships offered.
29. Sacramento Press Club Scholarships
Since 1974, the Sacramento Press Club has bestowed over $400,000 in scholarships to 150+ postsecondary learners building their writing skills at four-year California colleges. Individual scholarships give juniors, seniors, and master’s students $4,000 to $8,000 apiece. The Earl Squire Behrens Scholarship and Jean Stephens Scholarship have the biggest payouts. Eligible entrants must live or study in the nine counties surrounding Sacramento from Placer to San Joaquin. To apply, students must create an online Google Drive folder. Upload a one-page cover letter, an up-to-date resume, an acceptance letter, and five writing samples by April 30th.
30. Richard G. Zimmerman Journalism Scholarship
The National Press Club provides the prestigious, one-time Richard G. Zimmerman Journalism Scholarship for $5,000 yearly to recognize upcoming reporters and writers. High school seniors of any ethnicity and gender can apply until the March 1st deadline. Qualified candidates must be accepted at regionally accredited U.S. colleges with a 3.0 or greater GPA. Declaring any journalism-related major from writing to photography is allowed. Entrants need to submit URLs or print clippings of three original news stories. Remember to attach triplicate copies with three recommendations, academic records, and a signed FAFSA application.
Scholarships for writers have a more time-consuming application process than other types of financial aid. However, enthusiastic writers with an existing portfolio of great works can easily apply to many scholarships. When applying for writer scholarships, remember to double-check for grammar and spelling mistakes. Perhaps have an English teacher or newspaper editor proofread the essays. Follow scholarship directions closely to submit the right documents in the correct format. Creative, organized writers with great attention to detail can win several scholarships. Snagging scholarships reduces the need for big loans in a time when student debt soars above $1.6 trillion. Express your unique perspective and journalistic talents by pursuing these 30 writing scholarships.
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