The Best Psychology Scholarships in 2021 - Best Value Schools

The Best Psychology Scholarships in 2021

February 16, 2021 | Staff Writers

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Some of the most common questions people ask themselves are: who are we and why are we here? While it could be argued that the answer to this question is almost always subjective and therefore different for every single one of us, what isn’t in contention is the fact that the human mind is a vast space that we are yet to fully explore. 

Human beings are quite interesting, and scientific disciplines such as psychology look to explore the human mind, emotions, and thought processes. That’s probably one of the main reasons why it’s such a popular field. 

According to the APA (American Psychological Association), more than 1.2 million students take up an introductory psychology class each year. Many of these students go on to become psychology majors and practice in the field. 

Psychology isn’t one of those restrictive disciplines where you have to do exactly what you studied as a career choice. 

Psychology majors can do various jobs ranging from clinical psychology, counseling psychology, sales, psychiatry, graduate school work, and even human resources. The options are incredibly vast and varied. 

In fact, the knowledge and insight you gain into the human mind as a graduate psychology student can easily translate into pretty much any field that involves interpersonal interaction and critical thinking. It’s easy to see why taking a psychology degree would be worth your while and money. 

Just like most sought after degree programs, however, studying psychology isn’t necessarily cheap. This, of course, depends on the institution you choose to attend and the scholarship program you find. There are so many online college options that are far much cheaper than your typical in-person universities. 

That being said, there are many different ways to pay for your psychology degree, and a psychology college scholarship is one of the best ones. 

Advantages of Psychology Scholarships

You’ve no doubt heard of students saying that they “got a full ride” at some university or some others may have academic or sports scholarship opportunities. There are many different types of scholarships, and the type you get will determine just how much financial aid towards your tuition and schooling you get. 

However, before we go into how scholarships work and how to go about getting one, let’s take a quick look at the benefits of actually getting one:

Scholarships Help Lessen Your Tuition Burden

This is one of the biggest advantages of getting a psychology scholarship – your tuition costs won’t be as high as they typically would be. In some cases, you won’t have to worry about tuition costs, as the scholarship may cover it fully. This is definitely a scholarship tip you want to keep in mind. 

The beauty of it all is that academic or even scholarships are available to students of all income levels, provided they have merit. 

A Scholarship Will Give You Breathing Room to Focus on Your Studies

Research shows that about 81% of part-time students and 43% of full-time students work their way through college. The number of hours spent working can easily become an impediment to the student’s academic prowess. 

Unfortunately, most graduate students don’t have much of a choice; they have to work to either pay for tuition, accommodation or help make ends meet for their families as they study for their degree. 

Having a scholarship that takes care of the tuition costs and maybe even pays for part of their living costs would be a huge relief. They could spend less time working and trying to make ends meet and focus more on their studies instead. 

Scholarship Can Add to Federal or Financial Aid

To help low-income students attain quality education, state policies have inadvertently left high-income yet high-achieving students behind. This is mostly because financial aid tends to focus on low-income, high-achieving students. 

Universities and other higher learning institutions have identified this gap and filed it with a wide variety of scholarships that don’t favor one type of student or the other. Provided the student has merit; it doesn’t matter whether they come from a high-income family or a low-income community. This has made it possible for many high-income, high-achieving students to remain in-state. 

Scholarships Help Fill in the Gaps

This ties into the previous point – most scholarships either focus on low-income students (need-based scholarships) or students who achieve academic or sports excellence. What about the ones that fall in between? 

Students who are good but aren’t brilliant enough to get an academic scholarship and students who aren’t from a well-off family but not poor enough to qualify for need-based assistance. The right kind of psychology scholarship can help bridge that gap and give these students the financial assistance they need to get their graduate degrees. 

Scholarships Instill Philanthropy

Even though it’s not an exact science, the hope is that the students who receive scholarships may grow to be philanthropic themselves to “give back.” 

The advantages of psychology scholarships are many. To the right psychology student, these grants could help them achieve their dream of becoming a psychology major without working their way through college. 

How Does a Scholarship Work?

The first thing you need to know is that there are many different types of scholarships, and they all tend to work in their own unique way. However, there is a general pattern which most scholarships follow, and that is what we are going to explore. 

In many cases, you will find that the scholarship you get is a one-time check that either comes to you or the school directly. Other school scholarships are renewable; they provide the student with money every school year or every semester. 

At this point, you might be wondering what makes a scholarship any different from a student loan? The biggest difference is that while you have to repay a student loan, scholarships are awards and don’t have to be repaid. 

If the kind of scholarship you get is sent directly to the school, you will have to pay the school any additional monies that might make up the deficit if the scholarship funds don’t cover everything. 

You will find that scholarships cover tuition costs, and you might have to cover room and board. That is why you hear of some scholarship students getting part-time jobs to cover their room and board at the school despite having what might seem like a lucrative scholarship. 

However, if the student gets a scholarship and other forms of financial aids that are more than enough to cover both tuition costs and room and board, the excess funds are refunded to the student. 

How is Scholarship Money Spent?

This depends on the kind of scholarship you win. If it’s a private scholarship where the check is in your name or the money is wired directly to your account, you can spend it on pretty much anything. 

However, it is advisable to spend it on tuitions, room and board, and any other school-related needs. In fact, your school will expect you to disclose any private scholarships that you win. This information is tabulated on your financial aid award letter. 

It is advisable to call your school and ask them how any private scholarship program you win will affect any potential financial aid you might get. Ask whether having a private scholarship reduces or eliminates your chances of getting financial aid, and then weigh the potentially available funds through financial aid against the private scholarship to see which one makes more financial sense. 

Apart from tuition, room, and board, it’s advisable to spend your scholarship money on school-related expenses such as books, computers, and even food. You also need to find out how the scholarship money you win is distributed. 

Depending on the particular scholarship, you will find that the money can either be given to you as a big chunk at the beginning of the year; in some cases, it’s sent to you at the beginning of each semester, and sometimes, it’s divided into installments whereby some installments can be sent to you even in the middle of the semester. 

Are Scholarships Conditional?

This depends on the kind of scholarship you get. Most school-based scholarships are conditional. Since they are mostly academic, you would have to maintain a certain GPA to keep getting the grants. In many cases, you will get the scholarship is divided instead of coming to you as a lump sum. 

For example, if you get a $6,000 renewable scholarship, you will most likely get $3,000 towards your tuition and other applied costs every semester. Also, depending on how strict the terms of the scholarship, if you go below the specified GPA, you might very well get disqualified from further grants. 

What Happens to Leftover Scholarship Money?

Some students are lucky enough to get scholarships, grants, and financial aid, which amounts to much more than they actually need each semester. The excess money is often refunded to the student. 

However, you shouldn’t go on a spending spree just yet. In some cases, you will be required to pay taxes on this money. It’s advisable to contact the financial aid of your specific college and have them calculate the taxable bit of your scholarship money for you before you go spending it all. 

Are Grants Distributed Similarly to Scholarships?

Typically, a grant is associated with free money that you get from the government. Most grants are designed to be distributed based on financial need and are paid directly into your account at the school. That being said, other grants such as state grants or school issued grants are conditioned upon you maintaining a certain GPA or some other specific condition. 

You need to pay close attention to these conditions and the amount of money you get via these grants. This is to make sure that you remain eligible and to understand whether the stated amount is for the entire year, just the semester, or the entirety of your college studies. 

Who Gets Scholarships?

It’s easy to assume that only high performing students with a 4.0 GPA get scholarships. While this is often true with most academic scholarships, it’s important to realize that there are many different types of scholarships, and they all have their own criteria. 

For example, some scholarships are awarded based on financial need, others are organizational scholarships and awarded only to members of said organization. Others, such as psychology scholarships, are awarded to students based on their specific field of study, and many other scholarship opportunities are awarded based on guidelines formulated by the group or entity awarding the scholarship, including extracurricular activities, academic achievement and whether or not they are in good academic standing. 

That being said, academic scholarships tend to be the most prevalent and easiest to get for students who excel in their studies. There are even scholarships designed for excellent students who live in certain states or even in certain towns. 

Where Does the Money Come from?

Again, this depends on the kind of scholarship fund you win. For the most part, the money for many scholarships come from a wide variety of sources such as:

  • Clubs
  • Corporate organizations
  • Philanthropic individuals
  • Foundations
  • Colleges
  • Universities
  • Towns
  • States
  • The government
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Churches

There are very many different sources for a scholarship fund, and the money source often determines the terms and conditions that govern the scholarships. There are even scholarships reserved for children of different races or nationalities. 

Psychology Scholarships to Consider

As mentioned, some scholarships are designed for students who are interested in a specific academic field. Psychology is one of the most popular and most important scientific fields known to man. 

It stands to reason that there would be many different scholarships for students interested in studying psychology. 

Here is a list of some of the most prestigious psychology scholarships available to you as a psychology undergraduate student: 

Bill Bendiner and Doug Morgenson Scholarship

The Bill Bendiner and Doug Morgenson Scholarship was created in 2001 by Doug Morgenson and is awarded by the Pride Foundation. There is only one award offered annually for this psychology program, and it’s available for U.S citizen students looking to pursue a career in health sciences, human services, or visual arts. 

You must have lived in Oregon, Montana, Alaska, Idaho, or Washington state for at least a year to be eligible. Apart from that, preference is given to members of LGBT families, self-identified LGBT students, and people who have been supportive of the LGBT community.

Application Requirements

Like every scholarship, there are scholarship application requirements, and for the Bill Bendiner and Doug Morgenson Scholarship, that entails:

  • A duly filled application form
  • A scholarship essay
  • A recommendation letter
  • An interview for finalists only 
  • Artwork samples (optional)

While the Pride Foundation offers a wide variety of scholarships and encourages all types of students to participate, their scholarships are often available for students who are part of the LGBTQ community and those who support the community. 

The idea behind these scholarships is to help these students attain their academic dreams and promote diversity and leadership within the LGBTQ community. 

Award Amount

The monetary award amount tends to vary depending on the specific scholarship and is solely determined by the Pride Foundation. The total amount awarded for this particular scholarship is $12,000. Others start at $500, but $12,000 is the highest possible amount awarded in a Pride Foundation scholarship. 

Don Renschler Scholarship

This is yet another scholarship awarded by the Pride Foundation. The Don Renschler Scholarship is only available for American students enrolled in a graduate program geared towards studying mental health. 

The students have to be Washington state residents and preferably members of the LGBTQ community or a supporter of the LGBTQ community. 

Scholarship Application Requirements

The application requirements for the Don Renschler Scholarship include:

  • A duly filled application form
  • A scholarship essay
  • Two recommendation letters 
  • An interview for finalists only 
  • Artwork samples (optional)

Since this is a scholarship from the Pride Foundation, there are many other options quite like it. However, these scholarships tend to help scholars that belong to the LGBTQ community or are supporters of the course. 

Award Amount

The award amount for the Don Renschler Scholarship is $12,000, which is the highest possible amount for any Pride Foundation scholarship. 

HCF Community Scholarship Fund

Given by the Hawaii Community Foundation, the HCF Community Scholarship Fund is available for Hawaiian students who achieve an average 3.0 GPA. 

Scholarship Application Requirements

  • FAFSA
  • A duly filled application form
  • Official transcripts
  • A personal statement

To qualify for this award, applicants must demonstrate certain characteristics such as good moral character, financial need, personal accomplishments, self-motivation, vision, the potential to fill a specific community need, vision, initiative, and the deliberate intention of staying in or returning to stay in Hawaii. There is a special committee that meets before the recipients of this grant are notified any time between the months of May and August. 

Award Amount

The thing about this scholarship is that it goes to many students in any given year. Each student gets about $1,508 annually. Unfortunately, this scholarship isn’t renewable. Students have to re-apply each year. In totality, the scholarship awards about $91,988. 

Lullelia W. Harrison Scholarship in Counseling

Provided by the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority National Education Foundation, the Lullelia W. Harrison Scholarship in Counseling is available to students, both U.S citizens and an international student, enrolled in a full-time degree program in counseling. 

Scholarship Application Requirements

  • A duly filled application form
  • Three recommendation letters
  • A scholarship essay
  • Official transcripts

The provider of this scholarship, The National Educational Foundation of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., is an exclusively charitable organization created for educational purposes. The principal focus of the trust is to find worthy students and to grant them scholarships. 

The trust also focuses on conducting community education programs designed to help improve the vocational, educational, and living standards of the immediate community. They are also engaged in a lot of activities that help in the educational development of women. 

Amount Awarded

The amount awarded for this scholarship for a US student or international student varies from $500 to $1,000 annually and is non-renewable. 

Washington American Indian Endowed Scholarship

The Washington Student Achievement Council awarded the Washington American Indian Endowed Scholarship offers about 15 awards annually. It’s available to students who have close societal and cultural ties to the American Indian community in Washington state. 

The student also needs to be an undergraduate or a graduate student who is either attending or planning to attend higher learning institutions in Washington. 

Scholarship Application Requirements

  • Transcript
  • A duly filled application form
  • Three recommendation letters 
  • FAFSA
  • Two personal statements 

The Washington American Indian Endowed Scholarship is a program administered by the state of Washington through the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board. The program was established specifically to cater to excellent yet financially needy students who have close ties to the Native American community within the state. 

It’s designed to encourage these students to pursue graduate and undergraduate studies. Like many financial aid programs, this award is purely based on the specific student’s financial need in question. 

That being said, the recipients are selected on much more than just financial neediness. They need to be excellent students who have shown the initiative and desire to serve the American Indian community within the state. 

The recipients must also be willing to use their education to benefit their community (American Indian). There is yet another peculiar requirement: the recipient must NOT be studying a degree in theology. 

Amount Awarded

The award amount from this scholarship provider varies from $500 to about $2,000 and is non-renewable. That being said, recipients can be awarded an accumulative scholarship of up to five years of financial aid through this particular program. 

Despite that fact, the recipients must re-apply for the scholarship opportunity each year. However, this scholarship application doesn’t guarantee that a previous recipient is going to be an automatic recipient each year. The final decision is decided on merit and at the discretion of the scholarship committee. 

There are hundreds of scholarships geared specifically towards psychology department students. Apart from the ones mentioned above, here are a few that are worth your consideration:

Scholarships from the American Psychological Foundation

This foundation sponsors quite a number of fellowships, scholarships, grants, and dissertation awards for students who want to do research, travel, and further their education in the field of psychology. The amounts range from $300 to well over $25,000. 

State Psychological Organizations

Even though you would have to follow up with your state’s psychological organizations, the process should be as simple as looking the information up online. You will be surprised at how many state psychological organizations offer a wide variety of scholarships for students interested in furthering their psychology education. The amounts awarded vary wildly depending on the state and the organizations themselves.

The Federal Government

By far one of the biggest financers for scholarships in the country, the Federal Government has a host of programs available for brilliant yet needy students who show merit and deserve to get the assistance they need. 

One of the best options available for psychology majors is from the National Science Foundation who assists doctoral degree students or master’s degree students. The amounts awarded vary and could be anywhere from a $2,500 monthly stipend to well over $10,500 a year. 

You could also find scholarships from the Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, or find tax credits and tax deductions that could help lessen the financial burden that tuition fees from your psychology degree may bring. 

What many students don’t realize is that they might very well be eligible for the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which they can claim for payments such as tuition as well as an assortment of other school-related expenses for the first four years of their post-secondary education. 

The other place you should conduct a scholarship search is at the specific school you intend to attend to complete your undergraduate degree classes in the psychology department. Many educational institutions, especially the regionally accredited ones that get grants and legacy funds from their alumni, tend to have a long list of scholarships available to current students in good academic standing. All you have to do is ask the financial aid office for all the opportunities available to you as a psychology student. 

To qualify for and increase your chances of getting a grant or scholarship, you need to carefully read the terms and conditions. As helpful as some scholarships might seem, they may very well come with extremely stringent terms and conditions that not only make it difficult to maintain your eligibility but might also interfere with other potential financial aid packages you might get. 

Be sure to learn everything you can about the psychology scholarship you want and find the best ways to remain eligible and qualify each year if it’s the kind of award that you need to re-apply for every single year.  Also be aware of what you are applying for to avoid a scholarship scam. 

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