Scholarships for Muslim Women

A college education is more for important for Muslim women today than ever before. Employers who once required only a high school diploma now expect a college degree. Increasing numbers of graduates are competing for fewer jobs. Unfortunately, as the demand for higher education has grown the cost of getting that education has grown even faster.

The United States Department of Education (USDE) website states that enrollment in four-year public colleges grew from 12,804 students in 1980 to 20,428 students in 2009, an increase of 169 percent. Over the same time span, tuition in the same colleges grew from $2,373 to $12,804, an increase of 540 percent.

It is important to remember that these numbers only reflect tuition cost. Other expenses such as books, fees, laboratory expenses and room and board must be added to tuition to get the true cost of attending college. College has gotten so expensive that few people can pay for it without help.

Students often get help paying for college in the form of loans. Loans today are easy to get, but unfortunately they are not always as easy to pay back. In 2008, 38 percent of college students took out loans at an average amount of $7,100. Many students today graduate college with debt levels that will take years to repay.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to graduating college burdened with debt. Many students qualify for grants and scholarships. Unlike loans, grants and scholarships do not have to be paid back, but they are also more difficult to find and to obtain.

Often, students must apply and demonstrate that they have a need or meet particular requirements. Many are available only to students in certain fields of study or who meet other selective criteria. Some, however, are available to all students.

There are many sources of scholarships for Muslim men and women. There are Islamic Centers all across the country, many of which offer scholarships. Several private non-profit organizations award grants and scholarships each year. Many colleges and universities also have scholarship programs for Muslim students. The educational opportunities for Muslim women have never been greater.

Scholarships for Muslim Women

Women have in the past attended college in lower numbers than have men. Several organizations wish to help end this discrepancy while encouraging women to achieve college educations. Like general grants and scholarships, those for women only often are targeted at specific categories. There are scholarships for minority women, for women from various geographical regions, for single mothers, and for women who are returning to college, just to name a few. There is a good chance that any woman can find a scholarship for which she qualifies.

Just as there are scholarships for many other categories and groups of women, there are those which are intended for Muslim women.

Sisters in Solidarity to Educate Respond and Serve (S.I.S.T.E.R.S.)

This organization awards scholarships each year “in an effort to highlight the academic and civic achievements of young Muslim women in the DC Metropolitan area.” In 2012 three $1,000 scholarships will be awarded. One will be given to a senior in high school, one to a current undergraduate student, and one to a graduate student. The criteria which must be met are:

  • Muslim female
  • Accepted to or in college
  • GPA of at least 3.5
  • Be active in the community
  • Provide a transcript, an essay, and a recommendation

The Star and Crescent Society

The Star and Crescent Society is a group of Muslimahs based in North Carolina and exists for service and improvement of their community. One of the ways they accomplish this is through their Rising Star Scholarship. Applications must be submitted before April 1 each year, and scholarships are awarded in August. Eligibility requirements include:

  • Be a Muslim woman
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA
  • Be active in the community

The Muslims Women’s Association (MWA)

This Washington, DC-based association strives to share Muslim culture and history with others. They also support Muslim women in achieving education through scholarships. Information on how to contact the MWA can be found on their website.

Scholarships For All Women

The Jeannette Rankin Foundation

This foundation gives scholarships “to low-income women, ages 35 and older, who have a vision of how a college education will benefit themselves, their families, and their communities.” The organization’s website,, states that the foundation’s mission is to honor Jeanette Rankin, the first female member of Congress, by helping women gain college educations.

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE)

This society both provides scholarships and encourages companies to provide their own scholarships. Funds from this organization are limited to women who are attending accredited universities and are enrolled in computer or engineering programs. More information about these scholarships can be found at the company’s website, www.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW)

This association awards scholarships to women in a variety of fields and grade levels. Details about AAUW scholarships can be found on their website, on the page Branch and State Local Scholarships.

Scholarships For All Muslim Men and Women

Non-Profit Organizations

Islamic Scholarship Fund (ISF)

ISF is a charitable organization that promotes education and community involvement in young Muslims by providing financial support and facilitating internships in the community. ISF offers scholarships ranging from those open to all Muslim applicants to those attending specific universities and to those affiliated with certain Islamic Centers.

ISF scholarships give amounts from $1,000 to $10,000. All scholarships require meeting the following general criteria:

  • Enrolled in a U.S. four-year university
  • A Humanities, Law, Social Science or Liberal Arts major
  • Have GPA of at least 3.4
  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • A junior or senior undergraduate student or a graduate student

One of the goals of ISF is to promote and encourage community involvement. Toward this end, scholarship students may be required to engage in community activities in the form of community service or internships.

Students can apply for these scholarships online at the ISF website Scholarships page. Applications are accepted from January through March each year. Applications are reviewed over the next three months. In July, finalists are interviewed, and scholarship recipients are informed in August.

Scholarships Open to All Muslim Students

ISF offers the National Scholarship Program scholarship and the ISF Dollar-a-Day Scholarship, in partnership with the Dollar-a-Day Scholarship fund to all Muslim students who meet the general eligibility criteria.

Islamic Center Partnership Scholarships

Students who are members of or affiliated with the following Islamic Centers may apply for these scholarships:

  • The Islamic Center of Northern California
  • Muslim Community Association of the Bay Area
  • Yaseen Foundation Community
  • South Bay Islamic Association
  • Muslim Community Center of East Bay

Field-of-study Specific Scholarships

Students who have majors in the following areas may apply for these scholarship programs:

  • Aslan Media, for journalism and media students
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations, for law and public policy majors
  • Illume Magazine, for students studying journalism and media
  • Muslim Public Service Network, for public policy, law and media, and communications majors
  • Unity Production Foundation, for students of film and media

Scholarships Sponsored by the Muslim Students Association (MSA) and Alumni Associations

Scholarships are available to Muslim students who attend the specified universities or are members of the specified organizations:

  • University of California at Berkeley
  • Zaytuna College
  • MSA West
  • UCLA MSA Academic Mentorship Program

The Fadel Educational Foundation

The not-for-profit organization Fadel Educational Foundation awards up to $3,500 each year to selected Muslim students. Students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents to apply for these scholarships.

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)

The ISNA awards the $1,000 Dr. Abdulmunim A. Shakir Scholarship each year to 20 students who meet the following criteria:

  • A GPA of at least 3.0
  • Ready to enter the first year of college
  • There is no restriction on the student’s major
  • Two letters of recommendation

Applications for this scholarship are taken in January and February, and awards are given at the end of July.

Islamic Centers

United Muslim Foundation (UMF)

The motto of the United Muslim Foundation is “Promoting Unity, Education, and Charity.” This educational and charitable organization awarded three scholarships last year for $4,000 each. Applicants were members of the UMF, accumulated volunteer hours, demonstrated financial need, and had good GPAs.

Islamic Center of Minnesota (ICM)

The Islamic Center of Minnesota will award 12 scholarships for the 2011-2012 school year. The mission of the ICM scholarship program is to “encourage pursuit of higher education, recognize community service and reward academic excellence by members of our youth.” Students must demonstrate financial need, academic excellence, and community service.

Applications must be made before July 31. Information can be found on the ICM website.

Many Islamic Centers offer a limited number of scholarships to students who are members of the Center and active in their community. A short list of these includes:

Universities Offering Muslim Scholarships

American Islamic College

This private college in Chicago, Illinois offers 20 scholarships each year. Amounts vary from $400 to $3,000, and are available to students who have a financial need and maintain a 2.5 GPA. More information about the American Islamic College and its scholarships can be found at their website.

Zaytuna College

This Islamic college located in San Francisco is committed to providing the community with scholars and leaders who are grounded in Islamic scholarship and cultural traditions. The college offers scholarships in partnership with the ISF. More information is available at their website.

Grants and Scholarships For All Students

Pell Grant

The Pell Grant is available to any U.S. student that meets certain criteria. According to the USDE website, the Pell Grant program “provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain postbaccalaureate students to promote access to postsecondary education.” Only students who are below a specified income level are eligible for this grant.

Other Federal Grants

The website gives information on other grants that may be available from the U.S. government.

15 Responses to “Scholarships for Muslim Women”
  1. malaika

    its very good program,how can a women in pakistan can get this grant having masters degree?

  2. farha mirza

    Dear sir I m in very poor condition. i want ur scholarship for my further studies .

  3. hakeem

    Dear sir
    i have two daughters they find a financial help for continue their studies can you help for two mslim students need financial help for tution and school fees in a charity or donors. can you help them please i would be grateful to you. can you reply me i will send their details.

  4. meher

    respected sir,
    i am a poor woman with two school going daughters my husband runs a small business, i am a registered canditate for ph.d in hyderabad , i need some financial help to purchase few chemicals and start my work

  5. Roufaida Thabti

    Dear Sisters,

    I trust my Email finds you very well.
    I m writing you this Email hoping for helping answers.
    My Name is Roufaida Thabti I m 28 years old,my nationality is German and I have started to study islamic history and arabistic studies almost finished it but I had to interrupt it because I had a great opportunity of work in the middle east.

    I have a question if I want to continue my studies is there any possibility of finishing it with the help of your association?

    Please do let me know what chances I have and if you require any details.

    Best Regards,

    Roufaida Thabti

  6. mohd faizan

    sir my sister has passed intermediate with 85% and she wants to become a doctor please provide us scholarship i hope you will be pleased to me or my sister

  7. Hamida

    Asalam Aleikum,

    I am a Kenyan living in Kenya ( East Africa). I am currently pursuing a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in one of the

    universities here.

    Psychology is a new field here and I am lucky to be admitted in the 1st PsyD program in Kenya.The services of a clinical Psychologist are badly

    needed here because of the many traumas that people are going through.

    My dream is to get the right skills and knowledge to be of better service to my people.

    Unfortunately the fees is just so high,I wish I could get some financial aid.

    I do not need cash,I would like the fees to be paid directly to my university( United States International University- USIU Africa)which has WASC accreditation

    Is there a way that I can get any help as far as financial aid is concerned ?



  8. m khasimwa mulemi

    am a Muslim woman in Kenya in need of funding to complete my doctorate. please find me some help

  9. fati muniru

    am a science student who just completed senior high school with good grades I need help to furthur to the university to pursue medicine pls help me

  10. salma

    al salamu 3likom wa ra7mat Allah wa barakatoh I am salma from egypt I inshaaAllah I want to learn about cultures and languages and inshaaAllah improve my skills and inshaaAllah learn about leadership Could you inshaaAllah help me ?

  11. sulaimanou

    please i am a cameroonian and i come from a poor background.Please due to the financial situation of my family i can not sponsor my education i will be very grateful if my fellows muslim brothers can help me.please ny one who can help me should text me in my box

  12. muferiha

    Aselamu aleykum werahmetullahi weberekatuhu. i am from ethiopia and i have finished 3rd year electrical engineering at jimma university.i will insha allah graduate after 2 years. i really want to get scholarship to islamic university because here in ethiopia،it is hard to practice islam.

  13. shamilla

    Assalam Aleikum. am a Kenyan citizen i really have interest in learning. am 22 years old and i badly need to study but i don’t have funds. i will appreciate if u help me. looking forward for your response/. JazaKAllahu Khayr


    Iam a mba student. This is ma second year me need financial support to complte my studies.

  15. hassanat

    i am a registered nurse from Nigeria.i wish to do my midwifery abroad. please do you have any link to how i can get sponsorship? i cant bear the cost

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