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17 College Scholarships for Jewish Students

What’s Covered:


As you search for scholarships to help fund your college education, investigate niche scholarships, including those for Jewish students listed below. 


Pay attention to eligibility requirements as the criteria vary widely – from financial need, athletic achievement, demonstrated leadership, descendant of a Jewish war veteran, child of a single-parent household, certain hometown residence, to attending specific college, …


Note that several of the Jewish organizations offering scholarships make them available to all students, regardless of race, religion, and gender if the students meet other criteria, such as geographic location. It makes sense to look at those, as well.


National Scholarships


Below you’ll find scholarships available to Jewish high school students who live anywhere in the US. 


1. Jewish War Veterans of the United States Youth Program


  • Amount: $1,250 – Clifford Lee Kristal Education Grant; $1,000 — Bernard Rotberg Memorial Grant
  • Eligibility: High school senior into an accredited college or university and is a descendant of a Jewish War Veteran.
  • Application Requirements: Application form, college acceptance letter, resume including extracurricular activities, school transcript, and standardized test scores. 


Both awards listed above are part of the Jewish War Veterans of the USA Foundation’s National Youth Achievement Programs that award more than $9,000 annually to help veterans and student descendants of veterans finance their college education. 


2. Jewish War Veterans of the United States – Edith, Louis, and Max S. Millen Memorial Athletic Grant


  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility: High school senior athlete accepted by an accredited college or university and is a descendant of a Jewish War Veteran,
  • Application Requirements: Application form and college acceptance letter.



The Millen Grant is part of the Jewish War Veterans of the USA Foundation’s National Youth Achievement Programs that award  more than $9,000 annually to help veterans and student descendants of veterans finance their college education. 


3. Hillel – Handeli First-Year Student Scholarship


  • Amount: $4,000
  • Eligibility: Awarded to two high school seniors or gap year students accepted into an accredited college or university in the United States or Canada. 
  • Application Requirements: Application form, two references, and three 300-500 word essays.


Hillel’s mission is to enrich the lives of Jewish students so they may enrich the Jewish people and the world. As such, the merit-based Handeli scholarship from Hillel International rewards students who demonstrate a record of leadership and/or volunteer service in any aspect of their local community, and also self-identify as Jewish.


4. Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award


  • Amount: $36,000 (up to 15 students)
  • Eligibility: Students ages 13-19
  • Application Requirements: Extensive application form with short essays and three references.


Funded by the Diller Family Foundation, The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards recognize Jewish teens in the United States who have demonstrated remarkable leadership and impact through projects that embody the values of tikkun olam, “repairing the world.” The award recipients may use their award money towards education or further philanthropic efforts.


5. Morris J. and Betty Kaplun Foundation Essay Contest


  • Amount: $1,800 – first prize, $500 – for five winners
  • Eligibility: Students in grades 10, 11, or 12 anywhere in the world, any religion
  • Application Requirements: Specified essay of no more than 10,000 characters, approximately 1,500 words. 


The Kapluns were refugees from Nazi persecution and dedicated their lives to philanthropy. The goal of their foundation’s essay contest is to encourage students to think about their heritage, reflect on values, and better understand Judaism’s contribution to civilization and culture. The foundation believes strongly in the value of the writing process as a way for young people to explore challenging ethical topics. 


Geographic-specific Scholarships


Many other scholarships are for residents of a certain geography—a state or even smaller region.  Here are a few of the hundreds available.  


6. Arlene Shea Stein College Scholarship Fund


  • Amount:  $10,000/year, renewable up to four years 
  • Eligibility: Need-based scholarship for Jewish students from the Hampton Roads area of VA (Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Isle of Wight County, Hampton, Newport News, the Peninsula) with a minimum GPA of 3.0 entering a degree-granting college within the US that participates in the Federal Student Aid Program (Title IV). Student must demonstrate concern for school and both the Jewish and general communities through extracurricular activities and volunteer service.
  • Application Requirements: Application form, two letters of recommendation, transcript, college acceptance letter, and FAFSA Student Aid Report.


While the altruistic Arlene Shea Stein was not able to complete college due to financial hardship, she possessed a deep love for learning. Her children and grandchildren set up a fund in her name to honor her belief that higher education should be accessible to all.


7. San Francisco Jewish Community Federation & Endowment Fund – 12 different funds


  • Amount: $1,000 – $20,000
  • Eligibility: Most of the 12 different scholarships are for Jewish high school seniors or graduates from the San Francisco Bay Area (the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano, Marin, Napa, and Sonoma) attending an undergraduate program full-time. The scholarships are based on a combination of need and merit. 
  • Application Requirements: Varied. Applicants may apply for more than one with a single application.


The Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund is a conduit for students seeking financial aid to attend undergraduate or graduate programs at accredited non-profit colleges or universities. Completing one application will grant students consideration for up to 12 different scholarships. Many scholarships are renewable, providing consistent support necessary for a student to succeed in college.


8. The Jewish Federation of Omaha


  • Amount: $10,000
  • Eligibility: High school seniors from the Omaha metropolitan area. Two available scholarships are need-based. Another is for character, scholastic performance, achievement, and service. 
  • Application Requirements: For both the need-based Bruce M. Fellman Charitable Foundation Trust and the Robert H. and Dorothy G. Kooper Charitable Foundation Trust: extensive application, first two pages of the applicable US Individual Tax Return, academic transcript, two recommendation letters.  For the Phil and Ruth Sokolof Honor Roll Merit Scholarship: extensive application form, four 150 word limit essays, academic transcript, SAT/ACT scores, three recommendations.


The Federation of Omaha offers scholarships for camps, Israel trips, and higher education. The family of Bruce M. Fellman established a scholarship fund in his memory. The Kooper fund was created to honor the memories of Robert and Dorothy Kooper and their many years of service to the Omaha Jewish community. 


9. Springfield Council of Jewish Women Scholarship/Jewish Endowment Foundation


  • Amount: Up to $51,300
  • Eligibility:  Resident of Springfield, East Longmeadow, Wilbraham, Hampden, Agawam, or West Springfield, based on academic performance, financial need, and community involvement.
  • Application Requirements: TBD


The Jewish Endowment Foundation’s mission  is to solicit, administer, and invest gifts from donors in order to build a strong endowment which will ensure that the Jewish community of Western Massachusetts will have funds for present and future needs and to help serve the needs of world Jewry and the general community of Western Massachusetts.


10. Hecht Family Memorial College Scholarship Fund


  • Amount: $5,000
  • Eligibility: Resident of Milwaukee metropolitan area, based on financial need, academic performance, work history, and community service. Accepted into accredited college full-time. Priority given to applicants attending college in Wisconsin.
  • Application Requirements: Application with 700-word essay, letter of recommendation, academic transcript, Tax Return, and W-2. 


The Hecht Family Scholarship was established by Harry Hecht, a young Polish immigrant who journeyed alone to the United States in 1928 and depended on the kindness of the Jewish community to get by.  After becoming a successful businessman, he established a fund to pay the generosity he received forward.


11. Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland


  • Amount: Varies
  • Eligibility: Jewish student from Greater Cleveland area with family income <$150,000 attending an accredited college or university full-time.  Some require a certain GPA.
  • Application Requirements: Varies


Several funds including the Jack W. and Shirley Berger Memorial Scholarship, the Jaffe Family Community Service Scholarship, and Raskind Family Scholarship. One of the priorities of the Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland is to empower students to achieve their educational goals and dreams. As such, they offer several scholarships for rising college students. In addition to the scholarships listed above, there are others for engineering/business/science majors, female STEM majors, and first-generation Americans.


12. JSSA Educational Scholarship


  • Amount: $2,000 – $6,000
  • Eligibility: High school senior from a Montgomery County public high school, US. Citizen or working toward citizenship, accepted into an accredited four-year undergraduate program, vocational school, or community college.
  • Application Requirements: TBD 


This 120-year-old social service agency’s mission is to empower individuals and families to achieve wellbeing across the lifespan. In addition to the fund above, JSSA offers the Gibson Memorial Scholarship  for students from the DC/MD/VA area who have completed significant volunteer services within the local Jewish community and the Max and Emmy Dreyfus Jewish Scholarship for a first-generation college student.


13. CT: Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven


  • Amount: $1,000 – $2,500
  • Eligibility:  High school seniors accepted into an accredited college, financial need for the Drell and Podoloff scholarships.  
  • Application Requirements: Varies. Friedler requires an essay. All require an application, high school transcript, and college acceptance letter.


The Emma Kohn Podoloff Scholarship Fund of the National Council of Jewish Women, Mary Taylor Friedler Memorial Scholarship for High School Seniors, Stuart J. Drell Scholarship.


The Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven is committed to taking care of the needs of Jewish people in Greater New Haven, including college-bound students. While the Drell and Podoloff Scholarship funds are needs-based, the Taylor scholarship requires applicants to write an essay concerning what peace, justice and righteousness mean to them and their Judaism.


School-specific Scholarships


Once you’ve selected a college, check out if there are scholarships for Jewish students offered for that institution. You may be surprised to hear that not only are there scholarships for Jewish students at secular schools, but also at non-secular schools with small Jewish populations.  Some scholarships require students to pursue specific majors, such as Judaic Studies.


14. Texas Christian University (TCU): Bermont Family Undergraduate Jewish Student Scholarship


Amount: Varies

Eligibility: Full-time TCU student and financial need.

Application Requirements: Brief application and FAFSA filing.


Provided by a 1967 TCU graduate to encourage religious diversity on campus and to support students who will become an active part of religious life at TCU.  Preference given to Jewish students with demonstrated financial need.


15. Trinity College (Hartford, CT):  Hillel Leadership Scholars


Amount: $20,000 (renewable for up to four years)

Eligibility: Academic performance and demonstrated commitment to Jewish community and intent to continue at Trinity.

Application Requirements:  TBD


The Hillel Leadership Scholar will join a growing cohort of motivated students who participate and lead their peers at Trinity College Hillel in areas of Jewish life of their choosing, including (but not limited to) cultural, educational, volunteer, social, and religious programming.


16. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Bernard Heerey Family Foundation Scholarship


Amount: $2,000 (for 32 students)

Eligibility: Commit to regular participation in Jewish prayer services and learning opportunities on campus.

Application Requirements: Application and 100 – 300-word essay.



The Heerey scholarship is aimed at enhancing Jewish learning and ritual at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Recipients must commit to participating in Jewish learning and prayer services on a daily basis.


17. Portland State University: Harold Schnitzer Family Scholarship


Amount: $20,000 over four years

Eligibility: Pursue BA in Judaic Studies, 3.0 GPA, and engaged in community service.

Application Requirements: Application, high school transcript, two letters of recommendation, and 500-word essay.


This scholarship awards Judaic Studies majors up to $7,000 per year throughout the entire undergraduate career at PSU (up to four years). Made possible by a $500,000 grant through the Harold & Arlene Schnitzer Family Fund of the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation, the scholarship covers more than half the cost of tuition and fees at Portland State for nearly twenty students over the next five years. 


Further Opportunities


Be sure to look beyond this list to find additional scholarships opportunities. A great place to start is Hillel International’s extensive list of more than 600 scholarships.  It is also a good idea to check the Jewish Federation in your area as many sponsor scholarships.


In the spirit of “chai “ or 18, good luck with your search!

Short Bio
Elizabeth graduated from Brown University with a degree in American Studies and has used the analytic and writing skills she developed in college in various marketing management positions, freelance writing gigs, and as an author of children's books and magazine articles. She has written for a range of clients serving college-age students, including several universities and publications. And she has supported a son and a daughter through the college and graduate school application and selection process.