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10 College Scholarships for Muslim Students

What’s Covered:

 

Scholarships have become a key factor in the way many students control the cost of college. One step students can take to improve their odds of winning a scholarship is to look for ones that narrow the pool of applicants by making a particular characteristic a requirement for eligibility—like being Muslim. While Muslims are on pace to become the second-largest religious group in the U.S., they represent only a little over 15% of the population, which narrows the field of applicants considerably.  

 

Do Muslim Scholarships Exist?

 

Not only do Muslim scholarships exist, but they’re also plentiful. You’ll find Muslim scholarships offered by a variety of groups—from large national organizations to smaller regional ones. Even colleges and universities themselves offer scholarships specifically for Muslim students. 

 

As with the differences between the providers of scholarships, there are numerous reasons for their existence. Some scholarships honor the work of leading Muslim figures while the intention of others is to promote a particular characteristic or quality—for example, advocacy. For other groups, a scholarship is a way to support the advancement of educated future leaders in their organization. 

 

Typical Requirements for Muslim Scholarships

 

Every scholarship has its own unique requirements for eligibility. That said, there are some common characteristics that Muslim scholarships are looking for in award recipients. Being a practicing Muslim and being active in the Muslim community are common traits among scholarship requirements. It’s also typical for Muslim scholarships to require applicants to meet an academic standard. In general, the better your GPA, the better your odds of winning a scholarship—particularly if it’s merit-based. 

 

College Scholarships for Muslim Students

 

1. AMANA Mutual Funds Scholarship

 

Amount: $2,500 

Deadline: N/A

Eligibility: Muslim undergraduate with demonstrated financial need majoring in Finance, Economics, or Mathematics

Application Requirements: Minimum GPA of 3.5, transcript, two letters of recommendation, and an essay

 

This scholarship provided by the Islamic Society of North America is sponsored by AMANA Mutual Funds, a mutual fund company that invests following Islamic principles—it avoids interest and investment in certain types of business. Applicants are asked to compose an essay about how they align their actions with their principles in day-to-day life. Recipients are chosen on three criteria: academic achievement, volunteer service, and financial need.

 

2. Muslim Youth Leadership Awards (MYLA) General Scholarships 

 

Amount: Varies 

Deadline: March 31

Eligibility: Full-time students enrolled in a degree-granting program in Minnesota with demonstrated financial need, minimum 2.5 GPA, and a history of community service or activism 

Application Requirements: Completed essays and two letters of recommendation 

 

Established in 2003, the Muslim Youth Leadership Awards has distributed almost a half-million dollars in scholarships. The ethos of the MYLA Scholarship is to “identify, develop, connect leaders by investing in their futures,” and along those lines, it encourages the leaders of tomorrow by incentivizing them to excel academically and pursue community service. Finalists for this scholarship will need to sit for an interview.   

 

3. Dr. Jack G. Shaheen Mass Communications Scholarships

 

Amount: $2,500 

Deadline: April 12

Eligibility: Undergraduates entering their junior or senior year and graduate students pursuing a degree in Journalism, Television, Radio, or Film

Application Requirements: Transcripts, two letters of recommendation, personal statement, and portfolio of relevant work

 

This award sponsored by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee honors Dr. Jack G. Shaheen, an author notable for his book and film, Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People. Dr. Jack G. Shaheen Mass Communications Scholarships are not limited to Muslim applicants—anyone can apply (including Christians, Jews, and Muslims), but it’s worth noting that Islam is the primary religion of the Arab culture. The Quran was composed in Arabic, the prayers recited five times a day by Muslims are recited in Arabic, and Arabs make up between 15-18% of the Muslim world.

 

4. Islamic Scholarship Fund Media Scholarship

 

Amount: $2,500-$5,000 

Deadline: March 21

Eligibility: Muslim or active member of the Muslim community, minimum 3.0 GPA, enrolled full-time at an accredited university in the U.S. pursuing a degree in a qualifying major

Application Requirements: Resume, video introduction, essay questions, transcript, and two letters of recommendation 

 

The Islamic Scholarship Fund Media Scholarship was established in 2009 to promote Muslim scholars pursuing careers that have an enormous influence on shaping public opinion and policy. The intention of the scholarship is to support those creating positive and engaging stories about Muslim Americans, reduce negative portrayals of Muslims in the media, and increase the number of Muslim policymakers. The Islamic Scholarship Fund Media Scholarship supports students in the following majors:

 

  • Media Studies
  • Writing
  • Journalism
  • Broadcast Journalism
  • Print Journalism
  • Digital Journalism

 

5. Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Undergraduate Scholarship

 

Amount: Varies

Deadline: Varies 

Eligibility: Resident of IsDB member country or Muslim, with a minimum 70% high school GPA, enrolled in one of the top ten public universities in the country, and pursuing a degree in a qualifying field of study

Application Requirements: Proven language proficiency and a commitment to cover the cost of the first year of their graduate studies or to pay for a new undergraduate student from the recipient’s community/country nominated by the IsDB

 

The IsDB considers this award both a scholarship and a development program—the scholarship is given as an interest-free loan (Qard Hasan) to the students and as a grant to their communities/countries. The IsDB scholarships date back to 1983 and were established to foster knowledge in IsDB member countries and Muslim communities, and recipients are required to commit to serving their communities and countries through their professions. 

 

6. John S. Habib Scholarship in Muslim Studies at Michigan State University (MSU) 

 

Amount: Varies   

Deadline: N/A

Eligibility: Registered in the Muslim Studies program at MSU

Application Requirements: N/A

 

The John S. Habib Scholarship in Muslim Studies encourages students to improve their knowledge of other cultures and supports the Muslim Studies program at MSU. To earn this award, students must enroll in MSU’s Muslim Studies program. The value of the scholarship varies year to year, depending on the number of donations made to the scholarship—the most recent award was $2,000. Recipients are selected based on their professional goals involving Muslim Studies, academic achievement, and financial need. 

 

7. Center for Arab American Philanthropy Dr. Adawia Alousi STEM Scholarship for Muslim Women 

 

Amount: $2,500-$10,000 

Deadline: May 15

Eligibility: Identify as a Muslim woman, accepted in an accredited STEM program in the U.S., and demonstrated financial need 

Application Requirements: Transcript, personal statement, and two letters of recommendation 

 

The  Dr. Adawia Alousi STEM Scholarship for Muslim Women is available to incoming freshmen, undergraduates, and graduate students. To qualify for the award, applicants must hit the following academic benchmarks:

 

  • Incoming freshman: high school GPA of 3.6 or higher and an ACT score of 29 or higher (or SAT equivalent)
  • Undergraduate students: minimum 3.4 GPA
  • Graduate students: minimum 3.5 GPA

 

Preference for this award is given to immigrants and refugees and may be renewable if the recipient maintains an acceptable academic performance. 

 

8. American Muslim Alliance of Florida Scholarship

 

Amount: $500-$1,000 

Deadline: May 6

Eligibility: Graduating from a secondary school in Florida with a minimum GPA of 3.0  

Application Requirements: Transcript, two letters of recommendation, and a one-page essay 

 

Although this scholarship provided by the American Muslim Alliance of Florida is open to students from all faiths and races, it’s an excellent opportunity for Muslim students. A total of $30,000 in scholarships is distributed among 30 recipients—the top 10 students receive $1,000 awards, while the following 20 receive $500 awards. 

 

9. Pitt Muslim Alumni Network Farrukh H. Ali Scholarship

 

Amount: $2,500  

Deadline: N/A

Eligibility: Undergraduate, upperclassman, attending Pitt, and preferably a Muslim  

Application Requirements: Minimum 3.25 GPA   

 

This award is intended to provide financial support to undergraduate upperclassmen, preferably a Muslim, attending Pitt. The award honors Farrukh H. Ali, a graduate of Pitt who is remembered for his passion for knowledge, education, and faith. Farrukh H. Ali is also known for his commitment to his local Pakistani community and his belief in the importance of education and commitment to life-long learning. 

 

10. American Muslim Women’s Association of Arizona 

 

Amount: $500 (per semester)

Deadline: July 1

Eligibility: Female resident of Arizona, full-time undergraduate at Maricopa Community Colleges or Arizona State University, minimum 2.7 GPA, and demonstrated financial need 

Application Requirements: Transcript, two letters of recommendation, and a resume detailing community involvement and extracurricular activities. 

 

This scholarship provided by the American Muslim Women’s Association of Arizona doesn’t require a student to be Muslim to win the award. In fact, it’s open to students from any ethnic or religious background; however, it’s still an award Muslim students should explore. The scholarship’s purpose is to encourage girls to excel in school, lead in their communities, and assist them in achieving bright futures.


Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.