There are many professional organizations dedicated to providing educational, networking, and career development opportunities for women in the workforce. Many of these organizations sponsor scholarship programs. Two of the most long-standing and successful association based scholarship programs are those sponsored by the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation and the American Business Women’s Association.
Business and Professional Women’s Foundation
The Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation has provided Career Advancement scholarships for women since 1969. These scholarships are intended to assist women who are pursuing education for the purpose of entering, re-entering, or advancing in the workforce.
Funds are awarded on a competitive basis. The criteria evaluated include financial need, academic merit and achievement, work experience, and volunteerism. Applicants must be 25 years of age or more, and must be accepted to begin studies at an accredited institution. Numerous scholarships are awarded each year.
The BPW Foundation was established by the Business and Professional Women/USA (BPW/USA), a professional association dedicated to promoting and advocating equity for women in the workplace. There are more than 1,300 BPW chapters located throughout the United States.
American Business Women’s Association
The American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) awards both interest-free loans and college scholarships for women through the Stephen Bufton Memorial Education Fund (SBMEF), which was established in 1953 in memory of the son of ABWA’s founder.
Educational funding awarded through the SBMEF is earmarked to provide assistance to women who are pursuing education for the purpose of career advancement. ABWA chapters can nominate members for a loan or grant each year, provided the chapter made a contribution to the fund in the prior year. Scholarships and interest-fee loans may be awarded for degree programs and non-degree skill development training.
In addition to the SBEMF scholarship fund, ABWA also awards a number of school scholarships for women that are not limited to members of the organization. Two $3,000 scholarships and one $10,000 scholarship are awarded each year. The organization also awards corporate scholarships upon availability of funding from program sponsors.
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