18 Fellowships for HBCU Students and Graduates

Feb 12, 2024
Young African American woman, college student, reading a book at am HBCU library.
The HBCUvc Venture Capital Fellowship offers paid internships and training to support underrepresented students in securing their first venture capital roles.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) play a crucial role in shaping the future of education and career opportunities for African American students. This curated list showcases a diverse array of fellowships tailored specifically for HBCU students and graduates. From mentorship programs to fully-funded scholarships, these opportunities span various fields, including journalism, venture capital, cybersecurity, basketball business, public history, museum management, research, and education. By participating in these fellowships, students gain hands-on experience, valuable networks, and financial support to pursue their passions and drive positive change in their communities and beyond.

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HBCU Changemaker Fellowship

The HBCU Changemaker Fellowship, offered through the Master of Arts in Social Innovation program at the Kroc School, targets current HBCU seniors or recent graduates. This fellowship aims to cultivate leaders who drive innovative solutions for creating more peaceful and just societies. Participants receive comprehensive training to address complex social issues effectively and contribute positively to their communities. The fellowship covers tuition and housing expenses totaling $60,000 and provides access to a global alumni network and community engagement opportunities.

HBCUvc Venture Capital Fellowship

The HBCUvc Venture Capital Fellowship is a prestigious program to support historically underrepresented university students and recent graduates in securing their first venture capital roles. As the U.S.’s most extensive paid venture capital program, HBCUvc selects 30 – 40 participants annually for its flagship program. This six-month fellowship empowers Black graduate students and early professionals to enter the venture capital industry by offering a unique combination of training, paid internship opportunities with venture capital firms, and a culturally affirming curriculum. Eligible candidates must have an HBCU affiliation, but prior experience in venture capital is not required.

Read our interview with HBCUvc Fellows Terrence Battle and Nyland Sidifall to learn about their experience and learn about application tips.

Milken Institute HBCU Strategic Initiative and Fellowship Program

The Milken Institute HBCU Strategic Initiative and Fellowship Program is a transformative opportunity to address the underrepresentation of HBCUs in the investment industry. The program equips sophomore undergraduate students with essential finance knowledge by offering an eight-week virtual curriculum in partnership with ViableEDU. It fosters professional development through networking opportunities and discussions with industry leaders. With a focus on recruiting and supporting academically competitive students from select HBCUs, the fellowship program aims to prepare participants for careers in asset management while building a diverse and successful cohort of future leaders in the field.

Hennessy Fellows Program

The Hennessy Fellows Program, a collaboration between Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and Hennessy, provides high-achieving graduate students from HBCUs and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) with corporate development experiences and financial assistance. This initiative offers online training forums, an immersive boot camp, networking opportunities, and exposure to corporate, social, and economic systems. Selected fellows receive up to $20,000 per academic year for two years and a one-time $10,000 stipend. They participate in curated professional development activities, including career coaching, mentorship, and approved program-related travel.

UC–HBCU Initiative Fellowship

The UC–HBCU Initiative Fellowship, a collaboration effort at UCLA, offers six-year funding packages for incoming PhD students as part of the University of California–Historically Black Colleges and Universities Initiative. Eligible fellows must have participated in a UC–HBCU summer program and can be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, international students, or undocumented students eligible. The fellowship covers full tuition and fees and an annual stipend. Additionally, UCOP provides a $1,000 stipend for professional development activities. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact their prospective home institutions for further information.

HBCU Research Fellowship

The HBCU Research Fellowship is designed to encourage young people to reach their highest potential, create the courage to embrace risk and change on their way to becoming future global leaders, and ensure that the voyage is accessible to all students regardless of financial limitations. Recipients of the HBCU Research Fellowship will be expected to embody the spirit of the Semester at Sea mission and maintain the highest standards of conduct and academic participation. To be eligible for the scholarship, you must be an undergraduate student at an HBCU and demonstrate leadership through community service, extracurricular activities, or other activities.

HBCU Digital Media Fellowship

The HBCU Digital Media Fellowship offers hands-on experience and training in digital journalism to up to five students from HBCUs. Fellows work closely with industry mentor Michael Grant, Founder of Get Current Studio, to produce multimedia packages for the annual Online News Association (ONA) Conference. They receive complimentary conference registration, a one-year student membership, networking opportunities, and training from industry leaders like Microsoft. The fellowship provides exposure to emerging technologies, tools, and approaches to online news reporting and distribution, empowering students with advanced practical knowledge and high-profile exposure.

Intelligence and Cybersecurity Diversity Fellowship Program

The Intelligence and Cybersecurity Diversity Fellowship Program aims to recruit and retain top talent in intelligence and cybersecurity for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Designed to support DHS’s mission, the program offers opportunities for qualified students to work alongside experienced professionals, gain hands-on technical experience, attend professional development events, and expand their networks at national conferences. Participants, who must be U.S. citizens and enrolled in STEM-related fields at Minority Serving Institutions, particularly HBCUs, will undergo a 12-week immersive experience collaborating on projects with subject matter expert mentors. Selected participants will receive compensation and may be eligible for tuition assistance. Participants may be considered for full-time employment at DHS upon successful completion, provided they meet specific criteria.

NBA HBCU Fellowship Program

The NBA HBCU Fellowship Program offers career development opportunities in the business of basketball for undergraduate and graduate students from HBCUs. Fellows, chosen by NBA teams and the league office, gain experience in various departments such as ticket sales, corporate partnerships, IT, social responsibility, and marketing. This paid 10-week summer internship program, running from June to August, provides hands-on experience and valuable insights into the operations of the NBA and its teams.

Awards for Faculty at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

The Awards for Faculty program by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) aims to enhance humanities research opportunities for faculty and staff at HBCUs. It supports scholarly research projects across various humanities disciplines, offering project outcomes and duration flexibility. Projects may include developing books, articles, digital resources, course materials, or community-focused initiatives. Open to all faculty and staff, the program provides funding of up to $5,000 per month for projects lasting two to twelve months, allowing individuals to work between half-time and full-time on their research endeavors.

The Robert Frederick Smith Applied Public History Fellowship for HBCU Graduates

This fellowship for HBCU Graduates offers a prestigious two-year appointment providing advanced training and scholarly support in public history, museum management, outreach programming, and partnership building. Fellows receive a generous stipend of $55,000 annually and additional funding for individual health insurance and research/conference travel. Based in Washington, DC, the program involves an 18-month residency at a museum and a six-month practical application period at a local organization focused on African American history and culture. Eligible applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree, with at least one degree from an HBCU, and adhere to the Smithsonian Institution’s health and safety guidelines. Ideal candidates will possess academic training in museum or cultural management and African American history and culture, with some professional experience in the cultural sector.

AECOM HBCU Summer Design Fellowship

The AECOM HBCU Summer Design Fellowship offers students and recent HBCU graduates a unique opportunity to gain experience in architecture, urban planning, and interior design. Through this competitive program, fellows engage in hands-on projects with community-based organizations to address pressing architectural challenges. They also volunteer and contribute to community initiatives, gaining valuable insights into their role in shaping urban spaces. Successful fellows may receive full-time employment opportunities upon graduation. An example project involves revitalizing a historic school building into a community center in Detroit, emphasizing community engagement and creative design solutions.

The Virginia HBCU Fellowship

The Virginia HBCU Scholars Fellowship supports humanities research at Virginia’s HBCUs, focusing on BIPOC heritage, stories, and communities. Sponsored by the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, fellows gain access to resources at the University of Virginia and the Library of Virginia. With a stipend of up to $5,000 monthly for 9 months, fellows can research, network with experts, and share their work through various platforms, including public radio and digital publications. Eligible applicants, including current doctoral students, alumni, and faculty, can pursue projects spanning human-centered social sciences, traditional humanities, and public and digital humanities. While residency isn’t mandatory, in-person commitments are expected throughout the fellowship.

Walton-UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship

The UNCF K-12 Program promotes leadership and talent development among African American students committed to education reform in the U.S. This initiative offers a paid summer internship where fellows work with leading K-12 education organizations and schools, focusing on advocacy, policy, research, operations, and teaching. Eligible applicants, juniors with a minimum GPA of 3.0, must be African American, U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and enrolled at an HBCU. Leadership experience and community service are valued, making this opportunity open to students from all majors interested in education reform.

Kirchner Food Fellowship

The Kirchner Fellowship aims to fortify impact investing ecosystems in undercapitalized regions by training and empowering a diverse cohort of investors to channel equity investments into early-stage companies. With a focus on sustainable solutions, fellows gain autonomy in investment decisions, particularly targeting companies leveraging groundbreaking technologies. The program hones the skills of the next generation of impact investors, equipping them to comprehend and effectively invest in early-stage ventures with social responsibility at their core. Fellows remain enrolled in their universities, receiving academic credit for their participation. Additionally, they receive a modest scholarship, coverage for travel and accommodation during face-to-face meetings, and the capital needed for investment.

Richard A. Long / HBCU Fellowship

The Richard A. Long/HBCU Fellowship offers 2-3 short-term research fellowships annually to graduate students and faculty from HBCUs. Valued between $500-$1000, the fellowship assists with travel and residence expenses in Atlanta during the fellowship period. Applicants must be enrolled in or teach at an HBCU more than 50 miles from Emory University. The fellowship supports research in the Rose Library’s African American collections. Recipients must fulfill a minimum 5-day residency and submit a report of their experiences for the Rose Library Following the Fellows blog. Award disbursal occurs 4-6 weeks post-visit completion.

HBCU & HSI Alumni Scholarships at Heinz College

Prospective master’s students who have graduated from an HBCU or a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) member school recognized by HACU can apply for a full-tuition (100%) scholarship to attend Heinz College. Applicants must specify their undergraduate institution in their application for admission to Heinz College. It’s important to note that while there are limited full-tuition awards for these scholarships, all HBCU and HSI alumni are eligible for a minimum 30% partnership scholarship as described above.

Columbia HBCU Fellowship Program

The Columbia University School of Professional Studies offers a fellowship program for Historically Black College and University graduates. The fellowship prepares talented and high-performing HBCU graduates to innovate, drive community impact, and advance their professional industries through program engagement, mentorship, and career development opportunities. Students must meet current HBCU seniors or recent graduates to be eligible for the fellowship. The benefits of the Columbia University HBCU Fellowship Program include full tuition, On-campus housing, community engagement and programming, a stipend, and access to the global Columbia University alumni network.

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