Scholarships For LGBTQ+ Law Students

Scholarships For LGBTQ+ Law Students

Support from communities is crucial for the success of LGBTQ+ students in higher education. Financial assistance is often essential for these students, and fortunately, there is a wide range of scholarships available for both undergraduate and graduate levels.

These scholarships cater to individuals pursuing traditional on-campus degrees, online degrees, or a combination of credit exams and traditional coursework.

What might come as a surprise is the diverse array of scholarships specifically designed for LGBTQ+ students. These scholarships go beyond mere inclusivity and extend to those who actively promote acceptance and equality within the gay, lesbian, and transgender communities.

In essence, scholarships for college are not limited to LGBTQ+ individuals; they are also accessible to students committed to advancing acceptance and equality for all.

The National LGBTQ+ Bar Scholarship:

The National LGBTQ+ Bar annually provides three scholarships, each amounting to $2,500. To qualify, students must be accepted or enrolled at least half-time in a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA).

Eligible candidates need to complete an application, and the scholarships will be distributed to one incoming 1L student, one rising 2L student, and one rising 3L or 4L student (enrolled in evening or part-time programs).

The Scholarship Committee of the National LGBTQ+ Bar will assess applicants by June 1 each year. Selections will be primarily based on a demonstrated commitment to using the law to advance equality for LGBTQ+ individuals.

The funds are provided without restrictions and can be utilized for various law school-related expenses such as tuition, housing, books, transportation, living expenses, bar application/study expenses, and more.

To apply, candidates can submit their applications starting on January 1, 2024, with the deadline set for April 1, 2024, at Midnight Eastern Time.

Grant Fund For Law Graduates Of Color Who Identify As Transgender Or Nonbinary:

In 2022, the National LGBTQ+ Bar Foundation introduced a grant based on financial need for graduating law students who identify as transgender and/or nonbinary and are persons of color. The 2024 Trans/Nonbinary Law Graduates of Color Grant Fund aims to provide three unrestricted grants of $1,000 each to assist in covering expenses during the period between graduation and the commencement of the Bar Exam or employment. Successful applicants will also be granted a complimentary 1-year membership with the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Graduated from a U.S. law school in 2024
  • Identify as transgender and/or nonbinary
  • Be a person of color
  • Registered to take a U.S. Bar exam in the summer of 2024, or the commencement of the first legal job is on September 1, 2024, or later.

Scholarship By Judge Paul G. Feinman:

In memory of the Honorable Paul G. Feinman, 1960-2021, an Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, the International Association of LGBTQ+ Judges (“IALGBTQ+J”) established the Judge Paul G. Feinman Scholarship in 2021. Judge Feinman embodied the highest ideals of our nation’s legal community and judiciary. This scholarship aims to support individuals in forging their unique paths of passion and dedication to justice, mirroring the exemplary commitment of our esteemed colleague, Judge Feinman.

About The Scholarship:

Annually, the Judge Paul G. Feinman Scholarship will be granted to a law student who has exhibited a steadfast dedication to the LGBTQ+ community and is engaged in a role (such as a judicial intern, extern, clerk, etc.) with a judge or judicial officer before their graduation from law school. Priority consideration will be given to students collaborating with a member of the International Association of LGBTQ+ Judges.

The scholarship award is $2,500 and can be utilized without restrictions for various law school-related expenses such as tuition, housing, books, transportation, living expenses, bar application/study costs, and more. For additional information about the scholarship, you can either watch the video announcement or visit our website.

About Judge Paul G. Feinman:

Judge Paul Feinman, the first openly LGBTQ+ individual to sit on New York’s highest court, assumed the role of Associate Judge on the New York Court of Appeals in June 2017, coinciding with Pride Month. Prior to this, he gained valuable experience working with the Legal Aid Society and serving as a Law Clerk to a highly esteemed judge.

Judge Feinman commenced his judicial career in 1996 with his election to the New York City Civil Court. Subsequently, in 2007, he was elected as a Justice of the New York Supreme Court, followed by his appointment in 2012 by the Governor to the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, which serves as an intermediate appellate court.

Judge Feinman dedicated his entire career to advancing LGBTQ+ rights and justice. During his time at the University of Minnesota Law School in the 1980s, he founded an organization for gay students, demonstrating his early commitment to the cause.

Throughout his career, Judge Feinman proudly represented and led the LGBTQ+ community, serving as the President of the International Association of LGBTQ+ Judges from 2008 to 2011 and being a longstanding member of our Board of Directors. Sadly, Judge Feinman passed away in March 2021 at the age of 61.

Criteria For Scholarship Application:

To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must be currently enrolled as either full-time or part-time students in good standing at a nationally accredited law school worldwide, including those in the United States that are ABA accredited.

Additionally, applicants must have worked, whether as a judicial intern, extern, clerk, etc., with a judge or judicial officer for a minimum of 200 hours before graduating from law school.

The Application Procedure:

To be considered for the scholarship, ensure that your application is fully completed and submitted by midnight Eastern Time on April 1, 2024. IALGBTQ+J retains the right to dismiss any application that is incomplete or submitted after the deadline.

You will receive an email confirmation upon successful submission of your application.

For any inquiries regarding the application or the scholarship itself, please reach out to

IALGBTQ+J will make the scholarship award decision at its discretion, with one scholarship awarded annually. All applications will be reviewed, and the selected recipient will be notified by June 1, 2024.

The application period opens on January 1, 2024, and closes on April 1, 2024, at Midnight Eastern Time.

Guidance On Seeking Scholarships For LGBTQ+ Students

Applying for scholarships as an LGBTQ+ student follows a similar process to that of any other student. The initial step involves completing the FAFSA, which assesses your eligibility for financial aid and determines the amount you may receive.

Completing the FAFSA is crucial for various reasons. It aids in understanding the portion of expenses within your budget and identifies potential funding gaps. Federal grants and loans, which you may qualify for through the FAFSA, can also be interconnected with scholarship opportunities.

Thus, completing the FAFSA may serve as a prerequisite for certain scholarship applications.

Once you’ve finished the FAFSA, you can commence the search for scholarships suitable for your eligibility. For LGBTQ+ students seeking specific scholarship opportunities, the Human Rights Campaign maintains an updated database.

This resource allows you to filter scholarships by state, explore nationwide options, and discover opportunities at specific institutions.

Explore various scholarship opportunities from different origins by conducting online searches using keywords such as ‘LGBTQ+,’ ‘grants,’ and ‘scholarships.’ Customize your search by incorporating your state, county, and region, such as Miami, South Florida, Florida, Ft. Lauderdale, etc.

It’s important to note that your search need not be confined to LGBTQ+ scholarships. The U.S. Department of Labor offers a comprehensive scholarship database covering a wide range of awards based on factors like financial need, ethnicity, region, and merit. Utilize the database to search by keywords or filter by degree level, gender, location, award type, and affiliation.

Since funds for these scholarships are often limited and competition is fierce, it’s crucial to adhere to instructions meticulously and submit all necessary materials before the deadline.

If you have chosen or are already attending a specific school, leverage the expertise of the financial aid office.

They can be a valuable resource in locating scholarships, obtaining letters of recommendation, connecting you with opportunities to enhance your appeal to scholarship boards, and helping you compile your scholarship packets.


What If I Haven’t Publicly Disclosed My Sexual Orientation?

Navigating the emotional and financial challenges of transitioning to college is already complex. Unfortunately, LGBTQ+ students face additional stressors. Many scholarships specifically seek candidates who are openly ‘out’ and involved in the LGBTQ+ community.

If you’re not comfortable revealing your identity, you can streamline your search by focusing on scholarships without this requirement or those that assure the confidentiality of your information if selected. Additionally, consider applying for scholarships geared towards LGBTQ+ allies or ones that don’t require letters of recommendation.

How Should I Indicate My Gender On Scholarship Applications?

While some applications offer diverse gender options beyond the binary, others may not. In such cases, choose the option that aligns with your comfort. It’s crucial to keep this choice confidential. If you’re concerned about gender pronoun usage on campus, you can proactively reach out to the school beforehand to communicate your preference.

I’ve Been Rejected By My Family. Does This Affect My Eligibility For Educational Funding As A Dependent?

Yes, it does not alter your status as a dependent until you reach the age of 24, even if your family has disowned you. Regrettably, this implies that your financial aid is still influenced by their economic situation. You can pursue the challenging and potentially lengthy process of emancipation from your parents to be recognized as an independent. Alternatively, you can designate yourself as ‘at risk of homelessness’ or ‘homeless’ on your FAFSA and appeal to have your status changed to independent.


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