How Can I Get a Tom Joyner Scholarship?

by Amy Sterling Casil
Smiling Tom Joyner in suit at event

In 1998, radio personality Tom Joyner started the foundation that bears his name to provide scholarships to African-American students and support America's 105 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). More than 29,000 students have received scholarships since then. Scholarships include one Full-Ride Scholar, Hercules Scholars, TJ Art Scholars, and others co-sponsored by the foundation and corporations. Apply for a Tom Joyner Scholarship through your high school counseling or college financial aid office.

Full-Ride Scholarship

The Tom Joyner Full-Ride Scholarship is awarded to one high school senior attending an historically black college or university each year. The scholarship covers full tuition, room and board, and books. Apply through the Tom Joyner website. Before you fill out the application, ensure you meet the minimum requirements: U.S. citizenship; a GPA of 3.5 or more; a minimum SAT score of 2100 or ACT score of 30; and demonstrated leadership abilities.

Hercules Scholarships

Male students should apply for a Tom Joyner Hercules Scholarship through their school's financial aid office. One $1,500 Hercules Scholarship is awarded each week throughout the year. In order to be eligible for the scholarship, your school must be an HBCU and a Tom Joyner "School of the Month." Maintain a 3.5 GPA, be a campus leader, and have a career goal of making a difference in the quality of life for your race.

Tom Joyner Fine Arts Scholars

Male or female students who are majoring in art, music, dance or art education at an HBCU are eligible for one of two $1,000 Tom Joyner Fine Arts Scholarships. You must be in good academic standing and enrolled full-time at your HBCU. Write a 250-word essay to include with your application. Include one sample of your art or photography if you are a visual arts student. Apply in the spring semester to receive a scholarship for the next fall.

Other Scholarships

The Tom Joyner Foundation co-sponsors additional scholarships that change from year to year. In 2014, high school seniors attending Central State University with a minimum GPA of 2.5 and ACT score of 19 could apply for a $1,000 You Can Go Challenge scholarship. In 2013, if you attended one of 10 participating HBCUs, you could have applied for a $2,500 Denny's and Tom Joyner Hungry for Education scholarship. Check deadlines for one-time or sponsored scholarships on the Tom Joyner website.

About the Author

Amy Sterling Casil is an award-winning writer with a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chapman University in Orange, Calif. She is a professional author and college writing teacher, and has published 20 nonfiction books for schools and libraries.

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