Many labor unions offer scholarships as a benefit to their members and their families. The specifics can vary widely depending on the union, the field of work, and the level of study. Here are some general types of scholarships that are often available through union memberships:
These scholarships are open to all members of a particular union and their dependents, regardless of their field of study. They usually require an application and may be based on academic merit, financial need, or both.
Some unions offer scholarships specifically for study in a field related to the work the union does. For example, a teachers' union might offer scholarships for education majors, or a healthcare workers' union might offer scholarships for nursing or pre-med students.
These are often available to children or grandchildren of long-standing union members. Requirements can vary but usually include some combination of academic merit, financial need, and an essay.
In some cases, unions offer emergency financial aid to members or their dependents who are already in school but are facing financial difficulties that may prevent them from continuing their education.
Some unions offer scholarships or grants for members to pursue professional development opportunities or to acquire new skills that will make them more valuable workers.
Generally, applicants will need to submit academic transcripts, proof of union membership (either their own or that of their parent or guardian), and possibly letters of recommendation. An essay on why they deserve the scholarship or how they plan to use their education is also common.
While many national unions offer scholarships, don't overlook potential opportunities at the local chapter level. Sometimes local union chapters offer scholarships that have less competition than the national awards.
Certain large unions like the United Auto Workers (UAW), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and the National Education Association (NEA) have their own scholarship programs. Check the specific union’s website for the most accurate and detailed information.
Pay careful attention to deadlines and submission guidelines. The application process could involve several steps and may require you to submit various types of documentation.
For specific information, it's best to directly consult the website or contact the office of your particular union. They will have the most accurate and timely information on what scholarships are currently available and what the application process entails.
Here are a list of scholarships we have if you are or a family member are part of a union: