Four college scholarships for Jewish students


By Carolyn Conte

Senioritis may be kicking in just about now for 17- and 18-year-olds, as the leaves come back and the birds start chirping and graduation is just a cherry blossom away.

However, it’s vital to not let the excitement get in the way of greater opportunities. As college acceptance letters are opened, so too are doors to afford those colleges. For Jewish youth, the community
is scholarships to help with the pursuit of education.

1. University of Maryland: Due March 13

The Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies provides scholarship funds for UMD students in the areas of Jewish studies and Israel studies.

While priority is given to Jewish studies majors, other students are eligible, too. “Some of the funds have been earmarked by the donors for study in Israel by University of Maryland and students,” said Hayim Lapin, director of The Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Program and Center for Jewish Studies. However, five $1,000 scholarships may be given to first-year and new major students annually, while three $4,500 scholarships may be given to third-year majors annually. Applicants will hear replies by the end of the semester.

“The major is a significant commitment and often undertaken in addition to another demanding major. We want to be able to reward that commitment and provide recognition for excellence,” Lapin said.
Applications are available at

2. Hillel International: Due March 15

For all Jewish students, Hillel International offers two scholarships to incoming Jewish freshman and current college students pursuing bachelor’s degrees with a GPA of at least 2.5.

These are the Handeli First-Year Student Scholarship and the Hillel Campus Leadership Award. Each is for $4,000. Students can expect a reply by May 1. This will be the first time these are offered in Hillel’s 96-year history. Hillel does not release the number of applicants as applications are still rolling.

“Hillel is committed to building the next generation of Jewish leaders, so our scholarships are designed to recognize students who have already shown extraordinary leadership abilities, both in high school and in college,” said Matthew Berger, vice president of communications for Hillel International.

For more information, visit

3. JCS Scholarships: Due March 16

Jewish Community Services offers 14 scholarships for children of single-parent homes and one for those with learning disabilities.

The scholarships may come from a single fund or from a combination of the available funds. On average, about 15 students receive JCS scholarship money each year, according to Mona M. Rock, JCS marketing manager. Around 36 Jewish high school seniors apply for the first scholarship, and just 17 apply to the second. Applicants may apply to both if they qualify. With fewer applicants for these niche scholarships, the chances of receiving them are higher.

These scholarships speak to JCS’s history of having been established through the Jewish Big Brother Big Sister League. The league established a scholarship in 1968 to honor former Executive Director Meyer D. Levin.

“Over the next several decades, other community members established endowment funds through Jewish Big Brother Big
Sister program to help make the dream of college a reality for students from the Baltimore metropolitan area’s Jewish community, for whom higher education might be out of reach financially,” said Rock.

Applicants can go to or call 410-466-9200 for more information.

4. The JSSA Educational Scholarship Fund: Due April 24

Jewish Social Service Agency has three scholarships: The Morton A. Gibson Memorial Scholarship for $875-$2,500, which is awarded to seniors in the D.C. area; the Max and Emmy Dreyfuss Jewish Undergraduate Scholarship of $1,500-$4,000 for those in a four-year undergraduate program who reside in the Washington, D.C. area; and the JSSA Educational Scholarship for $3,000-$6,000 for those who attend a Montgomery County public high school. Recipients are eligible for one to two years of funding. Applicants must complete volunteer services.

To apply, visit

This article was originally published in the Baltimore Jewish Times, another Mid-Atlantic Media publication. 

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