New Applicant Eligibility

To be eligible to submit an application for the Women’s Independence Scholarship Program all potential applicants must:

Identify as a female survivor of intimate partner abuse

Be physically separated from her abuser a minimum of one year but not more than ten.

Have sought services from a non-profit agency that provides services to survivors of intimate partner abuse for a minimum of 6 consecutive months. This agency is willing to act as sponsor by mentoring and providing support to the student throughout her educational experience and can accept funds on behalf of the applicant, should a scholarship for living expenses be awarded.

A sponsor is a non-profit charitable organization with a 501(c)3 designation from the IRS that provides services to survivors of intimate partner abuse that has worked with the applicant for at least 6 consecutive months. This person agrees to partner with the scholarship applicant and WISP during the application process and throughout the applicant’s time in school.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to identify a nonprofit, domestic violence victim services provider willing to sponsor her for this program. You must have worked with the sponsor for at least 6 months. You may use this link to locate a domestic violence organization near you.

Be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States, or have an immigration status that makes her eligible for FAFSA, and be a current physical resident of the United States or its territories.

Have applied to or been officially accepted into an accredited course of study at a United States institution.

We consider programs at accredited institutions. Some examples of programs that have received funding include: Nursing, Teaching, Computer Technology, Computer Training, Law Enforcement, Theology, Equipment Handling, Physical Therapist, Social Work, Counseling, Hairdressing, Landscape Design, Journalism, Medical Billing, Massage Therapist.
Support is available for full or part-time students interested in attending accredited programs at educational institutions listed below.

  • State supported community colleges
  • State supported colleges or universities
  • Technical/vocational schools
  • Private colleges or universities
  • For Profit colleges

A note about For Profit colleges. WISP considers higher education institutions that are owned and operated by profit-seeking businesses the lowest priority for funding, and discourages applicants from seeking an education at a for profit college if there are any other options. For profit colleges have been criticized for using high pressure sales tactics to enroll students, often have a high cost of tuition which dramatically increases student loan debt, and academics that do not always transfer to other educational programs. We strongly encourage all students to research for profit colleges and be aware of the drawbacks before enrolling.

Scholarship Awards for tuition, books and fees are paid directly to the educational institution. This is our first priority for funding.

Charitable Adjunct Assistance Awards, for education-related living expenses that would otherwise be financial barriers to education, are paid to the sponsoring agency on behalf of the recipient.

Categories for spending are rent, utilities, transportation, childcare, basic household expenses, medical expenses (copays, therapy), school. We cannot assist with old credit card debt, legal fees, relocation expenses, large or past due medical bills, entertainment or gifts.

We are prohibited from making any awards payable to individuals. Scholarships are paid on a by semester/term/quarter/session basis.

Demonstrate a critical need for financial assistance. We define critical need as having an income that does not cover living expenses.

Exhibit a strong desire and the ability to complete a training and/or academic program.

Have a definite plan to use the desired training to upgrade skills for career advancement, to train for a new career field, or to enter or reenter the job market.

Information You Should Know

These factors are important to be aware of as you consider submitting an application.

Preference is given to

  • returning WISP students
  • single mothers with young children
  • students seeking their first undergraduate degree
  • students in vocational or technical programs

Our awards range from $500-$2,000 per semester or quarter. For master’s degrees our awards average $1,000 per semester or quarter.

We do not require that students attend school full-time, but the number of credits a student is enrolled in can influence the scholarship amount awarded.