Guide to Criminal Justice Scholarships 2020

Written by: Kristyn Pilgrim
Updated: 9/02/20

Whether you are interested in pursuing law, law enforcement, criminology, crime scene investigation, or another criminal justice profession, you have a variety of educational options to pursue your dream. 

Higher education is often a necessity since more and more law enforcement agencies are requiring some sort of college credit or a degree to qualify for given positions.

You have many more choices than just being a lawyer or a police officer. With the right training, you can enter law and forensics careers related to enforcement, investigation, and judicial administration. Employment opportunities range from being game wardens to post office inspectors.

Depending on the type of criminal justice work you are hoping to pursue, degrees run the gamut from a criminal justice certificate to an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree.

While some of these degrees can be quite costly, they can be made more manageable by criminal justice scholarships offered by:

  • Criminal justice degree schools
  • Industry associations
  • Philanthropic foundations
  • Private sector benefactors
  • Local foundations 

Fields of Study in Criminal Justice 

Major fields of study in criminal justice include:

  • Computer forensics
  • Corrections
  • Counterterrorism
  • Crime scene technician
  • Criminal investigations  
  • Criminal justice administration
  • Criminal psychology
  • Criminology
  • Cybersecurity
  • Emergency management
  • Fish and game warden
  • Forensic accounting
  • Forensic nursing
  • Forensic psychology
  • Forensic science
  • Homeland security
  • Law enforcement
  • Legal nursing
  • Legal studies
  • Paralegal
  • Public administration
  • Security management
  • Sociology 

General Criminal Justice Scholarships

American Criminal Justice Association Lambda Alpha Epsilon National Scholarship

Cash awards (from $100 to $400) are made available to undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in a course of study in the criminal justice field. The winners are announced at the national conference of the association each year. 

Brian Terry Foundation Scholarship

This scholarship honors the memory of a fallen U.S. Border Patrol agent and is offered to support undergraduate students studying criminal justice and planning to pursue careers in law enforcement. 

Captain James J. Regan Memorial Scholarship

The nonprofit, all-volunteer National Technical Investigators’ Association (NATIA) bestows one-time, merit-based scholarships of $500 on student members providing letters of recommendation, academic transcripts, and essays. 

COAG Scholarship

Aimed at Georgia high school seniors or Georgia students at an accredited state college, the COAG Scholarship supports those going into a degree field related to government/law enforcement, political science, accounting/finance or business, and pre-law. 

Chief Gary R. Cline Memorial Scholarship

This $1,500 scholarship is available to graduating high school seniors in Camden County, New Jersey, who plan to study law enforcement in college. It’s based on academic merit and financial need. 

Colonel Sully H. De Fontaine Scholarship Award

This awards $1,200 to an undergraduate student who intends to be employed by the U.S. intelligence community. 

Ellis R. Kerley Forensic Sciences Foundation Scholarship

The $2,500 scholarship is awarded to students enrolled in an educational program leading to a graduate degree in biological anthropology or forensic anthropology. 

Law Enforcement Career Scholarship

This program is aimed at any graduating senior of a Des Moines County High School planning to attend Southeastern Community College full time in the criminal justice program. Students must have a C average at the time of application and maintain that average their first year to be automatically renewed for the second year.

My Alarm Center Student Scholarships

Supporting undergraduate students in criminal justice courses, such as law enforcement, this scholarship bestows a $1,000 tuition award. The submission requires a security-focused essay. 

Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship Program

Undergraduate and graduate students interested in a career in fraud examination or a similar criminal justice profession can apply for awards ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Many successful candidates go on to become certified fraud examiners. 

AFCEA War Veterans Scholarship

Merit-based scholarships of $2,500 are awarded to honorably discharged military veterans and active personnel attending undergraduate programs in eligible institutions. Among the C-41 fields of study covered by the scholarship are cybersecurity, computer forensics science, and network security. 

Criminal Justice Scholarships for Women 

Edna R. Anthony Scholarship

The Women of BECA provide a scholarship to a high school senior who must maintain a grade point average of 2.5 or higher and attend a historically black college or university, declaring a major in criminal justice, journalism, nursing, or health care.  

Maria I. Ramirez Memorial Scholarship

This $1,600 scholarship was established in the name Maria Ramirez, who was killed in the 9/11 attacks. It is awarded to a woman who works and attends school full time, pursuing a bachelor’s degree. 

Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) Scholarship

This organization offers various scholarships to “talented individuals to meet demands in the field of law enforcement and to foster the professional development of those engaged in law enforcement.” It awarded $10,000 in scholarships in 2019. WIFLE also bestows one scholarship per year, worth $1,500, to a member or a member-sponsored applicant.

Women in Law Enforcement Scholarship

Funded by Annette Sandberg, the first woman to head a state police agency in the country, this scholarship is aimed at Washington state undergraduate students majoring in law and justice, with a minimum 2.5 GPA, and are eligible for a career in law enforcement. Preference is given to female, underrepresented minority, Washington state high school graduates. 

Criminal Justice Scholarships for Minorities 

Marathon Diversity Excellence Scholarship

This scholarship is aimed at full-time, ethnic, minority, and underrepresented minority (African American, Hispanic American, or Native American) students with 3.2 GPA and majoring in law enforcement or homeland security. Special consideration is given to students with pressing financial needs. Awards range from $500 to $1,000.

Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship

This is awarded to minority nominees who have demonstrated a commitment to continue a college education related to a career in the criminal justice field. A short essay is an important part of the nomination package. 

Out to Protect Scholarship

Awarding amounts ranging from $500 to $1,000, Out to Protect is aimed at people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender and are pursuing a career in law enforcement. It rewards those “individuals who have the courage and willingness to be visible role models in law enforcement.” 

Ruth D. Peterson Fellowship for Racial and Ethnic Diversity

Three $6,000 fellowships are awarded each year to encourage students of color, especially those from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in the field, to enter the field of criminology and criminal justice.

Law School Scholarships

Earl Warren Scholarship

Offered by the NAACP and named after the 14th chief justice of the United States, the program offers students $10,000 per year for three years (as long as scholars remain in good academic standing and continue to meet the scholarship criteria) for a total of $30,000.  

Legal Opportunity Scholarship

This program is created and sponsored by the American Bar Association and available to first-year law students, seeking to encourage racial and ethnic diversity in law schools. It provides $15,000 of financial aid over three years. Since its inception, it has helped more than 350 students across the country. 

LMJ Scholarship

This program provides $10,000 to first-year law students. Since its inception in 2004, the LMJ Scholarship has awarded over $3.5 million in scholarships to 215 students, of which 40% identify as men and 60% as women.

Get the Most From Your Investment in Criminal Justice Studies

Whether you receive a scholarship, will help you make the most of your criminal justice studies. We can provide you with the data you need to make the right decisions to minimize borrowing costs and maximize the returns on your higher education investment.