The Animal Lover’s 2017 Guide to Scholarships

By Paula Fitzsimmons

Animal lovers, if you need cash to help fund your education, you’ve landed on the right page. This is the second scholarship & financial aid list I’ve created specifically for those of you interested in animal care, protection, and conservation careers. You may recognize some of the awards from last year’s list, but I’ve added new ones, as well.

3 places to search for funding

Don’t limit your search to awards specific to animal care & protection. There is a place for all types of majors in the animal welfare community – communication, business, and biology to name a few. Also, search for awards in specific categories, such as non-traditional students or region.


• Schools you plan to attend. Some cash awards are available to students attending specific colleges. For instance, the University of Florida Foundation awards an Angel Dogs Scholarship to senior veterinary students attending the UF’s College of  Veterinary Medicine. Berea College offers the Crawford Prize in Conservation to its students who excel in environmental studies, including wildlife preservation and conservation. Start with the financial aid department of the school you plan to attend, and work from there.


• Organizations and clubs. Think of any groups you’ve ever belonged to – it could be a local birding club, church, service fraternity or other organizations. For instance, local chapters of Rotary Club often offer scholarships.


• Places of employment. Some employers are super generous with their benefits. For those interested in pursuing a Bachelor’ degree, Starbucks offers both part- and full-time employees full tuition at Arizona State University online program.


Cash awards for animal lovers

The following organizations and businesses offer scholarships, grants, and contests to help students finance their animal-centered careers. Be mindful of deadlines and be sure to follow instructions carefully.


• A Voice For Animals contest.  Through a partnership with Animal Welfare Institute and support from the Palo Alto Humane Society, Humane Education Network (HEN) holds an annual contest for high school students. The rules and requirements may change each year, but you can expect to submit an essay or video on an animal welfare topic. The contest typically starts in January and closes in March; results are announced in May. HEN usually announces the contest on its website in mid-December.


• The Vegetarian Resource Group awards three annual scholarships – one for $10,000 and two each consisting of $5,000. It’s intended for high school students graduating in spring, 2017, and is awarded to students who have promoted vegetarianism in their schools or communities. It requires an essay in which you’ll answer a set of questions related to vegetarianism. Deadline is February 20, 2017.


• The Shaw-Worth Memorial Scholarship, administered by the Humane Society of the United States, offers a college scholarship worth up to $3,500, which may be divided among several students. It’s open to New England-based students who has demonstrated compassion towards animals in actionable ways. Information for the 2017 cycle is not available as of this writing, but applications are usually due in March.


•  Advancement of Animal Law Scholarships. The Animal Legal Defense Fund sponsors this scholarship for aspiring animal protection lawyers. There are three $5,000 awards, as well as several $1,000 second place awards. Various qualifications, including membership in an active student ALDF chapter. It’s open to first- and second-year law students, and third-year law students enrolled in a four-year program. Deadline is April 3, 2017.


The E.O. Wilson Conservation Award is one of the grants offered by The Animal Behavior Society, along with The Amy R. Samuels Cetacean Behavior and Conservation Award. They are for students pursuing graduate level research work. Awards range from $500 to $2,000. Per the website, grant submission deadlines will be announced in the fall.


• The Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program, administered by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA)’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries as mandated by the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. Intended to support graduate students of marine biology and other oceanographic studies. Based on different criteria including academic excellence, career goals, and financial need. Applications for 2017 will open in October, 2016.


Scholars Helping Collars Scholarship is offered by dog bed maker, P.L.A.Y to US-based high school seniors. First prize is $1,000 scholarship, second and third prizes consist of pet supplies donated to the shelter of your choice. To qualify, you must submit a 500 to 1,000 word essay with photos of volunteer efforts demonstrating how you’ve helped animals in need. The deadline is February 15, 2017.


Companion Animal Interest Scholarship from Oxbow Animal Health, manufacturer of small mammal food and supplies, is for currently-enrolled college students who want a career helping animals. The award is for $1,000 and requires an essay. Oxbow offers other awards, including a High School Scholarship, Veterinary Medicine Scholarship, Veterinary Technology Scholarship, and an Undergraduate Scholarship. Information for the 2017 is not yet available as of this writing.


• The National Garden Clubs offers up to 41 annual scholarships, each in the amount of $4,000.00. You don’t necessarily have to be a horticulture or botany major, either – eligible majors include wildlife science, biology, and habitat ecology. You must be a college junior, senior, or graduate student working towards a Master’s Degree to apply. Deadline is February 1, 2017.


• The Animal Advocate Scholarship and Veterinary Student Scholarship from  Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation are worth $1,000 each. Essays are required to apply for both awards. This year’s deadline is October 31, 2016.


Animal Compassion Undergraduate Scholarship is awarded by Pet Insurance U, and is focused on public outreach efforts by veterinary professionals to sway public opinion on animal rights issues. One award for $500. It’s open to veterinary undergraduate students with a proven record of animal advocacy. The deadline is December 30, 2016.


• The AMI Indigenous Scholarship offered by IAP Career College is open to members of Aboriginal, Native, or Indigenous groups. One winner will receive free tuition for one of IAP’s basic online certificate course of choice. Some of their animal-related courses include. Information for the 2017 award is not yet available as of this writing. Examples of animal-related certificate courses IAP offers includes Pet Spa Owner Certificate Course Online and Dog Daycare Owner Certificate Course Online. (Please note, the “IAP Career College” link and both certificate course links are affiliate links. If you purchase a product as a result of clicking this link, I will earn a commission, which helps pay the costs associated with running this website.)


• Rachel Fischoff Scholarship for Wildlife Rehabilitation, administered by National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association (NWRA). They award a $650 scholarship awarded as a credit certificate which is redeemable through NWRA to pay for educational publications, symposium fees, field trips, etc. It is only only be redeemed for NWRA merchandise & activities, and there is no cashback value. Application period is August 1 through October 1.


The Frances M. Peacock Scholarship for Native Bird Habitat is offered by  The Garden Club of America and administered by Cornell Lab of Ornithology. They offer an annual award of $4,500 to at least one scholar. It’s open to college seniors and graduate students studying areas in the US that provide seasonal habitat for threatened and endangered native birds. The deadline is January 15 preceding the proposed time of study.

(added September 28, 2017):
Empathy for Animals (EFA) Scholarship Award for Veterinary Students 2017-2018, offered by Pet Life Today. One $500 award given each calendar year. Application period is October 1 through December 31, 2017.

It’s your turn: Do you know of any scholarships, grants, or contests that might appeal to those interested in an animal protection, care, or conservation career?

(added October 5, 2017):

• The Wolfie’s Place and How I Got Into Veterinary School Scholarship Fund is awarding two $500 scholarships to current students in their second, third, or fourth year of vet school.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest