2020 Eligibility and Instructions

About the Women’s Forum

Preeminent New York women leaders across many fields created the Women’s Forum in 1974 to make a difference for each other and take an active leadership role in matters of importance to them.  Since 1987 the Women’s Forum Education Fund has provided Awards to help mature women—35 and older—pursue educational goals and enhance their capacities to provide leadership and productive and supportive service to their communities and beyond.

About the Award

The Award recognizes extraordinary and often heroic effort in overcoming adversity as women restructure their lives for success. Unlike financial aid or scholarships, the $10,000 Award goes directly to the recipient for whatever needs loom largest for her, whether tuition, childcare, medical bills, elder care, transportation, housing, or any other priority. Candidates for an Award and their references should share the narrative of obstacles confronted and overcome, and also of demonstrated leadership and care for their community.

Over the past 33 years, Awards have been granted to over 260 women, amounting in over $1.8 million in assistance. Award recipients have gone on to obtain bachelor degrees, masters degrees, and Ph.D.s, and are current leaders in their communities.


The awards will be given to women aged 35 and over who have faced and overcome adversity and now, after an interruption in their education, have resumed the pursuit of their first Associate or Bachelor degree. Applicants must demonstrate noteworthy promise and resilience in the face of challenges and must also demonstrate a commitment to helping others and to making a difference in their community, large or small, when their own career goals are achieved.  Financial need and academic excellence are not the primary determining factors in the selection of recipients, although true financial need should be evident and the candidate should be in good academic standing.

Applicant must:

Be 35 years old by December 31, 2019 (birth date no later than December 31, 1984).

Attend college at a two or four-year institution within New York City

Reside in New York City

Be pursuing her FIRST Associate or Bachelor degree and have earned at least 12 credits in good standing

*If completing an Associate degree in December or June, must then provide evidence of admission to a Bachelor degree program

Have attended a college in New York City during the 2018-2019 academic year and be enrolled for at least 6 credits in the 2019-2020 academic year

Have at least 9 credits to complete graduation requirements after June 2020 and subsequently complete an additional semester of 6 or more credits within twelve months of receiving the Award, i.e., by June 2021


Applicant must submit an official transcript with her application. Award will be given to the 2020 Women’s Forum Awardees in two installments: $5,000 upon notification of Award by June 30, 2020, and $5,000 in January 2021 or upon successful completion of an additional semester of 6 or more credits before June 2021. Recipients will be required to submit an official transcript for their additional semester of 6 or more credits before the second installment is awarded.  The Women’s Forum will issue a Form 1099 to all Awardees in January 2021, for calendar year 2020, and again in January 2022, for calendar year 2021.

Applicant must submit three short Essays of no more than 500 words each.  The topics of those essays are as follows:

  1. Career goals and Motivation. Please describe your career goals and motivation for seeking this Award. If relevant, please include any meaningful leadership experience or involvement in community service, art, athletics, business, science, or other extracurricular activities.
  2. Personal history. Please describe your personal history including challenges or obstacles overcome in pursuing an education. Please also discuss your academic record as an indication of noteworthy leadership promise. (Financial need will be addressed separately below.)
  3. Financial Information. Please help us understand your current and anticipated financial situation, including how receiving this award will impact your ability to achieve your career goals. Please include details on your earned income, any other awards, family support, Federal assistance, etc.


FEBRUARY 1, 2020

Online portion of the Application must be submitted by the deadline. Paper applications will not be accepted.

Official transcript must be received by email (if the institution has a secure transfer method) or postmarked by February 1, 2020. An official transcript contains a college seal from the registrar, and is NOT your “student copy.”

Letters of reference must be received by email or postmarked by February 1, 2020. If mailed by the applicant, the letters need to be in unopened sealed envelopes, signed by the author across the back.

Application materials will not be returned to the applicant, regardless of outcome.

Transcript and letters of recommendation can be emailed to: kelseyolwell@womensforumny.org or mailed to:

Women’s Forum of New York

c/o: Education Fund Application

59 East 54th Street, Suite 81

New York, NY 10022