The Sister Thea Bowman Black Catholic Education Foundation Scholarship is designed to awaken a hope in black students who have been impacted and conditioned by impoverished conditions. This awakening comes as an opportunity to receive a quality education at one of the many Catholic institutions of higher education. In addition to the financial resources provided through the foundation, qualifying students will benefit from mentoring, spiritual and civic enrichment opportunities, and community service. It is through donations to the Foundation and matching scholarships offered through individual institutions, that funds for the scholarships are made available. Scholarship awards range from $7,500 to $10,000. These funds are renewable  on an an annual basis as donations are received by the governing board of the Foundation. The Foundation works collaboratively with Catholic colleges and universities to establish additional funding. Scholarship awards vary depending on the institution selected. The Thea Bowman Black Catholic Education Foundation is responsible for selecting students to receive the scholarship award. 

The Sister Thea Bowman Black Catholic Education Foundation Scholarships are available to high school students who are transitioning to college. A Thea Bowman Scholar must maintain full time enrollment at an accredited Catholic college or university beginning in the fall of the year. Applicants must meet all eligibility requirements to qualify. Scholarship awards will be applied toward tuition, on campus room and board, and books. Scholarship awards will be made payable to the attending institution. Individuals applying for the scholarship must fully complete the online application below as well as email the remaining documents*** to the address below only after January 1 of each year. Remaining documents*** must be emailed no later than March 26th of each year. Award letters will be e-mailed and forwarded to the recipients by May 1 of each year. Acceptance letters and signed agreements must be returned to the Foundation by July 1 of each year. Only completed applications will be considered for the award.



Eligibility Criteria:

Scholar Selection Criteria and Process:

The selection of Thea Bowman Scholars will be done through an ad hoc committee of the Thea Bowman Foundation. Generally it is expected that a Thea Bowman Scholar:

  • Is a high school student transitioning to college or a current freshmen or sophomore at one of our partner colleges or universities.
  • Has been accepted to attend one of our accredited Catholic college or university partners listed on  the application. The applicant must gain acceptance to the college or university based on his or her own merit. The Foundation will not be responsible for assisting or influencing the admission process.
  • Is a United States Citizen.
  • Possess a minimum High School GPA of at least a 3.0
  • Is active in high school activities.
  • Be a student of good character.
  • Be highly recommended by either a high school faculty member or high school principal.

(Please note that this scholarship is for students of African‐American descent only.)

Application Packet Content:

Scholarship Application

The Sister Thea Bowman Black Catholic Education Foundation application is available after January 1 of each year by filling out the online application below.


Applicants are required to submit a 600‐word minimum essay using the following topic. Essays should be typed.

  • Sister Thea Bowman’s gravestone bears the simple epitaph, “She tried.” What did Sister Thea Bowman try to do? Please expound upon the impact of the life of Sister Thea.

Official Academic Transcript***

Applicants should request an official academic transcript from their high school. Transcripts should be included in the student’s application packet to be forwarded to the foundation.

Official Letter of Acceptance***

Student must include a copy of the University’s official acceptance letter.

Financial Need

  • Student must submit a copy of FASFA SAR to the Foundation as evidence of financial need.***
  • Student must submit a statement of financial need. This statement is not to exceed 300 words. (Statement must be typed and double spaced.)

Once a student is accepted as a foundation scholar each student must:

  • Give permission to the admitting college or university to grant the Thea Bowman Foundation access to grades and financial aid information, for purposes of granting or maintaining financial assistance.
  • Have approval on of housing choices by the mentor or the director of the foundation.

General expectations of Thea Bowman Scholarship recipients:

  • Meet regularly with their college or university mentor and participate in all activities that are related to their educational, personal, social, civic, and spiritual growth.
  • Complete 30 hours per year of spiritual growth and development service
  • Leadership involvement.
  • Attend and participate in summer enrichment symposiums sponsored by the Foundation.
  • Behavior will be in keeping with the moral and ethical standards of the Catholic Church.
  • Understand it is the goal of the Thea Bowman Foundation that students maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA. All educational efforts must be consistent with that goal.
  • Funds may not be available for students who do not complete minimum standards.
  • Students are expected to participate in selected fundraising activities (selling raffle tickets, attending the annual fundraising dinner, attending meetings with potential donors, etc.).

Mission Statement:

Contact Us

Our Leadership:

Mr. Joseph Barker II
Executive Director
Sister Thea Bowman Foundation
Pittsburgh, PA





Mail Address:

Contact Us:

The Sister Thea Bowman Foundation,
8235 Ohio River Blvd.
Main Building
Pittsburgh, PA 15202



501(c)(3) 03-0322037