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The Sister Thea Bowman Black Catholic Educational Foundation Scholarship is designed to awaken a hope in black students who have been conditioned by poverty. 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 growth 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 $5,000 to 7,500. These funds are available on a year by year 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 Educational Foundation is responsible for selecting students to receive the scholarship award. The decision of the board is final.
The Sister Thea Bowman Black Catholic Educational 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 listed below 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 forwarded to the recipients only by June 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
  • Is accepted to attend an accredited Catholic College or University. 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.
  • Plans to attend school for the entire academic year beginning in the fall (exceptions are made for final semester)
  • Demonstrate significant financial need.
  • Possess a minimum High School GPA of at least a 2.5
  • 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 Educational 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 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 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 University mentor and participate in all University activities that are related to their educational, personal, social and spiritual growth.
  • Complete 30 hours per year of spiritual growth and development service
  • Complete 30 hours per year of community service
  • Leadership involvement
  • Attend and participate in spiritual retreats 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.)

Describe your involvement in High School activities.
Provide: One reference letter from either your high school principal or high school faculty member AND One non‐related character letter of reference.
Briefly state your career goals (in 25 words or less).
Please list and describe your Community Service involvement.
Submit a statement of financial need (not to exceed 300 words).
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.

Please note the following important dates:

  • Final deadline for all application materials: March 26th
  • Award letters forwarded to scholarship recipients only: June 1st
  • Acceptance letters and signed agreements due back to the Foundation: July 1st

Completed Application Check List

  1. Application
  2. High School Principal or Faculty Member Reference Letter
  3. Character Reference Letter
  4. Statement of Financial Need (300-words or less)
  5. Essay (600-word minimum)
  6. FAFSA (copy)***
  7. Official Transcript (copy)***
  8. Official College or University Acceptance Letter (copy)***

***These documents must be submitted via a separate email to Please include all documents in one email with the subject line "Additional Documents for Scholarship Application".