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"The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is simply the best civil rights law firm in American history." -- President Obama

The Herbert Lehman Education Fund Scholarship

May 1, 2015 

The application for the 2015 - 2016 Herbert Lehman award is now closed.

Applications for the 2016 - 2017 academic year will be available on November 30, 2015.

The Herbert Lehman Scholarship is a national, highly competitive scholarship program that makes annual awards to qualified, outstanding undergraduate students.  The scholarship was established in 1964 and is named after the former Governor and United States Senator from New York State.  LDF chose to honor Senator Lehman in recognition of his integrity, persistence, and valor on behalf of numerous civil rights causes.

Herbert Lehman Scholarships were initially awarded to help African-American students attend formerly segregated four-year colleges and universities in the South and to increase the number of African-Americans in the legal profession. 

The mission of the Herbert Lehman Fund is to help transform the promise of racial equality into a social, economic, and political reality for all people by supporting talented undergraduate students who need financial help to stay in school and successfully complete their bachelor’s degree.

Awards generally do not exceed four years.

Students who are interested in applying for Herbert Lehman Scholarships are strongly encouraged to review the eligibility criteria and program description before submitting an application. 

Eligibility & Award Criteria

  • U.S. Citizen
  • Graduating high school senior; first year student in an accredited four year college; or a student transferring into an accredited four year college
  • Financial need
  • Record of academic achievement
  • Demonstrated commitment to public service

Herbert Lehman Awards are $2,000 per year for four years (as long as scholars remain in good academic standing) for a total of $8,000.  Deadline for the scholarship is May 1, 2015. Final decisions are made by the end of August.  LDF will notify applicants if they are selected for the award.

Scholarship Application Checklist – Your application must contain all eight items listed:

  • Completed Scholarship Application Form
  • Copy of acceptance letter to college you will attend
  • 2 recommendation letters in signed and sealed envelopes
  • 1 essay
  • Official transcript from current school
  • Copy of SAT or ACT test score
  • Copy of your Student Aid Report (FAFSA)
  • Résumé

How to Apply

Beginning   November 30, 2015, our fillable PDF application will be available for download for the academic year.  Please note:  applicants may type directly onto the Lehman application form, save their information on that form and edit it as they see fit.  Lehman applications should not be filled in by hand.  If you are unable to download the application, please send a note of inquiry to the scholarship programs at or by writing to:

The Herbert Lehman Education Fund
40 Rector Street, 5th floor
New York, NY 10006

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When is the application deadline for the Herbert Lehman Education Fund
    Applications must be returned (or post-marked) by May 1, 2015. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

  • Is there a minimum SAT, ACT, or GPA requirement to receive a Herbert Lehman?
    There is no minimum test score or GPA requirement. Any application review will take into account a candidate’s GPA, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, financial need, volunteer activities and personal essays; however, no single component of an application will determine a scholarship award.

  • Am I eligible for a scholarship if I am not a U.S. citizen?
  • May I apply online?
    No. You must download a “fillable” PDF application to your computer and fill in the information by typing directly onto the form. Handwritten applications will not be accepted.

  • May I request an application by phone or e-mail?
    Yes, you may request an application by email by sending a request to This option is only available if an applicant is completely unable to download the application available on this website. In such rare events, applications will be sent to the applicant as a fillable PDF to the email address of his or her choice.

  • May I fax or email my application to LDF?

  • How/when are awardees notified? Will I be notified if I don’t receive an award?
    Applicants for the Herbert Lehman Scholarship will be notified by mail of the award decision by the end of  August 2015.

  • What is the amount of an average scholarship award? Is the award renewable for each year that I am in school
    Generally, Lehman Scholarships provide $2,000 annual grants. All awards may be renewed for each year of school provided the student continues full-time study, remains in good academic standing with his or her college or university, and fulfills all other program requirements.

  • May I apply for a Lehman Scholarship if I am not attending university in the United States?
    No. Lehman scholarships are only available to students who will be attending universities and colleges in the United States.

  • I will be attending a community college next year. May I apply for a Lehman Scholarship?
    No. Lehman Scholarships are only available to students who will be attending four-year colleges or universities full time. If you are transferring from community college to a four-year college or university, you may apply to the scholarship. Any other programs will make an applicant ineligible to receive or apply for a Lehman Scholarship.