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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

Please note:

The Herbert Lehman Education Fund Scholarship application process for  the 2015-2016 academic year will begin on

Jan 1, 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.  Today, Lehman Scholarships are awarded to students of outstanding character who are entering college for the first time or who are beginning their sophomore years in college and who will be attending an accredited four-year college or university as a full-time undergraduate student.

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

Lehman Scholarship candidates must be of excellent character and be able to present strong academic records, test scores, and personal essays.  A candidate must have a demonstrable record of community and school involvement that reveals exceptional leadership potential with a capacity to work well in diverse settings.  Moreover, s/he must provide strong recommendations from teachers, community representatives, or employers. 

Lehman Scholarship applicants may be seniors in high school, high school graduates or freshmen currently enrolled in college or university.

Successful Lehman Scholarship applicants must be planning to attend or currently attending an accredited, four-year college or university.

How to Apply

Beginning January 1, 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 scholarships@naacpldf.org or by writing to:

The Herbert Lehman Education Fund
c/o NAACP LDF
40 Rector Street, 5th floor
New York, NY 10006

You must include an email address with your note. 

Applicants are expected to give considerable care to the preparation of their application, including their essays and supporting documents.  They should remember the following:

  • Applications that are incomplete, late or do not otherwise conform to instructions, will not be reviewed.
  • Applications and supporting materials must be received (postmarked) by March 31.
  • Final decisions on applications are not usually made before June 30 each year.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When is the application deadline for the Herbert Lehman Education Fund
    Applications must be returned (or post-marked) by March 31. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

  • Are essays required as a part of the Lehman and Warren applications?
    Yes. Both the Lehman Scholarship and the Earl Warren Scholarship require two essays of approximately 500 words each. You may pick two of four essay topics. Keep in mind that the essays provide you with an opportunity to tell us something about yourself that cannot be determined from your academic record and recommendations.

  • Who can write my letters of recommendation?
    We ask for three letters of recommendation and ask that at least one be from a professor, teacher, principal or high school guidance counselor. You may also provide letters of recommendation from an employer, clergy member, coach, or mentor.We do not accept letters of recommendations from friends or family

  • Is there a minimum SAT, ACT, or GPA requirement to receive a Herbert Lehman?
    There is no minimum test score or GPA requirement. Candidates are judged holistically and by the full sum of their achievements and contributions. Any application review will take into account a candidate’s GPA, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, 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?
    No.
  • 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 download an application from this website?
    Yes. Applications for the 2015-2016 academic year will be available for download beginning November 1.

  • May I request an application by phone or e-mail?
    Yes, you may request an application by email by sending a request to scholarships@naacpldf.org. 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?
    No. APPLICATIONS MAY NOT BE FAXED OR EMAILED.

  • I am currently a freshman in college. May I still apply for a scholarship?
    Yes, but sophomores, juniors and seniors are not eligible to apply. Seniors in college may, of course, apply for an Earl Warren Scholarship if they have been accepted to an accredited law school.

  • 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 July 31.

  • 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. Any other programs will make an applicant ineligible to receive or apply for a Lehman Scholarship.

  • I am over 21 years-old and my parents are not contributing any financial support towards funding my education. Do I still need to fill in their financial contribution information on my application?
    No. If you are over 21 years of age and/or if you are certain that your parents will not be contributing financially to your higher education costs, whether undergraduate or law school, you do not need to fill in the parental contribution section.

  • I am a freshman in college and I'm interested in applying for a Herbert Lehman Scholarship. May I reuse my recommendations from high school? May I use my test scores and transcript from high school as well?
    Although you may submit your test scores from high school, you should submit the transcript of your first semester from college for your grades. This transcript also replaces the college admission letter required of high school seniors and graduates.