Career Development Grants

Funding: $2,000–$12,000
Opens: August 1
Deadline: November 15

Career Development Grants provide funding to women who hold a bachelor’s degree and are preparing to advance or change careers or re-enter the workforce in education, health and medical sciences, or social sciences. Primary consideration is given to women of color and women pursuing their first advanced degree or credentials in nontraditional fields.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents whose last degree was received before June 30, 2014. Funds are available for tuition, fees, books, supplies, local transportation and dependent care.

AAUW originally designed Career Development Grants in 1972 to offer “encouragement” funding to AAUW members seeking to renew or resume academic work for credit toward career or employment advancement.

Today, grants support course work beyond a bachelor’s degree, including a master’s degree, second bachelor’s degree, certification program or specialized training in technical or professional fields. Course work must be taken at an accredited two- or four-year college or university in the United States or at a technical school that is fully licensed or accredited by the U.S. Department of Education. Funds are not available for doctorate-level work.

$2,000–12,000

August 1, 2021
Application opens.

November 15, 2021, by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time
Deadline for online submission of application and supporting documents.

April 15, 2022
Notification of decisions emailed to applicants. AAUW is not able to honor requests for earlier notification.

July 1, 2022–June 30, 2023
Grant year

When a date falls on a weekend or holiday, the date will be observed on the following business day.

Career Development Grants are open to individuals who identify as women and:

  • are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • hold an earned (not honorary) bachelor’s degree.
  • received their bachelor’s degree on or before June 30, 2014.
  • do not hold an earned (not honorary) graduate or professional degree.
  • plan to enroll or are enrolled in courses/activities that are required for professional employment or advancement, and
  • plan to enroll or are enrolled in one of the following program types:
    • Bachelor’s or associate degree program that is different from the field of study of the previously earned bachelor’s degree.
    • Master’s degree program.
    • Certification program.
    • Technical school.
  • Plan to enroll or are enrolled in one of the following fields of study:
    • Education.
    • Health and Medical Sciences.
    • Social Sciences.

All courses of study must occur at a regionally accredited two- or four-year college or university in the United States or at a technical school that is fully licensed and/or accredited by the U.S. Department of Education. Applicants must reside within the United States during the grant period.

Distance or online learning programs will be funded only if they are conducted through an accredited institution appearing on the U.S. Department of Education’s list of approved online/distance learning programs. Final decisions about what constitutes distance learning under these grants will be made by AAUW.

Applicants are required to indicate their matriculation status within the application. While applicants are not required to already be enrolled or accepted into their preferred institution of study in order to apply, preference is given to those who are able to demonstrate strong commitment or intent in following the proposed plan of study. Awardees must be able to show proof of admission when submitting their acceptance materials.

Career Development Grant funding is not available for:

  • Prerequisite coursework.
  • Professional degree in law, business or medicine.
  • Doctoral coursework or dissertations.

Career Development Grants are not open to previous recipients of any AAUW national fellowship or grant (not including branch or local awards or Community Action Grants). Members of the AAUW Board of Directors, committees, panels, task forces and staff, including current interns, are not eligible to apply for AAUW’s fellowships and grants. A person holding a current award is eligible for election or appointment to boards, committees, panels and task forces.

The panel meets once a year to review applications for funding. Awards are based on the criteria outlined here. The panel’s recommendations are subject to final approval by AAUW. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis according to funds available in a given fiscal year.

To ensure a fair review process, AAUW does not comment on the deliberations of the awards panels. AAUW does not provide evaluations of applications. No provisions exist for reconsideration of grant proposals. Applications and supporting documents become the sole property of AAUW and will not be returned or held for another year.

The following criteria apply to the selection of Career Development Grants:

  • Demonstrated commitment to education and equity for women and girls.
  • Reason for seeking higher education or technical training.
  • Degree to which study plan is consistent with career objectives.
  • Potential for success in chosen field.
  • Documentation of opportunities in chosen field.
  • Feasibility of study plans and proposed time schedule.
  • Validity of proposed budget and budget narrative, including sufficient outside support.
    Quality of written proposal.
  • Applicant is from an underrepresented racial/ethnic background.
  • Applicant will be in an underrepresented area of the country and/or type of university other than a top-level research institution during the award year.
  • Applicant is seeking credentials in a nontraditional field.
  • Financial need.

Career Development Grant funds are available for:

  • Educational expenses.
  • Living expenses.
  • Dependent child care.
  • Travel to professional meetings, conferences, or seminars that does not exceed 10% of the grant total.

Except where expressly stated otherwise, Career Development Grants are NOT available for:

  • Purchase of equipment.
  • Indirect costs.
  • Research assistants.
  • Previous expenditures, deficits or repayment of loans.
  • Publication costs.
  • Institutional (overhead) costs.
  • Tuition for dependent’s education

AAUW regards the acceptance of a grant as a contract requiring fulfillment of the following terms:

  • Career Development Grants are one-time-only awards.
  • Career Development Grants are direct financial assistance to the applicant and cannot be administered by an academic institution or organization at which the applicant is employed.
  • Funding may not be used for activities that will benefit, supplement or aid academic institutions with which applicants are affiliated.
  • Career Development Grants do not provide funding for partial year coursework, prerequisite coursework or coursework that begins before July 1, 2022, or ends after June 30, 2023. Grants may not be deferred.
  • All Career Development Grant recipients are required to sign a contract as acceptance of the award. Retain these instructions, as they will become part of the grant contract if the applicant is awarded a grant.
  • Grants are awarded in two equal payments at the beginning and the midpoint of the fiscal year (pending receipt of a satisfactory midyear progress report).
  • Stipends are made payable to grantees, not to institutions.
  • The determination of whether there is a tax obligation associated with the receipt of an AAUW award is the sole responsibility of the applicant. Specific questions regarding income tax matters should be addressed with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, the applicant’s financial aid office or a personal tax adviser. AAUW cannot provide tax advice. AAUW is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity founded for educational purposes.

Start the application process by clicking the Apply Now button below to access the application and create an account through our vendor site. Complete all required components in the following tabs.

  • Start
  • Background
  • Proposal
  • Recommendation & Review
    • Recommendation:
      • Your recommendation must be submitted by a college counselor or adviser, an instructor or a work supervisor who knows you well. AAUW does not accept references from dossier services, such as Parment or Interfolio.

See More Fellowship and Grant Opportunities

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For questions or technical support from ISTS, our technical consultant, please email aauw@applyists.com. Enter AAUW-CDG if the website prompts you for a program key. We encourage applicants not to opt out of communications from ISTS, to ensure you receive important communications from AAUW.

Meet a Current Career Development Grantee

Sabrina Baffert is a project manager at Primordial Genetics, a startup biotechnology company in San Diego. Her work focuses on the development of more efficient RNA polymerases for use in manufacturing vaccines that are used to impact genetic and viral diseases like Covid-19. She received her bachelor’s degree In biomedical science from Northern Arizona University in 2013 and is currently pursuing a master of public health degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Meet Our Alumnae

Head shot of 2014-15 Career Development Grantee Niken Astari-Carpenter

Niken Astari-Carpenter

The 2014–15 Career Development Grantee completed her master’s in business administration and management. Niken currently works as the executive assistant to the mayor of Erie, Pennsylvania. She is Erie’s first liaison to refugees and immigrants.

Head shot of 2011-12 Career Development Grantee Keiko Petrosky

Keiko Petrosky

The 2011–12 Career Development Grantee completed her doctorate in veterinary medicine. She is currently the senior manager, Access Value and Evidence Strategy (AVES) at bluebird bio.

Head shot of 2018-19 Career Development Grantee Carolyn Moore

Carolyn Moore

The 2018-19 Career Development Grantee is pursuing her masters in management and leadership at Western Governors University in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is the fire captain in the St. Louis Fire Department and the only African-American woman commissioned officer serving in the department.