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Herbert Lehman Educational Fund Scholarships

Herbert Lehman Scholarships were initially awarded in 1964 by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) to help African-American students attend the formerly segregated four-year colleges and universities in the South and to increase the number of African-Americans in the legal profession. Lehman Scholarships are highly competitive, prestigious grants that have been awarded to America's most outstanding citizens, from federal judges to public servants including Marian Wright Edelman, Congressman James Clyburn, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Anita Hill. Today, Lehman Scholarships are awarded to students of outstanding character with a demonstrable interest in securing and fighting for social justice and equality for all people.


Lehman Scholarships are competitive scholarships and only 30-50 are awarded each year. Awards are decided holistically based on several criteria and are available to any high school senior, high school graduate or freshman in college who is attending a four-year, accredited college or university.

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 three strong recommendations from teachers, community representatives, or employers and write two 500-word essays.

Applications are available for download from the LDF website on November 1st of each year. Lehman applications are "fillable" PDF forms, which means students may download the application from the website, type directly onto the application form, save and edit as they see fit. Once complete, students should print out the final version and send it in to the Scholarship Program office.

Applications must be completed in their entirety to be considered. A complete application includes:
- a fully completed application form
- two 500-word essays
- three personal recommendations
- a transcript from the applicant's high school or college
- a photocopy of test scores (ACT, SAT, AP)
- a FAFSA/SAR form
- acceptance letters from the applicant's college/university of choice (if already received)

For more information, please visit our website or contact LDF directly at 212.965.2225 or scholarships@naacpldf.org

(Please note, LDF is a civil rights law firm and NOT the same organization as the NAACP, although we support that organization's mission.)

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