Love for animals and support for their well-being can be personally enriching in and of itself – animals’ love and companionship are priceless. But advocating for animal welfare – and recruiting others to the cause – can also help students pay for their education.
A number of organizations believe animal rights and love and compassion for animals are reasons enough to award scholarships. Here are several such opportunities for animal-rights activists and aspiring veterinarians.
The Humane Education Network, for example, partnering with the Animal Welfare Institute and with support from the Palo Alto Humane Society, offers the annual A Voice for Animals contest. Students ages 14-18 can win one of multiple awards totaling as much as $5,900 for winning essays, videos or photography. The network is against animal cruelty and works to develop solutions to stop animal suffering.
The 2017 competition is closed, but the 2018 deadlines will be announced in December. Entries must be submitted via an online form, typically between January and March.
High school seniors passionate about animal welfare can apply for the Pet Lifestyle and You organization’s annual $1,000 Scholars Helping Collars Scholarship. Applicants must write a 500- to 1,000-word essay about their volunteer efforts to help animals and how this has changed their life or their views of animal welfare. They should also include two to three photos of them volunteering.
College students passionate about animal care and well-being can also earn scholarships to fund their education. The AKC Humane Fund annually awards five John D. Spurling OBE Scholarships, totaling $10,000, to undergraduates enrolled full time in a curriculum that advances responsible pet ownership, including veterinary medicine and technology, physical therapy, animal care and behavior, and grooming and training.
Applicants must attend an accredited U.S. institution and use the award for tuition. Winners are chosen based on their academic record, experience with responsible pet ownership and two letters of recommendation.
Winners must agree to the AKC Humane Fund reporting process. The deadline to apply is July 1.
Pet Insurance U offers a $500 Animal Compassion Undergraduate Scholarship to an undergraduate veterinary student enrolled in degree programs at Western Association of Schools and Colleges-accredited schools. In addition to financial need, applicants must have strong academics, plans to pursue veterinary graduate studies and have demonstrated community outreach in animal advocacy and anti-cruelty programs.
Students may submit photos of their volunteer efforts along with their applications, which are due by June 30.
Oxbow Animal Health, which sells products for small and exotic animals, offers scholarship opportunities to students at various education levels who are seeking careers in either the pet industry or in animal nutrition and health.
These scholarships are $500 for high school seniors in Nebraska; a $1,000 award to current undergrads; a $1,000 veterinary medicine scholarship for students enrolled in veterinary school who show interest in exotic and small animal medicine; and two $500 veterinary technology awards to students pursuing careers as veterinary technicians, particularly caring for small and exotic animals.
Application requirements vary per scholarship but include essays and letters of recommendation. The 2017 award period closed on March 2. Keep an eye on the website for announcements for the 2018 cycle.
Scholarship opportunities extend beyond aspiring veterinary students. Law student members of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund who are committed to animal law may apply for the Advancement of Animal Law Scholarships. The ALDF awards three $5,000 scholarships to the first-place winners as well as $1,000 for each second-place finisher, the number of which varies every year.
Applicants should be active in their student ALDF chapter and plan to remain actively involved in animal defense following graduation. The scholarship also promotes leadership, and applicants should be interested in taking on leadership roles within their ALDF chapter if they receive the award.
To apply, current 1L and 2L students – or 3Ls in a four-year program – must submit two letters of recommendation, including one from a law school professor; a current academic transcript; and an updated resume. They must also answer several animal-welfare questions. The 2017 application cycle is closed, but check the website for updates on the 2018 submission deadlines.
Finally, the Catological Society for the Promotion of Animal Welfare awards a $1,000 scholarship for the best 500-word essay from a current undergraduate or graduate student on the habits people should adopt to bring about positive results for animal welfare. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents currently enrolled or enrolling at a U.S. institution. The deadline to apply is Aug. 1.
These are by no means the only scholarships that can help animal activists fund their education, but they are a good starting point for students.