CFA® Women Scholarships: Investing in Your Future

Female analyst making a presentation to her colleagues in the office conference room

The finance industry is a highly competitive and male-dominated field. Women often face additional challenges when pursuing a career in finance, such as the lack of representation and fewer opportunities for advancement. One way to tackle this roadblock is by providing scholarships. Not only can offering scholarships exclusively for women help provide financial assistance and increase their representation, but it also addresses the gender pay gap by providing women with the same opportunities.

Some ways that scholarships designated for women can further this goal include 

  1. Provide access to traditionally male-dominated roles: When more financial resources are available to women working towards their CFA® Charter, their career paths expand, leading to more gender diversity in the workplace

  2. Provide access to educational resources: Women are typically at a disadvantage to men when trying to gain access to the educational resources needed to advance their careers. By providing educational opportunities and resources to women, they can better navigate their career trajectory

  3. Provide pay equality: Women continue to earn less than men. When women are given resources to help in their education and certifications, like the CFA Charter, they can work towards closing the gender pay gap by earning higher salaries

Scholarships for Women offered by the CFAI®

The Chartered Financial Analyst Institute (CFAI®) offers different scholarships to help offset the financial burden of pursuing the CFA designation, making it more accessible for women who may face additional financial barriers. Here are the scholarships that are offered exclusively for female candidates.

CFAI Women’s Scholarship

CFAI offers the Women’s Scholarship globally to women interested in obtaining the CFA Charter but not eligible for other CFAI scholarships. Currently, there is no set deadline for awarding the Women’s Scholarships. The recipients are awarded a free CFA Program enrollment, reducing the CFA Exam registration fee to $350

Eligible scholarship candidates must:

  1. Either be new or continuing candidates in the CFA Program
  2. Be in good standing with the CFAI 

Women in Investment Scholarship

One of the most well-known scholarships for women in finance is the CFA Institute Women in Investment Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to women currently enrolled in the CFA Program and committed to pursuing a career in investment management. The scholarship covers the cost of the CFA Program enrollment fee and exam fees for Levels 1 and 2 and provides a grant to support the candidate’s professional development. 

Women in Investment Mentorship Scholarship

Another scholarship program for women in finance is the CFA Institute Women in Investment Mentorship Program. This program matches female scholarship recipients with experienced mentors in the investment management industry. The mentors provide guidance and support to help scholarship recipients navigate the challenges of the finance industry and achieve their career goals.

Other CFA Institute Scholarships available for everyone include

  1. Access Scholarship | $ 250: Awarded to candidates who cannot afford the CFAI program fees
  2. Student Scholarship | $ 350: Awarded to university students who still need to register for their next CFA Exam
  3. Professor Scholarship | $ 350: Awarded to full-time college or university professors or administrator/department heads who teach a certain number of credit hours and have yet to register for the CFA Exam
  4. Regulator Scholarship | $ 350: Awarded to employees of entities that oversee or regulate operations, standards of practice, or business conduct of the investment management industry

Other Outside CFA Women Scholarships

In addition to these scholarships, several organizations and institutions offer scholarships specifically for women in finance. 

For instance: 

  • The Women in Finance Scholarship offered by the CFA Society of the UK, is awarded to women who are committed to pursuing a career in finance and are currently enrolled in the CFA Program.

  • The International Women’s Forum (IWF) offers several scholarships for women interested in pursuing a career in finance and earning their CFA designation.

  • The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and the National Association of Women in Finance (NAWF) are awarded to women interested in pursuing a career in finance and committed to working in the field.

These scholarships cover the cost of the CFA Program enrollment fee and exam fees and provide a grant to support the candidate’s professional development. 

Another way for women to gain financial assistance for their CFA studies is through their employers. Many employers offer tuition reimbursement programs for employees pursuing professional designations, such as the CFA charter. Women should check with their HR department or direct manager to see if their company has such a program.

It’s worth noting that most of these scholarships are merit-based, so candidates must demonstrate their commitment to a career in finance and their academic and professional achievements. Moreover, these scholarships can provide financial assistance to cover the cost of the CFA Program enrollment fee and exam fees and provide additional resources to support the candidate’s professional development.

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