Scholarship Pageants and Talent Competitions

The following scholarships are for women based on participation in scholarship pageants and talent competitions.

In addition to considering these scholarships and the other scholarships for women on this web site, female students should use a free scholarship matching service, such as, to get a personalized list of scholarships and fellowships that match their background. A personalized list of scholarships and fellowships will include all scholarships that match any aspect of the student's background, not just those scholarships that are gender-specific.

Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972 (20 USC 1681-1688) specifies that education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance, such as colleges and universities, are banned from discriminating on the basis of sex. Normally, this would preclude most colleges from awarding scholarships to the winners of beauty pageants and talent competitions. However, there is an exception for beauty pageants in 20 USC 1681(a)(9):

Institutions of higher education scholarship awards in "beauty" pageants. This section shall not apply with respect to any scholarship or other financial assistance awarded by an institution of higher education to any individual because such individual has received such award in any pageant in which the attainment of such award is based upon a combination of factors related to the personal appearance, poise, and talent of such individual and in which participation is limited to individuals of one sex only, so long as such pageant is in compliance with other nondiscrimination provisions of Federal law.

Scholarships won in certain pageants and talent competitions may represent taxable income to the recipient, to the extent that they are compensatory in nature. For a scholarship to be tax-free, it must not represent a fee for services performed by the recipient. Yet, some scholarship pagenants require the winner to perform certain services for the scholarship-granting organization.

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