Studying one of the largest religions in the world is both fascinating as well as challenging. There are several excellent religious studies programs offered at various colleges and universities across the United States and many more are offered internationally. One of the greatest sources of Buddhist scholarships programs are the individual Buddhist temples themselves. Usually to apply to these types of scholarships the applicant must have studied or worshipped at the church or temple that is granting the scholarship.
One of the most well known scholarship awards is the Tzu-Chi Scholarship which offers up to $1,000 per year for students to attend a college or university and participate in Buddhist studies. This award is only part of the services provided by this volunteer organization. Another organization that contributes an annual scholarship to students wanting to forward their understanding of Buddhism is the Khyentse Foundation, which has several requirements for students. The scholarship is also international as well as open to other professionals and interested individuals that may not be completing full-time study but are engaged in learning about and actively practicing Buddhism through study, retreats and structured learning. Since the scholarship is international, those awarded the scholarship can travel internationally to complete their program of study. Rather than being based on a specific amount the scholarship takes into consideration the goals of the student and the expenses involved. In most cases students will be expected to contribute financially to their education even when they are awarded the scholarship.
The The Association of Theravada Buddhist Universities provides information on various Buddhist study programs on an international level and also provides information on various member groups that provide scholarships and funding awards. Another program that offers a wide range of Buddhist scholarships can be found at the San Jose Buddhist Betsuin Church website which offers seven different scholarship programs. There is a requirement that the student and the family must have been a member of the church for at least one year prior to application for the scholarship and the student must be working towards a religious studies degree or program with a focus on furthering their knowledge and understanding of Buddhism. Some programs offered by this church are also in the business management field as well as in leaderships and community involvement roles both within and outside of the Buddhist temple.
Like all scholarships there are specific criteria for those with Buddhist affiliation. If your are interested in applying for these scholarships be aware that there is a cut off date after which applications will no longer be accepted for the next academic year.