Scholarships for Criminal Justice Students

Working in the criminal justice system is a calling for many who want to work in a field that brings criminals to justice and helps make society a better place. Jobs in the field range from forensic accounting and auditing to law enforcement and lawyers. Earning a criminal justice degree isn’t cheap, and neither is the cost of carrying student loans over the years. One option is to look for free college tuition online in the form of scholarships and get free college money to help you reduce the cost of criminal justice education. Scholarships help you save money on your education, and you can apply for multiple scholarships at the same time. Another important reminder is that scholarships aren’t limited to first-year students. Many scholarships offer free college money to students throughout their educational years, helping you save money as you get your degree.

Never assume that it’s not worth your time to apply for a scholarship because you think there are too many people applying, and you’re less likely to win. Scholarships are awarded based on merit and need. If you’re a part of a minority group, you can find scholarships that are geared towards improving access of minorities to the field of criminal justice. Always take advantage of your personal situation when it comes to applying to scholarships as it improves your odds of winning free money for college. 

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1. Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship Program

The Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship Program is offered by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), and is named after two members who were killed by terrorists while working in Karachi, Pakistan. The scholarship gives students an opportunity to get an education to become a fraud examiner as part of their criminal justice degree. Free college money comes in the form of scholarship reward amounts are $10,000, $5,000, $2,500, and $1,000, and includes a one-year membership to ACFE’s Student Associate program. 

In order to be eligible for the reward, applicants have to be enrolled for a minimum of 9 semester hours per term. They must be in the second half of their sophomore year when applying and are currently enrolled at an accredited four-year college or university for the upcoming school year. When you submit a completed Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship application, provide official school transcripts of completed courses and have two completed recommendation forms from appropriate educators submitted on behalf of an applicant.

2. The Christopher W. Keyser Scholarship

The Christopher W. Keyser Scholarship fund was created as a way to provide financial support for students who are working on starting a career in the field of law. Students who are enrolled in a four-year college or university for the upcoming fall semester are eligible to apply, but can’t apply if they are graduating in the spring semester. Exceptions are made for graduating college students that have enrolled in law school for the next fall semester. The scholarship awards $1,000 to a successful applicant

The scholarship requires applicants to write an essay between 2,000 to 3,000 words on a topic that’s provided on the scholarship webpage. The completed essay must be saved as a Word document and sent to the email listed on the website, and a cover letter has to be submitted separately from the essay. Essays are checked for plagiarism, and any essays found to be plagiarized will be rejected. Applications have to be submitted between May 1 and July 31 of each year to be considered. The committee reviews applications and notifies all applicants of its decision by August 31 of each year. 

3. Dolman Law Group College Scholarship Video Essay Contest 

Dolman Law, an accident and injury law group, offers a bi-annual scholarship to a current or prospective law student who submits a 60-second video essay that addresses the issue laid out in the application. The topic for the video changes for each scholarship offered, and the topic and deadline are found on the scholarship page of the law firm’s website. Applicants are judged on their ability to keep the video to no longer than 60 seconds, originality, creativity, feasibility, and the ability of the applicant to demonstrate their potential for success as a lawyer. 

Applicants must meet eligibility requirements in order to participate in the scholarship contest. An applicant must be currently attending or planning to attend a college or university during the upcoming academic year, have good academic standing with the school, apply to the contest via email, and provide your full name along with the school you’re attending or plan to attend and provide the video essay by the current deadline in order to get free college money online. The scholarship check will be sent directly to the university or college of the winning applicant. 

4. Mike Eidson Law Student Scholarship

The Mike Eidson Law Student Scholarship offered through American Association for Justice (AAJ) is administered by the Woman Trial Lawyers Caucus. It awards a $5,000 scholarship to a female student that’s entering her third year of law school, or fourth year of night school, and has a demonstrated commitment to a career as a trial lawyer. The winner of the scholarship also gets a travel stipend and registration to attend the annual AAJ convention. It’s free college money that comes in handy and can help reduce the cost of a law degree for an eligible scholar.

Applications for the scholarship are accepted from February 1 to May 1 of each year. Applicants must be enrolled in an ABA-approved law school and complete an application package with information including the application, a resume, a letter outlining the applicant’s interest as a trial lawyer, dedication to upholding and defending the Constitution, and how the applicant has demonstrated such, and a verification form. 

5. Richard D. Hailey Law Student Scholarship

The Richard D. Hailey Law Student Scholarship is named in honor of AAJ’s first person of color to serve as president. The scholarship consists of a $5,000 award to a minority law student member who’s entering their first, second, or third year of law school. A successful applicant will be able to show an interest and proficiency in trial advocacy skills, promotes accountability and safety, has a desire to represent people who have been injured by the misconduct or negligence of others, demonstrates a commitment to AAJ, and can show a financial need for the scholarship. 

Applicants need to be enrolled in an ABA-approved law school and submit a completed application package that contains a resume, 500-word personal statement about how you meet the criteria, a maximum of three recommendations from a trial advocacy professor, faculty adviser, dean, AAJ member, or trial lawyer, and a student status verification form. 

6. Trial Advocacy Law Student Scholarship

The Trial Advocacy Law Student Scholarship is available to all AAJ law student members who are entering their second or third year of law school. The scholarship offers $3,000 to the applicant who can best demonstrate a commitment to the organization and its mission, interest, and skill in trial advocacy, a desire to represent victims, and financial need. Applicants also need to show an interest in promoting accountability and safety.

Applications for the scholarship are accepted from February 1 to May 1 of each year, and applicants must be an AAJ law student members and enrolled in an ABA-approved law school. The application package needs to include a completed application form, a resume, statement of financial need, 500-word personal statement that explains how the student meets the criteria, a maximum of three recommendations from a faculty adviser, dean, trial advocacy professor, or trial lawyer, and a student status verification form. 

7. Leesfield Law Student Scholarship

The Leesfield Law Student Scholarship is sponsored by AAJ member Ira Leesfield. It awards $1,500 to a first- or second-year law student and is intended to help subsidize the law student member’s attention at the annual convention held by AAJ. The conference is an opportunity for law students to find success in their careers as a trial lawyer and network with top trial lawyers from around the country. The students will also get access to the latest in trial advocacy issues at continuing education programs, and meet members from the AAJ’s New Lawyer Division.

Applicants must be an AAJ Law Student member, be enrolled in an ABA-approved law school, and complete, then submit an application package. The application package needs to include a resume, statement of financial need, a 500-word written statement that demonstrates the applicants desire to preserve the civil justice system, and have a maximum of three recommendations from a faculty adviser, dean, AAJ member, trial advocacy professor, or trial lawyer, and a student status verification form. 


The Marcia J. Koslov Scholarship is offered through the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). It provides scholarships to AALL members who work in a government law library and are attending continuing education programs. Government law libraries include state, court, or county libraries, and the funds enable recipients to attend continuing education presented by the Institute for Court Management, the Center for Legal and Court Technology, the Equal Justice Conference, or other continuing education programs that are intended for government law library employees. 

Applications for scholarships are accepted by April 1 of each year, and recipients are notified by June with the disbursement of the awards to happen shortly afterward. An application has to include a copy of the conference or seminar information, a personal statement that includes financial information, interest in law librarianship, and career goals as a librarian, and a current resume that shows evidence of work experience, academic achievement, and professional participation. 

9. AALL George A Strait Scholarship

The George A. Strait Minority Scholarship was created in honor of longtime AALL member and law librarian George A. Strait. Selected recipients receive a lump-sum award that’s based on available funds and the number of successful applicants for a given year. Qualified applicants must be enrolled in an ALA-accredited library graduate school program or law school, be a member of a recognized minority group, have intent to pursue a law librarianship career, and complete the application for the scholarship. 

Applicants are required to submit the most recent transcript from their current school and the institution that granted their most recent degree. Two letters of recommendation from people who have knowledge of the applicant’s abilities and experience are required. A personal statement that lays out financial information that shows the jury your need for financial assistance, the reason for interest in law librarianship, and career goals as a law librarian is required as is a resume. 

10. Brian Terry Scholarship

The Brian Terry Scholarship is for students who are intending to study criminal justice or a related field and have plans to eventually pursue a career in law enforcement. Scholars are selected based on their desire to have a positive impact on their community, a commitment to social justice, and previous academic success. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis and close once the foundation receives 100 applications for the upcoming academic year, making it one of the more competitive scholarships for free college money.

Applicants for the Brian Terry Scholarship must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, be a citizen or legal resident of the U.S., and graduating from high school or currently attending or planning to attend college for an undergraduate degree. The scholarship provides annual funding for academic expenses that include tuition, books, and living expenses. It also provides access to a national community of peers, mentors, and law enforcement figures. Also included are opportunities for leadership development. 


How can I find different criminal justice scholarships?

The easiest way to find different criminal justice scholarships is to use a search engine to identify organizations that offer scholarships. There are a number of scholarships available for those who are seeking a career in the criminal justice field that range from assistance with law school tuition to forensic investigators, law librarians, and law enforcement officers. The field of criminal justice is a wide and varied one, and so are the available scholarships. As you search, make sure to refine your queries to reflect the type of criminal justice career you’re seeking to enter. For example, you want to work as a lawyer in criminal defense. You should add a criminal defense lawyer to your scholarship search to include law firms that offer a scholarship to students who want to enter into this line of work.

The more variables you can add to your search, the better your results. If you’re part of a minority group, there are scholarships tailored to these traits and can give you an edge when it comes to finding free college tuition online. These scholarships are aimed at minority groups to help increase their representation in the field of criminal justice and should be applied for as long as an applicant can qualify. 

Will your job pay for your tuition?

A job will pay for criminal justice tuition if it offers a tuition reimbursement program or has a policy of paying for employees to return to school and earn a degree related to the employer’s line of business. The best way to find out if your job will pay for your tuition is to research the company. Employers who have tuition programs will often advertise the fact on their websites in order to help attract talent and retain them. If an employer doesn’t offer tuition reimbursement or pay for a degree in some form, the best way to get free college money is to apply for scholarships that relate to your chosen area of criminal justice. 

What’s the easiest way to get a criminal justice scholarship?

The easiest way to get a criminal justice scholarship is to apply. You need to make the effort to show a scholarship foundation that you are in need of financial assistance, are based on the merit you display and are worthy of the funds on offer. There are no shortcuts or easy ways to get a criminal justice scholarship outside of this process. Applying for scholarships is worth the effort even though it takes time to find out if you’re going to win the award or not. Success means you get to save money on your tuition and take out less in the way of student loans.

What are the 3 branches of criminal justice?

The three branches of criminal justice include: legislative, executive, and judicial. They exist at all levels of government from local to state and federal and are administered by the police, corrections, and courts.

Laws are created in the legislative branch with Congress being responsible for passing laws on the federal level and state legislatures passing laws on the state level. Local governments also create laws that apply within their incorporated boundaries, and the county passes laws that apply to areas that are unincorporated. This layering of laws enables governments of all sizes and localities to pass laws that are tailored to the needs of the citizenry that reside within the boundaries. 

The executive branch is responsible for enforcing the laws and the control of those who violate the law. This duty is given to police departments and correctional institutions. The police arrest criminals, charge them with crime, then remand them into custody until a decision is made to grant bail or imprison the individual until court. 

The judicial branch handles the trial and sentencing of an individual who has broken the law. A judge and/or jury review the evidence presented to them by the attorney for the accused, take into consideration the impact of their actions on an individual or business, the impact on society as a whole if the individual were released back into the community, and make a legally binding decision on the charges against the individual. 

What are jobs in criminal justice?

The most common types of jobs in the area of criminal justice are positions that relate to the capture, prosecution, and punishment of those who break the law in one form or another. People who are employed by the criminal justice system fulfill a variety of functions and roles that ensure that individuals who break the law are caught and get their day in court. The police are the first level of the criminal justice system. They’re charged with upholding the law and arresting those who break it. After the police have arrested and charged a criminal, that criminal then moves onto the next level of the criminal justice system: the court. Jobs at the court level include law enforcement, lawyers, and various support positions to help the court operate smoothly.

Other jobs in criminal justice include working in positions that are directly or indirectly related to criminal justice. They include:

  • Investigator 
  • Correctional officer
  • Crime prevention specialist
  • Criminal profiler
  • Probation officer
  • Federal agent
  • Forensic accountant
  • Fraud investigator

Is a criminal justice major hard?

The use of the word hard in regard to a criminal justice degree is relative. Some people view the act of going to college as an extension of high school and have no problem with academic learning. Others have a more difficult time learning in an educational setting but thrive when they get into a criminal justice degree program that meets their aptitudes and skills. This is why it’s important for all types of learners to investigate the types of jobs available in the field of criminal justice and identify ones that align with their personal interests and talents. Compatibility with a given criminal justice degree program can lead to a better educational outcome as well as position you for a satisfying and rewarding career. 

It’s worth noting that the toughest major in the field of criminal justice is that of a lawyer. You need a bachelor’s degree before you can apply for law school, and then spend another three years in school to qualify to sit for the bar exam and become licensed as a lawyer in your state. In contrast, you can become a law enforcement officer with an associate’s degree in criminal justice that can be earned in two years or less. The difference comes down to on-the-job training. Some jobs in the criminal justice field prefer to train people from the ground up in order to fit in with the organizational culture while other jobs require a thorough understanding of the role before entering into employment.

Is it worth Applying for a Scholarship?

Scholarships for college tuition are worth applying for in order to get free college money and take out less in student loans. You’ll find that there are a lot of scholarship options for criminal justice degree programs when looking for free college tuition online to help pay for school. Use search engines to help you find as many scholarships as you can find and apply to any and all that are relevant to your educational needs and personal status. Sometimes a scholarship has an obscure requirement that is in alignment with your desired education or status and doesn’t get much in the way of applications. Always make your best case no matter how small or large the scholarship award may be as winning free college money is always preferable to taking out a loan. 


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