Select Page

Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship Award

aaronsApplications for the 2018-2019 Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship have now closed. Check back in Spring 2019 for the 2019-2020 scholarship application.

Leroy F. Aarons dedicated his life to journalism. He believed that the LGBTQ community could advance if the news media fairly and accurately portrayed the lives of LGBTQ individuals and their issues. This simple but visionary idea became the foundation for NLGJA.

Aarons knew that coverage of the LGBTQ community, as well as that of other minority communities, required increasing sophistication and training for journalists. He realized early that improving coverage had to start in the training camps for young journalists – journalism schools at the nation’s colleges and universities. In NLGJA’s 15th year, the Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship Award was established to honor Aarons’ memory and to continue the work he began when he founded NLGJA in 1990.

The scholarship award for the 2018-2019 academic year will provide up to $5,000 in tuition funding to an LGBTQ student who plans a career in journalism and is committed to furthering NLGJA’s mission of fair and accurate coverage of the LGBTQ community.

Recipients of the Aarons Scholarship receive the award at NLGJA’s annual New York Benefit: Headlines & Headliners. Attendance, travel and accommodations are provided by NLGJA.

NLGJA is grateful to its members, friends and corporate sponsors who have contributed to the NLGJA Scholarship Fund, including CNN’s inaugural gift of $100,000 in January of 2006.

Applicants must be planning to pursue a career in journalism, be able to demonstrate their passion and commitment to the profession. Selection will be based on journalistic and scholastic ability. Applicants also must demonstrate an awareness of the issues facing the LGBTQ community and the importance of fair and accurate news coverage.

For undergraduates, a declared major in journalism and/or communications is desirable but not required. Non-journalism majors may demonstrate their commitment to a journalism career through work samples, internships, and work on a school news publication, online news service or broadcast affiliate.

Graduate students must be enrolled in a journalism program.

Applicants must be NLGJA members in good standing.

Who Can Apply

  • Current or incoming undergrad students enrolled in a U.S. community college or four-year university. Proof of acceptance or current enrollment required.
  • Current or incoming graduate students enrolled in an accredited journalism or mass communications field. Proof of acceptance or current enrollment required.

How to Apply
A complete application package should be submitted electronically. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Application packages should include:

  • Application.
  • One-page résumé.
  • Five work samples as described under work samples.
  • Proof of attendance: a letter of acceptance or a letter of enrollment from a U.S. community college or four-year university (contact for exceptions). Scanned coppies accepted.
  • Write and publish a news story to tumblr of words and multimedia. Pick one story topic:
    • Profile a senior LGBTQ activist in your community. Use text, video, audio, stills, and/or infographics to show this person’s story and role in the community.
    • Address a legislative initiative in your community that impacts the LGBTQ population. Use text, video, audio, stills, and/or infographics to show the impact.
    • Cover an LGBTQ event in your community. Use text, video, audio, stills, and/or infographics to cover different aspects of the event.
    • Have a great idea that’s not mentioned here? Pitch it to our staff:

Any audio or video element should be between 2 and 5 minutes. Photo galleries should have between 10 and 30 photos. Infographics should be limited to two graphics. Text should be no more than 750 words. 

Stories do not require all elements, but should be designed for online consumption where users expect a rich multi media presentation. 

  • Official transcript, scanned digital copies accepted. Please mail physical copies to:

Aarons Scholarship – NLGJA
2120 L St NW, Suite 850
Washington, DC 20037

Please send applications questions to and include the name of the applicant in the subject line.

Application Fee
There is no application fee for the Leroy F. Aarons Scholarship.

NLGJA partnered with The Philadelphia Foundation (TPF), a community foundation established in 1918, to administer the NLGJA Student Scholarship Fund. The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund, a component fund of TPF serving to advance philanthropy within the LGBTQ communities, will disburse the scholarship awards upon receiving recommendation from NLGJA during each award period.

Work Samples

  • Print – Samples written by the applicant and published in a high school, college or community newspaper, magazine or online news service. Samples should be submitted as scans in either *.jpg or *.pdf formats.
  • Video – Should be submitted via e-mail when possible. Embedded video, file downloads or web addresses are also acceptable. Work samples may contain more than one story but should be no longer than 10 minutes.
  • Audio – Should be submitted via e-mail when possible. File downloads or web addresses are also acceptable. Work samples may contain more than one story but should be no longer than 10 minutes.
  • Photographic – Images should be examples of published work from a high school, college or community newspaper, magazine or online news service. Published submissions and/or originals should be submitted in *.jpg, *.pdf, *.tif or *.gif formats.

Deadline and Schedule
Information about application deadlines will be available soon. NLGJA is not responsible for any incomplete or late applications, nor any late applications due to e-mail delays. The recipient will be notified about their award in July 2018.

*Any undelivered application will be considered incomplete.

Excellence Contract

  • Application and receipt of the Aarons Scholarship will be considered a Contract of Excellence between applicant and NLGJA. The contract commits the student to a level of academic achievement and to a continuing role as a member of NLGJA. Specifically, the contract requires the scholarship recipient to:
  • Maintain a 3.2-point grade average during the academic year that the scholarship is awarded. If the grade point average falls below 3.0, the student may be ineligible to receive subsequent scholarship disbursements.
  • Provide NLGJA with transcripts for each term covered by the scholarship.
  • Originate and complete a project designed to advance the mission of NLGJA. A project can be done in conjunction with class work or work done for student publications, broadcast or online media. Examples of a project include:
  • Produce a project or other body of work for a campus or LGBTQ news organization that focuses on diversity themes.
  • Produce a project or other body of work for a class that focuses on diversity themes. Participate in a campus diversity event where the student will speak or organize a program focusing on the importance of news coverage of diversity issues.
  • Work with a local or student NLGJA chapter to produce a significant program focused on news coverage of diversity issues.
  • Work with an assigned mentor to meet the terms of the contract. The mentor will be responsible for working with the student to conceive and produce the project.

Restrictions and Terms
The scholarship is available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who plan to attend a full year of school in the U.S. The scholarship may not be used to pay for course work or credits earned abroad. The scholarship award may pay for tuition only. The amount of the scholarship award will not exceed the student’s annual tuition costs.

Awards usually will be disbursed in equal increments at the beginning of each quarter or semester. The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund (DVLF) will work with college or university financial aid offices to determine the best schedule for distributing awards, which will be sent directly to the institution. No payments will be made directly to students. The scholarship award will not exceed the cost of tuition.

Return of Awards
Recipients who are unable to finish the academic year because of illness or family emergencies may be asked to reimburse DVLF for awards provided for the uncompleted quarter or semester. Students suspended from school for inadequate academic performance, disciplinary action or who were charged with a criminal offense will be asked to repay their entire scholarship. DVLF will return the unused funds into NLGJA’s distribution account or endowment, at NLGJA’s recommendation.