Actuarial scholarships are often awarded to high school and college students enrolled full-time in an actuarial science or mathematics program. Each scholarship in this field often poses different eligibility criteria, such as the Actuarial Diversity Scholarship designed for Black/African American, Hispanic and Native North American students. Other actuary scholarships are likely to maintain requirements regarding academic performance and passage of professional actuarial examinations. Some awards, such as the CAS Trust Scholarship Program, are for students interested in a particular specialization of actuary science. Still others, including the Society of Actuaries James C. Hickman Scholar, are intended for doctoral students.
Actuaries are professionals who determine ways to manage financial risks for the public. As such, they often evaluate the likelihood of future events, develop creative ways to mitigate undesirable events and minimize the influence of events that do occur. Homeowner’s insurance, for example, often provides a financial safeguard if a natural disaster destroys or damages a home. While actuaries work in different sectors of the economy, they are most likely to be found with insurance companies, investment or commercial banks and retirement planners.
The actuarial career typically requires a bachelor’s degree and passage of a series of examinations. To encourage students who are interested in these careers, actuarial scholarships are available to minority, high school and international students. Scholarships may also be available based upon university attendance and geographic location. Each scholarship is likely to pose its own eligibility requirements.
Four unique scholarships are sponsored by the Actuarial Foundation. The Actuarial Diversity Scholarship, for example, awards tiered levels of financial assistance to high school seniors and full-time undergraduate or graduate students. Students must pursue a degree which will qualify them to work in the actuarial profession, maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and have course emphasis on math or actuarial courses. High school seniors must have a minimum ACT math score of 28 or SAT math score of 600. Moreover, this actuarial scholarship is designated for Black/African American, Hispanic and Native North American students.
Additional actuarial scholarships available from the Actuarial Foundation include the Stuart A. Robertson and John Culver Wooddy programs. The former requires applicants to be full-time undergraduate students entering as sophomores, juniors or seniors. Each student are required to have a 3.0 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale and have passed two actuarial exams. The latter is granted every year to college seniors who rank in the top 25th percentile of their class, have completed at minimum, one actuarial examination, and receive nomination from a professor at their school. The Caribbean Actuarial Scholarship is for undergraduate students entering their second or third year at the University of the West Indies, who are enrolled in the actuarial science program and hold a minimum GPA of 3.0 or equivalent.
The Casualty Actuarial Society sponsors the CAS Trust Scholarship Program for students interested in the property/casualty actuarial profession. For eligibility purposes, students must be U.S. or Canadian citizens or hold permanent resident visas, attend a U.S. or Canadian college or university on full-time basis and have sat for at least one actuarial exam. This actuary scholarship further indicates applicants should demonstrate high scholastic achievement with mathematical aptitude and communication skills.
Although the Actuarial Foundation focuses on scholarships for students who are high school seniors and above, other private scholarships may address the needs of younger students who plan on pursuing the actuarial profession. For instance, there are scholarships for high school juniors who are interested in pursuing accounting and financial math. Younger students may not be ready to apply for specific actuarial scholarships yet, but scholarships for math and accounting can help fund their education in the meantime.
Doctoral students may be eligible for actuarial scholarships as well. The Society of Actuaries James C. Hickman Scholar program was designed for individuals who are enrolled full-time, have recently been admitted to or are currently applying for a qualifying doctoral program in the United States and Canada. A qualifying doctoral program is one in actuarial science or a related field. Applicants must also hold a Fellowship-level actuarial credential or actively pursue Associateship or Fellowship membership and have passed at least two actuarial exams.
In addition to the programs sponsored by professional societies, university-specific actuarial scholarships may also be available. Illinois State University in the U.S., for example, gives automatic consideration to undergraduate students enrolled full-time in actuarial science or mathematics. Eligibility criteria include major GPA of at least 3.8 and cumulative GPA of 3.7 or better. Freshmen need an ACT composite score of 3.8 or better, ACT mathematics score of 31 or better and high school GPA of 3.7 or better. Sophomores must also have taken at least one actuarial examination during that year, while juniors and seniors need to have passed at least one and two professional actuarial examinations respectively.