SHRM Certification Professional Development Grants

Professional Development Grant: SHRM Certification exam and preparation (SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP)

Number: 220 grants distributed annually

Application Opens: May 1

Deadline: August 2  

Results Notification: November 2

Terms of Use: Expires within 12 months of issue date

  • Grants received November 2 must be used between November 2, 2020 and November 2, 2021
*If you applied for a SHRM professional development grant by August 2, 2020, you will receive a notification by email about your award status by close of business on November 2, 2020.

The following information applies to individual applicants. SHRM state councils and chapters that wish to apply, please go to Chapter and State Council Certification Professional Development Grant application information.

For individual applicants:


  • Current SHRM member (Professional or student membership must be active when applying and throughout the year in which you receive the award)
  • Meet eligibility requirements for SHRM Certification
  • You must test within 12 months after the award notification date (Exam transfer policy also applies to grant winner regardless of the registered exam window)
  • Is not receiving any organizational support or reimbursement for SHRM certification exam and preparation fees

How to Apply

Complete online application including:
  • Contact information
  • Short answer questions about academic/training, volunteer and career experience and your need for the grant
  • Current resume (or academic transcript if applicable)
  • One letter of reference (letter may be addressed to the 'SHRM Foundation Grant Review Committee' and should provide insight into your character, academic or career and volunteer accomplishments, work ethic, and values. May be written by work or volunteer colleague, professor, coach, etc., but should not come from a family member*)
*Applicants must request all recommendation letters through our application system. SHRM Foundation cannot accept recommendation letters directly from applicants. We encourage applicants to request recommendation letters early in the application process.

Please print or save your application for your records before you submit it. Once you submit your application, the SHRM Foundation will not be able to return it to you, in whole or in part, for any reason. 


Selection Criteria

  • 40% work experience/progression (HR involvement and future career plans); current students without significant work experience will be reviewed based on academic background and breadth and quality of HR coursework
  • 40% volunteer activity (SHRM experience preferred, but not required)
  • 20% reference letter
Applications are reviewed and scored by groups of SHRM volunteers in each region and are reviewed by staff. Volunteer reviewers will be from a region outside of the applicant's region. All decisions are final. Each grant is a one-time grant, however previous applicants and past recipients are eligible to re-apply. Receiving a grant previously is no guarantee of receiving a future grant.

Named Scholarships to be Awarded

Several of our professional development grants are made possible through the generous support of the following organizations and individuals. You do not need to apply for a specific, named grant - the SHRM Foundation will determine if your application qualifies for any of these awards from the following sponsors:

  • CalSHRM 
  • HR Florida State Council 
  • Kansas State Council of SHRM
  • Kentucky SHRM State Council
  • Louisville Chapter of SHRM
  • Maryland SHRM State Council
  • Maine SHRM State Council 
  • Mid-Valley Chapter
  • Miriam E. Gordon Memorial
  • North Carolina SHRM State Council
  • Northwest Human Resource Management Association
  • Pennsylvania State Council 
  • Texas Bay Area SHRM Chapter  
  • Virginia SHRM State Council
  • Wisconsin SHRM State Council

Certification Professional Grant Distribution

If you are selected to receive a SHRM Foundation Certification Professional Grant you will receive a SHRM Learning System and exam for the SHRM Certification for which you are eligible (SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP), to be claimed 12 months from the date they are issued. If you do not claim your grant by the deadline, you will have to reapply for a new grant, with no guarantee of receiving a new grant. Please note, the SHRM Foundation cannot reimburse certification exam fees.

Additional Details 

By accepting a Certification Professional Development Grant, you are consenting to allow the SHRM Foundation (and the scholarship's sponsor, if any) to use without limitation, and in any media, your name, city, state, photos, and captions (if uploaded), and verbiage for marketing and promotional purposes.  

The SHRM Foundation does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, disability, age, veteran status, ancestry, national origin or citizenship in the administration of its scholarship programs. Scholarship recipients are selected primarily on merit. 

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Upcoming DeadlinesSee All Events

April 30, 2020
Human Resource Management Impact Awards
May 1, 2020
SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP Certification Scholarships