The ABLA Foundation

The Austin Black Lawyers Association operates a charitable 501(c)(3) Foundation that provides scholarships to African American students attending colleges and universities at both the undergraduate and graduate level. ABLA Foundation scholarships focus primarily on graduating high school seniors or college graduates entering the legal profession. ABLA Foundation's two primary scholarship programs are the Heman Sweatt Scholarship and the Virgil C. Lott Scholarship.


The Virgil C. Lott Scholarship honors Virgil C. Lott who was the first African American to graduate from The University of Texas School of Law. The scholarship is awarded to graduating seniors in Austin ISD and the surrounding ISDs who exhibit leadership, community service, good scholastic standing, and extracurricular involvement. Recipients are awarded the scholarship upon acceptance to any junior college or university.

The Heman Sweatt Scholarship honors Heman Sweatt who In 1946, sued The University of Texas after they denied him admission to the Law School because he was black. A Texas judge at the Travis County Courthouse first denied Sweatt’s claim. However, the U.S. Supreme Court took up the case on appeal and in 1950, the court unanimously ordered Sweatt’s admission. In 2007, the Travis County Courthouse, where Sweatt was first turned away with his suit against the University of Texas, was renamed in his honor.

The Deadline to apply for The Virgil C. Lott Scholarship is April 3, 2023!

Rules and Requirements

Open to graduating African American seniors in Austin ISD and the surrounding ISDs who exhibit community service; good scholarship standing; evidence of leadership and extracurricular involvement; acceptance to a college, junior college or university; and financial need are eligible. You may download the application below.

Please submit the following: Application, personal statement, official high school transcript, test scores and class rank, two letters of recommendation (one from high school teacher, counselor or other professional – sealed envelopes), and photograph (optional). Recommendation letters must be returned to the applicants and received by the committee in sealed and signed envelopes and included with the application. Academic letters must be on official school letterhead. Applications must be POSTMARKED by April 4, 2022.

Your personal statement is an opportunity to include information not captured by the application form and that will assist the committee in reaching a thoughtful decision. Examples of such information include a description of your personal strengths, your contributions through community service, a description of any special circumstances that may have affected your academic performance, or your personal or family history of educational or socio-economic disadvantage.

Finalists must be available for a personal interview. Before receiving scholarship funds, recipients will be required to demonstrate proof of acceptance and registration at a college, university, or junior college. The scholarship committee reserves the right not to award the scholarship. Faxed applications will not be accepted.

To apply for this scholarship, please download the application and follow the directions. Completed application packages should be mailed to : Austin Black Lawyers Association, Attn: Scholarship Committee Chair, 8401 Shenandoah Drive, Austin, TX 78753.

Download the Application