College affordability is a matter in question for the majority of college students of all races and ethnicities. For many applicants, scholarships can help to offset education costs and may even supplement other forms of financial aid. Minority scholarships, in particular, can help level the playing field for minority groups underrepresented in U.S. colleges and universities. The total amount of scholarships for minorities has risen dramatically over the last decade, with more than $96 billion in grants allocated to Hispanic, Alaska-Native, Native Hawaiian, and minority STEM students by the U.S. Department of Education as recently as 2014.
Though a wealth of minority scholarships exist today, each year many eligible students miss out on these scholarships and other special funding opportunities because they find the research process too difficult; awards are often sponsored by so many different organizations and dispersed among so many different institutions that locating minority scholarships specific to your situation can seem nearly impossible. We developed our guide to finding scholarships for minorities to help students just like you maximize their financial aid opportunities. We’ll provide you with easy access to the minority scholarships that could mean big savings for your educational investment, all in one place.
Unique Challenges Minority Students Face
While efforts to increase diversity across U.S. campuses through minority scholarships and aid are actually working, we still have a very long way to go. In somewhat of a holding pattern that has deemed education "still separate and unequal," minorities continues to face significant resource gaps when it comes to educational attainment, though the minority population is expected to eclipse white students in education in the U.S. by the year 2022. Minority student groups including African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans historically have less access to a full range of high-level courses, are underrepresented in gifted and talented programs, and score lower on AP tests compared to their white counterparts—all while studying at the high school level and potentially preparing to enter higher education.
Experts attribute these challenges to disadvantages in wealth, health, parental education, criminal justice, and other socio-economic statistics affecting quality of life in minority communities. African-American students, for example, are among the lowest-income groups, and attain bachelor’s and advanced degrees at roughly half the rate of their white counterparts. Through links to scholarships for Hispanics and Latino scholarships, African-American scholarships, Native American scholarships, Pacific Islander scholarships, and Asian-American scholarships, our list is designed to help eliminate financial barriers that often discourage minority college enrollees and may prevent them from completing their education and earning a degree. Please note, as the definition of "minority" is far broader than one of nationality or heritage, our list was assembled with inclusion in mind, in order to provide maximum financial aid resources to our diverse student readership.
Scholarships for African-American Students
- Gensler Diversity Scholarship
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are African-American students beginning the final year of an NAAB-accredited architecture program at a not-for-profit U.S. institution. Deadline: December 4
- George Washington Carver Scholarship
Eligibility: Student must be attending an HBCU, have completed at least 40 hours of volunteer work, and be enrolled in one of 16 approved majors (see link below). Deadline: Varies
- Diversity Scholars Program
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are undergraduate minority students at Adler University who have completed at least 45 semester credits and are interested in graduate psychology education. Deadline: June 9
- Union Contractors of AGC Minority Scholarship
Eligibility: Eligible applicants must belong to a minority (preference is given to African-American candidates) and are full-time undergraduate students majoring in construction engineering management at Oregon State University. Deadline: February 15
- Theresa Lucille Brown Adams Scholarship
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are undergraduate African-American students who are residents of Columbus, Ohio, and enrolled at Ohio State University. Deadline: February 1
- Andre Stout African American Student Scholarship
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are African-American students who have already completed at least 10 credits and are enrolled at Tacoma Community College. Deadline: October 1
URL: http://www.tacomacc.edu/upload/files/foundation/Reopened Scholarships & Application.pdf
- Blacks at Microsoft Scholarships
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are high school seniors of African descent who are planning to attend a four-year college to obtain a bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science, computer information systems, or select business programs. They must demonstrate financial need and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.3. Deadline: March 1
- Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program
Eligibility: Applicants must be a member of a minority group and a resident of Illinois, pursuing a course of study that qualifies them to become a certified teacher in the state; they must also have a GPA of at least 2.5 and be enrolled at least part-time. Deadline: March 1
- The Rev. Dr. Joseph Henry Evans Designated Fund for African-American Pastoral Scholarships
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are African-American students in their second or third year at an ATS accredited seminary who are members of a United Church of Christ congregation. They must also be a member in Discernment of an Association Committee on Ministry and a justice advocate who has proven service leadership in the church and throughout the world. Deadline: March 1
Scholarships for Hispanic and Latino Students
- Latinos in Technology Scholarship
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are of Latino or Hispanic origin and have declared a major in and been accepted into a STEM-related field. Applicants must have graduated high school or be attending college in one of 10 Northern California counties, demonstrate financial need, and have a GPA of at least 2.5. Preference is given to full-time and up-and-coming juniors. Deadline: December 7
- North Carolina Hispanic College Fund
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are graduates of a North Carolina high school within the past two years and from a Hispanic or Latino background. They must have a GPA of at least 2.5. Deadline: January 15
- The ASCAP Foundation Chein García Alonso Scholarship
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are songwriters, musicians, and/or vocalists of Latino heritage who graduated from a Newark, New Jersey, high school and who plan to study music in a college program. Deadline: Varies
- José Martí Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are students of Hispanic origin who demonstrate financial need, have a GPA of at least 3.0, and will attend or are attending a Florida public or private college; students of Portuguese or Brazilian descent are non-eligible. Deadline: April 1
- Hispanic Scholarship Fund
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are of Hispanic heritage and either a graduating high school student with at least a 3.0 GPA, or a college or graduate student with at least a 2.5 GPA; emphasis is placed on STEM majors and programs. Deadline: April 6
- League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) National Scholarship Fund (LNSF)
Eligibility: Eligibility for various scholarships is open to students in the Latino community who are pursuing undergraduate or graduate study at an accredited college or university in the U.S. Deadline: March 31
- Ford Driving Dreams Scholarship Program
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are high school seniors from qualifying school districts in Houston and San Antonio, Texas, who are planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree through full-time study. They must have a GPA of at least 3.0 and have earned a score of at least 20 on the ACT or 1050 or higher on the SAT test. Deadline: March 5
- NBCUniversal/LNESC Scholarship Program
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are students of Latino heritage pursuing a bachelor’s degree full-time with an interest in the media and entertainment industry, though all majors are considered. Applicants should have a GPA of at least 3.0. Preference is given to rising college sophomores and juniors. Deadline: Varies
- ExxonMobil/LNESC Scholarship Program
Amount: $2,000 or $20,000
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are graduating high school seniors and residents of select cities in Texas, Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, and Puerto Rico, who are planning to study engineering in a bachelor-level program. They must have a GPA of at least 3.5, and a score of 29 or higher on the ACT test, or 1350 or higher on the SAT test. Deadline:June 30
Scholarships for Native American Students
- Helen J. and Harold Gilman Smith Scholarship
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are students of Native American heritage pursuing a first bachelor’s degree or graduate degree at Oregon State University. Applicants must have graduated from an American Indian high school and have a GPA of at least 2.75. Deadline: Varies
- American Indian College Fund
Eligibility: Eligible applicants must be a member of a federal or state recognized tribe, or a descendant of at least one grandparent or parent who is a tribal member; eligibility includes Alaska natives. Students must be eligible to attend college in the U.S. according to the Jay Treaty and have at least a 2.0 GPA. Deadline: May 31
- American Indian Education Fund
Eligibility: Eligible applicants must be a tribal member or have at least one parent that is a tribal member, and be enrolled full-time in an undergraduate program. Deadline: April 4
- Wells Fargo Scholarships for Undergraduate American Indian and Alaska Native Students
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are full-time and degree-seeking college students who are Native Americans with at least a 2.7 GPA. Deadline: May 1
- Wilson-Hooper Veterinary Medicine Assistance Program
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are a member or a descendant of a federally recognized American Indian tribe, and are enrolled full-time in a veterinary degree program. Deadline: January
- Wells Fargo American Indian Scholarship
Eligibility: Eligible students are members of a federally recognized American Indian tribe or Alaska native group, and are pursuing a degree in banking, resort management, gaming operations, management, or administration, including accounting, finance, information technology, and human resources; students must be a college junior or senior with at least a 3.0 GPA who can demonstrate financial need. Deadline: May 1
- Accenture American Indian Scholarship Fund
Eligibility: Eligible applicants must be a member of a federally recognized American Indian tribe or Alaska native group who is seeking a degree in engineering, computer science, operations management, management, finance, marketing, or other business-related field; they must also have a GPA of at least 3.25. Deadline: May 31
Scholarships for Asian and Pacific Islander Students
- Filipino-American Psychology Scholarship
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are of Filipino descent and are either a prospective graduate student or a current graduate student in the first two years of Ph.D. or master’s study in psychology. Deadline: February 1
- APIASF General Scholarship
Eligibility: Eligible applicants must be of Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity with plans to enroll in an undergraduate college program in the fall season. Applicants must have a GPA of at least 2.7. Emphasis is placed on financial need, student merit, and those who are first in their family to attend college. Deadline: January 18
- APIASF Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI) Scholarship Program
Eligibility: Eligible applicants must be of Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity and be enrolled full-time in a degree-seeking program at one of 23 qualifying institutions. Deadline: November 4
- APIASF Emergency Fund
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are of Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity, enrolled as a senior in a full-time, degree-seeking program and experiencing a financial crisis hindering their ability to matriculate the upcoming academic year. Students must be Federal Pell Grant-eligible and be a past APIASF scholarship recipient who is not receiving funding from APIASF for the upcoming year. Deadline: Varies
Scholarships for Arab American Students
- National Arab American Medical Association Scholarship Grant
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are students of Arab extraction in a U.S. or Canadian medical, osteopathic, or dental school. Deadline: July 1
- Ameen Rihani Scholarship Program
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are students of Lebanese or other Arab descent who will be full-time, degree-seeking college freshmen in the upcoming fall term. Candidates must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents with a GPA of at least 3.25. Deadline: March 15
- Arab American Women’s Business Council (AAWBC) Scholarship Fund
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are women of Arab descent who are either graduating high school seniors or current college students attending a program in Michigan. Deadline: November 18
- Jack G. Shaheen Mass Communications Scholarship Awards
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are students of Arab-American heritage who are currently majoring in college-level journalism, radio, television, and/or film; they may be juniors, seniors, or enrolled in graduate school. Deadline: June 1
- Boston University/Hariri Foundation Scholarship Program
Eligibility: Eligible candidates are of Lebanese descent and pursuing graduate study in a master’s program at Boston University. Deadline: Varies
- AAAEA scholarship
Amount: Up to $4,000
Eligibility: Eligible candidates are Arab-American students in undergraduate or graduate programs in the field of engineering, architecture, or computer science/information technology. Deadline: Varies
Scholarships for Undocumented Students
- TheDream.US Opportunity Scholarship Program
Amount: Up to $80,000
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are high school seniors or high school graduates looking to pursue a bachelor’s degree at Eastern Connecticut State University or Delaware State University; candidates must have graduated high school in a "locked-out" state and have applied for or received DACA and/or TPS approval. Deadline: Varies
- Migrant Farmworker Baccalaureate Scholarship
Amount: Up to $20,000
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are bachelor’s degree-seeking students with a history of migrating for agriculture employment who have successfully completed one year of college. Deadline: July 1
- Golden Door Scholars Program
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are DACA- and TPS-approved high school seniors or high school graduates pursuing an undergraduate program at an accredited college or university. Deadline: Varies
Scholarships for First-Generation College Students
- First Generation Matching Grant Program
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are Florida residents who can demonstrate financial need and have not previously earned a baccalaureate degree. Deadline: Varies
- Patty & Melvin Alperin First Generation Scholarship
Eligibility: Eligible applicants are high school seniors in Rhode Island who have documented financial need and have been accepted and enrolled into a two- or four-year college or university; they should be the first in their family to complete a college degree. Deadline: April 28
Scholarships for LGBTQIA Students
- Bill Bendiner and Doug Morgenson Scholarship
Eligibility: Eligibility is open to LGBTQIA students studying human services, health sciences, or visual arts who are residents of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington. Deadline: January 11
- Bill McKnight Legacy Scholarship
Eligibility: Eligible candidates are LGBTQIA arts and humanities students who are residents of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington; priority is given to residents of Kitsap County/Bainbridge Island, Washington. Deadline: January 11
- Associates in Behavioral Health Scholarship
Eligibility: Eligibility is open to LGBTQIA students pursuing graduate education in psychology, psychiatry, social work, or psychiatric nursing. Deadline: Varies
- Markowski-Leach Scholarships
Eligibility: Eligible candidates are LGBTQIA students in a full-time undergraduate or graduate degree or teaching credential program at one of six qualifying California colleges, who have a GPA of at least 2.5. Deadline: Varies
- Wayne State University CFPCA LGBT Endowed Scholarship
Eligibility: Eligible candidates are LGBTQIA students or those involved in LGBTQIA issues who are enrolled at least part-time in the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts at Wayne State University. Deadline: February 1
Scholarship and Financial Aid Checklist
- Start building your resume early - look for engagement opportunities such as volunteering within related community groups or organizations in your chosen field.
- Make contacts by establishing relationships with teachers, employers, and community leaders who inspire you, and ask for letters of recommendation well in advance.
- Find the right fit - research the awards most relevant to you; once you know your school, research awards offered by that institution.
- ALWAYS complete the FAFSA on time!
- Collect and save materials in a safe place - compile resumes, recommendation letters, transcripts, portfolios, essays, and tax records to send with your applications.
- Be organized - keep calendars of application deadlines, follow-up plans, and your to-do lists.
- Distinguish yourself - be compelling and try to set yourself apart from other candidates in all points of contact, be it essays, interviews, or recommendations.
- If the requirements demand it, you may need to verify your heritage using a resource like this (use Native American checker site); this is especially common among scholarships for Native Americans that may require proof of a student’s membership in a federally or state-recognized tribe.
- Consider pursuing financial aid opportunities for all minority and other classifications that may apply to you; for example, some scholarships for Latinos or Asian-American scholarships may also be tailored to women or majors in a specific field of study.
- Apply to every general, all-inclusive minority scholarship that you can find!
- United We Dream: This resource was designed especially for immigrant students and their families to provide educational and empowerment opportunities to improve equity and increase attainment rates for this population within the higher education system.
- Scholly: Scholly is a comprehensive app specifically designed to help students find, apply for, and track college scholarship awards; with sponsorship directly from many major colleges and universities offering financial aid, Scholly has helped students earn more than $70 million in grants and scholarships.
- Federal Student Aid: As many scholarships require a student to demonstrate financial need or provide family income information, this federal site overseen by the U.S. Department of Education should be your first step toward applying for aid.
- Fastweb: This aggregate site not only lets students tailor their search for scholarships by grade level, essay requirements, citizenship status, and more, but can also help find internships and loans for college-bound students.
- College Scholarships: One of the oldest scholarship search sites, College Scholarships has been helping students find funding for college since 1999. The site offers grants, scholarships, loans, and other federal funding opportunities, filtered by gender, school level, ethnicity, award amount, or location.
- Good Call: Good Call’s comprehensive guide to applying for scholarships features information on everything from the difference between grants and scholarships to tips on how to ace your essay and scholarship interviews.
- 4-H Club Programs: Through programs designed to inspire and encourage farming and agriculture leadership from a young age, the 4-H Club is a national organization awarding hundreds of college scholarships to students studying ecology, science, and STEM disciplines each year.
- Elks National Foundation Scholarship Programs: This national foundation offers a series of lucrative and highly competitive awards to undergraduate students each year, including the Most Valuable Student Scholarship, which features a first-place prize of $50,000.
- United Technologies Employee Scholar Program: With a goal to "have the best-educated workforce on the planet," United Technologies offers one of the most extensive employee-sponsored education programs in existence today, complete with full financial benefits that allow anyone in the company’s global workforce to earn a college degree.
- Scholarships.com: Featured on CNN and MSNBC and in Forbes, Scholarships.com may be the most prominent of all aggregate student funding directories; the site includes dozens of filters to help students find the perfect scholarships to fit their needs, as well as a college search, relevant scholarship news, and more.
- RightStudent: Powered by and partnered exclusively with Scholarships.com, this site is a tool developed for college recruiters and admissions officers to be matched with qualified students who might be the perfect fit at their school. Through RightStudent, college prospects can be put in contact with recruiters directly, to learn about targeted school and scholarship applications at the same time.
- Scholarship America: With 325 collegiate partners, Scholarship America was designed to help students learn about potentially hidden opportunities to maximize their financial aid; the organization features a Dollars to Dollars matching program to help students find supplemental funding while retaining the full benefits of their existing financial aid package.
- RMHC: The Ronald McDonald House Charities have long been a provider of scholarships and grants to help students from all walks of life achieve a college education. The organization’s efforts since 1985 have awarded more than $60 million in financial aid to college students in need.
- UNCF: Each year, the historic United Negro College Fund provides scholarships totaling more than $100 million that enable tens of thousands of students to attend college; the organization’s support includes but is not limited to an esteemed network of 37 HBCUs, and also encompasses prominent awards including the Gates Millennium Scholars Program and the UNCF/Koch Scholars Program.
- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Not only a provider of one of the nation’s most lucrative and distinguished scholarships, the Gates Millennium Scholars program, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation instills the same equity-minded values into its other programming, which includes hundreds of global initiatives toward health, human development, and policy and advocacy initiatives for students and scholars around the world.