Last updated: March 16, 2018

Colleges campuses across America are becoming more diverse every year. Underrepresented minority students are not only enrolling in college, but are making educational and professional impacts in all fields—from science to education to civil service—at an unstoppable rate.

College costs, however, are climbing. According to U.S. News & World Report, from 1995 to 2015, in-state tuition and fees at public universities rose a staggering 296 percent. Average costs continue to rise every year, well beyond the rate of inflation. With tuition bills and extra expenses like housing, meal plans, parking permits, books and fees, any financial assistance can make a sizeable difference.

To help offset college costs, you can obtain minority scholarships, grants and fellowships that are available to men and women of African American, Alaska Native, Asian American, Hispanic and Latino, Native American and Pacific Islander descent. Use this guide, including our interactive scholarship tool, to locate and apply for unique opportunities to help pay for college. After all, you can be the student who brings new ideas and perspectives to your own college campus.

Educational Milestones for Minorities

evolution-of-education-for-minorities.jpg
 

Talented and diverse young leaders have further opportunity to make an impact through a college education and scholarship opportunities. The first U.S. Congressional woman of color and first Asian American woman elected to the House of Representatives expresses the power of making contributions as a minority:

“We have to build things that we want to see accomplished, in life and in our country, based on our own personal experiences...to make sure that others...do not have to suffer the same discrimination.”
- Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink

To start building your future, consider the many college scholarships available to minorities through corporations, charitable organizations, advocacy groups and professional associations.

 

How to Pay for College

1

Scholarships

There are hundreds of scholarships for minorities, which are awarded by local organizations, private companies, societies and more.

 
2

Grants

Grants don’t need to be paid back and are based on your financial circumstances. They are usually funded by the federal government, your state or college.

 
3

Fellowships

While scholarships usually fund tuition, fellowships typically cover graduate study, research projects and abroad experiences without needing to be paid back.

 
4

Student Loans

You can borrow money from the government or a bank, but it needs to be paid back with interest. The federal government offers many loan options—fill out the free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if you qualify for financial aid. If you need help, use our interactive guide to learn how to answer every question.

 
5

Federal Work-Study Program

Provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to pay education expenses.

 
 

If you’re just beginning the process of finding suitable scholarships, make sure you’re prepared for the application process by starting a folder with the assets below.

Scholarship Application Preparation

Not all scholarships are based off of your GPA, but most need to verify your high school education to qualify. Try to get certified copies of your transcript early, so you have plenty of time to meet the deadline.
Although there are scholarship opportunities that aren’t merit-based, it’s valuable to take the SAT or ACT standardized tests in case it’s a scholarship qualification.
Your scholarship essay is what will bring attention to your application out of the pool of applicants. That’s why it’s important to craft a stand out piece that attests to your experience, adheres to the scholarship guidelines and most importantly, highlights your true personality.
Letters of recommendation are a true judgement of your character—something that can’t be revealed through your test scores or transcript. Reach out to former teachers, counselors or bosses, so that they can speak to your qualifications. You may also want to provide them with a resume that outlines your achievements and goals as well.
 

No matter your background, where you’re from or if your family members attended college, you can find ways to pay for college through scholarships and fellowships. Check out the scholarships below to see the opportunities available.

Scholarship Opportunities for Minorities

Instructions: Click through the dropdowns below to sort by your ethnicity, field of study and award amount. Click the box for a larger view.

United South & Eastern Tribes

Amount: Varies

Deadline: April 20, 2018

Students of the 26 member tribes of the United South and Eastern Tribes are eligible for undergraduate scholarships.

ESA Foundation Scholarship Program for Minority Students

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: April 26, 2018

High school seniors and current undergraduate students who are pursuing a career in computer and video game arts are eligible. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

CBC Spouses Heineken USA Performing Arts Scholarship

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: April 29, 2018

Candidates are those planning to enroll or already enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student. Eligible candidates are African American or black students who are pursuing a career in a performing art.

Mae & Mary Scholarship Fund

Amount: Varies

Deadline: April 30, 2018

The Mae & Mary Scholarship Fund supports the advancement of African Americans in health care and medical related fields. Eligible students are high school seniors planning to attend a university or technical school.

Indian-American Foundation Upakar Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: April 30, 2018

Eligible candidates are those either born in or have a parent born in the Republic of India. High school seniors should apply and be pursuing enrollment in a two or four year degree program.

HENAAC Scholars Program

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: April 30, 2018

Scholarships are awarded to Hispanics or those who demonstrate leadership or service within the Hispanic community who are pursuing an undergraduate degree in science, technology, engineering or math. A GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale is required.

APA Judith McManus Price Scholarship

Amount: $4,000

Deadline: April 30, 2018

Women and members of the Native American, Hispanic American or African American minority groups are eligible for this award. Undergraduate and graduate students can apply. Scholarships are given to those pursuing a career as practicing planners in the public sector (i.e. state, local and federal government and non-profits).

Moss Adams Foundation

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: April 30, 2018

The Moss Adams Foundation is available to minority women, or women returning to school to earn a bachelor's degree in accounting. Must demonstrate clear evidence persistence towards personal and professional goals.

Jesse Jackson Fellows - Toyota Scholarship

Amount: $25,000

Deadline: May 1, 2018

Toyota Scholarship is a renewable scholarship that awards up to $25,000 dollars annually to deserving college students who will be sophomores as of August 1, 2018.

Hyatt Hotels Fund for Minority Lodging Management Students

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: May 1, 2018

The scholarship is open to minority students who are attending an undergraduate institution in the next academic year. Students must be majoring in hospitality management.

Diversity conference scholarship

Amount: upt to $10000

Deadline: May 5, 2018

To be eligible, students must be enrolled in a full-time bachelor's degree program at a university in the U.S, Canada, or Mexico. Must show satisfactory progress towards a degree in computer science or related fields. Must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA.

Against The Grain Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: May 7, 2018

Awards are given to Asian-American college seniors and graduate students who exhibit exemplary leadership, passion and vision within the Asian-American community.

Presbyterian Student Opportunity Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: May 15, 2018

The Presbyterian Church provides this yearly need-based opportunity for sophomores, juniors and seniors who are full time, first degree students attending accredited institutions in the U.S. Preference extends to racial ethnic students. Must be a member of the Presbyterian Church, and have completed their first year of study. Must have a 2.5 GPA or higher, and demonstrate financial need for consideration.

CBC Spouses Education Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: May 18, 2018

Candidates must African American or black students who are enrolled or plan to enroll in the upcoming academic year as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student. A GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale is required.

George Washington Carver Scholarship Fund

Amount: Varies

Deadline: May 30, 2018

Students must be demonstrated leaders planning to attend or currently enrolled at a HBCU.

PepsiCo Ceasar Chavez Latino Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: May 31, 2018

Latino students in Arizona and California are qualified to apply. Scholarships are based solely on academic performance, leadership, extracurricular activities, commitment to volunteer service and financial need.

Ford Motor Company Tribal College Scholarship

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: May 31, 2018

Awards are given to those enrolled in an accredited tribal college or university. Candidates must be members of a state or federally recognized tribe or a descendant of at least one parent or grandparent who is enrolled as a tribe member.

Morgan Stanley Tribal Scholars Program

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: May 31, 2018

Applicants must be a registered member of a state or federally recognized tribe or be a descendant of at least one parent or grandparent who is an enrolled member. Scholarship candidates must also be enrolled full-time at an accredited university or college.

Leon Bradley Scholarship

Amount: $4,000

Deadline: May 31, 2018

Awards support and encourage more minorities and persons of color to work in the field of teaching and school leadership. Applicants must reside in these geographic locations or be currently matriculating at an institution in these states or regions: Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Brunswick, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Pennsylvania, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, D.C. or West Virginia.

CIRI Foundation General Scholarships

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: June 1, 2018

To be eligible, candidates must be a CIRI original enrollee or direct lineal descendant. A high school diploma or GED is required with current enrollment in an undergraduate or graduate degree program. Part-time and full-time students are eligible.

Freedom from Religion Foundation Catherine Fahringer Memorial Award

Amount: $2,500

Deadline: June 17, 2018

This award is available to high school students who identify as atheist, agnostic, humanist and/or secular and are the first in their families to attend an accredited two or four-year colleges or university. Preference will be given to students of color, and students who have been in foster care, homeless, undocumented or LGBTQ. Applicants will be chosen based on the strength of their essay.

Gay Asian Pacific Alliance (GAPA) Foundation Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: June 30, 2018

This award supports high school, undergraduate, professional, trade, vocational or graduate students who demonstrate activism. Preference is given to students who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer or transgender.

Korean American Scholarship Foundation - Western Regional Chapter

Amount: Varies

Deadline: June 30, 2018

Scholarship is designated to students of Korean heritage who are studying in the U.S. at a full-time status. The college or university must be in the Southwestern region states (Arizona, Colorado, Alaska, California, Idaho, Hawaii, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, Washington or Wyoming).

Migrant Farmworker Baccalaureate Scholarship

Amount: $20,000

Deadline: July 1, 2018

Children of migrant workers who demonstrate pursuit of a career in agriculture are eligible to apply for this scholarship. Students must have completed one year of college to qualify.

Immigration Scholarship Essay Contest

Amount: $500

Deadline: July 1, 2018

Any U.S. resident that has been accepted to an accredited university can apply. Applicants are asked to answer questions on immigration for a chance to win.

Hit the Books Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: August 25, 2018

Students who are between the ages of 18 and 25 enrolled in an accredited university are eligible to apply. Winners will be selected based on a 500-word essay about the importance of education.

Lim, Ruger & Kim Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

Deadline: September 1, 2018

One student will be awarded with this scholarship based on their schools accreditation by the American Bar Association (ABA) or AALS. Applicants will be reviewed based on their interest in pro bono, public interest and/or public legal service work, financial need, leadership potential, and affiliation with the Asian Pacific American community.

Xerox Technical Minority Scholarship

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: September 30, 2018

Minority students who are full-time enrolled in a four-year institution are eligible to apply. Students must be on a track to a bachelor's, master's or PhD in an engineering discipline or technical science.

Ron Brown Scholars Program

Amount: $40,000

Deadline: November 1, 2018

African American students in their senior year of high school are eligible for this scholarship program. Students interested in pursuing a degree in education are preferred.

NBCUniversal LNESC Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: November 6, 2018

Latino students pursuing a career in the entertainment or media industry are eligible for this award.

University of California Presidential Fellowship for UCLA Undocumented AB540 Graduate Students

Amount: Varies

Deadline: December 15, 2018

Awards are available for UCLA graduate students with undocumented AB540 status.Proof of financial need via copy of DREAM Act Application (for California AB540 students).

Denny's Hungry for Education Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: December 31, 2018

All applicants must be enrolled in an accredited educational institution (K-12, high school and college) in the United States or Puerto Rico

ASA Minority Fellowship Program

Amount: $18,000

Deadline: January 31, 2019

Applicants can be new or continuing graduate students, but preference will be given to students entering doctoral programs or students enrolled in strong mental health programs. Fellows will be selected on their commitment to research in mental health.

Vincint and Catherine Sansalone Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: February 1, 2019

Students must be enrolled in a math or science program at an accredited U.S. university. Must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher for consideration. Preference for students of Italian descent.

Guam Society of America Scholarship Program

Amount: Varies

Deadline: May 28, 2018

Scholarships are available through the Guam Society of America to students pursuing undergraduate degrees. Current scholarships and eligibility requirements are listed on the website.

Gerber Scholarship in Pediatrics Program

Amount: $5,000

Deadline:

The Gerber Scholarship in Pediatrics Program awards underrepresented minority students interested in pediatrics and emphasis on nutrition with financial support. Must be a U.S. citizen to apply. Leadership and community service will be considered in application process.

Alaska Chinese Association Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

The Alaska Chinese Association awards scholarships each year to students who demonstrate community and cultural involvement. Students who demonstrate academic excellence will be strongly considered.

TMCF Scholarships

Amount: $6,200

Deadline:

First-generation college students are eligible to apply to this award. Preference is given to students who will be attending a HBCU.

Ascend Educational Fund

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

Scholarships are awarded to children of immigrants or immigrant students who are graduating from an NYC high school. Eligible candidates are those who plan to attend a two or four year college institution.

JACL National Scholarship Program

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

Applicants must be members of the Japanese American Citizens League. Eligibility and award amount varies by year. See current website for listings.

Pauahi Foundation Public Scholarships

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

Candidates must be attending a trade, vocational or undergraduate institution. Preference is given to students of Hawaiian ancestry.

The Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

Applicants must be of Native Hawaiian ancestry who are pursuing a degree in the health or medical field. A service obligation post-degree is required.

Hawai'i Community Foundation Scholarships

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

Students of Hawaiian descent and residents of the state of Hawaii are eligible to apply for scholarships. A range of scholarship opportunities are available each year. Current listings and eligibility are listed on the website.

TELACU College Success Program Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline:

Applicants for the TELACU College Success Program must be first-generation college students from a low to moderate household income. A GPA of 2.5 or higher is required.

Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL) Scholarship Program

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

Students of Asian Pacific descent who are also legal American citizens are eligible to apply for public service internships in Washington, DC.

HACUS-IES Study Abroad Scholarship

Amount: $5,000

Deadline:

Candidates are U.S. permanent residents or citizens who have been accepted to or enrolled in a semester, summer or academic year IES abroad program. Scholarships are awarded to those attending Hispanic-Serving Institutions that belong to the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).

Smithsonian Institution James E. Webb Internship

Amount: $6,000

Deadline:

Scholarships support the increase of underrepresented minority groups in management of cultural and scientific organizations. Students must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program in the field of business or public administration.

GE fund and GM Fund LULAC Scholarship Program

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

Minority students with an engineering or business major are eligible for this award. Students must be pursuing a bachelor's degree at a full-time status in order to be considered.

UMC Journey Toward Ordained Ministry

Amount: $5,000

Deadline:

Undergraduate or graduate level students of a minority group can apply. Students must be pursuing ordained ministry with at a minimum of a two year membership with United Methodist Church (UMC).

CIRI Foundation Fellowships

Amount: $250

Deadline:

Qualified candidates are CIRI original enrollees or direct lineal descendants. Students must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher with a desire to perform and transmit the literary, visual and performing arts of Alaska Natives.

Cherokee Nation College Resource Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

Candidates must demonstrate tribal citizenship in the Cherokee Nation. The scholarship is awarded to those who plan to attend or are attending an accredited U.S. institution.

Catching The Dream Program

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

The scholarship assists Native American high school students with their college academic pursuits. All tribes and regions are welcome to apply. Preference is given to those who plan to study engineering, math, science, business, computers and education.

Chickasaw Nation Scholarship Program

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

Chickasaw citizens who are pursuing higher education are eligible for numerous awards. Details for current scholarships and eligibility are listed on the website.

Smithsonian Native American Awards Program

Amount: $6,000

Deadline:

Applicants must be formally or informally affiliated with a Native American tribe or community. Students must be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student with an interest in learning more about career opportunities related to Native American resources.

Zuni Tribal Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

Students of the Zuni Tribe are eligible for this award. Applicants must be accepted to or enrolled in a college institution.

American Indian Nurse Scholarship Awards

Amount: $1,500

Deadline:

Candidates must be at least 1/4 American Indian and enrolled in a tribe, or able to prove direct tribal ancestry. Candidates must be enrolled an undergraduate or graduate nursing program are eligible.

Native American Seminary

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

Native American students seeking a degree at a University Senate approved seminary are eligible to apply. Candidates must have a minimum of a 3 year membership in the UMC (United Methodist Church).

Wah-Tiah-Kah Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

Scholarships are granted through the Osage Minerals Council for the study of petroleum related subjects. Students must be of Osage Indian blood.

A.T. Anderson Memorial Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

Candidates for this award are full-time undergraduate or graduate students who are pursuing a degree in medicine, engineering, physical science, natural resources, math or science.

A.W. Bodine-Sunkist Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

Deadline:

This scholarship was established in memory of distinguished director of Sunkist Growers and agricultural leader, to provide funds for undergraduate students from Arizona or California agricultural backgrounds who are in need of financial assistance. GPA and extracurriculars must demonstrate potential for success.