Financial Aid & Scholarships for Minority Students

Historically, minority students have faced confounding factors leading to difficulties entering and finishing college. Disparities in wealth, health and parental education, among others, make it challenging to afford high cost tuition. A lack of higher education inhibits a student’s ability to become competitive in the job market, lowering their chances of earning higher wages and moving into higher socioeconomic statuses. Fortunately, there are resources and scholarships designed specifically to help minority students earn degrees.

financial-guide-for-minoritiesThe need for additional aid is growing. From 1996 to 2012, college enrollment for Hispanic students has increased by 240%. This is exceptional growth, and granting these students financial aid options ensures their continued success. Data shows that 47% of students from lower income families who received Pell grants graduate within six years. Extending and making known more forms of aid for traditionally underrepresented groups will open doors leading to better lives.

However, scholarships and funding for traditionally underrepresented groups may not be as easy to find; minority students might not know of the existence of these resources, so they can’t use them. To that end, we’ve built this scholarship and financial aid guide to act as a hub for significant scholarship and other unique opportunities available today for minority students. Each resource includes key information, application dates and the eligibility requirements for online programs.

Scholarships for Minority Students

Blacks at Microsoft Scholarships
Organization: Microsoft
Amount: $5,000
Deadline: March 1
This scholarship is aimed at African-American high school seniors who are planning on pursuing a degree in business, computer science, engineering or computer information systems. It is awarded in the amount of $5,000 annually for up to four years. Online programs are eligible.

Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program
Organization: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Amount: Up to $42,000
Deadline: December 10
This scholarship is designed to support graduate-level study and research. Aimed at minorities and African-American students, it is granted to individuals who study programs like maritime archaeology, oceanography and marine biology. To qualify for this scholarship, individuals must be minority students with excellent academic histories. Awards are based on the student’s level of need, previous research experience and letters of recommendation. Online programs are not eligible.

George Washington Carver Scholarship
Organization: The George Washington Carver Scholarship Fund
Amount: Up to $10,000
Deadline: May 30
This scholarship is handed out to students studying fields like economics, public administration, accounting, biology, agri-business, physics, pre-med, chemistry, communication, computer science, nursing, pre-law, aquaculture science, business, engineering and education. Students must demonstrate leadership abilities and complete 40 hours of volunteer work to be considered. They must also be enrolled at a historically black college. Online programs are eligible.

Hercules Scholarship
Organization: The Tom Joyner Foundation
Amount: $1,500
Deadline: Spring
To receive the Hercules Scholarship, students must be first-year students at a historically black college. Awards are given out to outstanding young men with both strong academic and community service backgrounds. Multiple scholarships are awarded throughout the year, and online programs are eligible.

IABA Scholarship Program
Organization: The International Association of Black Actuaries
Amount: $500-$4,000
Deadline: May 1
This scholarship is available to African-American students pursuing an actuarial career. Applicants must belong to the IABA, have earned a 3.0 GPA or better, and have been admitted to an accredited school in the United States or Canada. Recipients must serve on an IABA board for at least one year.

NABA National Scholarship
Organization: National Association of Black Accountants
Amount: $1,500
Deadline: January 31
This scholarship is available to African-American students who are enrolled full-time at colleges or universities. Students must be studying at an undergraduate or graduate program in the fields of finance, accounting or business. Accredited online programs are eligible.

NBMBAA Undergraduate Scholarship
Organization: The National Black MBA Association
Amount: $5,000
Deadline: July 17
This scholarship is intended for students who are involved in community service. Students must possess strong leadership skills and be active members of the NBMBAA. Accredited online programs are eligible.

Presidential Diversity Scholarship
Organization: St. Lawrence University
Amount: $32,000
Deadline: February 1
This scholarship awards $32,000 annually for up to four years. Individuals must be first year or transfer students at St. Lawrence University. To qualify, students must be committed to supporting diversity. Online programs are not eligible.

The Agnes Jones Scholarship
Organization: The Poise Foundation
Amount: $2,000
Deadline: March 31
African-American students who are current members of the NAACP can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must be enrolled full-time in an undergraduate or graduate program and must be able to demonstrate financial need. Students must also be under age 25 at application deadline to be considered. This scholarship may be put towards online programs.

The Hubertus W.V. Willems Scholarship
Organization: The Poise Foundation
Amount: $3,000
Deadline: March 31
This scholarship is targeted at African-American males who are studying engineering, mathematics, physics or chemistry. Applicants who are members of the NAACP are desired. Additionally, the ability to prove financial need is required to be considered. Students can use the funding toward online programs.

AIEF Scholarship
Organization: American Indian Education Foundation, a program of PWNA
Amount: $2,000
Deadline: April 4
This scholarship program is granted to Native American students enrolled in any post-secondary education program. Awards are made for an average of 225 students annually. To be considered, students must provide documentation of their Native American or Alaska Native heritage. Students may not use the award toward an online degree program.

American Indian College Fund
Organization: The Ford Motor Company
Amount: Varies
Deadline: May 31
Awarded by the Tribal Scholars Program at the Ford Motor Company, this scholarship is given in varying amounts to undergraduate and graduate students. Native American students must be enrolled in a tribal program that studies fields such as environmental science, mathematics, business, teacher training or education. Online programs are eligible if they fit the criteria above.

CSDIA Scholarship
Organization: Continental Society Daughters of Indian Wars
Amount: $5,000
Deadline: June 15
This scholarship is given to undergraduate students of Native American descent. To receive the scholarship, students must be planning to work with a tribe or nation in the fields of social service or education and be an enrolled tribal member. Students must provide transcripts and proof of financial need. Online programs are eligible if accredited.

Health Professions Scholarship
Organization: Indian Health Service
Amount: Varies
Deadline: May 15
Offered in varying amounts, this scholarship is given to Native American students who are studying health programs. Students must plan on working in the health field following graduation and must be members or descendents of federally recognized, state-recognized or terminated Tribes. Students pursuing online education are not eligible.

Indian Student Assistance Grant
Organization: the State of Wisconsin’s Higher Educational Aid Board
Amount: $250-1,100
Deadline: May 15
To be eligible for this award, students must be 25% Native American and be enrolled at a school in Wisconsin for their college degree. Male students seeking financial aid from the US Dept. of Education or the state of Wisconsin are required to register with the US States Selective Service System. Accredited online programs in Wisconsin are eligible.

Native American Scholarship Fund
Organization: Society for American Archaeology
Amount: $4,000-10,000
Deadline: December 15
This scholarship is for students who are enrolled in Native American study programs or who possess Native American heritage and are pursuing education in archaeology. When applying, students must supply a personal statement, two letters of recommendation, a proposed budget explaining financial need, a brief description of the proposed study program and documentation of Native identity.
Online programs are eligible for this award.

North Dakota Indian Scholarship
Organization: North Dakota University System
Amount: $2,000
Deadline: July 15
Students must be a part of a federally recognized tribe to qualify for this scholarship and maintain a GPA of 2.0 or above. To be considered, applicants must also demonstrate financial need and be enrolled in a North Dakota institution of higher education. Students enrolled in online programs (based in North Dakota) are eligible.

Scholarship for Excellence
Organization: Goldman Sachs
Amount: $5,000-10,000
Deadline: January 20
Native American and minority students can apply for this scholarship when they enter their undergraduate sophomore or junior year. Applicants must be pursuing a summer internship and submit an essay, video or presentation based on the 14 Business Principles of the organization. Following graduation, students may be recruited for positions at Goldman Sachs. Students who receive the award may use it toward an online degree program.

Tebughna Foundation Scholarship
Organization: Tyonek Native Corporation
Deadline: April 15, July 1 and December 1
Students must be enrolled in a vocational or technical program. The award amount varies. Students enrolled in online programs are not eligible.

AANAPISI Scholarship
Organization: Wisconsin’s Higher Educational Aid Board
Amount: $2,500-$5,000
Deadline: October 15
To be eligible, students must be of Asian or Pacific Islander descent. Successful applicants receive their award as long as they attend one of the institutions approved of by the organization. To that end, those enrolled in online programs are only eligible if the institution is approved by the board.

Anheuser-Busch/NFL Presidential Scholarships
Organization: National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
Amount: $7,500
Deadline: Fall
This scholarship is given to law students who are interested in working with the Asian Pacific American community. Students enrolled in online programs are not eligible to receive the award.

APIASF Francis Sonn Nam Memorial Scholarship
Organization: APIASF
Amount: $4,000
Deadline: Open
This scholarship is for Asian and Pacific Islander students. To apply, students must be college juniors and plan on entering careers in government affairs, law or public service. Online students are eligible for the award.

Anna Chennault Scholarship
Organization: Asian American Journalists Association
Amount: $5,000
Deadline: May 3
Applicants must be high school seniors of Asian American descent. Award recipients can apply their winnings to tuition costs at any accredited college to study journalism. Online programs are eligible as long as they’re accredited.

Asian Women in Business Scholarship
Organization: Asian Women in Business
Amount: $2,500-$5,000
Deadline: October 1
Students who apply for the scholarship must be an Asian female. Successful applicants are expected to show strong leadership and entrepreneurial skills. Additionally, applicants need to complete at least one semester of college prior to applying. Online programs are eligible.

Banatao Family Filipino American Educational Fund
Organization: Asian Pacific Fund
Amount: $20,000 annually
Deadline: February 20
This scholarship awards $20,000 annually for four years. Students must be at least 50% Filipino to apply. In addition, students should be studying physical science, engineering, environmental science, mathematics or computer science. To qualify, students are also required to live within San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles or the San Francisco Bay area. Online programs are not eligible for this award.

Chi Am Circle Scholarship
Organization: Chi Am Circle Club
Amount: $1,000
Deadline: March
Awards are handed out for the amount of $1,000 to female high school seniors. Students must be of Asian descent. In addition, students should possess a strong resume featuring extracurricular activities, academic merit and community service. Online programs are eligible.

Denny’s Hungry for Education Scholarship
Organization: United States Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce
Amount: $2,500
Deadline: April 5
High school seniors of any minority background can apply to this scholarship. When applying, students will need to provide a 300-word essay on how the restaurant chain Denny’s can impact childhood hunger in their communities. Online programs are eligible.

Frederick and Demi Seguritan Scholarship
Organization: Asian Pacific Fund
Amount: $5,000
Deadline: February 20
Students who are interested in business and are of Asian heritage can apply for this scholarship. Successful applicants receive their award based upon their community service records and ongoing commitments to their communities. To apply, students must be a resident of the San Francisco Bay area and be starting their first year of college. Students enrolled in online programs are not eligible for this scholarship.

Lapiz Family Scholarship
Organization: Asian Pacific Fund
Amount: $4,000
Deadline: February 20
Students who are the children of current or past migrant workers can apply. Applicants should be in college or about to start college at the time of application. Online programs are eligible.

The Tang Scholarship
Organization: Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Amount: Varies; Up to $60,000
Deadline: April 30
This scholarship is intended to support LGBTQ students of Asian and Pacific Island descent. Students receive up to $60,000 over the course of four years to pursue their chosen study program. Students of online programs are eligible for this scholarship.

USPAACC Scholarship
Organization: CelebrAsian
Amount: $2,500-$5,000
Deadline: March
Students of Asian or Pacific Islander descent who are currently high school seniors can apply for the USPAACC scholarship. Students enrolled in online programs are eligible to receive this scholarship.

ALPFA Scholarship Program
Organization: Association of Latino Professionals for America
Amount: Varies
Deadline: June 8
This scholarship program is for members of the ALPFA who are currently pursuing a degree in accounting, economics, business administration, marketing or finance. To qualify for the variable award, students must have a 3.0 grade point average. Online programs are eligible.

Frank Kazmierczak Memorial Migrant Scholarship
Organization: Kazmierczak Scholarship Committee
Amount: $1,000
Deadline: February 1
Named after migrant educator Franck Kazmierczak, this award is intended to help migrant workers or their children pursue degrees in education. Students must submit two letters of recommendation and write an essay about why they want to become a teacher. Online programs are not eligible for this award.

Golden State Minority Foundation Scholarship
Organization: The Golden State Minority Foundation
Amount: $2,000
Deadline: April 1
This scholarship is for students who are enrolled in a business program within southern California. To qualify, students must have a 3.0 grade point average and cannot work more than 25 hours a week. Online programs are not eligible for this scholarship.

Minority Nurse Faculty Scholarship
Organization: American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
Amount: $18,000
Deadline: May 1
Applicants must be planning on pursuing a doctoral degree in nursing with the intent of becoming a teacher in a nursing school following graduation. Students enrolled in online programs are not eligible for this scholarship.

NACME Pre-Engineering Scholarship Program
Organization: National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME)
Amount: $2,500
Deadline: March 15
This scholarship is reserved for students who plan on majoring in engineering. Applicants must be high school seniors with a 3.0 grade point average and an SAT score of at least 1650. Online programs are not eligible for this scholarship.

Technical Minority Scholarship
Organization: Xerox
Amount: $1,000-$5,000
Deadline: September 30
This scholarship is intended for minority students who are engaged in a technical discipline. Students must have a 3.0 grade point average and can be in bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree programs. Students enrolled in online programs are not eligible for this scholarship.

The Gates Millennium Scholarship
Organization: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Amount: Varies
Deadline: January 14
Students with at least a 3.3 grade point average can apply for this award. Applicants must be planning on studying science, public health, technology, education, mathematics or engineering to qualify. Depending on the student’s college program and financial need, the award amount can vary. Online students are eligible for this scholarship.

UPS Scholarship for Minority Students
Organization: Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE)
Amount: $4,000
Deadline: November 15
Online Programs Eligible: No
To qualify for this award, students must be enrolled in an industrial engineering program that has been recognized by the Institute of Industrial Engineers.

AMS Minority Scholarship
Organization: American Meteorological Society
Amount: $3,000
Deadline: February 7
The American Meteorological Society offers this scholarship to encourage minority students to study undergraduate degrees in hydrologic, atmospheric and oceanic science. Online programs are eligible.

AASA Educational Administration Scholarship
Organization: The School Superintendents Association
Amount: $2,500
Deadline: September 30
This scholarship is for female students who are pursuing a graduate degree. Winners must be planning to work as a school superintendent following graduation. Online students are eligible for this program.

Ada I. Pressman Memorial Scholarship
Organization: Society of Women Engineers
Amount: $5,000
Deadline: May 15
This scholarship is for any female student studying engineering-related fields. It is renewable for up to five years, and is available to any undergraduate or graduate student. To receive the award, students must be attending an institution that is accredited by the ABET. Online students are not eligible for this scholarship.

Community Action Grant
Organization: American Association of University Women
Amount: $2,000-$10,000
Deadline: January 15
This scholarship is for females who plan on working in the field of education. Award amounts vary and are given to students who are committed to gender equality and educational pursuits. Online programs are eligible for this award.

Future Care Scholarship
Organization: Tylenol
Amount: $500-$5,000
Deadline: June 30
Successful applicants must be studying public health, health education or nursing. Additionally, students could be pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree with the intent of becoming a pharmacist or a doctor. Online programs are not eligible for this scholarship.

HP Helion Openstack Scholarship for Women
Organization: Hewlett-Packard
Amount: $10,000
Deadline: September 30
Applicants for this scholarship program must be women who are pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees. Students must be currently studying information systems or computer science. Once the $10,000 award is granted, students must work to create Openstack or Cloud Foundry technology. Online students are eligible.

Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship
Organization: Zonta International
Amount: $1,000-$7,000
Deadline: July 1
Females students must be currently studying business-related fields in order to apply for this scholarship. To be eligible, students must also live or study in an area with a Zonta chapter. Online students are eligible for this scholarship.

Laurels Fund Scholarship
Organization: Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting
Amount: $5,000
Deadline: May 15
This award is reserved for women studying accounting in a doctoral degree program. It cannot be applied to online programs.

The WIIT Scholarship Program
Organization: Women in International Trade
Amount: $1,500
Deadline: March 15 and July 15
Women who are pursuing degrees in international business or similar fields can apply for the WIIT scholarship. Applicants can be currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program. Online programs are eligible.

Women in Technology Scholarship
Organization: Palantir
Amount: $1,500-$10,000
Deadline: August 31
To be eligible, women must be enrolled in a science, engineering, computer science, mathematics or technology program. Applicants must have completed a minimum of one year of their degree prior to applying. Online programs are eligible.

Minority students can help pay for school by pursuing various financial aid options. The federal government, private organizations and state governments all offer financial aid resources for students in need. To begin the process, students must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Completing the form helps administrators determine your current level of financial need, and is often required by grant programs. Afterward, students can use a mixture of loans, grants and scholarships to pay for school.

Most scholarship programs require students to complete the FAFSA before submitting a scholarship application. Instructions on FAFSA’s website guide applicants through the process, which should be completed early to give students the best chance of receiving aid. Once the FAFSA has been completed, students will learn if they are eligible for federal grants, loans and work-study programs.

Loan Options

Based on individual need, students may qualify for different types of loans. Need-based loans like the Federal Perkins loan and the Federal Direct Subsidized loan are given to students with the greatest financial need. Non-need-based loans include the Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan and the Federal Direct PLUS loan. While the Federal Direct Subsidized loan is interest-free for students while they’re in school, the Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan is not. PLUS loans are designed for the parents of undergraduate students who want to borrow the amount needed for college not covered by other financial aid.

  • Perkins Loan: Designed to help students with the greatest level of financial need, this federal loan program is run directly through schools. When it comes time to repay the loan, students pay their school instead of another lender.
  • Direct Subsidized Loan: This loan is given to students who demonstrate financial need. During college and for the six months following graduation, the federal government pays all interest costs.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: Every student can qualify for this loan. Interest must be paid during college. If the student chooses not to pay the interest, it will be capitalized and added to their total loan amount.
  • PLUS Loans: This loan is designed for parents of college students or graduate students. It is loaned by the federal government and only covers the cost of attending college.

Students may also qualify for private loan programs. These are generally offered by a bank, private organization or financial institution at a higher interest rate than federal loans. Private loans generally require a co-signer promising to repay the loan if the student is unable to do so.

Grants and Work-Study Programs

Grants are provided by the government or organizations and do not have to be repaid. The most common grant is the Federal Pell Grant. Additionally, the federal government offers the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant and the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant.

For students who still need money for college, the Federal Work-Study Program allows undergraduate and graduate students to work in fields related to their study program. This part-time employment program allows students to earn the federal minimum-wage or higher as they work their way through college.

The Unique Challenges and Opportunities for Minority Students

When it comes to financing their education, minority students face a unique set of challenges and opportunities. These students often come from lower-income homes Financial Aid Resources for Minority Students and many have to work while they’re in college. Children of immigrants or migrant workers may not have wealthy relatives who can help pay for school, and they face a statistically higher chance of dropping out of college.

Fortunately, colleges are increasingly accommodating to minority students. In an effort to diversify campuses, colleges have created scholarship programs that exclusively target minority populations. Through a mixture of scholarships, grants, loans and work-study programs, students can get the money that they need to pursue their education.

To help students from all backgrounds achieve their highest potential, several national initiatives provide educational resources and college preparatory training to prospective students. Ranging from engineering programs to college readiness training, these national initiatives are available to students who are ready to work toward their dreams and achieve a college degree.

Further Reading