Scholarships for Minorities 101: How To Apply, Benefits, and More


Since the year 2000, the overall college enrollment rate has increased. At the same time, the price tag attached to a college education seems to be getting exponentially more expensive. In fact, tuition fees have increased by 37% between 2008 and 2018.

Are you are beginning the college application process? If so, there’s a good chance you’re feeling stressed by the prospects of how to fund your higher education.

In the United States, there has been a major push to increase the number of minorities with degrees from colleges and universities. For this reason, you can find scholarships for minorities offered by a variety of different organizations and institutions.

Are you interested in learning about minority scholarships? Let’s take a look at what you need to know.

Scholarships For Minorities: The Basics

It is common for college students to fund their education using a blend of financial aid packages that include grants, loans, and scholarships. While borrowing money through loans can be a big help when it comes to paying for college, grants and scholarships don’t have to be paid back later.

There are general aid programs that are open to all college students. However, there are also scholarships that are specifically tailored for minority student applicants including:

  • African American
  • Native American
  • Hispanic and Latinos
  • Asian and Pacific Islander

These scholarships allow college students to have access to financial aid. They aim to support people of their specific cultural and ethnic heritage.

Grants and scholarships for minority students are offered by:

  • Private corporations
  • Government agencies
  • Ethnic foundations
  • Colleges and universities

It’s worth understanding the differences and similarities between grants and scholarships.

Scholarships are usually merit-based. This means that they are designed to reward students who have made notable achievements that might be academic, athletic, or extracurricular.

On the other hand, grants are usually based on an individual’s financial needs.

Grants will sometimes have performance indicators, like maintaining a GPA over a certain number during your time at college. However, grants are often dispersed to applicants who are most in need of financial aid.

Type of Scholarships For College

There are a variety of reasons why scholarships are granted. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common types of scholarships you will come across.

Academic Merit Scholarships

This type of scholarship rewards students who are high-performers in the classroom. How high performance is determined will vary between programs. Common tools for evaluating applicants for this kind of scholarship include test scores and grade-point averages.

If you are a minority who has excelled in the classroom, you have options. You will both be eligible for general merit awards as well as those that are offered exclusively to certain minority populations.

Athletic Scholarships

Athletic scholarships are given to students that have shown their potential to stand out and excel in their chosen sports. People who receive athletic scholarships are typically expected to exhibit strength of character and maintain good grades while they are in school and receiving funds from the scholarship.

Career Scholarships

This type of scholarship gives out money to students who are interested in getting degrees in specific fields. Industry scholarships can be found in fields such as science and engineering, teaching, nursing, and more. This type of scholarship is used to help stimulate enrollment in majors where there is an increasing demand for well-trained professionals.

Institutional Scholarships

These are scholarships that are given by individual schools. At a certain point, you will find that you’ve narrowed down your school options to a shortlist. At this point, you’ll want to look into the scholarships offered as a part of the on-campus financial aid program.

Need-Based Scholarships

Need-based scholarships are like a combination of scholarships and grants. In order to qualify for this type of scholarship, a student must meet specific financial-need requirements. However, at the same time, the student’s performance will also be considered both when the scholarship is awarded as well as when it is renewed.

Student-Specific Scholarships

Student-specific scholarships are designed to support individual groups of college students. These include minorities, women, and members of faith-based organizations.

For example, a community organization might be committed to increasing the enrollment of African Americans at a specific school. They might then choose to fund a scholarship that is only available to African Americans who are enrolled at that school.

Students might be interested in the Ronald McDonald scholarship fund. While this isn’t based on race or ethnicity, both African American and Hispanic students are encouraged to apply for this scholarship.

Scholarships for African Americans

There are scholarships available for African Americans in colleges and universities all across the United States. Many schools have stated their commitment to increasing diversity on campus. They are therefore are driven to graduate more minority students.

For students for whom finances are a barrier to attending school, student-specific scholarships can help to make it possible to attend an institution of higher education.

Here is a small selection of some of the black student scholarships available today.

The United Negro College Fund

When you start your search for scholarships for black people, one of the first things that will likely come up is the United Negro College Fund. This group has helped hundreds of thousands of students attend school since it began in 1944.

The UNCF makes a majority of its annual donations to the Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the country. There are a number of different programs available through the UNCF that could help to fund your college education.

National Society of Black Engineers

There are a number of fellowship and scholarship programs available through the NSBE. These exist in order to encourage African American students to go into the field of engineering. These are very competitive programs that require students to have a minimum GPA and demonstrate financial need.

Students might also need to agree to accept a position working at the corporation that sponsors the scholarship. This agreement usually lasts for a certain amount of time after they graduate.

The Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology

There are annual black student scholarship opportunities offered by the DFBSST. These scholarships are specifically for African American students who are pursuing degrees from one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities in science and technology.

The National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club

There are also a number of scholarships designed specifically for African American women. The National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club offers three scholarships. They are:

  • The Dr. Blanca Moore-Velez Woman of Substance Scholarship
  • The Ethel Lee Hoover Ellis Scholarship
  • The Julianne Malveaux Scholarship

All three of these are open to African-American women who are pursuing an undergraduate degree at an accredited college or university. There is a requirement to have a minimum 3.0 GPA. There are further requirements for each specific scholarship and they also require topic-specific essays.

There are also scholarships offered by Microsoft to support African Americans studying STEM. These scholarships are worth $5,000 every year and can be used for four years so long as the conditions for eligibility continue to be met.

At the Honor Society, we offer exclusive scholarships to students to help them reach their goals. You can learn more about our scholarships here.

Scholarships for Latinos

There are a great number of organizations, companies, and schools that offer scholarships that are specifically designed for minority and female college students. Some of these offer large dollar awards to students they find deserving of their prestigious scholarships.

Educational attainment has increased significantly among U.S. Latino and Hispanic students in the last few years. Making up the largest minority group on college campuses in the U.S., Latino and Hispanic students can find countless scholarships that help them attend the school of their dreams.

The largest single advocate for Latino higher education is the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF). This group offers scholarships and also offers institution program grants.

There are also individual scholarships worth $3,000 available to Latinos from Accenture if they are pursuing technology and business degrees. In order to qualify, applications must be full-time students entering their second year of school with cumulative GPAs above 3.0.

Are you interested in helping ambitious students and professionals achieve even more? Consider donating to the Honor Society Foundation today.

Scholarships For Native Americans

Native Americans are one of the most underrepresented groups in both the degree-holding population and in colleges. In order to help support the educational aspirations of the Native American population, there are many scholarship opportunities available to these college students.

There are scholarships for Native Americans offered by:

  • The federal government
  • State governments
  • Professional associations
  • Tribes and advocacy groups

 Some of these include:

  • The Ford Motor Company Tribal Scholars Program
  • The Native American Scholarship Fund administered by the Society for American Archaeology
  • The American Indian College Fund

The list of scholarships available to Native Americans in the U.S. is quite lengthy. There also might be scholarships available to you based on your tribe.

At Honor Society, we offer scholarships to help students and professionals attain their dreams. Check out some of our recent scholarship winners here.

Scholarships For Asian/Pacific Islanders

The number of students on college campuses of Asian or Pacific Islander descent is increasing. For this reason, many organizations have found that there is an increased need for scholarships for this particular group.

It might seem confusing to group Asians and Pacific Islanders together since they can vary greatly both regionally and culturally. While this is understood as a larger group of scholarship types, it’s worth understanding that some scholarships and grants might be only available for Asians or Pacific Islanders specifically.

Scholarships are available through a number of organizations and schools and are sometimes designed for specific fields and subjects. Examples include:

  • The Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund
  • The U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation offers a number of scholarships
  • The Asian Pacific Fund
  • School-specific scholarships such as those offered at Boston College and Wesleyan University
  • Scholarships from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

Asian and Pacific Islanders make up a growing segment of the college population. These and other scholarships help to support these groups in their goals of attaining higher education.

Minority Scholarships Can Help You Fund Your Education and Achieve Your Dreams

Scholarships for minorities aren’t limited to qualifications based on ethnicity, race, and heritage. There are also minority scholarships available to other groups. These include scholarships specifically for women. There are also scholarships specifically for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered students.

It’s also worth getting creative when it comes to minority scholarships when you are looking for funding. After all, there’s a good chance you will need to find a combination of programs to help you fund your education.

One of the more eccentric minority scholarships includes a scholarship for left-handed students offered by Juniata College. There is also one offered by the Little People of America for adult students who are no taller than 4’10”.

As you can see, there are a lot of options available. It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for scholarships for Hispanics, women, African Americans, or another group. You will likely find that you qualify to apply for a long list of scholarships and programs.

At the Honor Society, we offer exclusive scholarships to students and also connect them to an extensive database of partner scholarships. Check out our scholarship directory here to start your search for college funding options today.



Source: HonorSociety.org Member Articles
Scholarships for Minorities 101: How To Apply, Benefits, and More

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