Financial Aid Opportunities for Minority Students

Minority students have long been underrepresented at U.S. colleges and universities. There are many complex reasons for lower enrollment and graduation rates among minority students, not the least of which is financial hardship and lack of access to traditional educational support networks.

In an effort to make higher education more accessible to these groups, hundreds of public and private organizations offer specialized minority student scholarships and aid programs. If you are a student with minority status, it’s worth your while to see what’s available.

To make it easier on you, we’ve compiled a directory of these diversity scholarships and educational support programs and arranged them by category:

Please note that any application deadlines listed are for 2015. Each award and program listed is offered annually. If this year’s deadline has passed, check the sponsoring website for dates of the next application cycle.

All Minority Students


Xerox Minority Scholarships

  • Who’s Eligible: Open to all minority applicants who are U.S. Citizens or permanent residents, and who are not the children or spouses of Xerox employees. Applicants must be enrolled as full-time students in a 4-year school or a graduate program with a major in either a technical science or engineering.
  • Award Amount: Ranges from $1,000 – $10,000
  • Deadline: September 30

Brown and Caldwell Minority Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: The environmental engineering firm of Brown and Caldwell, with the support and cooperation of black, Hispanic and women’s engineering societies, created this scholarship expressly for minority students who are either U.S. Citizens or permanent residents. Applicants may be full-time students in either the junior or senior year with a declared engineering or environmental sciences major.
  • Award Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: April 15

Actuarial Diversity Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Presented by The Actuarial Foundation, this scholarship is intended to foster greater diversity in the actuarial field. Applicants must be full-time students at an accredited college or university in the United States. Successful applicants will have a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, with a concentration in math or actuarial courses.
  • Award Amount: $1,000 – $4,000
  • Deadline: May 1

AWG Minority Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: This scholarship award is made by the Association for Women Geoscientists for the benefit of minority women by providing both financial aid and a mentor. Applicants must be women of African-American, Hispanic or Native American descent who are pursuing a degree in one of the geo-sciences.
  • Award Amount: $6,000
  • Deadline: June 30

Warner Norcross & Judd

  • Who’s Eligible: This scholarship is intended to increase minority representation in the legal profession by providing scholarships for both law school students and those studying to become a paralegal or legal assistant. This scholarship is open to those who will be attending a Michigan Law School or who are Michigan residents.
  • Award Amount: $2,000 $5,000
  • Deadline: April 1

MCCA Lloyd M. Johnson, Jr. Scholarship Program

  • Who’s Eligible: This program is open to minority law students who have been accepted to, or who are enrolled in, an ABA accredited law school on a full-time basis. Applicants must have earned at least a 3.2 GPA as undergraduates and respond to a two-part essay question.
  • Award Amount: $10,000
  • Deadline: May 15

Minority Teacher Education Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Funded by the Florida Fund for Minority Teachers, this scholarship is awarded to students who are juniors with at least 60 credits or an associate’s degree. Applicants must have at least a 2.5 GPA while enrolled full-time. Recipients are required to teach at least one year in Florida public schools after graduation.
  • Award Amount: $4,000
  • Deadline: July 1 and November 1

Johnson & Johnson/AACN Minority Nurse Faculty Scholars

  • Who’s Eligible: Graduate nursing students are the beneficiaries of this scholarship for nurses who are members of an underrepresented minority group in the nursing profession. In addition to U.S. Citizens, this award is open to permanent residents and refugees or qualified immigrants. Recipients are asked to pledge one year to a nursing faculty program.
  • Award Amount: $16,500
  • Deadline: May 1

Additional Support

  • Know How to Go: This site provides information for low income and first generation students who lack the social and familial infrastructure required to adequately prepare for college.
  • Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate: The goal of AGEP is to increase the representation of minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professoriate by providing assistance in career development.
  • Minority Legal Education Resources: For more than 30 years, MLER has worked to increase diversity in the legal field. Working in conjunction with partners and peer organizations, they provide bar examination preparation and mentoring for minority students.

African American Students


Alpha Kappa Alpha

  • Who’s Eligible: Applicants must be in at least their second year at an accredited degree-granting school and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants seeking a scholarship based on need must have a GPA of 2.5 or above.
  • Award Amount: Amounts Vary
  • Deadline: April 15

Blacks at Microsoft Scholarships

  • Who’s Eligible: Open to high school seniors planning to attend a four-year college or university to pursue a degree in one of the following areas: engineering, computer science, CIS or certain business programs. Applicants must demonstrate leadership in their school or community; must have a GPA of 3.3 or higher; and must have a need for financial assistance.
  • Award Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: March 1

Ron Brown Scholar Program

  • Who’s Eligible: Applicants for this award must be high school seniors who identify as African American. Successful candidates will stand out for their academic achievements and leadership potential. Students are expected to have participated in community activities and have a need for financial assistance.
  • Award Amount: $10,000 a year for four years.
  • Deadline: November 1

National Association of Black Journalists

  • Who’s Eligible: In order to apply for any of the scholarships offered by NABJ, applicants must be members of the association, and must be currently enrolled full-time at an accredited institution in the United States. Qualifying GPAs differ for each of the scholarships offered. Journalism or a communications related major are required for consideration.
  • Award Amount: $1,500 – $2,500
  • Deadline: Varies

George Washington Carver Scholarship Fund

  • Who’s Eligible: Successful applicants for this award will be able to identify themselves as leaders in their communities and will have completed at least 40 hours of volunteer work. Applicants must either attend or plan to attend a Historically Black College or University and supply a detailed statement of why they are applying and what they intend to accomplish.
  • Award Amount: Up to $10,000
  • Deadline: May 30

Thurgood Marshall College Fund Altria Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Applicants must be enrolled at one of the schools identified by the scholarship program. They must be juniors or seniors with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher, and they must also be recommended for the award by their school’s scholarship coordinator or counselor. Additionally, applicants must be U.S. citizen and are required to major in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, business, accounting, finance or economics.
  • Award Amount: $3,100 per semester
  • Deadline: April 11

Walmart First Generation Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Open to high school seniors who will be the first in their family to attend a Historically Black College. Applicants are expected to have at least a 2.5 GPA and be a U.S. Citizen. Successful applicants will have demonstrated leadership ability.
  • Award Amount: $6,200 and a campus mentor
  • Deadline: May 9

Jack and Jill Foundation Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Open African American students regardless of major who are or will be attending an accredited four year institution on a full-time basis. This scholarship is not open to dependents of members of Jack and Jill Foundation.
  • Award Amount: $1,500 – $2,500
  • Deadline: June 1

Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology

  • Who’s Eligible: This award is for the benefit of African American students who are majoring in one of the STEM subjects. Selection is determined by a combination of financial need, essays and academic achievements.
  • Award Amount: $2,000
  • Deadline: N/A

National Society of Black Engineers

  • Who’s Eligible: NSBE has numerous scholarships, including the Head Start NSBE Jr. Book scholarship, which is open to high school seniors. Candidates must be planning to major in a STEM subject. Applicants will be evaluated based on their essay, transcripts and letter of acceptance. There is no minimum GPA requirement.
  • Award Amount: $500-$10,500
  • Deadline: December 31

Additional Support

  • White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans: The goal of this program is to close the achievement gap for African American students with regards to college completion. The initiative hopes to attain its goals by increasing the number of African American men in teaching and administration, while building stronger K-12 relationships between schools and the communities they serve.
  • White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Begun in 1981 under Ronald Reagan, this initiative works to support and strengthen Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). The initiative was broadened by an executive order of George H.W. Bush, which created an advisory board to further strengthen these schools.
  • U.S. Department of Education: Predominantly Black Institutions Program: The DOE through this program works with schools to improve and expand services for low and middle income African American students by a variety of means, including teacher development. The program strives to increase the number of black fellowships and raise the number of African Americans with advanced degrees.

Hispanic and Latino Students


American Institute of CPAs Scholarship for Minority Accounting Students

  • Who’s Eligible: Open to minority student who are interested in pursuing a degree and career in accounting. Applicants are required to submit two completed essays, along with a letter of acceptance from a four year college or university. Applicants are also asked to supply a list of other scholarships and/or grants they have both applied for and been awarded.
  • Award Amount: $5,000 per year (renewable)
  • Deadline: April 1

La Unidad Latina Foundation

  • Who’s Eligible: To qualify for this scholarship, students must have at least a 2.80 GPA and must be enrolled in an accredited four year institution. Applicants in all bachelor’s and master’s degree programs are considered.
  • Award Amount: $250 – $1,000
  • Deadline: September 1

GE LNESC National Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: These awards are available to currently enrolled business or engineering majors at accredited 4 year colleges and universities who are at least sophomores. A cumulative GPA of 3.25 or above is mandatory. Applicants must be U.S. Citizens or legal residents.
  • Award Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: Summer deadlines

Friends of Columbia

  • Who’s Eligible: Awards are made based on a combination of merit and need. Candidates must be of Hispanic descent and either accepted or enrolled in at least an associate degree program.
  • Award Amount: $1,000 – $2,000
  • Deadline: N/A

ALPFA National Scholarship Program

  • Who’s Eligible: Successful applicants will be of Hispanic heritage, have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and be enrolled as full-time student at an accredited four year school in the United States or a U.S. territory or possession. Undergraduates must be at least a sophomore or a graduate student in a master’s degree program.
  • Award Amount: $1,500 – $10,000
  • Deadline: June 8

Hispanic Scholarship Fund

  • Who’s Eligible: To qualify for this scholarship, applicants are required to be U.S. Citizens or legal permanent residents. Selected candidates will have a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA as a high school senior planning to enter 4 year college. Applicants are required to apply for federal financial aid in order to be considered for this award.
  • Award Amount: $500 – $5,000
  • Deadline: March 30

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute

  • Who’s Eligible: Candidates for this program must be full-time students at a Department of Education accredited 2 or 4 year college and have demonstrated financial need. Strong writing skills along with a commitment to community or public service are expected, as well as citizenship or other legal status in the United States.
  • Award Amount: $1,000 – $2,500
  • Deadline: April 16

Additional Support

Native American Students


American Indian Services Program

  • Who’s Eligible: This program is open to students who are at least one quarter Native American who have a minimum GPA of 2.25. Applications must include a photo and a certificate of Indian blood or proof of Indian heritage.
  • Award Amount: N/A
  • Deadline: N/A

Catching the Dream Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Applicants must be one quarter or more Native American and be an enrolled member of a U.S. tribe. Students must be either enrolled or must plan to attend an accredited U.S. college or university on a full-time basis.
  • Award Amount: $500 – $5,000 per academic year
  • Deadline: April 15 for the fall semester or September 15 for the spring semester

First Sergeant Douglas and Charlotte DeHorse Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: American Indian students who have completed one year of ROTC training or are a veteran of any of the armed services, merchant marine or national guard. Applicants are expected to submit letters of recommendation and a personal essay with their application.
  • Award Amount: $500 – $5,000 per academic year
  • Deadline: April 15 for the fall semester or September 15 for the spring semester

Minnesota Indian Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Successful applicants will be a Minnesota resident who is at least one fourth American Indian. Students must be enrolled in an accredited school in Minnesota and be qualified for either a Pell or state grant.
  • Award Amount: $4,000 per year for undergraduates and $6,000 per year for graduate students.
  • Deadline: July 1

Wah-Tiah-Kah Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Offered by the Osage Minerals Council for the study of petroleum related subjects. Individuals who apply must provide a certificate showing a degree of Osage Indian blood. Full-time enrollment in accredited program is required.
  • Award Amount: N/A
  • Deadline: July 1 for the Fall semester and December 31 for the Spring semester

SAA Native American Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: In order to qualify for this award, individuals must provide documentation of Native American identity along with two letters of recommendation from teachers or professors; one of those recommenders is required to be a current SAA member.
  • Award Amount: Up to $5,000
  • Deadline: December 15

United South & Eastern Tribes

  • Who’s Eligible: This scholarship requires applicants to be a member of one of the 26 member tribes. Applicants must have a qualifying satisfactory academic record and be enrolled in a college or university.
  • Award Amount: $750 – $1,000
  • Deadline: April 30

Zuni Tribal Scholarship

  • Who’s Eligible: Applicants must be enrolled members of the Zuni Tribe and a Tribal Census Card is required. Students must be fully accepted or already enrolled in a college or university. Applicants are also required to complete and submit a financial need analysis to their school’s financial aid office.
  • Award Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: June 30 for Fall semester and October 30 for Spring Semester

Additional Support

  • White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education: Created in 2011, this initiative is administered from within the Department of Education to support programs and activities that expand and improve educational opportunities for American Indian and Alaska Native students.
  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium: Since its inception in 1972 with six American Indian tribally controlled colleges, the AIHEC has grown to 37 Tribal colleges and universities in the United States. The consortium’s mission is to support higher education for American Indians that is culturally based and supportive.
  • National Indian Education Association: NIEA works to achieve educational equality and excellence by promoting educational opportunities for American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. NIEA also endeavors to craft and advocate for legislation that increases Native control and choice in education.
  • Tribal College Journal of American Indian Higher Education: This publication addresses topics that impact tribal colleges and the various challenges that face indigenous people in pursuit of higher education.
  • U.S. Department of Education: Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions: This program administers grants and other assistance for Native American serving organizations. Grants made through this program aid non-tribal groups to expand and improve services to low income Native Americans.

Pacific Islander Students


Asian Pacific Fund

  • Who’s Eligible: APF oversees a dozen scholarship programs whose intended recipients are Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans. Most require at least a 3.0 GPA and some require a desire to study a particular major.
  • Award Amount: $1,000 – $20,000
  • Deadline: February 19

Asian Pacific Islander Organization

  • Who’s Eligible: The successful applicant will be currently enrolled in either a 2 or 4 year accredited college or university as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student. Applicants must already have at least 15 credits toward a degree in a natural resource field of study, such as agriculture or geology.
  • Award Amount: $1,000 – $2,000
  • Deadline: TBD

Gay Asian Pacific Alliance

  • Who’s Eligible: This scholarship is intended to provide much needed financial assistance for LGBT Asian/Pacific Islander students. Applicants must self-identify as at least one quarter Asian Pacific Islander and must be involved in the LGBT community. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher is also necessary.
  • Award Amount: $1,000 – $2,000
  • Deadline: June 15

Additional Support

  • White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders: President Obama reestablished this White House initiative that works to improve the quality of life and educational opportunities of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
  • Pacific Students: Administered through the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Pacific Students is an organization that provided information and resources to assist Pacific Islander students achieve success. The organization offers conferences, seminars and materials offering honest and accurate information about college and education opportunities.
  • Habele: This nonprofit is committed to improving educational opportunities for students from the islands and atolls of Micronesia. This group provides tuition assistance, books and other resources to K-12 school and higher education programs.

Undocumented Students

NOTE: U.S. scholarships for undocumented students are virtually non-existent — they are fraught with too many legal hazards for both sponsors and schools who would accept their funds. However, there are a number of organizations dedicated to helping undocumented students obtain residency and student status in the U.S.:

  • DREAM Act Portal: This site provides access to information and resources available to a group of young people collectively referred to as dreamers, as defined by the Dream Act. Resources include information regarding obtaining in-state tuition for state colleges and universities.
  • State of California Student Aid Commission – DREAM Act Documents and Resources: As the state with one of the largest undocumented populations in the country, California leads the nation in providing access to resources for undocumented students and dreamers.
  • Ready Set Grad – Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA): In recently passed legislation, Washington state expanded eligibility for its State Need Grant to non-citizen students who cannot apply for FAFSA. Students can begin the application process through
  • State of Minnesota Resources for Undocumented Students: The state of Minnesota’s portal site provides information and applications for undocumented students to apply for state grants tied to higher education.
  • State of Texas Residency Questionnaire: Texas provides a means for dreamers to access information about how to obtain state residency for the purpose of obtaining state financial aid, military enlistment and more.
  • National Council of La Raza: NCLR is a Hispanic civil rights and advocacy group whose mission is to improve the lives of all Hispanics in the United States, documented and undocumented. La Raza is a coalition of over 300 community based groups providing educational resources.

Photo Credit: COD Newsroom