Scholarships for Hispanic and Latino/a Students

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by Megan Whitenton
Published on September 1, 2021

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Unique Challenges | Scholarships | Grants | Additional Resources | Frequently Asked Questions

Despite record enrollment numbers for Hispanic and Latino/a college students in recent years, many of these learners still encounter difficult challenges on the road to graduation. Financial aid, especially "free" scholarships and grants, are critical to Hispanic and Latino/a students impacted by rising costs of living, low wages, and statewide divestment in higher education.

Many Hispanic and Latino/a students are the first in their family to attend college. College tuition is more expensive than ever, and these students often face mounting debt with limited employment options and earning potential compared to their non-Hispanic counterparts. The following guide explores essential scholarships that can help Hispanic and Latino/a students find success.

Challenges Impacting Hispanic and Latino/a Students

Economic Decline Due to COVID-19 - Hispanic and Latino/a students considering college during the COVID-19 pandemic have been hit especially hard, as a significant percentage enter school as low-income students. Thirty-two percent of Latino/a students delayed or canceled their college plans in 2020 — double the rate of white learners and 8-9 percentage points more than Black or Asian American learners.

Less Generational Wealth Than White Students - The high cost of college is daunting for many, including many Hispanic and Latino/a students and their families. Low-income families are 64% less likely to accumulate savings than higher-earning families. Additionally, 47% of Hispanic Americans were denied or approved for less credit than requested in 2016-17, more than double the rate for white Americans.

Decline in Community College Enrollment - Due in part to President Obama's tuition-free community college plan in 2015, Hispanic and Black students became the largest enrollment groups in community colleges nationwide. However, two-year college enrollment fell more than 10% during the pandemic in 2020.

First-Generation College Students - As the first members of their families to pursue college, many Hispanic and Latino/a students are unfamiliar with the complexities of the processes required to apply to college and for financial aid.

Scholarships

General College Scholarships for Hispanic and Latino/a Students
Scholarship Eligibility Amount Deadline
GMiS STEM Scholarship Applicants must be of Hispanic heritage or demonstrate high involvement in an underserved community. They must also have a minimum 3.0 GPA and be pursuing a full-time STEM graduate or undergraduate degree at a two-year or four-year college or university. $500-$5,000 April
Hispanic Scholarship Fund Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, a permanent legal resident, or DACA-eligible. They must also be of Hispanic heritage with a minimum 2.5 GPA for high school students or a minimum 3.0 GPA for college and graduate students. Applicants should be enrolled or planning to enroll full time in a four-year university or graduate school. $500-$5,000 February
La Unidad Latina Foundation Applicants must be of Latino/a heritage and enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate program. Up to $2,000 October
LULAC National Scholarship Fund Latino/a and Hispanic students can qualify for various League of United Latin American Citizens awards. Applicants should be able to demonstrate strong academic performance, leadership potential, and community involvement. $250-$2,000 Varies
TheDream.Us National Scholarship Applicants must be DACA- or TPS-certified. They must also be current U.S. high school or community college students, or recent graduates/GED recipients. Students must have come to the U.S. before the age of 16 and have resided in the U.S. continuously since November 1, 2015. Varies Varies
Scholarships for Latina and Hispanic Women
Scholarship Eligibility Amount Deadline
Red Thread Foundation Scholarship To qualify, applicants must be women who were born internationally, immigrants, or first-generation Americans enrolling as first-year college students in an undergraduate program. Varies February
Chicana Latina Foundation Scholarship Applicants must be women of Chicana or Latina heritage enrolled in an accredited graduate or undergraduate program in one of 13 northern California counties. Students must have resided in a qualifying county for at least two years prior to applying. $1,500 March
Illustrating Awesomeness Scholarship Applicants must be women or gender nonconforming students of color enrolled in or planning to enroll in an undergraduate program in the upcoming fall term. $750 November
Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation Scholarship Applicants must be women who are at least 17 years old and mothers with minor children. Applicants must also qualify as low-income individuals and be pursuing their first graduate or undergraduate degree. Preference is given to women from underserved communities. Up to $5,000 August
Scholarships for First-Generation Hispanic and Latino/a College Students
Scholarship Eligibility Amount Deadline
EducationDynamics Minority First-Generation Scholarship Applicants must be first-generation students who are at least 17 years old and pursuing an undergraduate program at an accredited institution. $10,000 June
The Gates Scholarship Applicants must be high school seniors who plan to enroll in a full-time undergraduate program. Students must be U.S. citizens, be Pell Grant-eligible, and hold a minimum 3.3 GPA. Preference is given to first-generation students. Varies September
Kaiser Permanente Health Equity Scholarship Applicants must be graduating high school seniors with a minimum 2.5 GPA and planning to enroll in a full-time undergraduate program the following year. Students must permanently reside in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, or Washington, D.C. Preference is given to students from underrepresented communities. $5,000 May
TELACU Education Foundation Scholarship Applicants must be first-generation, low-income, full-time undergraduate students with a minimum 2.5 GPA. They must be permanent residents in underserved communities in select counties of California, Illinois, New York, or Texas. Preference is given to business and STEM majors. Varies Varies
Scholarships for Migrant Workers and Their Children
Scholarship Eligibility Amount Deadline
College Assistance Migrant Program Applicants must be migrant workers or children of migrant workers currently enrolled in their first year of an undergraduate program. Varies April
Jean DeGrace Crandall Memorial Scholarship Migrants or children of migrants who are currently enrolled in or have graduated from a high school in New York's Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, or Westchester counties may qualify for this award. Priority is given to migrants from Mexico. At least $1,000 April
Quest for Excellence: New Americans Award Eligible applicants are immigrants or children of immigrants in their junior year of high school who demonstrate exceptional academic potential and plan to attend college after their senior year. Up to $1,000 Varies
Running of the Bulls Scholarship for Immigrants Applicants must be immigrants or children of immigrants and enrolled in or accepted to a four-year undergraduate or graduate program with a minimum GPA of 3.0. $1,000 June
Gloria Mattera National Migrant Scholarship Applicants must demonstrate a recent move for agricultural employment, as well as academic potential and financial need. They must be enrolled in, accepted to, or planning to pursue a program at an accredited college or university, technical school, or vocational school. Priority is given to interstate migrant youth. Up to $250 April

Grants

Scholarship Eligibility Amount Deadline
Hispanic Heritage Foundation Youth Awards Applicants must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or DACA recipients of Hispanic heritage. They must also graduate from high school in spring 2022 with a GPA of at least 3.0 and enroll at a college or university in 2022-2023. Varies November
Federal Pell Grant Applicants must be U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens who are first-time college students. Most award recipients are undergraduates, except for aspiring teachers. Up to $6,495 (2021-2022) June (FAFSA deadline)
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Applicants must be enrolled full time or part time in a graduate or undergraduate degree program at a participating school and maintain a GPA of at least 3.25. Recipients commit to teaching in a high-need field for at least four years after they graduate. Varies June (FAFSA deadline)
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Applicants must be undergraduate students and demonstrate financial need. $100-$4,000 June (FAFSA deadline)
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant Applicants must be ineligible for the Pell Grant based on income and meet other criteria. Qualifying students must have been under 24 years old or enrolled in college when they experienced the death of their parent or guardian through military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11. Up to $6,495 June (FAFSA deadline)

Additional Resources

NHI collaborates with 80 colleges and universities nationwide and serves 2,000-2,500 Hispanic high school and college students each year through youth leadership programs, financial awards and fellowships, and national and international outreach programs. This initiative, including the ¡Gradúate! Guide to Success Series, helps aspiring students navigate the college application process. It also provides resources to improve economic and educational opportunities for Hispanic Americans. HACU comprises more than 500 colleges and universities in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America, and Spain, serving more than two-thirds of the world's Hispanic college students. The organization works to provide access to high-quality academic and professional programs for Hispanic and Latino/a students. PNPI helps guide existing and emerging postsecondary education policies through research and advocacy programs. The institute remains a leading national resource for statistical reporting on issues affecting Hispanic and Latino/a student groups in postsecondary education. This organization promotes student engagement, academic achievement, and workforce preparation for the Latino/a postsecondary community. Excelencia in Education comprises a variety of initiatives that aim to improve federal and state policy, education pathways, and financial aid opportunities for minority students.

Frequently Asked Questions About Scholarships for Hispanic and Latino/a Students

true How do Hispanic and Latino/a students fill out the FAFSA?

Filling out the FAFSA is necessary to determine financial aid eligibility and to qualify for federal aid. Qualifying Hispanic and Latino/a students who complete the FAFSA automatically apply for federal grants. Resources like the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative assist students in applying for aid. The FAFSA is also available in Spanish.

true What is the definition of a Hispanic or Latino/a person for scholarships?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a person of Hispanic or Latino/a descent is from a Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Spanish, or South or Central American culture.

true What GPA do you need to receive a full-ride scholarship?v

In general, the higher the GPA the better — especially for a merit-based, full-ride scholarship. While the majority of scholarships that include a GPA requirement ask for a minimum GPA of at least 2.5-3.0 GPA, full-ride scholarships for Latino/a students typically raise that minimum to at least 3.5.

true Are there scholarship resources for students attending Hispanic-Serving Institutions?

Yes. Scholarships for Hispanic students are widely available through national and regional organizations and private sponsors, though thousands more scholarships are available through Hispanic-Serving Institutions. Students should verify a school's membership in HACU to pursue its specific scholarships for Latino/a students.

Reviewed by:

Dr. Susana M. Muñoz is Associate Professor of higher education, Program Coordinator of the Higher Education Leadership (HEL) Program, and Co-Director of CSU initiatives for the Race and Intersectional Studies for Educational Equity (RISE) Center in the School of Education at Colorado State University (CSU).

Her scholarly interests center on the experiences of minoritized populations in higher education. Specifically, Dr. Muñoz focuses her research on issues of equity, identity, and campus climate for undocumented Latinx students, while employing perspectives such as legal violence, racist nativism, and Chicana feminist epistemology to identify and dismantle power, oppression, and inequities as experienced by these populations. She utilizes multiple research methods as mechanisms to examine these matters with the ultimate goal of informing immigration policy and higher education practices.

Dr. Muñoz has been honored by the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics for her teaching and research. She was also recognized as a Salzburg Global Fellow and named one of the "top 25 most influential women in higher education" by Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine. She also brings 13 years of student affairs experience in multicultural affairs, Greek life, diversity and leadership training, TRiO programs, and residence life.

Feature Image: SDI Productions / E+ / Getty Images

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