Scholarships for Asian American and Pacific Islander Students

It can be hard for AAPI students to find college funding. Check out these scholarships, grants, and financial resources for Asian American and Pacific Islander students in college.

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by Kathrine Yets

Published on April 22, 2022 · Updated on May 23, 2022

Reviewed by R.J. Weiss

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Scholarships for Asian American and Pacific Islander Students
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Many jobs today require postsecondary education, especially with the growing economy. Financial aspects, including financial aid, influence whether or not people pursue higher education. College costs can also impact what institution students choose to attend and what experiences they partake in.

Securing financial aid, such as scholarships and grants, can help students fund their education. But many AAPI students struggle to find financial support due to inadequate information and difficulties with completing the FAFSA. According to the Asian American and Pacific Islander Research Coalition (ARC), 70% of AAPI students surveyed reported that their choice of college was limited because of financial reasons.

Financial Challenges for Asian American and Pacific Islander Students

According to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), "In 2018, 10.1% of Asian Americans lived in poverty, compared to 8.1% of white, non-Hispanic Americans." Asian Americans also had a 3.3% unemployment rate in 2020, lower than the national average of 4.1%. For those who do not hold a degree, AAPI individuals make less than white Americans on average.

According to the ARC, most AAPI students surveyed did not receive enough information about financial aid options. In addition, 60% of AAPI students found the FAFSA too difficult to complete. Increasing financial literacy can help close the racial wealth gap. For example, there is a Pell Grant program that distributes nearly $30 billion each year to about 7 million students. However, some students do not know what a grant is or if they are eligible to apply.

Featured AAPI Scholarships

Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship

Who Is Eligible?: Applicants must be 25% Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity and hold U.S. citizenship. They must have a minimum 3.5 GPA and demonstrate leadership skills.

Application Deadline: May 31, 2022

Scholarship Amount: $1,500


Shui Kuen and Allen Chin Scholarship

Who Is Eligible?: To apply, students must have worked or currently work in an Asian restaurant or have a parent who works or has worked in one. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and hold a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also enroll in college full time.

Application Deadline: Annually every March

Scholarship Amount: $1,000


Asian Pacific Fund Scholarships

Who Is Eligible?: The Asian Pacific Fund wants to help students embark on their dreams. The foundation offers many scholarship options for students at the undergrad and graduate levels. Each scholarship features various eligibility and application requirements.

Application Deadline: Varies by scholarship

Scholarship Amount: Varies


Across Culture Scholarship

Who Is Eligible?: This scholarship is awarded to a student who demonstrates an openness to learning about other cultures and sharing their own. Applicants do not need to write an essay to apply.

Application Deadline: Annually every April

Scholarship Amount: $1,350


Asian American/Pacific Islander Scholarship

Who Is Eligible?: AAPI students may apply for this scholarship. Applicants must be high school seniors or undergraduates. This bi-annual scholarship seeks to increase diversity in higher education.

Application Deadline: Annually every April and August

Scholarship Amount: $750


Advancing Social Justice for Asians Scholarship

Who Is Eligible?: Graduate students interested in advancing social justice for Asians may apply. Candidates must provide a letter stating their passion for social justice, how they've supported Asians, and how they plan to use the scholarship.

Application Deadline: Annually every April

Scholarship Amount: $500


PG&E Asian Employee Resource Group

Who Is Eligible?: All majors may apply, but the scholarship committee may prefer learners studying engineering, IT, business, environmental fields, or another energy-related emphasis. Students need a 3.0 GPA or higher to apply.

Application Deadline: February 25, 2023

Scholarship Amount: $2,000-$3,000


USPAACC Investing in Future Leaders Scholarship

Who Is Eligible?: Asian American high school seniors may apply. They must submit two essays and letters of recommendation. Candidates also need at least a 3.3 GPA and leadership experience.

Application Deadline: Opens January 2022

Scholarship Amount: Varies


Korean American Scholarship Foundation

Who Is Eligible?: Korean American and international students from Korea who are enrolled full time may apply for the foundation's scholarships. Descendants of veterans who served in the Korean War may also be eligible. Applicants must show financial need and academic achievement.

Application Deadline: Varies

Scholarship Amount: $500-$5,000


Cecilia Moy Yep Scholarship Fund

Who Is Eligible?: Asian American women who are high school seniors may apply for this scholarship. They must show participation in community service and extracurricular activities. Applicants also need a minimum 3.0 GPA. Eligible students must reside in Philadelphia, Delaware, Montgomery, Chester, or Bucks counties.

Application Deadline: Annually every March

Scholarship Amount: Varies

Grants for AAPI Students

The Korean Ancestry Grant

Who Is Eligible?: Students of Asian descent can apply. Those with Korean ancestry receive preference for scholarship funds. Applicants need at least a 3.5 GPA, and only undergraduates can apply.

Application Deadline: Annually every April

Grant Amount: $10,000


Jerome Hill Artist

Who Is Eligible?: Early-career Asian artists living in Minnesota and New York may apply. Applicants must be working in fields such as dance, film, literature, music, theater, visual arts, technology-centered arts, and combined artistic fields.

Application Deadline: May 4, 2022

Grant Amount: $50,000 over two consecutive years.


Sam Chu Lin and Lloyd Lacuesta Broadcast Internship Grants

Who Is Eligible?: Applicants must be full-time college students or recent graduates. Candidates must major in journalism for grant consideration.

Application Deadline: Annually every April

Grant Amount: $500-$1,000


William Woo Print and Online News Internship Grant

Who Is Eligible?: Applicants must be undergraduates enrolled full time and current AAJA members. Grant recipients must use the money towards living and travel expenses.

Application Deadline: Annually every April

Grant Amount: $2,000


Endowment for South Asian Students of Indian Descent (ESASID)

Who Is Eligible?: Medical students in Philadelphia and New Jersey may apply for this grant. Applicants must be of South Asian Indian heritage to qualify.

Application Deadline: Opens July 1-September 30, 2022

Grant Amount: $5,000

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Additional Financial Resources

Korean Spirit & Cultural Promotion Project Essay Contest: The first-place winner of this essay contest receives $500. The contest requires contestants to read a specified book on Korean history and culture and write an essay. Contestants' essays should answer one of two question prompts provided by KSCPP. Applications are due every April.

The Taiwanese American Scholarship Fund: This scholarship offers $5,000 to high school seniors and first-year college students. Applicants must hold U.S. citizenship and be a direct blood descendant of a Taiwanese citizen. They must also live at or below the poverty level and hold a 3.0 GPA or higher. The application is due every year in April.

Kao Kalia Yang Scholarship Program: This scholarship offers $5,000 to students of Hmong descent. Students must be seniors in a U.S. high school and have a 2.0 GPA or higher. All majors may apply. The deadline is set for April each year.

Japanese American Citizen League: The amount of funding offered varies. Applicants must be JACL members and plan to attend school full time in the fall. They must submit applications by April each year.

APIA Scholars: APIA offers a scholarship for AAPI students. The scholarship program awards $2,500 for one year and up to $20,000 for multiple years. Eligible candidates must be at or below the poverty level and be the first to attend college in their family. Applications close annually every January.

Frequently Asked Questions About Scholarships for Asian American and Pacific Islander Students

true What does it mean to be Asian American or Pacific Islander?

The AAPI community consists of 50 different ethnic groups, including Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islander ancestries. Over 7% of the U.S. population identifies as AAPI and speaks over 100 languages.

true What percentage of AAPI individuals have a college degree?

According to the New American Economy, 54.7% of Asian American and Pacific Islanders have college degrees. In the U.S., only 1 in 3 people on average earn degrees, so this percentage is above average. AAPI individuals are also more likely to pursue a degree in STEM majors.

What scholarships are available for AAPI students by major?

Students interested in fashion can apply for the #LiveLikeLyly Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship offers $1,000 to AAPI fashion students. Law students can apply for the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA). Archeology majors can apply for the Historically Underrepresented Groups Scholarship (HUGS). This scholarship offers $3,000 for tuition, food, housing, books, supplies, equipment, and childcare. It also funds summer programs.

What is the AANAPISI scholarship program?

The Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI) Scholarship Program provides scholarships to AAPI students. This scholarship is for first-generation college students who are at or below the poverty level. Applicants must also show strong community ties, leadership skills, and academic achievement. The institution awards $2,500 for one year and up to $5,000 for multi-year scholarships. The scholarship is closed at this time, but it will open soon.