Latinos and Latinas are American’s largest and fastest growing minority group. According to the US Census Bureau, Hispanics made up 15% of the total US population in 2008. Yet unfortunately Latino/as have the lowest high school completion rate and college attendance rate of any racial or ethnic group. Latino/a students face a number of barriers in their educational careers including language, social, cultural, citizenship and – perhaps most importantly – economic challenges. As a subcategory, Hispanic women additionally face their own unique social concerns and cultural challenges which affect their ability to attend college. Because of these institutional obstacles, however, numerous private, public and college-based scholarships have been created to help close the gap is Hispanic college attendance rates, many of which are designed specifically for Latinas. An abundance of college funding sources see the wisdom in helping to end the under-education of Latino/a youth – the fastest growing segment of the American workforce – and in working to increase female representation in college. Below are some of the most popular scholarship opportunities for Latino/as and Hispanic women.
In addition to the number of specific sources for Latino/a scholarships, you can find more opportunities at www.latinocollegedollars.org, a scholarship database solely for Hispanic students.
General Scholarships and Resources for Latino/a Students
The Hispanic Heritage Foundation is an organization that indentifies and supports young Latino/a leaders in the classroom and community. The Foundation has honored more over 1,500 students and awarded more than $3,000,000 in educational grants. The Foundation’s website also provides a list of many other scholarship opportunities available to Latino/a students.
The Hispanic College Fund is both a scholarship program and an organization designed to support Latino/a students on their path through school. Since 1993, HCF has given away $15 million in scholarships to over 5,000 Hispanic young people. Applicants must be a US citizens or a permanent resident residing in the 50 states or Puerto Rico, must have a minimum GPA of a 3.0, must plan to enroll as a full-time undergraduate student during the following year in the US.
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund provides the Hispanic community more college scholarships and educational outreach support than any other organization in the country. In its 34 year history, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund has awarded close to $280 million in scholarships to more than 90,000 students in need. Two-thirds of these students were the first in their families to go to college.
The Gates Millennium Scholars program is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and has sponsored over 13,000 students since its creations. Applicants must be African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian and Pacific Islander American, or Hispanic American, US citizens or legal permanent residents or nationals, have a minimum GPA of 3.3, will be enrolling for the first-time at a U.S. accredited college or university as a full-time, degree-seeking, first-year student in the following year, have demonstrated leadership abilities through participation in community service, extracurricular or other activities, and must meet the Federal Pell Grant eligibility criteria.
The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities represents over 450 colleges and universities which are committed to higher education for Hispanics. The organization also funds a number of program specific scholarship for students who attend one of its member schools. Scholarships amounts depend on field of study and the largest scholarship is over $3500.
The ASPIRA Association, Inc. provides information about a number of educational opportunities and scholarships for Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics.
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Inc. offers scholarship opportunities to Latino students in the United States who have a history of performing public service-oriented activities in their communities and who demonstrate a desire to continue their civic engagement in the future. There is no GPA or academic major requirement. Students with excellent leadership potential are encouraged to apply. Scholarships are one-time awards ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. The CHCI also provides extensive information about other scholarships, internships and fellowships for Latino/a youth.
College Board’s National Hispanic Scholar Recognition Program provides annual awards for outstanding Hispanic high school students who are U.S. citizens. Students must take the PSAT/NMSQT test in the fall of their high school junior year during which they must affirm their Hispanic heritage – this is the initial screening and the first opportunity for students to qualify for the program. Students who score well are then asked to complete an application form. Award is based on recommendations, SAT scores, extracurricular activities, community service, high school academic transcripts and records, and personal attributes.
Cuban-American Scholarship Fund a scholarship program for undergraduate or graduate students of Cuban descent with a GPA of at least 3.0. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal residents of California. Maximum award amount is $2,000.
No website available.
Latin American Education Foundation has provided over $5 million in scholarships to Hispanic students or students involved in the Hispanic community. Applicants must be Colorado residents, have at least a 3.0 GPA, and commit 10-community service hours during year of funding.
League of United Latin American Citizens: National Educational Service Centers, Inc. provides scholarships in variable amount to Latino/a students through their local branches.
McDonald’s Hispanic American Commitment to Education Resources (HACER) Program has awarded $1.3 million in scholarships to Hispanic high school graduates entering college.
Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund provides undergraduate scholarships of $2,000. Applicant must be Hispanic, a resident of Florida, US Citizen, and have at least a 3.00 GPA.
The Sallie Mae Fund First in My Family Scholarship Program, developed in partnership with the Hispanic College Fund, offers scholarships to Hispanic-American students who are the first in their family to attend college, and have financial need. The program is open to Hispanic Americans who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents enrolled as full-time undergraduate students at approved, accredited institutions who have a minimum GPA of 3.0 Scholarships range from $500 to $5,000.
The Adelante Fund Scholarship Program sponsors several scholarship programs with amounts ranging from $1,000 to $3,000. Criteria vary by scholarship but most require a minimum 3.0 GPA, Hispanic heritage and either US citizenship or legal permanent resident status. See website for more information.
The Emerging Latino Leaders Scholarship Program is a national essay contest sponsored by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and Best Buy Children’s Foundation. Two $10,000 and three $5,000 scholarships are awarded based on academic excellence and community service.
The La Unidad Latina Foundation offers academic scholarships of $250 to $1,000 for Hispanic students enrolled in a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree program at a 4-year US college or university. Applicants must have completed one full-time year of undergraduate education or at least one full-time semester of graduate study and GPA between 2.8 and 3.6
The Orange County Hispanic Education Endowment Fund provides more than 100 scholarships worth more than $150,000 to Orange County Hispanic students. Award amounts range from $500 to $4,000. Applicants must either be graduating from an OC high school or transferring from an OC community college. Minimum GPA requirements vary by scholarship program. All applicants must demonstrate financial need. Recipients are selected on the basis of academic achievement, community service and/or work history.
The Salvadoran American Leadership and Educational Fund offers the “Fulfilling Our Dreams” scholarships Salvadoran, Central American, and Latino high school seniors, college students and graduate or professional students who reside and study in California, Houston or Washington DC. The scholarships are open to all students regardless of immigration or citizenship status. Applicants must be majoring in health-related fields of study, theology, philosophy, cultural studies, environmental studies or social justice. Applicants must demonstrate financial need. Award amounts range from $500 to $2,500 (some may be renewable). A minimum 2.5 GPA is required; some awards require at least a 3.0 GPA. Scholarship recipients are expected to participate in community service and/or mentorship of high school students.
Scholarships for Latino/as in Certain Fields
The Smithsonian Institution offers the Latino Studies Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowships to facilitate research related to Latino history, art and culture using Smithsonian resources. The predoctoral fellowships provide a stipend of $27,000 per year plus allowances. The postdoctoral fellowships offer a stipend of $42,000 per year plus allowances. There is also a research allowance of up to $4,000.
The Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement provides the ComEd Latino Scholarship Fund which awards five $2,500 scholarships to Illinois residents who have a 3.0 or higher GPA. Eligible majors include accounting, business, chemistry, communications, computer science, engineering, pre-law, mathematics, media relations and physics. Recipients are selected on the basis of academic excellence and community service.
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists offers several scholarships through the Rubén Salazar Scholarship Fund program. These scholarships are designed to encourage and assist Latino students pursue careers in journalism. Awards from $1,000 to $2,000. The NAHJ also provides information about a number of other scholarships available to Hispanic students interested in journalism.
The Advancing Hispanic Excellence in Technology, Engineering, Math, and Science (AHETEMS) Scholarship Program provides merit-based and need-based scholarships, in the amount of $1,000 – $5,000, to deserving Latino/a high school graduating seniors, undergraduate students, and graduate students who demonstrate both significant motivation and aptitude for a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.
National Society of Hispanic MBAs provides scholarships for Hispanic business majors and Master of Business Administration graduate students of between $2,500 and $10,000. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA from an accredited undergraduate institution, with some exceptions.
National Association of Hispanic Nurses provides 27 Hispanic students entering or enrolled in an accredited school of nursing scholarships in the amount of $1,000. The NAHN also provides information about a number of other scholarships for Hispanic students.
The Costco Pharmacy Scholars Program offers funds to students who are pursuing a degree in Pharmacy who have completed one-year of pharmacy school or are in their second year into their pharmacy education. Students who are chosen for the Pharmacy Scholars Program are required to work at a Costco Pharmacy store for at least one year and are awarded between $500 and $9,500. Applicants must be of Hispanic background, pursing a degree in Pharmacy, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident residing in the United States or Puerto Rico, be studying full-time as an undergraduate at an accredited university in the United States or Puerto Rico, have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and demonstrate financial need.
The Google Hispanic Scholarship Program offers funds to students studying computer science or computer engineering who are juniors or seniors in college or pursuing a Master’s or PhD. Selected scholars will be invited to an all-expenses paid trip to the Google Headquarters in California. Must be Hispanic or of Hispanic background, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident residing in the US, studying full-time in the US or Puerto Rico, and have at least a 3.5 GPA.
See Hispanic Scholarship Fund for more details.
World Studio.org is a non-profit, international arts organization that promotes the work and education of minority and disadvantaged students in the fields of graphic arts, painting, furniture design, new media, photography, and other art forms. Awards range from $2,000 to $6,000.
Scholarships for Hispanic Women
While tradition and social conditions have sometimes limited the opportunities available to women in the past, today this struggle may prove to be an advantage when it comes to getting scholarship money. In fact, minority women, especially those with a passion for math, science or computers, have more leverage power for earning scholarship money than almost any other group! Here are just a few scholarships for Latinas.
Hispanic Women in Leadership awards scholarships to graduating seniors based on academic performance, leadership, and economic need. Applicants must be enrolled in a college or university in Texas, ranked in the upper 1/4 of her class, and submit several supporting documents such as letters of recommendation and essays.
The AT&T Labs Fellowship Program offers three-year fellowships to outstanding under-represented minority and women students pursuing PhD studies in computing and communications-related fields. In addition to one-on-one mentoring, the fellowship pays all education expenses as well as a living stipend. Each recipient participates in a summer internship the first summer in the program, working in a research team at AT&T Labs Research. Applicant must be a US citizen or permanent resident, female or member of a minority underrepresented in science fields (Hispanic, African-American, or Native American)senior graduating in the current academic year or in their first or second year of grad school, currently enrolled, or planning to enroll, in a graduate school program leading to a PhD, and major field must be in computer science, math, statistics, electrical engineering, operations research, systems engineering, industrial engineering, or related fields.
The Hispanic Women’s Corporation Scholarship Program provides not only tuition support, but advice, encouragement, peer contact with the colleges, role models, an alumni base and success stories to motivate students. Monetary awards are based on grade point average, need, interest, volunteerism and dedication. Awards have ranged from $300 to $10,000 annually. HWC awards over 50 scholarships annually and students are presented at the annual HWC Scholarship Benefit Luncheon. HWC also provides information about additional sites for scholarship availability with descriptions and deadlines.
The Latin American Professional Women’s Foundation provides scholarship money to young women who can be considered “role models” for young Latinas. Award amount is $500.
No website available.
Project Cambio offers a scholarship to Hispanic women pursuing studies in a business-related program. The applicant must be planning a career change that will lead to advancement, a new proficiency or entry or re-entry into the work force. Applicants should have been out of high school at least 5 years.
No website available.
Society of Women Engineers Rockwell International Corp. Scholarships is for female minority students studying computer science or engineering who are attending or planning to attend an institution that is SWE approved or has an Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology program. Awards are based on academic achievement and leadership experience or potential. Scholarship amounts range from $1,000 to $10,000.
Young Latinas Leadership Institute is a program of 100 Hispanic Women, a nonprofit, nonpartisan women’s organization with members from a wide range of industries and interests. The Institute provides students with annual scholarships of $1,000, leadership seminars, mentors, and internships. Five Latinas are selected every year. Applicants must be college freshmen at one of the City University of New York college campuses
The Chicana/Latina Foundation Scholarship Fund assists Latina students to complete their undergraduate and graduate education. The scholarships are available on a competitive basis to continuing undergraduate and graduate female college students of Latino background. Applicants must be enrolled in accredited colleges or universities in one of the following Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marina, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, or Sonoma. In addition, applicants must be residents of the Bay area for at least two years at time of application, and must have demonstrated leadership and civic/community involvement. Awards are for $1,500. Recipients must agree to volunteer a minimum of five hours in support of the Chicana/Latina Foundation.