Grants for Asians
Funding for Professional or College Programs
Over the past few decades there has been a concerted effort to encourage more ethnic minorities to pursue a post-secondary education. Minority students from all ethnic backgrounds have a long history of being under-represented in both the halls of higher education and the professional business world. To help address this imbalance, a wide range of grant programs have been developed to provide financial assistance to minority students who may not otherwise have the necessary resources to afford a college education. These grant programs seek to diversify the national student body, and in so doing, expand and diversify the national workforce.
While there are a number of general minority grants which are open to students from all ethnic backgrounds, there are also a wide variety of programs that have been designed to meet the needs of specific minority groups. Asian-American students who are searching for ways to fund their college education will find a variety of minority specific grants designed to help them achieve their educational and professional goals. These grants are supported by both the public and private sectors, and offer Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders the financial assistance they need to meet the ever rising costs of a college tuition. Many of these grant programs are subject-specific, and are designed to encourage and support those students who are pursuing careers in fields in which Asian-Americans have been historically under-represented.
Government Sources for Asian-American College Grants
While the Federal government doesn’t offer any specific grants for Asian-American students, they do offer a variety of financial aid programs that provide much needed to assistance to students from every ethnic background. Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders should not disregard the general grants offered by the Federal government and the U. S. Department of Education.
- The Pell Grant is available to all college-bound students regardless of ethnic heritage. Pell grants are awarded on the basis of financial need, and can provide up to $5,550 per academic year in financial assistance to students who demonstrate the requisite level of financial need.
- The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant acts as a supplement to the Pell grant, and is available to all students regardless of minority status. The FSEOG is awarded on the basis of financial need, and is administered through the student’s college of attendance. FSEOG awards are limited by availability of funds, and students should apply early to maximize their chances of receiving a grant.
- The Federal TEACH Grant is available to students with financial need to who are pursuing a baccalaureate degree in teaching and education services. The grant is open to all students, but will be of particular interest to minority students who wish to pursue a career in teaching.
In addition to these Federally funded grant programs, Asian-American students should investigate the possibility of minority specific college grants that are offered through various government agencies such as the Department of Justice, NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense. These government agencies often offer scholarships and grants for minority students, including Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, as a way of diversifying the Federal workforce. Keep in mind these financial aid programs will address the agencies’ need to recruit qualified individuals in specific technical fields, and will only apply to students who are pursuing degrees in those areas. The programs may also require a service commitment that requires the student to work for a government agency in return for college funding.
Asian-American students should also investigate the availability of grants and scholarships through their state’s Department of Education. Many states offer valuable financial aid incentives for minority students who are pursuing careers in professional fields in which the state is experiencing a critical shortage. These typically include teaching, nursing and social work.
Grants From Colleges and Universities
Many colleges and universities across the country routinely offer grants and/or scholarships for minority students. Schools offer these financial aid services as a way of attracting a diverse student body to their campus. Asian-American students looking for education grants may want to concentrate on colleges and universities that are located in states with large Asian-American or Pacific Islander populations. Asian-American students should contact their college’s Office of Financial Aid for information on available grant programs for which they may be eligible.
The following examples of campus-based grants and scholarships for Asian-Americans should illustrate the types of programs that are supported by colleges and universities around the country.
- The University of Maryland offers a number of grants and scholarships specifically dedicated to Asian-American students. The Linh-Thong Huu Nguyen Memorial Scholarship and the Philip Vera Cruz Outstanding Community Service Scholarship offer $1000 to students enrolled in the university’s Asian-American Studies Program. Applicants must be currently enrolled as undergraduates at the University of Maryland to be considered for any awards.
- Duke University offers a number of scholarships and fellowships for both undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the university’s Asian & Pacific Studies Institute. Priority is given to students who are studying language proficiency in Japanese, Chinese and Korean. Award amounts vary according to program, and whether the student is studying at home or abroad.
Grants from Professional Associations and Non-Profit Organizations
One of the best sources of college grants for Asian-American students is the private sector. Many national business associations and non-profit organizations regularly sponsor grants for Asian-American and Pacific Islander students who may not otherwise be able to afford to complete a college education. Often these grants are subject-specific, and are designed to encourage and support students who are pursuing careers in fields in which Asian-Americans have been historically under-represented. Asian-American students who are looking to supplement their college fund with grants or scholarships should look to professional associations and non-profit organizations with close ties to the Asian-American community.
The following examples are indicative of the grants and scholarships available through the private sector.
- The Asian-American Journalists Association administers a variety of grants and fellowships for students pursuing careers in both print and broadcast journalism. Among the many programs administered by the AAJA is the Stanford Chen Internship Fund Grant which provides $1750 to undergraduate and graduate journalism students who are interning at a small to medium sized media outlet. To be eligible, applicants must be student members of the AAJA.
- The Southeast Asian Studies Regional Exchange Program (SEASREP) offers a variety of research grants and fellowships for Asian-American students. The Language Training Grant is available to students pursuing the advanced study of an Asian language other than their own . The Louisa Mallari Fellowship is available to graduate students engaged in doctoral research into an Asian country and culture other than their own. Finally, a Comparative and Collaborative Research Grant is available to graduate and post-graduate students studying abroad.
- The Urban Artists Initiative, sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts, offers annual grants for minority students pursuing degrees in the performing or literary arts. Grants are available to all minority students within the state, including Asian-Americans. Grants range from $250 to $2500.
- The Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund is the nations largest non-profit organization dedicated to the needs of Asian-American students. The APIASF administers a wide range of scholarships and grants for Asian-American and Pacific Islander students at every stage of their college career. Programs include a Community College Scholarship, the APIASF/Target Scholarship and the APIASF/NBC Universal Scholarship. Award amounts vary according to program and college of attendance.
- The Vietnamese American Scholarship Foundation administers a number of scholarships and fellowships for Vietnamese-Americans who are pursuing their post-secondary education at an accredited US college or university. Current programs include the VASF Cultural Bridges Fellowship, the Vera Tran Memorial Scholarship and the Le Hoang Nguyen College Scholarship. Academic requirements and award amounts vary according to program.
Asian-Americans have a history of being under-represented in the halls of higher education and in the broader professional business world at large. Over the last few decades that has begun to change, and with the help of grants and scholarships more and more Asian-American and Pacific Islander students have been able to pursue their educational and professional ambitions.