Scholarships for Hispanics

Money for College: Break the Mold and Succeed

Grants, loans and scholarships are essential resources for students who need help paying for higher education.  College financial aid addresses the general needs of the entire student body, but it is also used to promote the interests of specific groups of university students.

Women, minorities, disabled individuals and other blocks of students have unique access to financial aid funds that are not available to the general college population.  As you wade into the sea of student aid, keep your cultural background in mind.  If you come from Spanish ancestry, you may be eligible for Hispanic-only student aid.

As the largest ethnic minority group in America, Hispanics face unique challenges in the pursuit of higher education. Cultural, social, and economic barriers make it harder for Hispanics to graduate from college.  The ray of hope for Latino students: a bounty of scholarships designed to create educational opportunities for disadvantaged Hispanics.

Several distinct forms of financial assistance are available to needy college students. As you piece together your college fund, you may draw from all four of these resources to get the job done:hispanic scholarships

  1. Loans – College loans originate from public and private sources.  The U.S. Direct Loan Program is the best bet for students with limited credit histories.  Most private bank loans will require cosigners or co-borrowers, and will come with higher interest rates attached.  Government loans offer low, fixed interest rates, as well as grace periods and repayment deferments.  But even these attractive subsidized loans must eventually be repaid – with interest.
  2. Grants – Serving the neediest students, grants come from a variety of funding sources.  Federal Pell Grants represent the biggest slice of the college financial aid pie, but smaller pieces are available in the form of special-interest grants for targeted groups – including Hispanics.  Most grants are need-based, but sometimes eligibility requires good grades too.
  3. Work-Study – Earn and learn by chipping away at tuition bills with good old-fashioned hard work.  On-campus assignments allow students to offset college expenses by working at university facilities like the bookstore, cafeteria, library and financial aid office.  Work-study is like getting a loan and paying it off before there is any interest.
  4. Scholarships – Like grants, scholarships are allocations of ‘gift-aid’ that does not require repayment.  While need is the number one qualifier for most grants, performance is what opens the door for scholarships.  In fact, eligibility requirements for many awards contain need and performance-based components like minimum GPA and full-time enrollment status.  Since most scholarships originate from private sources, they can be aimed at specific student groups – like Hispanics.  Latinos who are good students enjoy access to scholarship programs initiated by corporations, foundations, advocacy organizations and colleges.

Your Uniqueness Is Your Advantage

Your best advantage when pursuing scholarships comes from a combination of traits that make you unique.  Scholarship selection committees are often tasked with evaluating candidates on more than one level.  Your Hispanic cultural background might be what opens the door, but your ability to excel in other areas is what makes you stand out among your peers.

If you are counting on scholarship money to pay for school, put your best foot forward in every way you can.  Use your grades, location, charitable behavior and other unique traits to help leverage your access to Hispanic scholarships.

Popular Hispanic Scholarship Sources

Hispanic scholarships come from a variety of public and private sector sources, including:

Their reasons for initiating scholarships are as diverse as the groups that fund them.  Promoting educational diversity, attracting qualified candidates into specific educational programs, memorializing accomplished individuals and uplifting certain social groups each serve as momentum behind particular Hispanic scholarships.

Hispanic students pursuing two-year, four-year, graduate, and doctoral credentials do so with help from these scholarship programs:

  1. HSF General Scholarships – Applicants must be Hispanic students enrolled full-time in 2-year and 4-year degree programs.  To remain eligible for this scholarship, students must maintain B averages.  $1000-$5000 awards are given to qualified U.S students, based on FAFSA results and other considerations.
  2. Coca-Cola Refreshments West Region Scholarship – Eligibility is open to all ethnic groups, but applicants must be permanent residents of Arizona, California, Nevada, or New Mexico.  25 annual $1000 awards are disbursed to students studying at universities and community colleges.
  3. Colgate-Palmolive Haz La U (Make the U) scholarships promote higher education through 15 distinct Hispanic awards.  Each year, a single winner gets a one-time college scholarship worth $15,000, and 14 others receive $2,500 each towards school expenses.
  4. Discover partners with HSF to administer college financial aid to Hispanic students.  Scholarship eligibility is limited to students pursuing 4-year degrees in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Texas or Utah.  To qualify for the $5,000 scholarships, submit a resume and a FAFSA.  Applicants should be enrolled in degree programs serving the following fields: Business Administration, Finance, IT, and Marketing.
  5. The Macy’s scholarship is available to Hispanic students enrolled at approved universities.  Your Hispanic heritage and 3.0 GPA are requisite for application to this bachelor’s degree oriented program.

Explore STEM Scholarships

Hispanics studying emerging technology in certain subject categories gain access to career-specific financial aid, including scholarships for STEM subjects (science, math, engineering, technology).  The disciplines cover dozens of specialties like anthropology, chemical engineering, web development and tropical ecology.

Scholarships by subject are particularly rich in cutting-edge content areas.  Specifically, there are many good minority programs – particularly for students enrolled in STEM fields of study.

What Professional Organizations Offer

Professional membership organizations that represent individual vocations often promote education through scholarship initiatives.  The National Association of Hispanic Nurses disburses scholarships to members who demonstrate need and aptitude.

The Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) provides general scholarships for Hispanic engineering students, as well as named corporate-sponsored awards. Verizon and Northrop Grumman get involved directly, with student scholarships that help graduate competent Hispanic engineers. Professional organizations also provide:

Leverage your scholarship opportunities by becoming a member in a local chapter or campus-based organization that represents your profession. Most scholarships are only offered to members, so your initiative is rewarded with access to low-competition scholarships that serve your cultural heritage and your professional aspirations.

Undocumented Student Scholarships

There are a significant number of scholarships open to illegal immigrants; those students seemingly without a country.

  1. Gloria and Joseph Mattera Scholarship – Migrant students enrolled in college or other post-secondary education programs are eligible for up to $500 in tuition assistance.
  2. Migrant Farm Worker Baccalaureate Scholarship is funded by an anonymous donor who awards college aid to a student who has successfully completed a full year of college.  The scholarship covers the portion of tuition, housing, and books that goes beyond federal and state financial aid.
  3. Margaret Raley New York Migrant Worker Scholarship aids a student with a history of migrating for work within the state of New York.  Worth $500 annually to a single student, or split between multiple applicants.
  4. Berrien Fragos Thorn Arts Scholarships for Migrant Farm Workers recognizes artistic aptitude in the areas of visual, performance, literary, and media arts.
  5. Juanita Crippen Memorial Scholarships provide up to $500 each for Hispanic migrant students who exhibit caring and giving attitudes toward others.

Hispanic Women

Being female makes you eligible for another category of specialized scholarships.  As you work to cover college costs, apply for gender-specific scholarships, but also look for funds that exclusively target women of Hispanic descent.