Timothy Peck 8 min read 11th Grade, 12th Grade, Scholarships

10 College Scholarships for Minorities to Save You Thousands

Minority populations are becoming better represented on college campuses in the U.S.—in the ten years between 1996 and 2016, the percentage of undergraduate students of color jumped from 29.6% to 45.2%. While campuses get more diverse, the cost of attendance is still a major hurdle for many minority students.

 

One way that minority students can cut down on college costs and reduce the financial burden placed on their families is to apply for scholarships. There are hundreds of scholarships available to minorities—some general, others more focused—that can save you thousands of dollars on college. Below are ten super scholarships to give your search a jumpstart. 

 

10 College Scholarships for Minorities

 

1. The Ron Brown Scholarship

Amount: $40,000 (over 4 years)

Deadline: January 9, 2021

Eligibility:

  • Black/African American 
  • High school senior with financial need
  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident

 

Application Requirements:  

  • Transcript
  • SAT or ACT score
  • Two letters of recommendation (one from a high school guidance counselor, teacher, or principal and one from an employer, coach, mentor, etc.)
  • Two 500-word essays (one answering a specific question, the other an essay that you plan to send or have sent as part of a college application) 
  • Exhibit exceptional leadership potential
  • Participate in community service 

 

Founded in 1996, the Ron Brown Scholar Program (RBSP) honors the legacy of Ronald H. Brown, the late Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton and the first African American to hold the position. The Ron Brown Scholarship is dedicated to improving the lives of academically exceptional college-bound black students by empowering and supporting them in their endeavors. An extremely competitive award, only 20 scholars are chosen from roughly 5,000 applications. An impressive 58% of scholars go on to attend Ivy League institutions. 

 

2. Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship Award

Amount: $30,000

Deadline: February 1, 2020

Eligibility: 

  • Minority
  • Graduating high school senior
  • U.S. citizen 
  • Minimum SAT score of 1000 or ACT score of 21

 

Application Requirements:

  • Transcript
  • Letter of recommendation from a teacher, mentor, guidance counselor, employer, etc. 
  • Four essays (limited to 2,500 characters per essay) about Jackie Robinson, leadership, current events, and a personal statement
  • FAFSA
  • A professional, high-resolution headshot
  • Planning to attend an accredited and approved four-year institution within the U.S.
  • Exhibit leadership potential
  • Demonstrate financial need 

 

Since 1973, the Jackie Robinson Foundation has provided four-year scholarships, mentoring, and leadership development to talented minority college students with limited financial resources. The scholarship is seeking students who are actively engaged in the community and demonstrate leadership potential. Almost all recipients of Jackie Robinson Foundation scholarships graduate college—the foundation takes great pride in their scholars’ near-100% graduation rate. 

 

3. NACME Collegiate Scholarship (Block Grant)

Amount: $1,500-4,000 annually 

Deadline: December 1, 2020

Eligibility: 

  • Black/African American, Native/American Indian, and Latinx/Hispanic American
  • High school seniors accepted to an eligible full time, on-campus program in an engineering or computer science major
  • Matriculating full-time in an engineering or computer science undergraduate program at a NACME Partner Institution
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA 

 

Application Requirements:

  • NACME Common Application on file
  • Send an email to scholars @ nacme.com for more info about the scholarship

 

The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) Scholarship is intended to increase the participation of underrepresented students in the fields of engineering and computer science. Aiming to help create a diverse and dynamic engineering workforce that mirrors the diversity of the U.S. population, NACME connects its scholars with employers offering career opportunities in STEM fields. 

 

4. Catching the Dream Program 

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: 

  • Summer session: March 15, 2020
  • Fall semester: April 30, 2020
  • Spring semester: September 15, 2020

 

Eligibility: 

  • 1/4 or more American Indian 
  • Enrolled member of a U.S. tribe

 

Application Requirements:

  • Transcript
  • ACT/SAT score
  • Three letters of recommendation 
  • Minimum five-page essay explaining life goals, college plans, and career plans
  • Copy of Letter of Admission from an accredited college/university in the U.S.
  • Good-quality, color headshot
  • IRS 1040 Federal Tax Return (student’s or parent’s) for the previous year
  • Financial Needs Analysis

 

Since 1986, the Catching the Dream Program has awarded scholarships to 1,266 Native students, producing 921 graduates. The Catch the Dream Program seeks scholastically strong Native students with defined goals, a desire to lead, and determination to succeed. Candidates should also have plans to return to their communities to help others. A testament to their efforts, 100% of the Catching the Dream recipients who have graduated with a degree in math, engineering, science, business, education, or computers are employed, with more than 85% of them for tribes or tribal organizations.

 

5. ACS Scholars Program

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: March 1, 2021

Eligibility: 

  • African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, or American Indian
  • High school senior or college freshman, sophomore, or junior (seniors can apply for their fifth year)
  • U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident 
  • Intending to major (or already majoring) in chemistry, biochemistry, chemical engineering, chemical technology, or another chemistry-related science
  • Planning to pursue a career in a chemistry-related science 
  • Demonstrate high academic achievement in chemistry or science (3.0 GPA or higher)

 

Application Requirements: 

  • Transcript
  • Two letters of recommendation—one from a chemistry, science, or math teacher or research advisor
  • FAFSA and Student Aid Report (SAR)

 

The American Chemical Society (ACS) Scholars program provides renewable awards to underrepresented minorities majoring in chemistry-related disciplines and planning to pursue careers in chemistry-related fields. To date, more than 3,000 students have received funding through the ACS Program—90% of which have earned baccalaureate degrees, 80% of those in the chemical sciences. More than 300 (roughly 10%) of ACS Program alumni have gone on to complete Ph.D. programs. 

6. CGCS—Bernard Harris Scholarship Program

Amount: $5,000

Deadline:  April 6, 2020

Eligibility: 

 

Application Requirements: 

  • Transcript
  • SAT/ACT scores
  • Resume of extracurricular activities and community service 
  • Three letters of recommendation—two from a principal, teacher, school counselor, or other school professionals
  • Photograph of yourself for publication
  • Two one-page essays answering the following questions: 
    • Why have you chosen to pursue a career in a STEM field and how do you see yourself contributing to that field?
    • Please describe a meaningful volunteer or community service experience, including what you learned from participating.

 

This scholarship program was created by Bernard Harris, a former NASA astronaut who logged more than 438 hours and traveled over 7.2 million miles in space, along with being the first African-American to complete a spacewalk. The mission of the CGCS-Bernard Harris Scholarship Program is to encourage minority students to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Every year, two men and two women (two Black and two Hispanic) students are awarded this prestigious prize. 

 

7. Cafe Bustelo El Cafe Del Futuro Scholarship Essay Contest

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: July 6, 2020  

Eligibility: 

  • Full-time undergraduate or graduate student of Latino descent
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Currently enrolled at a HACU-member institution within the United States, D.C., or Puerto Rico

 

Application Requirements:

  • 800-word essay (in either English or Spanish) responding to the prompt: Describe how your Latino heritage, family and the community in which you grew up have impacted your desire and motivation to obtain a college degree. Additionally, describe what you intend to accomplish with your degree and how you will give back to your community.

 

Through their Café Bustelo El Café Del Futuro Scholarship Essay Contest, the popular coffee producer seeks to improve the lives of motivated Latino college students passionate about community service and furthering their education. A substantial investment into the Latino community, Café Bustelo awards twenty $5,000 scholarships through its essay contest. 

 

8. Mary Quon Moy Ing Memorial Scholarship Award

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: April 21, 2020  

Eligibility: 

  • Committed to the mission of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) 
  • Full-time graduating high school senior, undergraduate, or graduate student 
  • Taking or planning to take journalism courses and/or pursuing a career in journalism 

 

Application Requirements:

  • Demonstrate journalistic excellence and a strong interest in pursuing journalism as a career
  • Commitment to community involvement
  • Demonstrated financial need
  • AAJA student membership is encouraged 

 

This scholarship was founded by Dorothy Ing Russell in honor of her mother, Mary Quon Moy Ing. Russell was the the first Asian American editor and writer—and the second woman editor in the Washington Post’s city room, who helped edit the Pulitzer Prize-winning series on the Watergate written by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Russell was also a supporter of AAJA, co-founding its Washington, D.C., chapter. Through the Mary Quon Moy Ing Memorial Scholarship Award, excellent young journalists committed to the mission of the AAJA are able to obtain funding to pursue their education. 

 

9. Truman D. Picard Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: March 13, 2020

Eligibility: 

  • Evidence of validated enrollment in a federally recognized tribe or Alaska Native Corporation
  • High school senior

 

Application Requirements: 

  • Transcript
  • Resume
  • Two-page application letter discussing your interest in natural resources and commitment to education, community, and your culture
  • Three reference letters

 

Established by the Intertribal Timber Council (ITC) in honor of Truman D. Picard, who built his legacy on education—becoming one of the first people from the Colville Agency of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to complete the Forest Engineering Institute program at Oregon State University (OSU), later returning to OSU to earn his Bachelor of Science Degree in Forest Management. Today, Picard is remembered for his work bringing BIA Forestry and Colville Tribal Forestry together to improve the level of forest management on the reservation. He is honored by the ITC by awarding scholarships to students who share his values. 

 

10. Excelen—SIA Academic Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: 2020 date TBD

Eligibility: 

  • Latino 
  • Minimum unweighted 3.7 GPA 
  • Minimum ACT score of 23
  • High school senior entering freshman year in an accredited 4-year college or university in the U.S.

 

Application Requirements:

  • Two letters of recommendation from a teacher/professor, community leader, advisor, administrator, counselor, or employer.
  • One- to three-page (double spaced) essay/personal statement answering the question: What do solidarity, inspiration, and friendship mean to me and how have these three topics played a role in my journey toward higher education?
  • Letter of acceptance to 4-year college or university
  • Resume including extracurricular activities, leadership roles, volunteer/service work, awards, and/or work experience

 

Latinos are the fastest-growing group in the U.S., while also being the group with the highest high school drop-out rate. Many Latino students face challenges such as being first-generation students or learning a new language. They may also lack educational resources or be experiencing financial hardship. The Excelen—SIA Academic Scholarship believes the best way to help the Latino community is to invest in its youth by assisting academically excellent students with paying for college.  

 

Tips for Applying to Scholarships

 

1. Research Past Winners  

 

An easy way to understand the types of applicants a scholarship is looking for is to look at past winners. For example, the Mary Quon Moy Ing Memorial Scholarship Award lists past award winners, along with a short bio, on their website, giving you an idea of the type of journalistic work they’ve done and the schools they attend. 

 

2. Secure Strong Letters of Recommendation 

 

Many of the aforementioned scholarships require at least one letter of recommendation. Work to get letters from people who know you well. Make sure they can write about what makes you unique, the skills you possess, and your background. To help your letter writers put you in the best light possible, provide them with information about the scholarship and give them plenty of time to compose their letter (at least one month). 

 

3. Seek to Stand Out 

 

Many of the scholarships listed about are targeted to students with similar ethnicities,  backgrounds, and financial situations. To stand out from the crowd, you’ll need to highlight what makes you and your circumstances special—it’s especially helpful if you can emphasize a unique way in which your experience meshes with the organization’s vision. 

 

4. Show Your Strengths and Weaknesses

 

Brag about your accomplishments—your high GPA, amazing on-field performance, unique talent, or volunteer work are beneficial when it comes to winning an award. However, don’t shy away from talking about your weaknesses, either. If there is a gap or underperformance on your application, use it as an opportunity to explain it. It gives selection committees a better sense of you as a person and shows that you’re not trying to hide anything. Plus, owning your shortcomings and addressing them is an admirable quality. 

 

5. Don’t Sabotage Yourself

 

Poor punctuation, bad grammar, and an unorganized essay are just a few of the ways you can kill your chances of receiving an award. Before submitting your application, have someone proofread your essays and personal statements. Also, make sure to look over the application to ensure you haven’t missed completing any sections. 

 

Curious about your chances of acceptance to your dream school? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!

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Timothy Peck
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.