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9 Great Scholarships for Asian and Pacific Islander Students

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Looking for generous scholarships as an Asian or Pacific Islander student? Here are our expert tips for finding the best opportunities, plus a list of 10 top scholarships. Some of them have a financial need component, but most are merit-based. Click on the links provided to learn more about particular scholarships, including deadlines and other application details.


Scholarships for Asian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Students


1. Asian Pacific Fund 

Amount: $1000-$5,000

Deadline: Differs depending on the scholarship

Eligibility: Differs depending on the scholarship 

Application Requirements: Differs depending on the scholarship  


The Asian Pacific Fund administers 13 scholarships targeted towards students in California of specific ethnicities, career paths (e.g., engineering, business, journalism), or backgrounds (e.g., children of farm or restaurant workers). 


2. Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund 

Amount: $2,500-$20,000

Deadline: January 14, 2021

Eligibility: Enrolling as an undergraduate student in a U.S. accredited college or university in the Fall 

Application Requirements: Three 500 word essays


This scholarship is for first-generation incoming or current undergraduate college students who “live at or below the poverty level, or are otherwise of low socioeconomic status.” Recipients must demonstrate a commitment to community service and leadership. Currently, 16 foundations or organizations each offer an individual scholarship as part of the program.


3. USPAACC (US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation)

Amount: $3,000-$5,000

Deadline: May 15, 2021

Eligibility: High school senior beginning full-time study at an accredited post-secondary educational institution in the United States in the fall 

Application Requirements: Two essays


The USPAACC partners with several businesses to award around 20 scholarships ranging from $3,000-5,000. They are given to high school seniors for their postsecondary education. Candidates must demonstrate achievement in academics, leadership, and community service and show financial need.


4. Against the Grain 

Amount: $1,000-$5,000

Deadline: June 30, 2021

Eligibility: High school senior or college student 

Application Requirements: Depends on the scholarship


Against the Grain awards a variety of scholarships to AAPI high school seniors and college students. There are five different scholarships that focus on different areas, such as the Artistic Scholarship which focuses on students pursuing a major in the arts, or the Lily Pabilona Emerging Entrepreneur Scholarship for students pursuing a career in entrepreneurship.


5. Prism Foundation 

Amount: $1,000-$5,000

Deadline: June 6, 2021

Eligibility: Must be attending a post-secondary institution in the United States in the upcoming fall when applying.

Application Requirements: Short response questions, one essay


The Prism Foundation provides financial assistance to Asian and Pacific Islander students in high school, undergraduate, graduate, professional, trade, or vocational school who are interested in activism in the AAPI and LGBTQ+ communities. 


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6. Asian American Women’s Alliance

Amount: $500

Deadline: TBD for 2021

Eligibility: Asian American students enrolled in High School, College or Graduate School and a resident within the Bay Area. U.S.

Application Requirements: One essay


The Asian American Women’s Alliance offers four $500 scholarships each year. Recipients are selected based on multiple factors: academic success, community engagement, and their essay.


7. Mary Quon Moy Ing Memorial Scholarship

Amount: Up to $2,000

Deadline: April 21, 2021

Eligibility: Graduating high school senior, undergraduate, or graduate student enrolled full-time with at least 12 credit units each semester for the fall of 2019 and spring of 2020. Must be currently taking or planning to take journalism courses and/or pursuing journalism as a career.

Application Requirements: One essay


This scholarship, offered by the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) is given to an undergraduate, college, or graduate student who is pursuing journalism as a career. Students are selected based on academic achievement, demonstrated journalistic ability, financial need, commitment to the field of journalism and/or sensitivity to Asian American/Pacific Islander issues. AAJA student membership is encouraged for all applicants and required for the selected scholarship recipient.


8. Korean American Scholarship Foundation

Amount: $500-$5,000

Deadline: June 30, 2021

Eligibility: Korean American students who are in high school, college, graduate schools, or professional schools (law, medical, etc)

Application Requirements: 500 word essay


To qualify for this scholarship, students must be of Korean heritage and have a minimum GPA of 3.0. Winners are selected based on financial need, scholastic achievement, recommendations, essay, and extracurricular activities. The KASF is divided by region, so when applying be sure to apply to the right region.


9. The Gates Scholarship

Amount: Full cost of attendance not covered by financial aid

Deadline: Usually September, but TBD for 2021/22

Eligibility: High school senior

Application Requirements: First round: questionnaire, second round: questionnaire and essay questions


The Gates Scholarship is a very selective scholarship for minority students and awarded to 300 students each year. Students must be Pell Grant eligible to apply and have a weighted 3.3 GPA on a 4.0 scale. The ideal candidates are in the top 10% of their class, have strong leadership experience, and demonstrate mature personal skills.



Other Sources of Scholarships for Asian and Pacific Islander Students


First, you should always try to max out your merit-based or need-based aid at specific colleges before turning to external scholarships. The colleges themselves have the most money to give. Try applying to schools that meet 100% demonstrated need or those that have the most generous merit scholarships.


Some individual colleges also offer scholarships for students of specific minority groups who attend their schools. Be sure to investigate whether they are available at the colleges on your lists and how to apply for them.


Some Asian-American fraternities and sororities may offer scholarships for members of their organizations. Talk to your group’s leaders or check out their website to find out more.


If you are in a club or organization for students of your ethnicity, speak to the leader or adviser for advice on applying for scholarships. He or she may have ideas or know of organizations that provide awards to specific minority groups.


Finally, speak to a teacher or school counselor. They may have ideas of other resources and places to look for scholarships, particularly niche local scholarships with the least competition.

Short Bio
Asia is a graduate of Tulane University where she studied English and Public Health. She's held multiple writing positions and has experience writing about everything from furniture to higher education to nutrition and exercise.