Introduction to Scholarships for Minority Students

Paying for college can be a challenge for many students. While financial aid can aleve some of the burden, many students  may also benefit from some extra support. (For more advice on how to navigate the financial aid process, check out FAFSA, CSS Profile, IDOC, Oh My: A Guide to Financial Aid.)

Scholarships can help you out. These monetary awards assist students with paying for postsecondary education. Some are need-based, meaning students must demonstrate that they have a financial need for help to pay for college. Others are merit-based, meaning they are given based on students’ achievements. To learn more about general scholarships, read What You Need to Know for a Successful Scholarship Season.

While there are many general scholarships available, meaning nearly anyone can apply if they are planning on attending a higher education institution, some are geared towards students with particular interests or certain minority populations. In this post, we will look at scholarships for Asian-American or Pacific Islander-American students.

Scholarships for Asian-American Students

The below scholarships are specifically targeted to Asian-American or Pacific Islander-American students. 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, and keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive.

  • 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). The awards range from $500-1,000.
  • The Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund awards scholarships to 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 a individual scholarship as part of the program. The awards range from $2,000-25,000, and some may be renewed from year to year.
  • USPAAC (US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation) 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 a financial need.
  • Against the Grain awards scholarships to Asian- and Pacific Islander-American college seniors and graduate students who “have demonstrated visionary leadership abilities through innovative means.” The award is $1,500. The number of scholarships awarded may vary from 5-10.
  • The Asian Women in Business Scholarship is awarded to female Asian undergraduates who demonstrate scholarship, leadership, and/or entrepreneurship. The award is a one-time payment of $2,500. The number of scholarships awarded varies; in 2016, AWBS awarded three scholarships.
  • The GAPA Foundation provides financial assistance to Asian- and Pacific Islander-American students in high school, undergraduate, graduate, professional, trade, or vocational school who are interested in activism in the API and LGBTQ communities. Several $2,000 scholarships are awarded, and the top candidate will receive $3,000.

Other Sources of Scholarships for Asian- and Pacific Islander-American Students

Some individual colleges 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 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 guidance counselor. He or she may have ideas of other resources and places to look for scholarships.

For more information

To learn about how to apply for scholarships and resources to help you find more ideas, read some of CollegeVine’s posts below:

Helpful Scholarship Resources and Tips

U.S. Scholarships for International Students

What You Need to Know for a Successful Scholarship Season

A Guide to STEM Scholarships

10 Weird Scholarships You Should Consider

Five Resources To Simplify Your College Planning Process

Guide to the Samsung American Legion Scholarship: A Chance to Win $20,000

Laura Berlinsky-Schine

Laura Berlinsky-Schine

Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works in publishing. She also writes, dreams of owning a dog, and routinely brags about the health of her orchid.
Laura Berlinsky-Schine