April Maguire 4 min read Financial Aid, Scholarships

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund: Everything You Need to Know

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The Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) helps Latino students gain the knowledge and resources they need to achieve a college degree. Since 1975, the organization has provided Hispanic Americans with almost $588 million in scholarship funding, with individual awards ranging from $500-$5,000, depending on a student’s fiscal need. Moreover, the organization offers more than 150 types of scholarships for students with various interests and abilities, and the awards can be used for tuition, books, fees, room and board, school supplies, and even transportation to and from college. Read on to determine if you’re eligible for this award and then find out what steps you have to take to apply.

 

Who is Eligible for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund?

 

If you’re a student of Hispanic heritage who wants to obtain a college degree, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund could help you achieve your goals. To qualify for this award, an applicant must be at least 25% Hispanic or Latino and able to trace their heritage to a Latino country. Accepted nations include:

 

  • Argentina
  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • El Salvador
  • Spain
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

 

Note that the scholarships are awarded to U.S. citizens, permanent legal residents, DACA students, and eligible non-citizens, as determined by FAFSA.

 

Additionally, students must meet various academic qualifications to receive an HSF award. At this time, the scholarship is open to high school seniors and college students who plan to enroll full time in accredited, non-profit undergraduate or graduate institutions for the current year. For high school students, the fund sets a minimum GPA requirement of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Undergraduate and graduate students need a 2.5 GPA to qualify.

 

While the HSF is open to students in all concentrations and graduate fields, applicants should be aware of the fact that the fund puts a significant emphasis on supporting STEM majors.

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How to Apply for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund 

 

Are you interested in applying for an HSF award? Follow these steps for a chance to secure college financing from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund:

 

 

  • Submit your completed FAFSA and SAR (Student Aid Report).

 

  • Write and submit an essay that describes your goals, characteristics, strengths, and values.

 

  • Submit your high school and college transcripts (if applicable).

 

  • Procure and submit a letter of recommendation by someone who influenced your academic development (i.e. a teacher, advisor, or professor). You have the option of submitting additional letters from either academic or non-academic contacts.

 

  • Send in your enrollment verification for the school you plan to attend. (This document can be submitted during the summer after you receive your award notification).

 

  • Send in your financial aid letter from the school you plan to attend.

 

Note that DACA students will need to submit an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

 

The deadline for Hispanic Scholarship Fund applications is typically in the last week of March or the first week of April. For 2020, applications are due on March 30, and selections are made beginning in May.

 

Tips for Applying to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund

 

While most scholarships seek out exceptional students with promising futures, every awarding institution has its own preferences and goals. For the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the committee is especially focused on finding academic high achievers with well-rounded extracurricular resumes and a strong sense of direction. If you plan to apply for this HSF, check out these tips for increasing your odds of success.

 

Be a Leader

As part of its commitment to helping Hispanic students achieve success in underrepresented fields, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund seeks out applicants with a true talent for leadership. If you don’t currently hold a leadership role, think about running for student council, or submitting your name for an officer position in a club or sports group. Showing you’re a leader in one field may help convince the HSF that you can also succeed in other areas, like your chosen career.

 

Focus on STEM

In an effort to help Latino students make headway in the STEM fields, the HSF is particularly passionate about supporting students who hope to work in science and tech. Whether you plan to major in biology, math, engineering, or a related field, you can boost your odds of winning this coveted award by taking STEM AP, IB, and Honors classes. Additionally, you should seek out related extracurriculars. In particular, activities like Science Olympiad and Math League are likely to make the right impression.

 

Give Back to Your Community

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is eager to support students who give back. If you don’t already volunteer, look for an opportunity to help out at your school or in your community. For bonus points, choose an organization or cause related to your chosen career, such as tutoring elementary school students in math, or donating your time at your local hospital.

 

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April Maguire
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
A graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC, April Maguire taught freshman composition while earning her degree. Over the years, she has worked as a writer, editor, tutor, and content manager. Currently, she operates a freelance writing business and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three rowdy cats.