Money for College: Break the Mold and Succeed For the hands-down largest ethnic minority group in America, Hispanics face formidable challenges when it comes to higher education. Those students that do not wrestle with English have other barriers to negotiate: cultural, social, familial, and economic. However tough these obstacles seem there is a ray of hope: there is a bounty of scholarship opportunities for Hispanics. Make Your Weakness Your Advantage Your best advantage when winning scholarships may be exactly what you consider your biggest weakness. For example, scholarship selection committees “feel” for those students who face significant challenges, but who have taken steps to motivate themselves: work to put themselves into school, transcend family culture and become a first-in-family to attend college, engage themselves in a positive way with community groups, and so forth. You get the idea. Without a doubt, scholarships for any population are competitive, so you will have to work hard at them. Start here, with resources designed to help you succeed. Popular Hispanic Scholarship Sources Most important is the push to engage young Hispanic students in college education, whether it is in a two-year, four-year, graduate, even doctoral program. The opportunities for affordable education are endless.
- Without a doubt, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund is one of the largest and most well-recognized resources for Latino scholarships. The HSF is a clearinghouse for educational information related to Hispanic students and has built enough clout and respect to draw millions of dollars in funding from large corporate sponsors like McDonald’s and Wal-Mart.
- The Hispanic Heritage Foundation has taken on a mission to inspire Hispanic students of all heritages to become extraordinary civic leaders. The organization specifically offers a number of annual Hispanic Heritage student scholarship awards.
- The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) delivers droves of information relative to the institutions most invested in Hispanic students. HACU’s list of scholarships is regularly updated. Corporate partners such as Gap, General Motors, and Home Depot fund these awards. All HACU scholarship recipients demonstrate a balance of academic motivation and financial need. Monetary awards range from $1,000 to $2,800.
- For Hispanic students interested in journalism or broadcast media, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) scholarships run between $1,000 and $5,000. All offer specific relevancy for Latinos who are sadly invisible in mainstream journalism.
Explore STEM Scholarships Interested in studying one of the life or physical sciences? Math or engineering? Information technology? These subject categories—the STEM subjects (science, math, engineering, technology)—cover dozens of specialties: anthropology, chemical engineering, web development, and tropical ecology, to name a fraction. If you have missed it, before you go any further check out our list of scholarships arranged by subject. You will not be disappointed – there are many minority programs, particularly for students interested in a STEM major.
- Wrap your head around $1 billion dollars in scholarship dough! That’s the pot of gold that funds the very generous Gates Millennium Scholars Program. These timely and competitive awards are specially designated to offer financial encouragement and support to minority students entering a degree path in a STEM, library science, public health, or education field. What makes the GMS program different is the ongoing commitment to student academic success. You win a scholarship you also get access to a mentor or counselor and a network of information and assistance to make sure you finish your degree successfully and on time.
What Professional Organizations Offer Professional organizations, such as the Society for Spanish Professional Engineers (SPHE), have more than just student scholarships for Hispanic students. Professional organizations also provide:
- Opportunities to network and learn new industry-related skills.
- Access to exclusively targeted job databases.
- Annual and semi-annual conferences that offer well-known speakers and relevant workshops.
- Competitions that sometimes challenge teams of students and professionals to prove their professional and academic mettle.
Again, leverage your abilities and scholarship apps by becoming involved. Most organizations make it a requirement for scholarship applicants to be a member but go a step or two further: become an involved member. Make yourself a presence at the local chapter or campus-based organization meetings, a face to put to a name on a scholarship application. This indicates motivation and passion. When you demonstrate those qualities you earn attention and respect and in some cases, scholarship money. Illegal Immigrants The topic is extremely incendiary, but there are even a significant number of scholarships open to illegal immigrant students; those students seemingly without a country.
- The most remarkable by far are the Microsoft scholarships. Applicants are not required to prove citizenship, only commit to computer science or closely related major. Applications are solicited in four different award categories: women, underrepresented minorities, general scholarships, and students with disabilities. Awards are one year of full tuition at a four-year college or university. Winners must agree to engage in a paid summer internship with the Microsoft Corporation; not a bad deal at all.
- Very competitive, but open to students regardless of citizenship, are the Ayn Rand essay scholarship contests. Students may apply as juniors or seniors in high school or as college students. Essays are top-notch and prizes are cold, hard cash.
- Hispanic migrant workers make up a significant, transient population. Their work has been recognized as critical to the U.S. economy regardless of citizenship. Geneseo Migrant Center Scholarships are a boon to needy students. Donor generosity continues to grow, particularly as the plight of illegal students becomes a mainstream conversation.
Hispanic Women For most Hispanic females, cultural norms may prove the staunchest adversaries. Hispanic women have traditionally stayed home and raised families, but contemporary women of all backgrounds want more. Girls, for this express reason you have untold scholarship riches. Minority female students with a passion for science, math, or computers have more leverage than almost any other demographic when it comes to winning money for college. That’s power.