About 52 million people in the United States identify themselves as Hispanic, making Latinos the largest minority group in the country.
Yet despite improved graduation rates and increased numbers of Hispanic students heading off to college, a significant financial barrier still exists for many Latino families looking for ways to make postsecondary education accessible for their children.
Fortunately, there are several organizations and programs geared toward Hispanic students that offer generous scholarships and specific support services. Here are some of the most visible:
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization supporting Hispanic postsecondary education. HSF awards multiple scholarships through various programs, including the Gates Millennium Scholars, the HSF/Discover Scholarship, and the HSF Walmart Foundation Scholarship. To be eligible for scholarships offered through HSF, students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA, be US citizens or legal permanent residents, fill out the FAFSA, and plan to enroll as full time students at accredited US postsecondary institutions. In addition, the Hispanic College Fund maintains a scholarship search tool, Latino College Dollars, specifically designed to support Hispanic students.
An organization worth exploring is the ¡Adelante! U.S. Education Leadership Fund. Since its inception in 1993, ¡Adelante!’s Scholarship Program has awarded over $1.6 million to qualified Hispanic students. Scholarships range from a general national scholarship and various leadership scholarships to one geared specifically to future engineers. High school students may submit an acceptance letter as a proof of enrollment. Scholarships for the 2013-14 academic year are currently posted and applications are due May 31, 2013, so check the website for more information.
Hispanic College Fund
Founded in 1993, the Hispanic College Fund (HCF) is a Washington-based national nonprofit organization with a mission to develop the next generation of Hispanic professionals by providing educational, scholarship, and mentoring programs to students throughout the US and Puerto Rico. Among the more visible HCF programs is the Hispanic Youth Institute, which takes place each summer in communities across the country.
A civil rights organization, MALDEF has developed a Scholarship Resource Guide to support high school, college, and graduate students in their attainment of a higher education—regardless of immigration status. This is a free, informative resource guide for students, parents, and educators.
Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) Foundation
Students interested in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields should look into scholarships offered through the SHPE Foundation. Merit and need-based scholarships ranging from $1000 to $5000 are awarded each year to graduating seniors, undergrads, and some graduate students. The application period for the 2013-14 academic year will close on May 1, 2013.
League of United Latin American Citizens
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) offers a variety of scholarships through the LULAC National Scholarship Fund. Applicants are eligible for National Scholastic Achievement Awards, Honors Awards, and General Awards. Applications are currently available on line and must be submitted by March 31, 2013.
This is the first in a two-part series on scholarships for Hispanic students.
National Association of Hispanic Journalists
Since 1986, the NAHJ has awarded more than $1.6 million in scholarships to 610 students who intend to pursue a career in journalism. Scholarships range from $1,000 to $5,000 with a variety of options from incoming freshmen to those in graduate school. All applicants must be student members of NAHJ ($35) and submit applications by no later than April 5, 2013.
In addition to these organizations, be sure to check out scholarships made available by individual colleges as well as those listed on more general scholarship search websites such as FastWeb or Cappex.