How to Find Scholarships for Hispanic Students

Some tips, tricks, and resources for finding scholarships specific to people of Hispanic heritage.

Main image courtesy of Latino News Briefs.

If you identify as Hispanic and are looking for more ways to pay for your undergraduate or graduate education, there’s a world of scholarship opportunities out there that aim to specifically support students of your heritage. Coupled with Hispanic heritage, there are hundreds of scholarships that go to first-generation students, those with academic achievements, and those with financial need. The first step to obtaining these scholarships and starting your journey to paying for college is finding these opportunities and applying to as many as possible.

With our scholarship resources and list of scholarships specifically created for Hispanic students, you’ll be well on your way to financing your education.

Person writing in notebook at desk
Scholarship websites can be overwhelming upon first glance, but make sure to put in as much information about yourself as possible to weed out the best opportunities for you.

Scholarship Eligibility and the Different Types of Scholarships

Some of the Potential Eligibility Requirements for Hispanic-based Scholarships and Scholarships in General

When starting your scholarship application journey, there are a few pieces of information and documents that you’ll need for your applications. The requirements for each scholarship vary on a case-by-case basis, but here are some that you should have handy when even thinking about starting to apply.

  • Heritage

In order to qualify for scholarships that are aimed towards supporting Hispanic people, you must identify as Hispanic. This, according to the United States Census, is a person who is of “Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish” descent, regardless of their race.

  • GPA + Standardized Testing Scores

Some scholarships may require that you submit your cumulative or current GPA, which can be found and reported on your transcript. Many scholarships have GPA requirements, with some requesting applicants with 3.0 or 3.5 and above GPAs. In some cases, you may also be asked to send in your standardized testing scores from tests like the ACT, SAT, or other tests based on what type of degree you are pursuing.

  • Financial Need

Your household’s finances and income may play a large role in whether you receive or are even considered for certain scholarships. Many scholarship programs and awards give priority to students who demonstrate need in their selection process. Scholarships may require that you fill out a FAFSA, which you should do in any case, applying to scholarships or not.

  • College Transcript and Other College Documents

To report some of the information mentioned above or to show scholarship evaluators the types of classes and grades you have received, you might need to submit an official or unofficial transcript. These can typically be found through college’s admissions or scheduling portals, or you can contact your college’s administration office directly.

  • Essays

An essay or two, or more, will be required for the vast majority of scholarships. These essays tend to be fairly short in length and painless, and they typically have prompts that involve discussing challenges you have faced or accomplishments you have had. Many scholarships also require applicants to write about why they want or need that specific scholarship and how it will help them achieve their goals in the future, so keep this in mind while hunting for ones to apply to.

Student writing in notebook at desk in front of her laptop
Never forget to fill out your FAFSA every single year you are enrolled as a student. This is a great way to obtain the most aid possible and will help later on as you apply for scholarships.

Scholarships Resources for Hispanic Students

Places you can start your search to fund your education

It can be overwhelming to type ‘scholarships’ into a search bar on the internet and be bombarded with sponsored and sketchy scholarship opportunities, but there are many reputable sites out there that have a good chance of helping you find the scholarship you’re looking for. For our full guide on navigating scholarships and some of the better resources out there, check out our guide on scholarships.

To summarize that guide, some great places to start your search for free money are through College Board, Niche, and Fastweb. These sites make it easy to search for exactly the type of scholarship you’re looking for, and they filter out scholarships based on your eligibility and merit. From these websites and more, here are some of the best scholarships specifically aimed towards Hispanics pursuing higher education:

The Gates Scholarship:

This scholarship is aimed at high-achieving high school seniors, and it includes an award that covers the winners’ full cost of attendance minus what financial aid and the expected family contribution cover. The requirements include identifying as African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native*, Asian & Pacific Islander American, or Hispanic American, an unweighted GPA of 3.3, and Pell Grant eligibility.

Latinos in Technology Scholarship:

Created for Latino students who have declared a major in any of the STEM fields, this scholarship awards its recipients up to $30,000 over three years. Some of the requirements of the award are a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, identification as Hispanic, and a high school graduate of a Northern California county. An added bonus of this scholarship is the opportunity to intern for corporate funders from Silicon Valley.

Hispanic American Commitment to Educational Resources Scholarship:

With very open requirements for its applicants, this McDonald’s-affiliated scholarship requires that students who apply have at least one parent of Hispanic descent and a cumulative GPA of at least 2.8, among a few other requirements. They base their selection on academic achievement, financial need, community involvement, and a one-on-one interview.

Valuing Diversity Ph.D. Scholarship:

This scholarship offers $1000 rewards to students enrolled in Ph.D. marketing programs across the country. There is no minimum GPA requirement, but recommendations and essays are required for all applicants.

American Meteorological Society Minority Scholarship:

This scholarship is open to all students who are minorities and are pursuing an education in certain STEM fields. Students must be incoming freshmen and have at least a 3.0 GPA to be considered. Applicants must be pursuing their bachelor’s degree in atmospheric or related oceanic and hydrologic sciences. This scholarship comes with an award of $6,000 in total, with $3,000 for freshman and sophomore years each.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund:

Open to students of Hispanic heritage, are either pursuing a bachelor’s or graduate degree and have maintained at least a 3.0 GPA, this scholarship offers that range between $500 and $5,000. The fund chooses 10,000 scholars each year and distributes over $30 million in scholarships annually. Additionally, chosen scholars are offered a variety of networks to help students gain internship opportunities and attend summits.

Actuarial Diversity Scholarship:

This scholarship is for minority undergraduates pursuing a degree that may lead to an actuarial profession. They offer awards that range from $1,000 to $4,000. Applicants maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 and have a minimum ACT math score of 28 or SAT math score of 620. The website also contains other opportunities for minority and Hispanic students pursuing fields related to actuarial science.

Prospanica Foundation Scholarships:

This scholarship is open to Prospanica members and has awards that reach up to $5,000. Applicants must identify as Hispanic and be U.S. citizens or DACA recipients. The scholarship welcomes both undergraduate and graduate students to apply who are studying business.

A Step Forward Scholarship:

With a focus on supporting first-generation Hispanic college students, this scholarship offers its recipient an award of $1,000. The intention of the scholarship is to ease some of the financial burdens that paying for college can cause, especially for lower-income families. To apply, applicants are expected to submit an essay and their official transcript.

Woman writing on white board
Sometimes scholarships are looking for applicants from even more specific demographics. Some will be aimed towards Hispanic students that are first-generation, and some are for Hispanic students with certain academic achievements. Make sure to find specific ones that apply to you for better chances of winning the scholarship.

Additional Tips + Resources about Scholarships

More ways to take control of financing your education

If you start your scholarship journey and are looking for more ways to make the most of your opportunities, there are a few options you can take advantage of to maximize your aid and funds for your education.

Most importantly, always fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as FAFSA, to see whether you are eligible for state grants and loans. This should be filled out each year, whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student, and it requires information about your household’s finances.

Additionally, always check in with your university’s financial aid office to ask about your aid and specific scholarship opportunities offered to minorities or any other unique characteristic you possess. This will give you a better picture of what the cost, loans, and grants might look like based on your situation. Many colleges have opportunities aimed at supporting their students of color and first-generation students.

Lastly, don’t be discouraged throughout your scholarship search. It takes time to find reputable scholarships that you get selected as a recipient for, but that shouldn’t discourage you from applying throughout your entire time in school. Any amount you make from applying to scholarships is worthwhile and could help out in the long run with paying for your education.

Four people standing on mountainside at sunset
Don’t be discouraged by essay requirements for some scholarships! These essays are a great opportunity to talk about your academic experiences and challenges you’ve overcome, giving you more room to explain who you are to the people reviewing your application.

Make sure to take advantage of every scholarship opportunity you see that might apply to your education situation. By applying to these scholarships and finding others that seem like a good fit for you, you’re more likely to be able to afford and continue your education, as well as minimize your student debt.

Allaina Wagner
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