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How to Find Scholarships for Minorities

Image: Scholarships for minorities

Scholarships offer a great opportunity for students to offset their college costs, and one opportunity that’s often overlooked is scholarships for minority students. A variety of options exist to support specific ethnic groups, including scholarships for Hispanics and scholarships for African Americans, from universities, organizations, corporations and other resources.

Minority scholarships help diversify colleges while providing opportunities to deserving students on dedicated career paths. Criteria for these opportunities vary. Some may require students to maintain a high GPA, demonstrate financial need and/or reapply annually.

Here are a few ways to approach navigating the sea of opportunities to help you find the right scholarship opportunities to pursue.

1. Start with your school

Begin your search by exploring your preferred school’s institutional scholarship options. Counselors are likely to be clued into the most timely and applicable opportunities as well as the deadlines for applications. As an added benefit, talking to someone directly means you don’t have to navigate the process alone. Ask questions and dig deeper, as it will increase your chance of finding the right fit.

2. Search online

Even a quick online search yields a wide array of options when it comes to minority scholarships. To find the most effective, thorough offering, do a search using words such as “scholarships for minorities,” “minority scholarships” and “minority scholarship database.” Be specific, as well, with keywords like "scholarships for Hispanics" and "scholarships for African Americans." Plugging in words such as “grant” and “fellowship” prove helpful, too. Be sure to check out a site’s specific page dedicated to scholarships for minorities. Using services of this kind should be free of charge, and they allow you to search based on your individual needs, circumstances and criteria. Adding to the appeal, some are also timely go-to resources for news about college and financial aid.

3. Know the organizations

Many corporations and organizations offer annual scholarships to help support specific groups as well as diversify specific professions. The Jackie Robinson Foundation, for example, provides four-year scholarships to students of color to help support their success in college and develop their leadership potential, while the Emma Bowen Foundation seeks to prepare minority students for careers specifically in the media industry. Xerox is among the companies providing such assistance, with a scholarship program aimed at minority students interested in technical fields.

4. Think state, or go local

State minority scholarships and grants are commonly available, particularly in fields with high needs. Typically in order to receive this type of assistance, however, students must either live in the state for a period of time or spend time working in the specified field. Otherwise, the awarded funds can turn into a loan with interest attached. Be sure you understand the requirements and adhere to the commitment if you go this route. Alternately, look for local scholarships, which may be available in your city, county or within a geographic area. A good place to start is at a fraternal order near you.

5. Remember award programs

Applicants planning to enroll in a four-year college or university program should look into scholarship awards specific to their fields. While some are available on a very high level and require students to maintain stellar GPAs, others are moderately competitive. At the end of the day, the goal is to encourage and foster diversity in fields where minorities are underrepresented.

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