When it comes to college, many Asian-American students excel. Seven in 10 complete a degree at a four-year public institution within six years — the highest completion rate of any racial or ethnic group — according to a 2017 report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. And students of Asian descent graduate with lower student loan balances than other racial and ethnic groups in the U.S., according to a 2016 report by the Brookings Institution.
Many students face financial barriers, however. Paying for college is rarely easy or cheap, but Asian scholarships can help cover costs and limit student debt.
5 types of scholarships Asian students should consider
Some scholarship funds are specifically created to make college more affordable and accessible for Asian students. Many of these awards are open to all college or high school students who are of Asian descent.
But eligibility for some scholarships is based on the following criteria:
- Area of study
- Sexual orientation
Finding college scholarships that are applicable to your background can reveal opportunities for which you’re uniquely qualified. Here’s where to find Asian scholarships, along with examples of specific funds for which you can apply.
1. Scholarships from Asian-centered organizations
Organizations that support Asian-Americans are a good source to find scholarships.
The Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund includes awards ranging from $2,500 to $20,000. Preference is given to low-income and first-generation college students.
The Asian Pacific Fund administers 10 scholarship programs. Amounts range from $1,000 up to $20,000.
The U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce offers 10 to 20 awards each year, worth $3,000 to $5,000, to high school seniors of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage.
2. Asian scholarships in local communities
Some scholarships are offered only to students in Asian communities in specific geographic areas. Look for opportunities in your state, county, city, school district, high school, or college.
The Association of Asian Indian Women in Ohio Scholarship is a need-based award open to high school seniors or women of Indian descent in Ohio.
The Chi Am Scholarship offers $1,000 to $5,000 to high school seniors of Asian ancestry in California’s Santa Clara County.
Some local chapters of the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) offer scholarships. NAAAP Philadelphia offers a $1,000 scholarship to local Asian students, for instance, while NAAAP Boston has scholarships of $3,000 to $5,000.
The San Diego Chinese Women’s Association offers scholarships of $1,000 or $1,500. Apply if you’re a high school senior of Chinese heritage living in San Diego County.
3. Scholarships based on area of study
You could find scholarships to match on your major, field of study, or career aspirations. Here are some scholarships for Asian students related to areas of study:
Against The Grain Productions offers four Asian scholarships from $1,000 to $5,000, including a scholarship for art majors and another for students studying fashion or graphic design.
The Asian American Journalists Association offers scholarships to journalism students. Awards range from $500 to $10,000.
The Asian Pacific American Librarians Association Scholarship offers a $1,000 scholarship. Asian or Pacific Islander graduate students in library or information science can apply.
The Japanese American Bar Association Educational Foundation offers scholarships of $2,000 to $3,000 to law students committed to serving Japanese-American communities.
4. Asian scholarships by nationality
Your nationality and Asian heritage could help you qualify for certain scholarships.
The Dingwall Foundation offers Korean Ancestry Grants of up to $10,000 to Asian students with strong academic records. Students of Korean heritage are preferred.
The Korean American Scholarship Foundation offers scholarships of $500 to $5,000. Korean-American and foreign students from Korea may apply.
The Taiwanese American Scholarship Fund, worth $5,000, is open to high school seniors or first-year college students. Applicants must be a direct descendant of a Taiwanese citizen.
The Upakar Indian-American Scholarship Foundation awards $8,000 over four years to recipients. High school seniors who were born in India or have a parent who was born there can apply.
5. Scholarships for Asian LGBTQ students
Students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) or are active within these communities have specific scholarships available.
The Gay Asian Pacific Alliance Foundation offers scholarships worth $1,000 to $5,000 to students who are interested in activism in the Asian and LGBTQ communities.
The Tang Scholarship offers awards of up to $45,000 to students in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area in California. Asian students who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender can apply.
You also can apply for other scholarships for LGBTQ students.
Expand your search for scholarships
In addition to seeking funds targeting Asian-American students, expand your search to include other diversity scholarships. Asian students should be able to qualify for many scholarships open to people of color.
Don’t forget to use scholarship search sites such as Fastweb, CollegeScholarships.org, and Scholarships.com to find and apply for opportunities that match both your Asian background or other qualifications. Remember that every dollar of scholarship money helps you both avoid high student loan balances and get closer to the degree and career you want.
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