Unfortunately, the cost of a higher education continues to rise. This often means more students will have trouble affording one and end up in a mountain of student loan debt. For minorities, the struggle is worse as many are shouldering more debt than anyone else.
But one of the best ways to avoid going into too much debt is by getting as much free money as possible through scholarships. Luckily, there are countless scholarships available for students based on things such as their background. Tha means minority students could have access to money others don’t.
Here are five of the best minority scholarships available.
1. The Ron Brown Scholarship
This scholarship was set up in honor of Ronald H. Brown, a black politician who died in a plane crash. It’s meant to help other black students pursue their college dreams. The scholarship awards $10,000 each year for four years.
Recipients can attend an accredited four-year college of their choosing and can major in any academic field. You’ll need to show you’re a believer in the program’s four pillars: public service, community engagement, business entrepreneurship, and global citizenship.
Deadline: Nov. 1
Available to: Black high school juniors or seniors who have a strong academic record are eligible. They must also demonstrate a financial need and show leadership in the community.
Like applying for college, you’ll be asked to submit your test scores and letters of recommendation to be considered. Two essays are also required, plus financial information on your parents.
Applications are reviewed in January and February by the program staff. Semifinalists are announced in mid-February. In March, finalists participate in a weekend selection process in Washington, D.C., with all expenses paid. There, you’ll be interviewed by members of the RBSP National Selection Committee and participate in various activities. Winners are announced April 1.
2. David J. Stern Scholarship Program
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund awards nearly 500 minority scholarships every year to students. The organization has partnered with the NBA to offer the David J. Stern Scholarship Program. Recipients earn $10,000 each year for three years and get the opportunity to intern at the NBA league office.
Deadline: June 4
Available to: Students who are enrolled full time in an accredited black college and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher are eligible to apply. You must maintain that GPA to receive the award each year.
The application process requires you to submit a resume showing your community service, employment, and leadership experience. You’ll also write a 500-word essay about the lessons you’ve learned in sports and send in a letter of recommendation with your Student Aid Report, which you receive after filing the FAFSA.
Scholarship finalists must also go through an interview process with Thurgood Marshall College Fund staff.
3. Haz La U Program
The Hispanic Heritage Foundation partnered with Colgate-Palmolive to create this program, where 31 scholarships are awarded to Hispanic students. Awards range from $2,000 to $15,000.
Also called the Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards, applicants are required to show academic excellence and leadership in the community to be considered. The program stipulates some preferred areas of study, including business, entrepreneurship, community service, education, health care, science, media and entertainment, and STEM programs.
Deadline: Oct. 15
Available to: Students must have a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher and a Hispanic heritage. You must also plan to be enrolled full time in a college immediately upon graduation.
To apply, you’ll fill out an online application and provide letters of recommendation, a copy of your transcript, and answers to some essay questions.
It’s important to note that if you’re selected, you must attend a regional ceremony at your own expense. But there are 10 different cities to choose from, so you should hopefully find one near you.
4. Out to Innovate Scholarships for LGBTQ Students in STEM
There are a number of scholarships available to the LGBTQ community, but this one is geared toward those specifically enrolled in a STEM field. The scholarship is available to both undergraduate and graduate students.
Students can qualify for a $5,000 award if they’ve met these conditions:
- Completed two years of college
- Declared science, technology, engineering, or math as their major
- Are either lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or supportive of the LGBTQ community
The mission of the program is to support and promote a diverse STEM workforce and help students interested in those fields reduce the financial burden of a higher education.
Deadline: First Saturday of June
Available to: Students are eligible to apply if they’ve completed a minimum of two years of post-high school education, maintained a GPA of 3.0, declared a STEM major, and promoted LGBTQ inclusion and visibility.
To apply, you must fill out an application and include: your academic and community achievements, work experience, extracurricular activities, financial aid profile, references, transcripts, an essay, and three letters of reference. Winners are notified in August.
5. Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship Award
In honor of the great baseball player Jackie Robinson, the foundation set up in his name offers scholarships of up to $30,000 over four years to minority high school students. Applicants must demonstrate a financial need and leadership skills.
Deadline: Feb. 1
Available to: Graduating high school seniors who show leadership potential and community service involvement. Applicants should also have a financial need, plus strong SAT and ACT scores.
To apply, fill out the online application, which includes four essay questions. You’ll also need to supply a letter of recommendation and headshot. In May, semifinalists are required to attend a regional in-person interview. Winners are announced June 15.
Minority scholarships are a great way to pay for school
These five scholarships are a few of the many available to minority students. Take some time to research and see what else is available through your local and national organizations. Even if it’s just a few hundred dollars, an award can amount to significant savings when it comes to paying for college.
For every dollar you get in free money, that’s one less you have to worry about paying back through federal or private student loans.
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