What is the Best Way for Minorities to Find Financial Aid for College?

Aspiring minority scholars with low finances frequently experience frustration of major proportions with regard to being able to afford college. Despite a solid academic background, a personal background of economic disadvantage and educational deprivation severely impedes efforts to break a destructive cycle.

Fortunately, many remedies are readily available to those willing to go extra miles of any length to fund their education. Below are some basic but effective strategies to fund higher educational pursuits.

Beneficial Official Resources

Would-be minority students have a common wealthy relative named Uncle Sam who provides the best budgetary reinforcements for America’s burgeoning student body members of diversity. His impressive entourage of educational economic assistance includes grants of up to $5,600 and low-interest loans of more than $20,000 per year. Find out more about all available federal student financial aid at http://studentaid.ed.gov/.

Many states also provide specialized financial aid to minority residents in the form of grants, low-interest loans, and/or paid internships. An alphabetical listing of state educational assistance agencies is located at http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/Programs/EROD/org_list.cfm?category_cd=SGT.

Advantageous Organizational Affiliations

Major minority social and affinity associations offer scholarships and other special programs to assist worthy scholars of similar or identical origins. Prime examples include:

• African American

Thurgood Marshal Scholarship Fund (“TMCF”)

Established in 1987, TMCF assists students to pursue higher education at historically black colleges and universities (“HBCUs”) across the nation. Although awards are merit-based, no specific major is mandatory.

United Negro College Fund (“UNCF”)

UNCF provides vital economic assistance to over 60,000 students each year via its impressive array of more than 400 scholarships, fellowships, and internships.

• Hispanic American

Hispanic Scholarship Fund (“HSF”)

HSFT offers a wide variety of scholarships and grants for Mexican, Spanish, Latino, and other Hispanic learners. See http://hsf.net/en/scholarships/programs/ for a full listing of available scholarship programs and details about award amounts, deadlines, and eligibility criteria.

• Asian American

Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (“APIASF”)

As a liaison for the country’s biggest educational philanthropy entities and its bright students of Asian ethnicity, APIASF has disbursed more than $60 to deserving scholars in 45 U.S. states since 2003.

Asian Pacific Fund (“APF”)

APF promotes Asian academic advancement via a wide variety of private donations with varying designated eligibility criteria. Learn more at http://www.asianpacificfund.org/scholarships.

• Native American

American Indian College Fund (“AICF”)

AICF administers the most Native American and Alaska Native scholarships of all non-profit organizations in the United States. To request more details, e-mail scholarships@collegefund.org.

Specialized Privatized Programs

In an effort to enhance workplace diversity and cultivate highly-qualified professional employees, many corporations and other organizations sponsor minority scholarship programs. Below are just a few examples.

Dell Scholars Program

$20,000 annually and renewable up to four years

Gates Millennium Scholars Program (“GMS”)

Minority majors in all fields of study

Microsoft Minority Scholarships

Minority majors in computer-related fields

Google

Annual awards of $10,000 for minority science and technology majors

Numerous other Fortune 500 companies provide generous awards for promising minority students. Conduct a search engine query for specific corporation name and/or “Fortune 500 minority scholarships.”

Career-specific

Many professional associations offer scholarships to assist future colleagues of color. This is especially true of STEM, education, and medical majors. A search engine query for “minority” or specific ethnic or racial group followed by “scholarships” should reveal abundant possibilities.

Institution-specific

Many postsecondary institutions provide scholarships and grants for deserving minority students at their academies. This is especially prevalent among professional schools and programs in the fields of law, medicine, dentistry, and other highly specialized disciplines. Contact the financial aid offices and specific programs at institutions of interest.

A popular cliché that posits “birds of a feather stick together” takes on new meaning and has altered significance that is larger than life for minority scholars of limited means. In practical terms, it means that identities of ethnic, occupational, educational, and industrial similarities indicate ideal educational funding entities.

Related: Tips for Financing College

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