These days nearly everyone in the United States fits in to at least one of several categories of minorities. If you’re Hispanic (20% of the population), you’re a minority. If you’re black (15% of the population), you’re a minority. If you’re asian (5% of the population) you’re a minority. If you’re Native American (1.5% of the population), you’re a minority. If you’re a woman (50% of the population), you’re a minority. If you’re gay or lesbian, you’re a minority. If you’re disabled (18% of the popultion), you’re a minority. If you’re multi-racial or multicultural (2% of the population), guess what? That’s right, you’re a minority. It would seem like the only people that aren’t a minority, when it comes to qualifying for minority scholarships, are healthy white males.
If you’re searching for a scholarship, then you really need to sit down and figure out if you qualify for a minority scholarship. Nearly every organization that funds scholarships, whether they be federal or state government, private endownments, corporations, or colleges and universities, offers a large selection of scholarships specifically for minorities. In addition, there are thousands of scholarships, representing millions of dollars, offered in fields traditionally underrepresented by minorities such as engineering, mathematics, sciences, law, medicine, and business.
Hispanic and Black Students
Unquestionably, the largest minority groups are made up of Blacks and Hispanics. Notwithstanding much progress that has been achieved over the last century, many Blacks and Hispanics still face several obstacles when it comes to gaining a college education. Minority scholarships are set up to remove one of the biggest obstacles, money. Most scholarship programs for Hispanics and Blacks are sponsored through a partnerships betweens minority organizations, schools themselves and corporate sponsors. Over the last few decades, the number of African American scholarships has nearly tripled.
While general college scholarships are available for Hispanic students, the majority are offered for students pursuing degrees in specific subject areas, including the sciences, mathematics and statistics, engineering, and technology, which are underrepresented by Hispanics.
If you’re Black or Hispanic, pursuing a minority scholarship should be your number one scholarship strategy.
Even though Asian students are not one of the larger minority groups in the U.S., they still have access to a large variety of minority scholarships. There are several merit-based financial aid and scholarship sources for Asian students offered directly by colleges and universities, specific college departments (i.e. psychology, science, business, law, etc.), cultural organizations as well as professional organizations.
Native American Students
American Indians are by far the most underrepresented minority group both in college and the work place. American Indians face a unique set of barriers to gaining a college education, including extreme poverty and limited access to elementary and secondary education on reservations. Despite a desire to earn a college degree, most American Indians, even with federal student financial aid, cannot afford to attend college. Fortunately, there are several funds and scholarships that are dedicated to helping American Indian students who are truly dedicated, beat the odds and earn a college degree.
You don’t even have to be a complete minority to qualify for a minority scholarship. There are several scholarship funds set up for interracial students of mixed heritage, culture and race. So if you have Hispanic, Black or Asian heritage keep your eyes open for interracial, multi-cultural or multi-ethnic scholarships – you just might qualify.
Even though women represent over 50% of the U.S. population, they still are given special access to a large number of scholarships exclusively for women. Several organizations, including the American Association of University Women, are dedicated to helping more women achieve a college education.
There are also several diversity based scholarships for different minority women’s groups. These include minority women (Black women, Hispanic women, Asian women, etc.), professional women seeking career advancement oppportunities, women seeking graduate degrees and women returning to college after raising a family.
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered (GLBT) Students
Over the last few years an entirely new categories of minority based scholarships has been created. Those are scholarships for the GLBT student community. A surprising number of organizations and groups now provides scholarships for GLBT students, and the number is growing. GLBT students are now recognized as a disadvantaged minority and steps are being taken to assist these individuals with their dream of attending college and earning a degree. GLBT scholarships are often extended to the children of gay and lesbian parents, even if the students themselves are not gay.