Scholarships are a great way to pay for college without the obligation to repay funds. Maximizing scholarship potential can be especially useful for Latino students, who on average received less in institutional grants than their white counterparts in 2016, according to a statistical brief from UnidosUS.
There are hundreds of organizations that recognize this financial gap and offer scholarships specifically for Latino college students with the aim of making a college education more accessible and affordable. Here’s where you can start your search and apply for a few of the best scholarships for Latino students.
Where to find scholarships for Latino students
Scholarships are offered by thousands of corporations, organizations and programs. A scholarship search engine is the best way to find awards for Latino students, as these sites break down opportunities by category, award amounts and application details. Some popular scholarship search engines are Fastweb, Unigo and Scholarships.com, but you can also Google “scholarships for Latino students” to find more options across the internet.
While there are national and state-level scholarships available, they typically are more competitive, since they offer high award amounts. To increase your earning potential, don’t only apply for the larger awards; look into smaller scholarships offered by minority advocacy groups, nonprofit organizations, small corporations and even your college or university.
The 5 best scholarships for Latino students
Here are a few scholarships offered specifically for Latino students. Some of the scholarships are annual, while others require applicants to reapply every semester. Before applying, check the requirement details so you don’t miss out on any award opportunities in the future.
1. Hispanic Scholarship Fund
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) awards more than $30 million annually in scholarships to students of Hispanic heritage based on academic merit and financial need. Recipients will also receive access to HSF Scholar Conferences, career training and a wide range of support resources.
In order to qualify, students must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents or DACA recipients and be planning to enroll full time at a four-year university or graduate school. Along with the application, students are required to submit their FAFSA or state-based financial aid forms.
Amount: $500 to $5,000
Deadline: Feb. 15, 2022
Apply here: https://www.hsf.net/scholarship
2. GMiS STEM Scholarship
Great Minds in STEM is an organization that enables Hispanic students pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to be leaders in the national STEM community. For its scholarship program, it seeks out students who demonstrate leadership qualities or service within underserved communities.
Both undergraduate and graduate STEM students attending a qualifying university are eligible to apply, though applicants must have a GPA of at least 3.0. Award amounts are based on academic merit, as well as leadership qualities and campus or community involvement. In addition to a personal statement and resume, applicants must provide two letters of recommendation — one from a peer and one from a faculty member.
Amount: $500 to $5,000
Deadline: April 30, 2022
Apply here: https://greatmindsinstem.org/gmis-scholarship-application/gmis-scholarships/gmis-scholarship-guidelines/
3. Hispanic Scholarship Consortium Scholars Program
Students of Latino heritage may apply for the Hispanic Scholarship Consortium’s Scholars Program, which provides renewable college scholarships for high school seniors, undergraduates and graduate students residing in Texas.
Along with scholarship funds, scholars have access to leadership training, mentoring and assistance for first-generation college students. Each scholarship has its own requirements, though students must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 to qualify and must participate in five hours of community service per semester.
Amount: $1,000 to $5,000
Deadline: Applications open on Jan. 14, 2022
Apply here: https://www.hispanicscholar.org/apply
4. Latinos in Technology Scholarship
Established by the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, this scholarship is for Latino students who attended high school or are attending college in Silicon Valley and who have have been accepted into a STEM-related degree program.
In order to qualify, students must demonstrate financial need and have a GPA of at least 3.0. Applicants must write a personal statement between 500 and 850 words long discussing their career goals, personal journey and any activities that have helped prepare them for a career in STEM. Applicants must also submit a letter of reference from a STEM professor and a copy of either a student aid report or a California Dream Act application.
Amount: Up to $30,000
Deadline: March 18, 2022
Apply here: https://www.siliconvalleycf.org/scholarships/lit
5. LULAC National Scholarship Fund
The League of United Latin American Citizens provides a national scholarship designed to empower members of the Latino community by making college enrollment more obtainable.
Both undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to apply if they meet the academic and status requirements, as are students in vocational programs. The application requires a personal essay of at least 500 words, and awards are given based on GPA, financial need, community involvement and personal motivation. Students must also submit their application to a participating LULAC Council; in 2021-22, 13 states and Washington, D.C., had participating councils.
Amount: $250 to $2,000
Deadline: March 31, 2022
Apply here: https://lnesc.org/scholarships/lulac/
Creating an organized system is your best bet at maximizing scholarship potential. Before you apply for any scholarships, create a spreadsheet that lists important details, like the award amounts, deadlines and application requirements. You should also track which awards you’ve applied to, when you should expect to hear back and how much progress you’ve made toward your target funding goal.
If you’re having trouble finding scholarships specifically for Latino students, you can also broaden your search. Scholarship sites often let you customize by location, major and even hobbies. Remember, the more scholarships you apply for, the more likely you are to win an award. If you’re running into trouble, you can always ask a friend or teacher to proofread your application and personal statement to make sure it’s the best representation of you and your goals.