4 scholarships that help minorities access higher education in the US

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Access to higher education can be a financial challenge for anyone. Regardless of where you live, colleges are becoming more expensive, forcing prospective students to seek out alternative financing options. A scholarship can help pay for part or all of a student's tuition.

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The United Negro College Fund

Also known as the UNCF, the United Negro College Fund is one of the largest scholarship organisations for minorities in America. The organisation helps over 8,000 students annually graduate from multiple colleges across the country and awards over 10,000 scholarships every year to graduating high school students of African-American descent.

There are two types of scholarships given by UNCF, namely need-based and merit-based awards. A need-based award is given according to a student’s level of financial need, while a merit-based award requires that a student demonstrates specific educational, athletic, or artistic achievement. In most cases, students applying for these types of scholarships will need to first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Make sure you stay aware of all deadlines for scholarship application so you don’t miss out due to incomplete paperwork.

The Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund

Commonly known as APIASF, this scholarship foundation's primary mission is to help students of Asian and Pacific Islander backgrounds obtain a higher education. The organisation maintains a large network of colleges that actively look for minority students and solicit donations from major corporations like Wells Fargo.

Students can apply for a variety of scholarships offered by APIASF, including the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, APIASF General Scholarship and APIASF AANAPISI Scholarship Program. The general scholarship is a need-based award given to underserved students who live at or below the poverty level, are the first of their families to attend college, and have emphasised community service, leadership, and academic achievement.

To apply, students will need to complete the online student application and online letter of recommendation. Applicants must be citizens or national or legal permanent residents of the United States. Scholarships require a minimum GPA of 2.7 or have earned a GED, and they must apply for federal aid through FAFSA.

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund focuses on helping Hispanic students of various nationalities attend college in the United States. The HSF offers Hispanic students a variety of scholarships to choose from, including the Greater Cincinnati HSF Scholarship and the Becas Univision Scholarship Program. Award amounts generally range from $500 to $5,000, depending on the scholarship chosen by the student. Scholarships are also broken up into categories based on current educational status. The HSF offers financial assistance to current high school seniors, undergraduate students and graduate students.

Similar to other scholarships, the HSF allows both students who attend traditional college and online degree programs to apply for aid. Prospective applicants must enrol in college full-time at an accredited, not-for-profit, 4-year university in order to be eligible for the scholarship.

The American Indian College Fund

The American Indian College Fund offers traditional scholarships to students of Native American background. Founded in 1968, the fund provides more than 6,000 different scholarships every year.

The American Indian College Fund sources financial scholarships from a variety of private and corporate donors, including Best Buy, Ford, FedEx, General Mills and more. Students are normally chosen based on educational success and community involvement, and can apply online. With these scholarships, students can enter an online master’s of higher education program or any other type of program they may be interested in.

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