With college becoming so crucial to career advancement, financial awards can play a vital role in fostering future success. Many Hispanic students don’t enroll in college for economic reasons, but there are scholarships available to help cut down on tuition bills and ease the way to a college degree.
To jump-start your search, we’ve assembled a list of NerdWallet’s favorite scholarships for Hispanic and Latino students. Note that it’s worthwhile to check if Hispanic scholarships are inclusive of non-Hispanic Latinos, such as Brazilians.
The Actuarial Foundation awards three annual scholarships to minority students who will attend an accredited educational institution on a full-time basis. These scholarships are open to students who have at least one parent of Hispanic, African-American, Pacific Island or Native North American descent. To apply, students must have a GPA of at least 3.0 and intend to pursue an undergraduate degree that will lead to an actuarial profession. Awards range from $1,000 to $4,000, depending on your year in high school.
These scholarships are for Hispanic students who plan to attend an accredited university full time, starting in the fall of the desired scholarship year. Graduating high school seniors must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Undergraduate and graduate students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better. Students must fill out the FAFSA or state-based financial aid, if applicable. Undocumented students as well as students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status are encouraged to apply. Awards range from $500 to $5,000, depending on the winner’s financial aid package, and may be renewable.
These scholarships are for outstanding graduating high school seniors or GED recipients who are Hispanic, African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native or Asian Pacific Islander American. Students must be a U.S. citizen or a national or legal resident of the country. They need to have a minimum GPA of 3.3 and meet federal Pell Grant eligibility criteria. Students are required to enroll in a full-time degree-seeking program at an accredited college or university in the U.S. They also need to have a nominator and recommender complete forms on their behalf.
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund offers a number of scholarships every year. The ALPFA scholarship is for students of Hispanic heritage pursuing business and finance-related degrees in fields such as business administration, accounting, economics, information technology, finance, management or marketing. Applicants must be entering their sophomore, junior or senior year full time at a four-year college or university or be pursuing a master’s degree. Students must also be members of the Association of Latino Professionals for America and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Awards range from $2,000 to $10,000.
The Hispanic Leadership Council awards annual scholarships to students who live in the Region 14 Service Center area in Texas and are enrolled in four-year colleges, qualifying trade or business schools or junior colleges. Finalists will undergo an interview process before selections are made. The award is up to $1,000 per academic year.
This scholarship, which is administered by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, is for a graduating high school senior student who will be enrolled in an accredited college or university in the state. To qualify, the applicant must be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident; demonstrate a history of academic achievement and involvement in school and/or community activities; and show financial need. To apply, students must include a personal essay, two letters of recommendation, a high school transcript and official SAT or ACT documentation. The award is $2,500 per year for up to four years.
These scholarships are for graduating high school seniors or currently enrolled college undergraduates who are Indiana residents and planning to attend or are enrolled in an accredited Indiana college or university. Students must have a minimum 2.7 GPA and demonstrate determination or self-motivation as well as financial need. Preference is given to students of Hispanic descent, but it’s also open to non-Hispanic Latinos.
This scholarship is for full-time female college or community college undergraduate students or graduate students of Chicana or Latina descent. Applicants must have lived for two years in one of the following Northern California counties and be students at a college or university located in one of them: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma or Yolo. Recipients of this scholarship receive a $1,500 award, and must commit to attend the CLF Leadership Institute for two designated weekends and volunteer 10 hours for the foundation.
More ways to pay
Scholarships, which don’t need to be paid back, are an ideal way to pay for college. But it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to fund the entire cost of tuition through scholarships alone. To be eligible for federal grants, work-study and student loans, and some additional scholarships, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA.
Once you’ve maxed out all initial payment options, including federal loans, then consider private loans to cover additional costs. Private loans tend to carry higher interest rates than federal loans. They also have fewer protections and forgiveness options. Shop around and compare private student loans before choosing a lender.
This article was updated on May 31, 2016. It was originally published on July 21, 2012.