Scholarships for Hispanic and Latino Students

24 Sep 2019

High-quality education is rightfully considered a ladder to success. Indeed, people with higher education have more employment opportunities than those with high school diplomas only. Good education often enables them to access jobs that are better paid. Therefore nowadays, young people become increasingly interested in pursuing college diplomas. This is particularly true for the Hispanic community where more men and women recognize good education as a means for social status improvement. Based on recent estimates, college enrolment rates have changed substantially among Hispanic young adults. From 2000 to 2016, they increased from 18 to 35 percent among males and from 25 to 44 percent among females. Thus, unlike 10 percent in 2000, Hispanic youth constituted 19 percent of total undergraduate enrolment in 2016. As for bachelor’s and master’s degree levels, the number of degrees awarded to Hispanic students more than tripled by 2016.

Source: NCES

While becoming well-educated is a popular trend, tuitions continue growing. This makes education less accessible, particularly for young people who come from low-income families. They simply can’t afford it without additional financial support. In order to gain the desired degrees, most Hispanic students have to either take student loans or look for other sources of financing. Loans often turn into a significant financial burden that affects young people and their families for decades. So, it is worth considering alternative options. Nowadays, Latino youth can benefit from numerous scholarships and grants that aim at making high-quality education available for this ethnic group in the US.

Scholarships & Grants

The world is changing rapidly nowadays, but America remains the land of opportunities. This is particularly true when it comes to education in the United States. Numerous grants and scholarships introduced by academic institutions, organizations, funds, government representatives or just private persons make high-quality education available to students of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds. Here is a list of relevant scholarships and grants that Hispanic students can use to study in college or university of their dreams.

General Scholarships for Hispanic Students


  • Mexican American Alumni Association Scholarships – Eligible applicants can receive annual financial support ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
  • Hispanic American Commitment to Educational Resources (RMHC/HACER) Scholarship – This scholarship requires students to provide essays and recommendation letters. It accepts applicants with at least one parent of Hispanic heritage and provides up to $25,000 of financial aid.
  • The North Carolina Hispanic College Fund – Students can receive annual financial support ranging from $500 to $2,500. There are specific eligibility requirements. For instance, recipients should be recent graduates of North Carolina high schools.
  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund – Students can apply for annual scholarships aimed at promoting university education among young people of Hispanic heritage. High school seniors, undergraduate students, community college students transferring to universities, or graduate students can receive relevant scholarships here.
  • Scholarship America – Using this resource, students can seek for other relevant scholarships.

Subject-Specific Scholarships


  • Latinos in Technology Scholarship – Provided by the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley in California, it aims at addressing the local educational gap along with closing the high tech employment diversity gap. Eligible Latino(a) students can receive up to $30,000, as well as internship opportunities.
  • American Chemical Society Scholars Program – Students pursuing an education in the chemistry-related fields can receive financial aid reaching $5,000. The exact amount of monetary support is determined based on available funding, demonstrated financial need, as well as the school year.
  • Minority Teachers of Illinois (MTI) Scholarship Program – This program funds individuals studying to become teachers. The exact financial aid amount varies, but qualified applicants can receive benefits for the equivalent of four academic years.
  • STEM Bridge Scholarship Program – It provides sophomore students enrolled full-time in a STEM program at one of the five Virginia Space Grant member universities with a $1,000 financial aid.
  • Chein Garcia Alonso Scholarship – Created by the family of Chein Garcia Alonso, this scholarship benefits songwriters, musicians, or vocalists of Latino heritage from a Newark, New Jersey, who want to study music at a college level.

Scholarships for Children of Migrant Workers


Scholarships and Grants for Hispanic Women


Scholarships for Graduate Students


Scholarships for Undocumented Students


Scholarships and Grants for ESL/ ELL Students


Scholarships for First-Generation College Students


Most Affordable Hispanic Serving Institutions

Thanks to the mentioned scholarships and grants, even students with very limited budgets can access high-quality education. Of source, some universities may still remain too costly for young people from low-income families. Still, there are many alternative options. Here is a list of affordable Latino-friendly colleges. These universities are public and they have both on-campus and online degree options.

University Price Share of Hispanic Students
University of Texas at El Paso $5,713 83%
California State University – Sacramento $5,742 31%
Eastern New Mexico University $5,763 37%
South Texas College $6,000 94%
California State University – Dominguez Hills $6,732 62%
Texas Woman’s University $8,881 38%
Nevada State College $8,900 29%
Florida International University $8,993 66%
New Mexico State University $10,213 56%
Florida Atlantic University $11,303 526%

Challenges Hispanic Students Face

While college education is now one of the necessary milestones for young adults, Latinos face obstacles that make it challenging for them to gain it. Some of these coincide with those experienced by other ethnic groups, while others are unique. Here are some widespread factors that Hispanic and Latino young people will likely overcome while pursuing their degrees:

  • English is a second language – For most Hispanic and Latino students, English remains a second language that is not used at home. Lack of language practice in family settings affects students’ writing, reading, along with speaking comprehension skills.
  • The special legal status of children of migrant workers – This is a unique challenge that many students still perceive as overpowering. Indeed, US citizens have many more opportunities and options. Several states, like Alabama or South Carolina, prohibit college enrolment by undocumented students. Still, even undocumented students can receive high-quality education using available resources. Many national programs, as well as state laws, actually protect their rights by securing beneficial college attendance options. Furthermore, college applications can’t result in deportation because the law prohibits colleges report students’ migration statuses without permission.
  • Time-consuming family obligations – Nearly one-third of Latino children live below the poverty line. A roughly equal share of children lives in low-income families that can only meet family members’ basic needs. Unlike most white young people, Hispanic youth learns about the need to support families’ economic security early. One in ten Latino high school students is employed, as well as 45 percent of those enrolled in college. Early employment along with other family obligations consume time that could otherwise be spent on studying.
  • High college fees – Many of America’s Latino children find it challenging to afford degrees because of high college fees. Coupled with low socioeconomic status, this is a serious barrier for Hispanic youth. This obstacle is particularly overpowering for undocumented students, who can’t use federal financial aid.
  • Parents without college background – Many Latino children live in families where one or both parents have no college education. Such children become first-generation college attendants. Unlike white Americans, they have to deal with unique emotional, intellectual, physical challenges to which their families can’t adequately prepare them.

Applying for Scholarships: Application Process

Although the mentioned obstacles affect most Hispanic young people, they should not prevent them from pursuing a better future. So, many organizations, communities, and funds nowadays support representatives of these ethnic groups with financial aids. They introduce special scholarships as well as grants for Latino students. Although every scholarship or grant usually has specific requirements, application processes often have common steps. Here are some tasks students are likely to address while receiving the desired financial aid:

  • Passing necessary tests; collecting and providing information about grades. – Scholarships often have minimum grade requirements. For instance, many scholarships only accept students whose GPA is 2.5 or higher. In some circumstances, students also provide the results of SAT or ACT tests among others.
  • Bringing letters of recommendation. – In some cases, reviews written by teachers, former employers, or other individuals who interacted with students in educational or professional settings may positively distinguish them from other applicants.
  • Writing essays and letters of motivation. – To receive grants, students often need to describe their intentions. Many scholarship applications also involve original essay writing.
  • Providing relevant information. – Students may be required to prove that they actually need financial aid and can’t reach their educational goals without such support. Also, some scholarships apply only to those who attend or plan to attend certain accredited institutions.

Nowadays, there are many scholarships and grants available to Latino students, so it is worth applying to as many as possible. Still, some scholarships have special conditions. Students should read their scholarship or grant requirements carefully in order to avoid any inconsistencies. While consulting high school career counselor is a good idea, here are some resources Hispanic youth can use on their own to find out more about the application processes:

  • Federal Student Aid – Using this resource, students, including undocumented, can find out more about their educational options. The information is conveniently presented in a question-answer format.
  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund – Here, students can find relevant information about their rights and options. They can receive help with application processes.
  • New Future – Here, Hispanic students can receive detailed guidelines on how to complete successfully their application processes.
  • Latino Ed Beat – This Education Writers Association’s blog can keep Hispanic students and their families updated regarding the issues affecting Latino students. Also, it is a great resource for those looking for the most relevant education-related news and changes affecting Latinos.
  • The US Department of Education – This specialized toolkit for Hispanic families can help students reach their educational goals as it contains relevant information and sound recommendations.
  • MyCollegeOptions – Here, students can find out more about their options. This resource enables college search and selection, as well as provides information about the college application process, fees, and possible financial aid.
  • Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) – This resource provides students with information on how to attend specific colleges or universities.