Scholarships for Hispanic Women
The following scholarships are open on a national level.
First in My Family Scholarship
The Sallie Mae Fund is the charitable organization under the Sallie Mae umbrella. The organization’s mission is to “increase college access for America’s students –- by supporting programs and initiatives that help open doors to higher education.” The organization is able to continue its mission with several partnering entities. These partnerships have helped the Sallie Mae Fund award over “$15.5 million in scholarships to more than 6,350 students” since 2001.
The Sallie Mae Fund partnered with the Hispanic College Fund to create the First in my Family Scholarship. The Fund describes its target population for this scholarship as “Hispanic-American students who are the first in their family to attend college and have financial need.”
Many of the recipients of the First in my Family Scholarship have left testimonials describing what the scholarship funds did to help them. Funds to cover financial hardships, travel costs, books and tuition are often cited as examples of how the monies from the Fund were used.
Considering that many Latinos are first-generation students whose families reside in immigrant enclaves, there is a definite need for this type of scholarship. In order to make an applicant as competitive as possible, the Fund developed eligibility requirements. Some of these requirements include being American citizens or permanent residents living in the United States. Students should also be enrolled in accredited higher education institutions as full-time students. Finally, students should maintain a minimum of a 3.0 grade point average, on a 4.0 scale to qualify for the scholarship.
Typically, these scholarships will range between $500 to $5,000. The First in My Family Scholarship is a national scholarship open to all Latinos in the United States.
Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Inc.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Inc (CHCI) is another institution that funds Latinos through scholarships. The CHCI is a leading Hispanic non-profit and non-partisan 501(c)3 charitable organization. The organization began in 1978 and its mission is “to help increase opportunities for Hispanics to participate in and contribute to the American policy making process.”
Within the organization’s mission, increased access for Hispanics across many different processes is also fundamental to the organization. A branch of this mission is CHCI’s Scholarship Program.
The mission of the scholarship program, in conjunction with the organization’s umbrella mission, is to “provide critical financial assistance that will increase graduation rates among Latino students in post-secondary education.”
The CHCI’s Scholarship Program is intended for Hispanics that have a proven history of public service-oriented activities within their communities. The organization looks for Hispanic youth who are active and engaged citizens. The youth must exhibit a strong investment in themselves and their communities. Usually these students have a passion for civic engagement and are always looking for new ways to improve their communities and the Hispanic community as a whole.
Instead of focusing on grade point averages and standardized test scores, the CHCI gauges the student’s past performance of leadership to inform its decision. While the student’s demonstration of civic engagement is a pivotal factor in the decision-making process, there are other factors that the CHCI Scholarship Program considers:
- Full-time enrollment in a U.S. Department of Education-accredited community college, four-year university or graduate/professional program while applying for the scholarship.
- The student should have a strong financial need or hardship.
- The student should be an effective communicator. The CHCI Scholarship Program highly values a strong writing ability.
- The student should be a legal permanent resident or citizen of the United States.
- The student should have a demonstrated and quantifiable record of service. The CHCI values students who have a consistent and active role in “public and/or community service activities.”
With this one-time scholarship, students can cover their higher education costs. Things like tuition, room and board, textbooks and other expenses can be funded with the Scholarship Program award. The scholarship amount depends on what type of institution that the student is enrolled in. For instance, a student in community college or “AA/AS granting institutions” will receive a scholarship for $1,000. Students who are enrolled in four-year higher education institutions are eligible to receive a one-time award of $2,500. Finally, students enrolled at graduate-level institutions are eligible to received a scholarship award of $5,000.
Since CHCI is committed to the growth of all the awardees, the CHCI Scholarship Program distributes the funds evenly according to the years required for the student to graduate. For instance, in their example,“$2,500 for a college freshman will be distributed in four equal installments of $625 a year.”
Unlike other scholarship programs, CHCI sends the checks directly to the student scholarship recipients. As long as the student maintains a good academic standing, CHCI will fulfill the scholarship.
These are geographic-targeted scholarships.
100 Hispanic Women’s Young Latinas Leadership Institute
Founded in 1996 by Shirley Rodriguez-Rememeski, the national 100 Hispanic Women is an organization that guides Latinas towards excellence in leadership. The organization further defines its mission as inspiring Latinas “to maximize their strengths and potential, in order to become equal partners in an empowered world of equal opportunity with equal justice, recognition, respect and dignity.” The organization primarily serves Latinas within New York City and its surrounding geographic area.
The organization developed the Young Latinas Leadership Institute (YLLI) in 2002 to propel its mission forward. The YLLI is meant to “enrich the college experience” of Latinas. In order to qualify for this program, Latinas must be enrolled in a four-year CUNY college and maintain a minimum of a 3.0 grade point average. The program targets recent high school graduates who are entering a CUNY college as a freshman.
Since the program’s inception in 2002, YLLI has provided thirty-five Latinas with three-to-four-year scholarships. Thus far, YLLI has awarded over $144,000 to its scholars. The program continues to grow in competitiveness as the program only offers five Latina scholars awards each year.
If accepted into the program, Latina students must also make a three-year commitment to participate in the organization and its activities. For instance, there are three educational workshops that participants must attend. Awardees are also expected to exemplify leadership in their communities.
Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE) – Graduate Fellowship Awards
The Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE) is a graduate fellowship program intended for “Texas residents pursuing studies in community college or graduate or professional schools.”
TACHE awards two fellowships. One of the fellowships is reserved for a professional student “whose career emphasis is in community college education.” The other fellowship is intended for a student whose professional concentration focuses on university/post-graduate education.
In order to be a competitive candidate, there are a number of eligibility criteria. First, the TACHE is looking for students of Chicano or Latino heritage. The TACHE defines Latino heritage as “one parent fully Hispanic or each parent half Hispanic. Applicants should also be enrolled full-time in accredited U.S. universities in a “degree-seeking program.” Finally, the applicant must have a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative grade point average.
The TACHE application is relatively standard. They ask for a completed form, a copy of school transcripts and proof of current enrollment, two letters of recommendation from faculty at the higher learning institution, a resume, a description of activities that the applicant participates in related to the Chicano/Latino culture and community in Texas and a photograph.
Apart from these standard documents, TACHE also requests a two-page personal statement. In the personal statement, the TACHE is looking for the applicant to address their socioeconomic background, family and financial responsibilities and other factors that can be considered obstacles in attaining graduate studies.
Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund
The Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund is a scholarship specifically designed for Hispanic students living in Florida. It is a need-based scholarship that is a based on a student’s cumulative grade point average. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or an institutional grade point average of 3.0, for undergraduate students, is the minimum GPA needed in order to qualify for the fund.
Though this need-based scholarship is open to all Hispanic students studying in Florida, there is more of a desire to fund graduating high school seniors. The funds are acquired from a number of streams. While private donors play an instrumental role, government funds, like those from the Florida Legislature, are also important in making the scholarship awards possible.
There are a number of other eligibility criteria in order to qualify:
- The applicant must be a Florida resident. In other words, only United States citizens or eligible non-citizens may apply for the Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund.
- Applicants cannot be in “default for another grant, loan, or scholarship program unless the student has made appropriate repayment arrangements with the program.”
- The applicant must also be of Spanish descent. The Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund further defines Spanish descent as an applicant being “born in Mexico or a Hispanic country and/or having a natural parent who was born in Mexico or a Hispanic country.”
- The applicant must have a grade point average that falls between the 3.0 and 4.0 grade point average bracket.
- The applicant must be enrolled in higher education institutions with a certain number of credit hours. For instance, undergraduate students must be enrolled in, at least, twelve credit hours. For students pursuing graduate degree, at least nine credit hours are required.
The Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund has other additional notes for a couple of the eligibility criteria. A principal or other school authority, i.e. “someone who has been assigned the authority to verify” an applicant’s record, must confirm the veracity of the applicant’s grade point average.
The fund also prioritizes funding students with a real financial need, or experiencing a financial hardship. The scholarship exists in order to relieve part of the financial burden that higher education can signify for Hispanic students and their families. Therefore, the Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund asks that all applicants fill out and complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund awards students with a full scholarship amount of $2,000.
McDonald’s Hispanic American Commitment to Educational Resources (HACER) Program
In conjunction with the McDonald’s Operators Association of Southern California, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California annually “sponsors four college scholarship programs for students from communities who face limited access to educational and career opportunities.”
Thus far, over $3.8 million dollars in scholarship funds have been awarded to students in Southern California. Geographically, the awards target students and communities in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura Counties.
One of the college scholarship programs is the Hispanic American Commitment to Educational Resources (HACER). In order to qualify for this college scholarship program, students need to meet HACER’s eligibility criteria:
- Students should be current and enrolled high school seniors with a minimum grade point average of 2.7.
- Students should be of Hispanic heritage. The scholarship identifies Hispanic heritage as “at least one parent of Hispanic heritage.”
- Students should be eligible to attend a higher education institution. Accredited two- and four-year colleges, universities or vocational/technical schools “with a complete course of study” all qualify as higher education institutions.
- Applicants must be legal residents of the United States.
- Applicants cannot be older than twenty-one years old.
- Applicants must reside within the geographic limitations of the scholarship. The boundary that HACER designates is within Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino or Ventura Counties.
- Students may apply for other scholarships from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California. However, only one scholarship will be awarded.
- In order to stay compliant, students must also share with the organization any other scholarships that they have or are planning on applying to. All other scholarship awards must also be disclosed.
- Students must also be willing to disclose any supporting materials when prompted.
Each year, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California will award forty scholarships to forty students. Each scholarship will be worth $2,000. Furthermore, $1,000 will be “renewable each year for up to three additional years for a total scholarship value of $5,000.” The decision makers of this competitive process are an advisory board made up of educators and community and civic leaders of the community.
Funds from the organization will be used towards the student’s college experience. Though the funds will directly benefit the awardees’ college experience, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California will not pay the student directly. Instead, the organization will send a check directly to the higher education institution where the student is enrolled. Things like “tuition, fees and other appropriate educational expenses” will be covered by the funds. Recipients of the scholarship awards will not be reimbursed.
The SAI Scholarship
The Spanish American Institute (SAI) is a non-profit organization. The mission of the organization is “dedicated to providing educational assistance to Hispanic students in Southern California.” The organization aims to combat what it views as obstacles that hold back many Hispanic students from entering higher education. One of the obstacles is the financial burden of a post-secondary education. The other obstacle is inadequate academic preparation; this type of preparation is necessary in order to compete with peers.
The SAI Scholarship is meant to address the financial obstacle that holds Hispanics back. In order to qualify for the SAI Scholarship, there are certain eligibility criteria that applicants must meet:
- The SAI Scholarship targets Hispanic students. The Spanish American Institute cites the Federal Register for a clear and detailed description of Hispanic. For the Institute, Hispanic means “a person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.”
- The SAI Scholarship also has geographic limitations. Only Hispanic students who reside between San Diego and San Luis Obispo in Southern California are eligible. The Spanish American Institute gives geographic markers like the area of the Cal-Pac Conference to give this area more context.
- It is important that applicants also be full-time (a minimum of twelve units per semester) students enrolled in an accredited community college, four-year college or university or vocational/technical program.
- Applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 from high school or college.
- All high school and undergraduate students of Hispanic descent living in the United States are eligible. Citizens, permanent residents and undocumented students are all eligible to apply. However, the Spanish American Institute prefers undocumented students who are AB540.
- Graduate and PhD candidates are not eligible to apply for the scholarship.
- Individuals cannot receive more than one SAI scholarship.
The following is a scholarship that is optimal for Mexican-American women.
Chicana/Latina Foundation Scholarship Program
The Chicana/Latina Foundation is a non-profit organization that works to promotes the the “professional and leadership development of Latinas.” In order to achieve this promotion, the organization will impact all aspects of Latinas’ lives. The Foundation is invested in the personal, educational and professional advancement of Latinas.
One of the organization’s main programs is the Scholarship Program. Each year, the organization awards merit-based scholarships, instead of need-based scholarships, to Latina college students. The scholarships are each valued at $1,500. In 2012, the Chicana/Latina Foundation will award forty scholarship awards to forty deserving Latina students.
In order to qualify for the Chicana/Latina Foundation Scholarship Program, one must meet their eligibility criteria:
- The Scholarship Program is only for women of Chicana/Latina heritage.
- Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited college, university or community college.
- The higher education institution where the applicant is enrolled must meet the geographic limitations of the program. The Scholarship Program is only for institutions in Northern California counties. For the Foundation, the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma and Yolo are eligible.
- Applicants must also have lived in one of the aforementioned counties for at least two years at the time of the application in order to eligible.
- All applicants must commit to attend one weekend in August and one weekend in February during the Chicana/Latina Foundation’s CLF Leadership Institute upon being selected.
- Within a year of accepting the scholarships, participants are expected to give ten hours of their time to the Chicana/Latina Foundation.
- While past awardees are eligible to reapply, these previous recipients must wait four years before reapplying.
- Furthermore, the Chicana/Latina Foundation has different requirements depending on the degree that the applicant is pursuing.
Undergraduates and students attending community should ensure that they meet the following criteria before applying:
- The students must be enrolled as full-time college students at the time of the Chicana/Latina Foundation Scholarship Program application.
- Applicants are also expected to already have completed twelve college units after high school. Credits obtained during high school do not count towards the Chicana/Latina Foundation Scholarship Program.
- Applicants are expected to have maintained a grade point average of at least 2.5 at the time of the application.
Like undergraduate students, graduate-level students have further eligibility criteria:
- Students at the graduate level are expected to either a) already be enrolled in graduate/professional programs — these students will be in the process of completing a course, thesis or dissertation; or b) already be accepted into a graduate/professional school.
- Students at the graduate/professional are also expected to have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 of college course work.
The following is a scholarship that is ideal for Puerto Rican women.
Scholarship Application for Students of Puerto Rican Descent
The Scholarship Application for Students of Puerto Rican Descent, posted on the Hispanic Fund website, is an application specifically targeting Puerto Rican students. It is a scholarship award that can range from $500 to $5,000.
In order to be eligible for this scholarship, applicants must meet certain eligibility criteria:
- Applicants must be either be Puerto Rican or of Puerto Rican descent.
- Applicants must be a citizen of the United States residing in the United States or in Puerto Rico. The scholarship panel will favor students living in Puerto Rico.
- Applicants must either already be accepted or plan to enroll in a college or university in the United States or Puerto Rico for the upcoming academic year.
- Applicants must either already be or plan to be enrolled as full-time undergraduate students.
- Applicants must earn and maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average.
- Applicants must be able to clearly demonstrate their financial need.
The Scholarship Application for Students of Puerto Rican Descent is sponsored by Ford.
The following is a scholarship that is ideal for Haitian-American women.
Haitian American Scholarship Fund
The Haitian American Scholarship Fund is an organization that is “dedicated to reducing the financial barriers of higher education confronting promising Haitian American students through scholarships, mentoring and community education.”
The organization began in 2001 in order to address the overwhelming need of the Haitian American community. No other organization at the time “addressed the vast scholarship needs of our young High School graduates or financially strapped College students.” It is the organization’s hope that a college education will not only benefit the individual, but also benefit the community as a collective.
Thus far, the Haitian American Scholarship Fund has been able to assist the Haitian American community in a number of beneficial ways. The organization has awarded almost $90,000 in scholarship money. The funds for these scholarships have been collected by private donors and other institutions. Almost $60,000 has been raised in private donations for scholarships.
The organization has also worked closely with other higher education institutions to assist the Haitian American community. The collaboration between both entities has pushed forward more scholarship creations. For instance, in conjunction with the Haitian American Scholarship Fund, Barry University created a two-year scholarship for Haitian American students, St. Thomas University created a one-year scholarship and the University of Illinois in Urbana created a one-year scholarship.
The following is a scholarship that is ideal for Cuban-American women.
Cuban American Scholarship Fund
The Cuban American Scholarship Fund is a scholarship available to undergraduate or graduate students of Cuban descent. These students must have a minimum of a 3.0 grade point average to apply. Applicants must be citizens of the United States or legal residents of California in order to apply. The minimum award amount, which also happens to be the average award amount, is $750. The maximum award amount is $2,000. The Fund has the capacity to award five minimum awards, seven average awards and twelve maximum awards.
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