Attending college can be an expensive endeavor.
Many students face difficulty in discovering ways to finance their way through school.
While scholarships and loans certainly help to ease the burden of costs, the college grant program is unique in that it awards free money to students who constitute different segments of the population.
It should, however, be noted that the distinction between scholarships and grants can often times be rather minor. With many of the private organizations, certain prerequisites must be satisfied in order to be eligible.
The use of these grants has been instrumental in bringing more minority students into university. They help to ensure that a greater degree of diversity characterizes the student body. To qualify for the minority grant a student should fall under one of either of the two following categories:
- Ethnic: Serves to encourage students from different ethnic backgrounds, i.e. African-American,Hispanic, American-Indian et al. to enroll in university. This financial incentive helps to counteract some of the hardships ethnic minorities have traditionally faced in gaining equal access to universities.
- Non-Ethnic: Aimed at females and students who are physically impaired or have learning disabilities.
Prospective college students who qualify for minority grants have a wide variety of resources to choose from. In addition to the government’s options, minority based organizations are a good place to start searching for opportunities. The internet is a good starting point in procuring information regarding minority grants.
High school guidance counselors can also help direct students to different opportunities. However, prior to applying for the grants, it is recommended that you fill out a FAFSA form, as many of the foundations require this as a prerequisite to qualifying for grant money.
The FAFSA determines and confirms the financial need of the applicants.
Listed below are some of the private foundations that can serve to get you started on the way to discovering sources of funding.
Some of the programs, as stated above, have eligibility specifications additional to the minority status requirements.
Conditions such as grade point average, field of study and year in school may serve as pre-conditions to obtaining funds.
- Jeanette Rankin Foundation: Serves as a unique source of financial support for women over 35 years of age who are enrolled in a vocational school, undergraduate degree program or associate degree program. They must also meet low income eligibility requirements.
- American Association of University Women: Provides a wide range of different financial options available. A great source to gain access to many opportunities.
- Hispanic Scholarship Fund: Provides an extensive source of available funds through different corporations and charitable organizations that the Hispanic Scholarship Fund has formed relationships with.
- Hispanic Heritage Foundation: A good source to access information on a wide variety of financing options. Similar to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund in regards to the number of relationships it has with major corporations and charity organizations.
- American Indian College Fund: Supports students financially through a number of different programs. A good resource for accessing a variety of information on student aid.
- Association on American-Indian Affairs: Funds a program that financially supports students who demonstrate academic excellence. A student essay and letters of recommendation are required for consideration of acceptance into the program. Also a good source for a variety of other available funding options.
Additional Programs for Minorities
- CIA Undergraduate Scholar Program: Open to Asians, African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and Handicapped persons who are at the freshman level. Eligibility requirements include a minimum GPA, full-time status, summer work at the agency and employment at the agency for 1.5 times the length of the time spent completing a university degree program.
- Gates Millennium Scholarship: Available to African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asian/Pacific Islanders. Must have a 3.3 GPA on 4.0 scale and meet other basic requirements to be eligible.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant: Open to undergraduate students who are within the lowest income bracket. Pell Grant grantees are shown preference.
- Academic Competitiveness Grant: Available to first and second year undergraduate students. Must be eligible to receive the Pell Grant and meet certain academic levels of achievement.
- Sallie Mae Fund: Sponsors a variety of funding programs for students who are faced with economic hardship.