The Hispanic Scholarship Fund supports Hispanic students in earning their higher education. Find out how you can apply and be awarded in a few quick steps.
From 2000-2015, the number of Hispanic undergraduate enrollment nearly doubled to 3 million. As the largest minority group on most college campuses, university scholarships and organizations like the Hispanic Scholarship Fund exist to help pay for school for Hispanic students.
Depending on the scholarship you apply for, the requirements and eligibility will vary, but the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) exists to help students of Hispanic heritage afford an education. In addition, if HSF isn’t the right fit for you, there are plenty of additional scholarships geared towards Latino and Hispanic prospective students.
First, we’ll share what HSF is and how you can be awarded. Then, we’ll look at some alternative options for scholarships if you are of Hispanic descent.
What is the Hispanic Scholarship Fund?
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) was founded in 1975 and exists to empower Latinos and help support their higher educational journey, including scholarships and resources.
HSF is the nation’s largest organization that helps to assist Hispanics to afford education, and since its founding, HSF has awarded over $500 million in scholarship money.
Along with helping Hispanic students fund their college education, HSF provides resources to firstly prepare students for college and then also assist with tools upon graduation. For example, HSF has various Scholar Conferences that cover multiple subjects like Entrepreneurship, Finance, Media and Entertainment, and National Leadership. These opportunities allow students from all over to come together with a like-minded purpose and share ideas, network, and create bonds that have the potential to change the future!
Who is Eligible?
Since it serves as a scholarship fund, there are eligibility requirements to apply. If you do not fulfill the requirements, then it is advised to refrain from applying because these must be met to be considered. While all college majors are accepted, the awards are preferential to those in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields. Applicants must also be:
- Of Hispanic heritage
- Enrolled full time in a 4-year institution
- Hold at least a 3.0 GPA for high school, 2.5 GPA for college
- Be a US citizen, legal resident, DACA or eligible non-citizen
Who is Qualified?
Since the fund is geared towards helping students achieve their higher education, they must be in a position to be pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree.
You can apply for HSF if you are one of the following:
- High school senior
- Early graduate/GED Recipient
- Undergraduate and graduate students — primary or secondary degrees
What’s the Award Amount?
The award amount is merit-based according to academic excellence. The awards range from $500 to $5,000 and are decided by assessing an applicant’s overall GPA, test scores and well-roundedness along with their goals.
When to Apply?
The scholarship application opens on January 1 with a deadline of February 15. Finalists are chosen between March and April, with the selection made in May. Awards are distributed from October to December.
Tips to Win
As with all scholarships, there are ways to set yourself ahead of the curve and well-position an applicant to win the award amount. Here’s a look at some useful tips.
1. Be Proactive:
Sign up ASAP and fill out an application even if it’s not open yet.
2. Challenging Coursework:
Take honors and AP courses to show the challenging academic environment and focus on getting good grades.
3. Be a Leader:
Choose extracurricular activities, join groups and lead in aspects that relate to your intended major.
Build a close relationship with a teacher, professor or employer and have them write a strong letter of recommendation that really highlights your differentiating skills.
Be sure to double check your application, have someone else you trust look over it and also be honest in everything you write.
Checklist to Apply
When applying for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, be sure to have the following items prepared. It’s useful to prepare these well in advance of any deadlines so that missing an item cannot disqualify you from being awarded. Items include:
- Complete FAFSA
- A copy of SAR report
- Verified enrollment
- High school and college transcripts
- Letter of recommendation
- Financial aid letter from financial aid office at your school
Other Hispanic Scholarship Options
HSF is not the only option for students of Hispanic descent. There are many scholarships available that are dedicated to Hispanic women, men and veterans.
Here’s a look at a few of them:
For Brazilian women who are pursuing an associate degree at University of the People, the Botari Women’s Scholarship Fund covers up to 10 course assessment fees. At UoPeople, it is tuition-free, so the only costs associated with earning one’s degree comes from a one-time $60 application fee plus ($100 for undergrad or $200 for graduate) per course assessment fees. However, for women who are awarded this scholarship, 10 course assessment fees will be fully covered.
Awarded to Latina students, this foundation offers 30-40 students merit-based scholarships for up to $1,500 to help pay for their college. The winners are selected based on the following criteria:
- They’ve shown their dedication to establishing equality for Chicana and Latina women
- They have demonstrated leadership experience
- They showcase their goals clearly and have overcome personal challenges
- They boast strong academic achievement
- They can participate in the annual Leadership Institute
The AMS Minority Scholarship is awarded to students who have been underrepresented in sciences. This includes Hispanic, Black/African American and Native American students. The $6,000 award is distributed equally in two years during one’s Freshman and Sophomore year of school. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. They must also be pursuing degrees in atmospheric or related oceanic and hydrologic sciences.
Like University of the People, these scholarship funders believe that one’s education should never be halted because of financial ability. Although scholarships are competitive by nature, the fact that students are eligible because of their heritage shows that diversity in education is important and a main focus of many. If you’re unsure of any scholarship, your college of choice will be happy to answer any questions or concerns as they are well-prepared with financial aid departments.