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Guide to Scholarships for Hispanic Students

7 Latino and Hispanic Scholarships
Jacqueline DeMarco
Jacqueline DeMarcoUpdated January 10, 2023
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Paying for a college education can be a major financial burden. Which is why some students may want to apply for scholarships. These can help alleviate some of the financial strain associated with school fees, tuition, and supplies. And unlike student loans, a scholarship doesn’t have to be repaid.Applying for scholarships is a great way to get free money for school, but these options can be competitive. Narrowing your focus down to more niche scholarships can help you find scholarships that are a good fit. For example, Latino and Hispanic students may want to look at scholarships offered just for them. Hispanic students make up more than 20% of all U.S. college and university students. About 60% of them will need financial aid in order to pursue their degrees. Here, you’ll learn more about Hispanic and Latino scholarships, including:
  • What are Hispanic scholarships?
  • What are some examples of Latino and Hispanic scholarships?
  • How do you apply for Hispanic scholarships?
  • How do you qualify for Hispanic scholarships?

What Are Hispanic Scholarships?

Hispanic scholarships are simply scholarships designed to help Hispanic students pay for their college education. Many scholarships are geared to support different minority groups, making it easier for students in those groups to afford the cost of a higher education. Hispanic or Latino scholarships generally require the recipients to be of Hispanic or Latino heritage. It’s fairly common for the applications to require essay or video submissions. Of course, Latino and Hispanic students also have the option to apply for more generic scholarships or ones based on other unique qualifications. For example, there are many scholarship opportunities for female scholars that female Hispanic students can apply for. Here are some examples of the criteria used to determine scholarship awards:.
  • Having financial need
  • Proving academic merit
  • Living in a specific state
  • Illustrating a commitment to community service
  • Being a military member
  • Belonging to a specific gender or having a specific sexual orientation
  • Having a unique hobby or skill.
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7 Hispanic Scholarships

For a better understanding of how scholarships for Latinos and Hispanics work, take a closer look at some real-life examples of Hispanic scholarships — including how to qualify for them and what their award amounts are.

1. Hispanic Empowerment No-Essay Scholarship

The Hispanic Empowerment No-Essay Scholarship awards $750 to high school seniors or current undergraduate students. The award can help pay for tuition or make paying off student loans easier. Applicants don’t have to write an essay to qualify, making this relatively simple to apply.

2. Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards

Award amounts for the Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards program vary and can go towards paying for a college education or to help fund a community service effort that focuses on a social issue. Applicants must be of Hispanic heritage, be seniors in high school who are enrolled at an accredited higher education institution during a qualifying term, and have to earn an unweighted GPA of at least 3.0. Award recipients can receive up to a $4,000 educational grant.Recommended: Reasons Students Drop out of College

3. Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Hispanic Scholarship Fund recipients can qualify for awards that range from $500 to $5,000. To qualify, they must be of Hispanic heritage and have at least a 3.0 GPA. They also have to have plans to be enrolled full-time in a U.S. based and accredited, public or not-for-profit, four-year university or graduate school during the applicable academic year. 

4. Hispanic Scholarship Consortium

The Hispanic Scholarship Consortium offers scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 to students through a handful of different awards. Requirements for each scholarship can vary, but typically applicants must be of Hispanic or Latino Heritage and have a GPA of 2.5 or higher to qualify. They must also live in Texas, but U.S. citizenship is not required. 

5. McDonald's HACER National Scholarship

As many as 30 students from around the country can win the McDonald's HACER National Scholarship. This can award as much as $100,000 in scholarships to each individual. Academic merit, financial need, community involvement, and a personal statement are all taken into account. Recommended: What Is Need-Based Financial Aid? 

6. The NAVSEA Scholars Program

The NAVSEA Scholarship is designed to help support incoming college freshmen who plan to pursue degrees in STEM. To potentially win this $10,000 scholarship, applicants must be accepted for enrollment as a full-time student at a Hispanic-serving Institution. They also have to maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA and demonstrate financial need.

7. Papi & Mamita Memorial Scholarship

Hispanic or Latinx first-generation college students can apply for the Papi & Mamita Memorial Scholarship when pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees. To win this $500 award, applicants have to submit an essay that shares information about themselves and how they hope to benefit the world by completing their college degree. Recommended: Refinancing Student Loans With a Low Income

Applying for College Scholarships

Interested in applying for Hispanic scholarships? Check out these tips to help make the process easier and more effective. 
  • Think small. Many applicants go after larger scholarships, so it can be less competitive to apply for smaller ones that can help cover the costs of things like textbooks and parking.
  • Be honest. Getting caught in a lie about grades or achievements can be an immediate disqualifier. 
  • Pay attention to details. Small details about essay word counts and letters of recommendations can make or break an application. Double-check all requirements before applying for any scholarships. 
  • Proceed with caution. Unfortunately, there are fraudulent scholarship offers, so it’s important to only apply for legitimate scholarships. Students can ask their school counselors and/or financial aid offices for help to find legitimate gift aid opportunities. 
  • Start early. Rushing a scholarship application won’t help applicants stand out. Missing a deadline is an automatic disqualifier so student applicants can benefit from turning in their applications early. 
  • Rinse and repeat. Many students feel a push to apply for scholarships during their senior year of high school. Then, once they’re busy with college, they may forget about scholarship opportunities. It can be helpful to apply for scholarships every year a student is enrolled in college. Completing the FAFSA is a great place to start each year. 
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The Takeaway

There are plenty of great scholarships for Hispanic students available. Students who are looking to spend less money on college can apply for these scholarships to help lessen their financial load. This, in turn, can make it easier for them to focus on their studies and can help them avoid taking on student loan debt. It’s also worth looking into other scholarship opportunities that aren’t based on heritage or ethnicity. Students can apply for as many scholarships and grants as they’d like after all. 

3 Student Loan Tips

  1. Once the pandemic-related pause on federal student loan payments ends, going back to making payments may be hard on budgets. One solution is to refinance to a lower interest rate, longer loan term, or both, depending on your situation. (The tradeoff is that you’ll be forfeiting federal benefits such as repayment programs.) Find and compare your student loan refinance options.
  2. Paying extra each month on your student loan can reduce the interest you pay and so lower your total loan cost over time. (The law prohibits prepayment penalties on federal or private student loans.
  3. If you teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in a low-income school, you may be eligible for federal student loan forgiveness.

Frequently Asked Questions

How competitive is the Hispanic Scholarship Fund for students?
How much money can the Hispanic Scholarship Fund give?
How hard is it to be a National Hispanic Scholar?
Photo credit: iStock/PeopleImages

About the Author

Jacqueline DeMarco

Jacqueline DeMarco

Jacqueline DeMarco is a personal finance writer and editor based in Southern California. While she spends the bulk of her time writing about complex financial issues, she also tackles a variety of subjects ranging from food to fashion to travel. Her work can be found across dozens of publications such as Credit Karma, LendingTree, Northwestern Mutual, The Everygirl, and Apartment Therapy.
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