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Scholarships & Financial Aid for Marginalized Students

Historically and currently marginalized students have some of the greatest needs for financial support in college. This guide offers key answers to financial aid questions and has a big lists of scholarships for all types of future grads.

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WRITTEN BY: Ivy Locke
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REVIEWED BY: Edumed Editing Staff

Last Updated: 05/17/2023

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College Scholarships for Marginalized Students

According to USA Today, students of color drop out of college due to financial troubles more often than white students do. Why? More limited access to resources. This is just one example of how marginalization undermines the educational and occupational goals of students from various social/cultural backgrounds. Below are some of the top scholarship opportunities specifically for marginalized students to help bridge that financial and resource gap.

Scholarships for All Marginalized Students

The Gates Scholarship (TGS)

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

  • Amount: Varieswith an average award amount of $12,785
  • Deadline: Accepts applications fromJuly 15 through September 15

Who is eligible? The TGS is open to marginalized undergraduate students such as African Americans, Asian Pacific Islander Americans, American Indian/Alaska Natives, and Hispanic Americans who are in financial need, have demonstrated leadership skills, and have a minimum GPA of 3.3.

How to apply: All applicants must submit a questionnaire that asks about their employment, academic, and leadership history as well as other personal and financial information. If chosen as a semi-finalist, applicants must complete a more in-depth questionnaire, write an essay, and submit letters of recommendation. Click this link for more information.

Generation Google Scholarship (North America)

Google LLC

  • Amount: $10,000
  • Deadline: mid-May

Who is eligible? Offered to African Americans, Hispanics, women, and others who belong to specific marginalized groups and other underrepresented demographics, applicants for the Generation Google Scholarship program must be enrolled in full-time bachelor’s programs and demonstrate academic excellence.

How to apply: Students must submit information about their family backgrounds and work history and a short essay. Click this link for more details.

National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Program

National Federation of the Blind

  • Amount: $8,000
  • Deadline: March 31

Who is eligible? The NFB offers various scholarships to students who are legally blind in both eyes, live in the U.S., the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico, are at least 18, and plan on enrolling in full-time education in the fall of the application year.

How to apply: To apply, students must complete an online application. Click this link for more information.

NANBPWC Scholarships

NANBPWC Inc.

  • Amount: Varies from $1,500 to $2,500
  • Deadline: March 31

Who is eligible? Offered to disadvantaged Black students, NANBPWC has specific awards for single mothers, students over 35, graduating seniors, and others.

How to apply: Applicants must complete an application and submit essays. Click this link for more information.

Sports Clips Help a Hero Scholarship Program

Veterans of Foreign Wards and Sports Clips Haircuts

  • Amount: Varies up to $5,000
  • Deadline: April 30

Who is eligible? This scholarship is for veterans with a demonstrated financial need who are attending a VA-approved school or program.

How to apply: You must sign up for the Sports Clips Hero portal and submit an application.

Scholarships for Asian & Pacific Islander Students

PG&E Asian Employee Resource Group Scholarship

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E)

  • Amount: Varies from $2,000 to $3,000
  • Deadline: February 25

Who is eligible? Offered to Asians of all majors with a minimum GPA of 3.0, preference for this scholarship is given to those studying information technology., business, engineering, environmental, and energy-related fields.

How to apply: You must register on PG&E’s website, complete a general application, and submit the required documents, references, and other supplemental ERG applications.

Cecilia Moy Yep Scholarship Fund

Asian American Women’s Coalition

  • Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: March 20

Who is eligible? The Asian American Women’s Coalition offers this funding to Asian American high school seniors/women with a minimum GPA of 3.0. who live in Montgomery, Delaware, Philadelphia, Chester, or Bucks counties.

How to apply: You must download, complete, and submit the application.

Endowment for South Asian Students of Indian Descent (ESASID)

Endowment for South Asian Students of Indian Descent (ESASID)

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: September 30

Who is eligible? Offered to medical students in New Jersey or Philadelphia, applicants of this endowment must be of South Asian Indian descent.

How to apply: You must submit a scholarship application form, two reference letters, an official letter verifying present enrollment in medical school, and an essay. Click this link for more information.

The Groundbreaker Scholarship

Against The Grain (ATG) Productions

  • Amount: $1,500
  • Deadline: May 31

Who is eligible? Offered to U.S. citizens who are at least 25% Asian or another Pacific Islander, applicants for this Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship must have a minimum 3.5 GPA and demonstrate leadership skills.

How to apply: You must submit an application form, essay, resume, official transcript, personal statement, proof of citizenship, a college acceptance letter, and a video.

Portland Chinese Scholarship Foundation

The Wong Family Association Scholarship

  • Amount: Varies from $500 to $3,000
  • Deadline: May 19

Who is eligible? Offered to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are at least 50% Chinese and have attended an Oregon high school, applicants to this scholarship must be enrolled in an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 2.75.

How to apply: You must submit an application form and various documents to verify eligibility. Click this link for information.

Asian & Pacific Islander Organizations to Check Out

For more information about scholarships and college funding for Asian and Pacific Islander students, visit EduMed’s updated guide.

Scholarships for Black Students

Ron Brown Scholar Program

Ron Brown.org/Various donors

  • Amount: $40,000 ($10,000 per year)
  • Deadline: January 9

Who is eligible? The Ron Brown Scholar Program is for African American high school seniors from low-income homes.

How to apply: You must submit an application, which includes sections to be completed by your parents and a school counselor.

Congressional Black Caucus Spouses Education Scholarships

Ally Financial

  • Amount: Varies from $2,500 to $20,000
  • Deadline: April 28

Who is eligible? Ally Financial funds these scholarships for scholastically gifted and highly driven Black/African American students attending an undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral program in various fields as full-time students.

How to apply: There is a wide array of Congressional Black Caucus Spouses scholarships available. You must submit applications for the ones you’re most interested in. Click the link for more information.

The Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship Program

The Signore Family

  • Amount: $10,000
  • Deadline: January 13

Who is eligible? This scholarship is for HBCU seniors who are good leaders, demonstrate a commitment to community service, have unmet financial need, and have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.

How to apply: You must submit an application and other documentation to verify eligibility. Click this link for more information.

Advocates for African Americans Carolinas Scholarship

Advocates for African Americans, a Duke Energy employee resource group in Charlotte

  • Amount: $2,000
  • Deadline: March 3

Who is eligible? Offered to African American students from the Carolinas, anyone applying to this scholarship must be majoring in math, engineering, computer science, science, finance, accounting, finance, or business administration.

How to apply: You must complete an online application and provide other pertinent information. Click the link for more details.

McDonald’s Black and Positively Golden Scholarship

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and McDonald’s

  • Amount: Up to $15,000 ($7,500 per semester)
  • Deadline: March 27

Who is eligible? This McDonald’s scholarship is available to full-time undergraduate students attending HBCUs who have a cumulative GPA of 2.7 or higher and who demonstrate financial need and leadership skills.

How to apply: You must submit an application and a short video answering specific questions. Click the link for more information.

Black Student Organizations to Check Out

  1. United Negro College Fund
  2. National Urban League
  3. NAACP

Historically Black Colleges & Universities with Scholarships

Check out EduMed’s updated guide to scholarships and college funding for Black students for more detailed information.

Scholarships for Hispanic & Latino Students

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Scholarships

The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)

  • Amount: Various
  • Deadline: April 9

Who is eligible? These scholarships are offered to those with Hispanic/Latino heritage seeking a STEM degree and who are members of SHPE and have a minimum GPA of 2.5.

How to apply: You must register for the SHPE website and complete the online application. Find general information and links here.

NBCUniversal Media Scholarship

NBC Universal

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: October 18

Who is eligible? NBC offers this scholarship to full-time Latino/college sophomores/juniors enrolled in accredited programs with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and who are pursuing careers in the entertainment industry.

How to apply: Students must submit an online application and other related documentation. Click this link for more information.

Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund

the Florida Department of Education

  • Amount: $2,000
  • Deadline: May 15

Who is eligible? This grant is available to Hispanic students seeking a scholarship to attend a Florida-based public or eligible private college full-time and who have a demonstrated financial need.

How to apply: You must submit an error-free Florida Financial Aid Application and all required documentation.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholarship

Various partners

  • Amount: Varies from $500 to $5,000
  • Deadline: February 15

Who is eligible? This scholarship is for Hispanic full-time students with a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale for high school students and a minimum of 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale for college/graduate students.

How to apply: Applicants must register for the HSF website and complete the online application.

Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Scholarships

The Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

  • Amount: Up to $1,000
  • Deadline: April 30

Who is eligible? Offered to full-time students with at least one parent of Hispanic descent and at least one Hispanic grandparent, applicants for these scholarships must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0.

How to apply: You must submit an application, a short essay, and all required documentation.

Hispanic & Latino Student Organizations to Check Out

  1. Hispanic Alliance for Latino Enhancement
  2. The Hispanic Heritage Foundation
  3. LatinoLEAD

Check out EduMed’s updated guide to scholarships and college funding for Hispanic and Latino students.

Scholarships for Indigenous Students

SAA Native American Scholarship

Society for American Archeology

  • Amount: Varies up to $10,000
  • Deadline: January 31

Who is eligible? Offered to Natives from the Americas, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands, SAA Native American Scholarship applicants must be pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in archaeology.

How to apply: Students must submit an application, two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, an itemized budget, and documentation to prove their indigenous status. Click this link for more information.

Native American Scholarships

The International Order of The King’s Daughters and Sons

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: March 1

Who is eligible? This scholarship is for American Indian students with Tribal Registration numbers.

How to apply: You must submit an application form, two letters of recommendation, an official transcript, a personal statement, a current photograph, and a self-addressed, legal-sized stamped envelope. Click this link for more information.

Sealaska Scholarship

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI)

  • Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: March 1

Who is eligible? The Sealaska Scholarship is for Alaska Native students who are shareholders of Sealaska Corporation or a descendant of a shareholder.

How to apply: You must create an account on the Sealaska Mysealaska website and submit an application. Click this link for more information.

Udall Undergraduate Scholarship

The Udall Foundation

  • Amount: Varies up to $7,000
  • Deadline: March 1

Who is eligible? The Udall scholarship is for full-time college sophomores and juniors who are Native American or Alaska Natives and pursuing a career in Native health care, tribal policy, or a related field.

How to apply: You must acquire the application from a Udall representative and submit it with an essay, transcript, and three letters of recommendation and provide additional documents to prove Native status. Click this link for more information.

Paumanauke Native American Indian Scholarship

Paumanauke Native American Festival Inc.

  • Amount: Varies from $500 to $750
  • Deadline: June 1

Who is eligible? This scholarship is offered to full-time, tribally-enrolled Native American Indian students.

How to apply: Download and submit this application as well as letters of recommendation, tribal documentation, a personal biography, community service details, and proof of enrollment.

Indigenous Student Organizations to Check Out

  1. American Indian College Fund
  2. The Native Forward Scholars Fund
  3. American Indian Higher Education Consortium

Get more information about scholarships for indigenous college students at EduMed’s guide.

Scholarships for LGBTQIA Students

Pride Foundation Scholarship

Pride Foundation

  • Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: January 6

Who is eligible? The Pride Foundation Scholarship is forLGBTQ+ and their allies living in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington with demonstrated financial need.

How to apply: Submit an application, three essays, a resume, and an academic transcript. Click this link for more information.

Point Foundation Scholarships – The LGBTQ Scholarship Fund

Point Foundation

  • Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: Varies

Who is eligible? The Point Foundation offers these scholarships to full-time LGBTQ+ students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate studies at an American four-year accredited college or university.

How to apply: You must submit an online application and all requested documentation. Click this link for more information.

Colin Higgins Youth Courage Award

Colin Higgins Foundation and Outfest

  • Amount: $15,000
  • Deadline: March 1

Who is eligible? The Colin Higgins Youth Courage Award is for LGBTQ+ students 25 and under who have overcome discrimination and/or adversities, prompting them to get involved with activism.

How to apply: You must submit a short film to the San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival. Click this link for more information.

Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship

American College of Healthcare Executives

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: March 31

Who is eligible? Offered to racially/ethnically diverse, full-time LGBTQ+ students, Dent Graduate Student Scholarship applicants must be enrolled in an MPH, MHA, MBA in Healthcare Administration or a similar program.

How to apply: Submit a resume, transcript, three letters of recommendation, and an essay. Click this link for more information.

Audria M. Edwards Scholarship Fund

Peacock Productions, Inc.

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: March 31

Who is eligible? This scholarship is for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, Queer, or Intersex students or those with an LGBTQI parent who has lived in the State of Oregon or Skamania, Clark, Cowlitz, or Wahkiakum Counties in the state of Washington.

How to apply: Submit an application form, a one-page essay, two letters of recommendation, and a transcript. Click this link for more information.

LGBTQIA Student Organizations to Check Out

  1. Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network
  2. Gender & Sexuality Action Committee
  3. Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals

Learn more about the LGBTQIA college experience and how the right school can make all the difference.

Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

INCIGHT Scholarship

INCIGHT

  • Amount: $500
  • Deadline: April 15

Who is eligible? The INCIGHT Scholarship is for students with disabilities who have overcome adversity to pursue higher education and residents of Washington, Oregon, or California.

How to apply: You must submit this application, which includes an essay question.

ACB Scholarship Program

The American Council of the Blind (ACB)

  • Amount: Varies from $2,000 to $7,500
  • Deadline: February 14

Who is eligible? This scholarship is for legally blind students who attend school full-time and maintain a 3.0 GPA.

How to apply: Submit proof of legal blindness, transcripts, and proof of college enrollment. Click this link for more information.

Jackson-Stricks Scholarship

National Council of Jewish Women New York

  • Amount: $5,000 and $10,000
  • Deadline: March 25

Who is eligible? Offered to students with physical challenges that affect their mobility, applicants to these Jackson-Stricks Scholarships must be seeking academic study or vocational training to live more independently.

How to apply: Submit an application, a current transcript, documentation to prove their disability, and a short essay. Click this link for more information.

Team Type 1 Foundation Scholarship

The Team Type 1 Foundation

  • Amount: Varies (up to $10,000)
  • Deadline: March 21

Who is eligible? This program is for talented, athletic students with Type 1 diabetes.

How to apply: You must complete this application and submit it online.

Powering Education Scholarship

Alpha One

  • Amount: $2,000
  • Deadline: April 1

Who is eligible? The Powering Education Scholarship is for people with disabilities pursuing post-secondary education.

How to apply: You must submit this application, a short essay, letters of recommendation, and high school transcripts.

Organizations for College Students with Disabilities

  1. American Council of the Blind
  2. National Association of the Deaf
  3. Learning Disabilities Association of America

Find even more scholarships for college students with disabilities on the following EduMed pages:

Scholarships for Undocumented Students

Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund

Davis-Putter.org

  • Amount: Varies (up to$15,000)
  • Deadline: April 1

Who is eligible? Offered to students with a demonstrated financial need regardless of citizenship status.

How to apply: Submit a personal statement, references, and transcripts. Click this link for more information.

The National Scholarship

TheDream.US

  • Amount: Varies from $16,500 to $33,000
  • Deadline: January 31

Who is eligible? The National Scholarship is for high school graduates or graduates of community colleges with or without DACA status who moved to the U.S. before the age of 16.

How to apply: Applicants must submit an application and other relevant documentation. Click this link for more information.

SOS Immigrant Student Scholarship

Students of Salam

  • Amount: $3,000
  • Deadline: April 30

Who is eligible? The SOS Immigrant Student Scholarship is for immigrant students, regardless of citizenship status, who migrated to the U.S. and enrolled in post-secondary education.

How to apply: Submit an application and other required documentation. Click this link for more information.

First in the Family Humanist Scholarship: Freedom from Religion Forward Freethought Scholarship

Black Skeptics Los Angeles/Freedom From Religion Foundation

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: June 23

Who is eligible? This scholarship is for graduating high school seniors of color identifying as a humanist, agnostic, atheist, freethinker, or secular, especially those who are undocumented, foster children, disabled, homeless, and/or from the LGBTQI+ community.

How to apply: You must submit an application, documentation, and an essay. Click this link for more information.

HEEF Scholarship Program

Hispanic Education Endowment Fund

  • Amount: $2,500
  • Deadline: December 31

Who is eligible? This endowment funds first-generation college students of Hispanic backgrounds with strong educational goals who are permanent residents, have Dream Act/ AB 540 status, and live in Orange County, California. Undocumented students are encouraged to apply.

How to apply: Submit an application and all required documentation. Click this link for more information.

Undocumented Student Organizations to Check Out

  1. United We Dream
  2. Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services
  3. American Immigration Council

Find resources and scholarships for undocumented students with EduMed’s updated guide.

Scholarships for Women

Eitel Scholarship

Bold.org

  • Amount: $500
  • Deadline: July 5

Who is eligible? The Eitel Scholarship is for ambitious female students pursuing higher education at a Baptist college and who have a demonstrated financial need.

How to apply: You must create a bold.org profile and fill out an application.

BHW Women in STEM Scholarship

The BHW Group

  • Amount: $3,000
  • Deadline: April 15

Who is eligible? BHW offers this scholarship to undergraduate and graduate-level women pursuing undergraduate or master’s degrees in science, engineering, technology, or mathematics.

How to apply: Complete the online application form and write a short essay.

Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship

The Zonta Foundation for Women

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: August 15

Who is eligible? This scholarship is for undergraduate/graduate-level women students seeking success in business-related programs.

How to apply: You must complete this application form and email it to the address provided.

Business and Professional Women Scholarship/Grant for Education or Equipment

The Business and Professional Women of Southern Ocean County

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: April 30

Who is eligible? This BPWSOC scholarship is for women who are 25 and older, permanent residents of Ocean County, and attending a New Jersey State School, New Jersey Vocational/Trade school or institution outside of the area remotely.

How to apply: Submit an application and find more information through this link.

Ford Emerging Voices Scholarship

The Ford Motor Company Fund and the AWM Foundation

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: May 8

Who is eligible? This AFWM scholarship is for female undergraduate/graduate students with demonstrated academic prowess who can potentially create journalistic content for the Alliance for Women in Media.

How to apply: Submit an application and find more information through this link.

Student Associations & Organizations for Women

  1. Women in STEM
  2. National Women’s Studies Association
  3. American Business Women’s Association

Find resources and scholarships for undocumented students with EduMed’s updated guide.

Marginalized Student Scholarship FAQs

Being a marginalized student can adversely affect your student experience in many ways. Luckily, it doesn’t have to. While it may take a bit more work and preparation, marginalized students can still overcome barriers and eliminate obstacles that may have prevented them from reaching their full potential. Identifying as a marginalized student is more of a starting point to allow you to better understand what is required to improve your chances of enrolling in and graduating from your institution and program of choice. With that in mind, here is a list of six FAQs to help you find the best resources and funding to help you on your college journey.

Are there any resources available to help me with the scholarship application process, such as workshops or guidance on essay writing?

Various resources are available to help you apply for scholarships. The types of resources you need depend on your general level of preparedness. Either way, here are some resources that include admissions prep and more.

  • EdX – Offers various free courses, such as “How to Write an Essay” with optional paid upgrades.
  • Path to College – Offers various free resources such as a “College Prep” workshop that teaches students the best ways to pay for college and more.
  • Hello College – Offers live web seminars and on-demand recordings

What should I do if I need letters of recommendation for scholarship applications?

If you need letters of recommendation, you should first reach out to your academic or professional network. To improve your chances, get letters from the most esteemed members of your network. Examples include:

  • Teachers/professors
  • Coaches
  • Managers/business owners
  • Religious leaders
  • Community leaders/activists
  • Former classmates (especially those who have begun their careers)
  • Long-term neighbors with reputable positions

Are there any tips or strategies that I can use to increase my chances of being awarded a scholarship?

Boost your chances of being awarded a scholarship by:

  • Starting early. Gather all the materials required to complete your application as soon as possible.
  • Requesting/collecting letters of recommendation as soon as possible. Don’t wait to ask for these; people are busy.
  • Following all instructions on the application thoroughly.
  • Going after both big and small scholarships.
  • Getting professional help with your essay or taking a workshop to polish your writing skills.
  • Focusing on what makes you unique and your accomplishments when writing essays.

Can I get assistance filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form or other financial aid applications?

If you need help filling out your FAFSA application, your options include:

  • Visiting the financial aid office at your school and asking for assistance.
  • Checking the ‘Help Text’ on the FAFSA website. Access it by clicking on the small question marks near each question to get a brief explanation.
  • Contacting the Federal Student Aid Information Center. You can chat, email, or call in for more personalized, in-depth assistance.

What are the terms and conditions for accepting a scholarship, such as maintaining a certain GPA or participating in certain activities?

The terms and conditions for accepting a scholarship vary based on which scholarships you apply for. For instance, you may need to volunteer or attend meetings/seminars, maintain a minimum GPA, remain a full-time student in a specific program, use the funds for specified expenses (e.g., housing, food, transportation, etc.), remain in communication with the board or certain representatives, actively work to further specific causes and initiatives, etc.

Are there any other financial aid options available to me that I should be aware of?

In addition to scholarships, there are various other ways to finance your education. Some of the most prominent are federal work study where you earn money by working part-time on campus, grants, college funds through your school, and loans that must be repaid.