Financial Aid for Minority Students

Minority groups have increased their undergraduate and graduate college enrollment rates since 1976, but teaching staff don’t represent minorities as well as student populations do. For this reason, the National Education Association has made it a priority to recruit more teachers from minority groups, making minority education scholarships readily available from higher education institutions and funding organizations. Most of these scholarships are for U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens, but undocumented students can also find financial support to pursue teaching degrees at many American institutions.

Scholarships for African-American Teaching Students


Agnes Jones Jackson Scholarship $2,000

U.S. citizens with National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) membership who have not reached age 25 by the application deadline may apply. They must have been accepted to an accredited college and demonstrate financial need, according to the federal poverty guidelines. Graduating high school seniors or currently enrolled undergraduate students must have earned at least a 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale. View Scholarship

Anthony S. Fountain and Alissa Fountain-Burse Scholarship $3,000

Students from any state may apply, but the foundation gives preference to applicants from the following schools: Winston-Salem State University, South Carolina State University, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, University of South Carolina, University of Pittsburgh, and North Carolina AT&T University. View Scholarship

Beyond the Burroughs National Scholarship Up to $20,000

This scholarship requires applicants to have been accepted to a four-year university, hold a GPA of 2.5 or higher, and participate in an extracurricular activity or job. They must come from a low-income household. View Scholarship

TMCF/McDonald’s True to the HBCU Scholarship $10,000

Undergraduate or graduate students currently enrolled at a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) may apply. Applicants must hold a GPA of at least 3.0 and demonstrate leadership in their campus community. They must also write two 500-word essays. View Scholarship

TMCF/Walmart Foundation First Generation Scholarship $6,200

High School seniors accepted to an HBCU may apply if they are the first in their family to attend college. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 and demonstrate leadership ability. View Scholarship

Professional Organizations for African-American Students

  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund The Thurgood Marshall College Fund creates education opportunities for African Americans through scholarships, research, and capacity-building. The organization also connect employers with students for job and internship opportunities. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund advocates for HBCUs and Predominantly Black Institutions.
  • United Negro College Fund As the nation’s leading minority education organization, the United Negro College Fund provides minority education scholarships, financial aid assistance, and career planning for students and their parents. The fund also works with lawmakers to expand educational opportunities for African Americans.
  • National Alliance of Black School Educators Founded in 1970, the National Alliance of Black School Educators strives to improve education for African-American youth. In addition to research and policy advocacy, the organization provides professional development opportunities and employment assistance. It also publishes the Journal of the Alliance of Black School Educators.

Scholarships for Hispanic and Latino Teaching Students


Hispanic Scholarship Fund $500-$5,000

Students of Hispanic heritage may apply if they are U.S. citizens, permanent legal residents, immigrants under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), or eligible non-citizens. Applicants who have been accepted into an accredited college or university must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in high school. Applicants already attending college need a GPA of 2.5 or higher. View Scholarship

Hispanic Heritage Foundation Youth Awards $2,000 to $15,000

High school seniors of Hispanic heritage with at least a 3.0 GPA may apply for this scholarship, if they plan to enroll at an accredited college or university. Applicants must qualify as a U.S. citizen, permanent legal resident, or DACA resident. View Scholarship

Cafe Bustelo El Cafe Del Futuro Scholarship $5,000

Full-time undergraduate or graduate students of Latino descent may apply if currently enrolled at a Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) institution. Applicants must compose and submit an 800-word essay about their Latino heritage and educational plans. View Scholarship

Kia Motors America, Inc. $3,400

Full-time undergraduate or graduate students of Latino descent may apply if currently enrolled at an HACU institution within the United States or Puerto Rico. Students need a 3.0 GPA or higher to qualify. View Scholarship

Big Red Avance Scholarship $1,000

Full-time undergraduate or graduate students of Latino descent may apply if currently enrolled at an HACU institution within the United States or Puerto Rico. Students need a 3.0 GPA or higher to qualify. Only U.S. citizens may apply. View Scholarship

Professional Organizations for Hispanic and Latino Students

  • Hispanic Heritage Foundation The Hispanic Heritage Foundation helps Latino leaders find their place in the classroom, community, and workforce. The foundation’s leadership and development program includes 10 potential career tracks, including education. Program graduates enjoy internship and career placement opportunities, and may apply for one of 31 scholarships through their Haz La U program.
  • Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities represents more than 470 colleges and universities in the United States, Puerto Rico, Latin America and Spain. In addition to providing scholarships, the association sponsors career development, networking, and student programs.
  • United States Hispanic Leadership Institute The United States Hispanic Leadership Institute empowers the Latino community by promoting education, leadership development, unity, and non-partisan civic participation. The organization offers scholarships, internships, and a student leadership series focused on creating a culture of education for all Latino families.

Scholarships for Native-American Teaching Students


The Native American Scholarship $5,000

Enrolled tribal members who plan to work with a tribe or nation in the fields of education or social services may apply if they are already accepted or enrolled in an accredited undergraduate program. Applicants must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0. The scholarship committee favors those entering their junior year who demonstrate financial need. View Scholarship

TransCanada Indigenous Legacy Scholarship $5,000

Native-American, First-Nation Metis or Inuit students may apply for this scholarship if they live in a community where TransCanada conducts business. Students must be enrolled in an accredited post-secondary institution in the United States or Canada. View Scholarship

DAR American Indian Scholarship $4,000

Native-American students with a minimum GPA of 3.25 who demonstrate financial need may apply. The scholarship committee gives preference to undergraduate applicants, but graduate students may also apply. View Scholarship

Emilie Hesemeyer Memorial Scholarship $1,500

American Indians and Alaska Natives who are already enrolled in an accredited college may apply. The selection committee gives preference to applicants pursuing a degree in education. View Scholarship

AISES Burlington North Santa Fe Foundation Scholarship $2,500

Native Americans who live in one of the states served by the Burlington North Santa Fe railroads may apply. Students must earn at least a 3.0 GPA to apply and maintain that GPA to continue receiving funding. Applicants must have been accepted to an accredited college or university. View Scholarship

Professional Organizations for Native-American Students

  • American Indian College Fund The American Indian College Fund awards more than 4,000 scholarships each year, with a goal to double its awards in the next five years. The fund’s website provides resources for students preparing for college and graduate school. It also helps students find doctorate scholarships for minorities in education.
  • Association on American Indian Affairs Founded in 1922, the Association on American Indian Affairs focuses on three main initiatives: protecting sovereignty, preserving culture, and educating youth. The association provides scholarships to both undergraduate and graduate students to better equip future leaders within American-Indian communities.
  • American Indian Education Fund This fund offers scholarships, grants, and college-readiness camps, with a goal to end the cycle of poverty among American Indians. The website features a helpful document entitled “Tools for Success,” which includes a scholarship directory and guidelines for getting into college.

Scholarships for Asian and Pacific Islander Teaching Students


AT&T Scholarship $2,500

Asian and Pacific Islanders accepted to an accredited college or university may apply. This scholarship focuses on students entering their first year of college with a high school GPA of at least 2.7. The selection committee gives preference to those who demonstrate need or are the first of their family to go to college. View Scholarship

Coca-Cola Scholarship $2,500

Asian and Pacific Islanders accepted to an accredited college or university may apply. This scholarship focuses on students entering their first year of college with a high school GPA of at least 2.7. This scholarship specifically targets those who are the first in their immediate family to go to college. View Scholarship

FedEx Scholarship $2,500 per year

Asian and Pacific Islanders accepted to an accredited college or university may apply. This scholarship focuses on students entering their first year of college with a high school GPA of at least 3.0. View Scholarship

Korean American Scholarship Foundation Scholarships $500-$5,000

Korean-American students pursuing their education at a U.S. college or university may apply. The committee makes its decisions based on academic achievement (3.0 GPA minimum), financial need, and community service experience. Applicants must submit an essay. View Scholarship

The Gates Scholarship Varies

This highly competitive scholarship focuses on minority high school seniors with U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. Applicants must have a GPA of at least 3.3 and be in the top 10% of their class. The committee also selects based on leadership and personal relationship skills. View Scholarship

Professional Organizations for Asian and Pacific-Islander Students

  • Asian and Pacific Islander Scholarship Fund As the largest nonprofit scholarship provider for Asian Americans, the Asian and Pacific Islander Scholarship Fund awards financial aid and training resources to help students access, complete, and succeed after their college education. Beyond scholarships, the organization offers resources including the Jumpstart College Tour and scholarship application assistance.
  • Asian Pacific Fund This fund focuses on efforts in the San Francisco Bay Area, offering scholarship and leadership development opportunities to Asian Americans. They raise awareness of issues facing Asian and Pacific-Islander populations in the Bay area. The organization currently funds 10 scholarship programs.
  • Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership This conference strives to equip and empower Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to lead at all levels of public service. It offers a scholarship and internship program, plus a networking and career fair and professional development training.

Scholarships for Undocumented Teaching Students


The Dream.US National Scholarship Up to $29,000

The committee values grades and test scores, but places a heavier emphasis on ability to overcome the challenges DREAMers face. Applicants must demonstrate need, be DACA- or TPS-eligible, and hold a minimum GPA of 2.5. Applicants must have come to the United States before their 16th birthday. View Scholarship

The Dream.US Opportunity Scholarship $80,000

Applicants must possess DACA or TPS immigration status, have a 2.8 GPA, and demonstrate significant financial need. They must live in a “locked-out” state (see URL below), and be projected to graduate from high school in that state. Applicants must submit SAT or ACT scores with the application. View Scholarship

Scholarship America Dream Award $5,000 to $15,000 per year

Applicants must have permanent residency or DACA status, and be in their sophomore year or higher in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. Applicants must hold at least a 3.0 GPA and demonstrate financial need. View Scholarship

Education First Scholarship $3,000 to $5,000

Applicants must be graduating seniors from a participating high school in one of the following cities: Austin, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, or Seattle. Selected applicants must participate in an interview. The selection committee stresses evidence of personal resolve to overcome obstacles over grades. View Scholarship

Golden Door Scholarship $7,500

Golden Door awards scholarships specifically for DACA and undocumented students. Applicants must have earned a high (unspecified) GPA in a challenging curriculum, demonstrate leadership skills, and serve their community. The selection committee prefers applicants who live in a state that requires undocumented students to pay out-of-state tuition. View Scholarship

Professional Organizations for Undocumented Students

  • provides DREAMers (undocumented minors seeking conditional residency) the opportunity to earn a college education and give back to their family, community, and country. In addition to scholarships, the organization provides networking opportunities and in-college support. It also advocates for education equality for all DREAMers.
  • ScholarshipAmerica ScholarshipAmerica designs and delivers student support programs, including scholarship opportunities. One service, The Scholarship Coach, helps students find and apply for scholarships. It also offers a free ebook, called “How to Afford College.”
  • Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities offers resources for DACA/Dreamers beyond just scholarships. Specifically, the site contains directories of organizations, government agencies, and legal resources that benefit DACA/DREAMer students.

Types of Funding Available for Teaching Students


Scholarships provide funding for post-secondary education, and they don’t have to be repaid. Given the vast number and variety of scholarships out there, most motivated students pursuing a college education in the United States can qualify for a few scholarship opportunities.

Most scholarships require their applicants to meet certain academic achievement or leadership standards, but some focus on need, ethnicity, or being the first person in the family to attend college. Minority teacher education scholarships specifically target minority students pursuing teacher education programs.


As with scholarships, students who receive grants to help fund their college education do not need to repay the money. However, while scholarships tend to be funded by individuals and non-governmental organizations, grant funding usually comes from the government. Scholarships also tend to focus on applicants’ accomplishments and drive, while grants look at financial need.


Work-study programs provide part-time jobs for students to fund a portion of their college education. The U.S. government funds nearly all work-study programs with a small percent funded by state governments. Applicants must demonstrate financial need in order to qualify for work study.

Work-study opportunities vary by university, but usually involve an element of civic education and relate to the student’s field of study. Both full-time and part-time students may qualify for work-study. Given the limited funds available to each institution, students should apply to their college financial aid office as early as possible.

Federal Student Loans

Federal Student Loans offer the borrower lower interest rates and more flexible repayment schedules than loans available from banks or other private sources. In 2017, Federal Student Loans carried fixed interest rates between 4.5% and 7%, depending on the type of loan.

These loans fall into two major categories: the Federal Direct Loan Program and the Federal Perkins Loan Program. The Perkins Loan targets students in exceptional financial need. The Direct Loan Program offers direct subsidized student loan options, in which the U.S. government covers interest while recipients are enrolled at least half-time, meaning students don’t need to begin repaying the loan until after graduation. Unsubsidized loans require repayment while recipients are enrolled.

Private Loans

Students may also apply for private student loans from banks, state agencies, their university. Because the U.S. government does not subsidize these loans, recipients must begin repaying them while in school.

Unlike federal student loans, private student loans require students to have an established credit score, and in some cases, a cosigner. Private lenders usually offer the option of either a variable interest rate or fixed interest rate. Variable interest rates may be lower initially, but usually rise as time goes on. Private interest rates typically run about double those of government loans.

Filing the FAFSA

Anyone applying for federal student loans, work-study programs, grants, or need-based scholarships from a college or private funder must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students who depend on their parents will need to complete the FAFSA with a parent, and the application must be completed online, in English. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, but the FAFSA doesn’t ask about parents’ citizenship status.

Deadlines vary by state and type of requested funding, but the federal deadline is June 30. Still, students should aim to submit the FAFSA by March 1.

FAFSA applicants must provide their social security number, alien registration number (for non-citizens), and federal income tax returns. They must also provide bank statements and investment records, if applicable. Dependent students must provide most of the same information from their parents. Students may also find it useful to create a Federal Student Aid ID in order to sign the form electronically.

Students can usually complete and submit the FAFSA as early as Oct. 1 each year. Deadlines vary by state and type of requested funding, but the federal deadline is June 30. Still, students should aim to submit the FAFSA by March 1, to ensure best access to available funding.

Start Your Research Early

Students who begin their search for minority education scholarships early will find plenty of opportunities, especially for applicants who demonstrate significant financial need. Scholarship selection committees prefer students who apply early, with accurate, high-quality applications and essays. Many scholarship application cycles open as early as September of the year preceding fall enrollment. Students should devote the same attention and discipline to the scholarship search and application process as they would to a regular job.

Ensure Eligibility

Prior to starting the application process for a particular scholarship, students should review the eligibility requirements. Beyond basic citizenship and ethnicity requirements, students should find out if the scholarship is restricted to particular universities, or if it mandates standards for academic achievement, field of study, organizational affiliation (if applicable), or economic status. Scholarship committees will not review applications from students who do not meet eligibility requirements.

Apply for Many Scholarships

Students should avoid the temptation to apply for just a few big scholarships. Large scholarships tend to attract plenty of competition, while smaller ones create less competition. Students should start their search with through their university’s financial aid office, to find school-specific opportunities.

Follow Instructions Carefully

Students make have one shot to impress scholarship selection committees: through the application. Applicants must follow instructions carefully to create a winning impression on committee members, and make sure they understand each application question, plus requirements for recommendation letters and other supplemental materials.

Write Compelling Essays

Many scholarships require applicants to submit an essay with their application package. Essay writers should clearly understand the topic, tone, and objective required by the prompt. Students should then make an outline, and write as many drafts as necessary to create a polished final essay. Prior to submitting, applicants should ask a trusted teacher or accomplished writer to review the copy for final suggestions.

Additional Scholarship Resources for Teaching Students

  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid FAFSA serves as the first step for any student searching for any kind of federal student aid, plus several scholarships. The site offers a school-finder tool students can use to narrow their selection based on location, institutional size, and course of study.
  • Student Aid for Non-U.S. Citizens As part of the Federal Student Aid division of the U.S. Department of Education, this page focuses specifically on helping non-U.S. citizens get the financial aid they need to attend college. Non-U.S. citizen students should review the helpful questions and answers on this page prior to completing the FAFSA.
  • College Scholarships for Teachers This website allows students to search for a variety of financial aid options, breaking them down according to gender and ethnicity.
  • TEACH The website provides information for students interested teaching as a career. The site introduces students to the profession of teaching, and offers networking opportunities, plus directories for teacher education programs and scholarship resources for education majors.