Scholarships can be difficult to find, particularly for Asian Pacific Islander students that don’t know where to start looking. Asian Pacific Islander students come from wide-ranging backgrounds and have varying interests, all of which can play a role in determining which scholarships they’re eligible for. Interestingly, many API students are concentrated in a small percentage of schools. By widening the range of institutions, they look at and the scholarships available, students could find an affordable way to earn a college degree. This guide will help show Asian/Pacific Islander students where they should look to receive additional financial aid, as well as support in the event of discrimination.
Asian Pacific Islander students have a variety of financial aid opportunities available, but these opportunities could depend on what and where students study. Here are some quick facts about API students, their college choices and financial aid.
|Nearly half of all Asian Pacific Islander students study in California, New York and Texas. (Source)||As a group, Asian Pacific Islanders study social sciences/humanities more than the national average and are more likely to earn a degree in that field than engineering, computer science and math. (Source)||In 2000, two-thirds of API students studied in eight states at only 200 institutions – less than five percent of Title IV schools. (Source)|
With the right strategy and approach, finding and securing scholarships becomes much easier. Expert Doug Julian advises students to make sure they meet the requirements for each scholarship. "If you are ineleligble, you'll lose a lot of time and energy in your application process for a scholarship you might not get." Explore available scholarships below and see if you are able to apply.
First-generation college students from low-income families are eligible for this scholarship. Also, this is available to anyone that is representative of the diverse API community.
Available for Asian/Pacific Islander students below the poverty level, this scholarship is available to students that are the first in their family to attend college.
This scholarship is available to US minorities that maintained a 3.3 GPA throughout high school. It’s available to 300 students each year.
Available to students of all ethnic backgrounds, the JACL offers over 30 scholarships, some of which are specific to areas of study. Applicants must be members of the JACL.
A balanced man exemplifies strength in academics, athletics and extracurriculars. This is awarded to 6 incoming male freshmen at the University of Washington.
To try and increase male interest in a largely female field, this scholarship is given to men that are currently enrolled in a nursing program.
Available to men in the Puget Sound area, this scholarship is for gay men of color who are active in their local communities.
As the name insinuates, this scholarship is available only to Asian/Pacific Islander students who demonstrate leadership and show entrepreneurial achievement.
Available to all Asian and Pacific Islander students live/have lived in Fresno County, this award goes to students that show all-around excellence.
This scholarship is available to women who identify as lesbian, bisexual and/or trans. Students must also reside in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon or Washington.
In partnership with Facebook, this scholarship is available to current junior or senior high school Asian American students who are pursuing a degree in journalism, communications or digital media.
To help Filipinos break into a field they are largely underrepresented in, this fund provides a one-time scholarship to any Filipino students studying psychology.
This one-time scholarship is available to Asian students that are studying in a social science field, particularly those that pertain to helping communities with social/economic need.
The NAPABA awards this scholarship to Asian/Pacific Islander students who are studying toward a degree in law and have demonstrated leadership in their community.
Asian/Pacific Islander students interested in natural sciences (such as agriculture, geology or environmental science) are welcome to apply. They must be studying toward a 2 or 4-year degree in a relevant field.
Spread out over 4 years, this scholarship is designed for students of Filipino heritage that currently live in California. Students must also be studying toward a degree in engineering.
Worth $12,500 a year up to 5 years, the NACME scholarship is for all minorities who are interested in engineering. Students must have completed at least one year of engineering prior to applying.
Minority graduate students at one of 6 designated schools can apply for this scholarship. They must also be interested in copywriting or art design, as well as show creativity and financial need.
Minority students pursuing a master’s in library science are eligible for this scholarship. They also must have already completed 12 credits of their program.
To increase the diversity in the advertising, marketing and public relations, the Lagrant Foundation offers this scholarship to minorities that are studying toward a master’s degree in one of those fields.
Most students know that scholarships are an excellent way to reduce the cost of tuition, but there are other ways as well. Along with scholarships, Asian/Pacific Islander students should pay attention to grants.
Grants are a type of financial aid that anyone can be eligible for. They’re based solely off financial need, and common grants – like the Pell grant - can go toward any college expense. Unlike loans, students don’t have to repay grants.
This private grant is offered to Asian/Pacific Islander students who have secured an internship for the upcoming summer. The internship must be with a print or online media.
To be eligible for this grant, students must have at least one Asian grandparent. Students with Korean ancestry are preferred.
Residents of Minnesota who are also minorities are eligible for this grant. It can be used an any college in the state, and winners must volunteer to tutor younger students.
Awarded to Wisconsin residents who are college undergraduates, this grant is only available to students from Laos, Cambodia or Vietnam.
Beyond scholarships and grants, Asian/Pacific Islander students can find extra financial support through fellowships. Fellowships are like internships since students will work in a specific field while earning money for school. These usually last a few months and can be an excellent way to gain experience while financing a college education.
The ASA has supported a variety of minority groups in the past, and all students who get this fellowship are pursuing a future career in sociology. This is a research fellowship, and the winner gets to choose their field of study.
News-driven Asian/Pacific Islander students can get this fellowship in the Tri-State area. It pays $14 an hour, 40 hours a week (plus overtime) and includes a $2,000 housing stipend for students who live away from the area.
Designed for current graduate students who are planning on earning a Ph.D., this fellowship is available to any minority who are likely going to become educators. Minorities from any field of research are welcome to apply.
Designed for Japanese American students who are pursuing their doctoral degree, this fellowship funds research in Japan. The research can be done in any field related to the humanities or social sciences.
Asian/Pacific Islanders are often assumed to be “taking over” colleges. Because of this, it isn’t uncommon for Asian/Pacific Islander students to face discrimination in college applications, even at esteemed institutions like Harvard. Expert Doug Julian encourages students to "take control of your identity and find the schools that will support you and your needs." Here are some resources students can use to help ensure they get a treated fairly in college.
Many college campuses – particularly those in states with higher AAPI populations, like California – have initiatives to help students avoid discrimination. The California State University system has an initiative like this with the goal of promoting equity Asian/Pacific Islander students.
Some colleges will have Asian/Pacific Islander students produce guides for future students. These guides often have excellent resources specific to that university.
These can be found both on and off school campuses. On-campus AAAs will be comprised of other Asian American students, like UC Davis’ community.
Universities provide counseling for students, and they can safely bring up any issues of discrimination this way. Aside from online resources like California State University Monterey Bay provides, Asian/Pacific Islander students can go in-person. This resource can potentially lead to solving the discriminatory problem.
The Center for Equal Opportunity is an organization that works for minorities who face discrimination. They have conducted research on Affirmative Action over the years and are working to help prevent discrimination against Asian/Pacific Islander students.
Students can find local wellness centers to find support. Organizations like the Asian/Pacific Islander Wellness Center and the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations connect students with other Asian/Pacific Islanders and other minorities. Centers like these can often give mental and emotional support, as well as some medicinal and health support. Other organizations and initiatives also exist for students to contact, such as the Asian American Center on Disparities Research.
While Asian/Pacific Islander students have plenty of scholarship opportunities, it doesn’t hurt to see what other financial aid options are out there. "Go for quantity," expert Doug Julian advises, "Many scholarships are getting cut in size, so students should apply for as many scholarships as possible." Here are some other popular ways to save money on college.