Shannon L.
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Scholarships for Asian Americans in the United States are crucial in breaking down financial barriers to education and empowering students of Asian descent in their pursuit of higher education. These scholarships come in various forms, offering support based on criteria such as academic excellence, financial need, chosen field of study, and community contributions. They not only ease the financial burden of tuition and expenses but also recognize and celebrate the diverse talents and achievements within the Asian American student community. In this landscape of educational opportunities, a wide array of scholarship programs and organizations is dedicated to fostering the academic and personal growth of Asian American students. According to a report by the Asian American and Pacific Islander Research Coalition (ARC), 70% of AAPI students reported that financial troubles restricted them. This financial aid guide provides a list of Asian American Scholarships and other resources.

Graduate School Scholarships

Table Of Contents

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Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online Masters Degrees

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Financial Challenges for Asian American Students

The pursuit of higher education for Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students is frequently accompanied by distinct financial obstacles. Financial barriers are not homogeneous across this diverse group, but they can stem from socioeconomic factors, immigration status, and sometimes a lack of access to financial aid information. Contrary to the widespread belief that Asian Americans have a universally high socioeconomic status, they actually face financial difficulties that hinder their capacity to afford higher education.
According to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC)[12], in 2018, the poverty rate among Asian Americans was 10.1%, while among white, non-Hispanic Americans, it was 8.1%. In 2020, Asian Americans experienced an unemployment rate of 3.3%, indicating a lower figure than the national average.

Typical Requirement for Asian American Scholarships

Requirements for scholarships available to Asian American students vary significantly depending on the specific scholarship program and its sponsoring organization. However, there are some standard criteria and requirements that applicants may encounter when applying for scholarships for Asian American students. These may include:

1. Asian American Descent
Most scholarships for Asian American students require applicants to be of Asian descent, which may include but is not limited to individuals of East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, or Pacific Islander heritage.

2. U.S. Citizenship or Legal Residency
Some scholarships may require applicants to be U.S. citizens or legal residents, while others may be open to undocumented students or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.

3. Academic Achievement
Many scholarships are based on academic merit, including a minimum GPA requirement, standardized test scores (e.g., SAT or ACT, GRE), or a record of academic excellence.

4. Field of Study
Some scholarships are specific to certain fields of study or majors. For example, a scholarship may be designated for students pursuing STEM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) degrees.

5. Financial Need 
Need-based scholarships may require applicants to demonstrate financial need by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or other financial aid forms to apply to FAFSA for Graduate School.

6. Community Involvement
Many scholarship programs value community engagement and may require applicants to provide evidence of their involvement in extracurricular activities, volunteer work, or leadership roles.

7. Recommendation Letters
Applicants may be asked to provide letters of recommendation from teachers, mentors, or community leaders who can speak to their character and abilities.

8. Personal Statements or Essays
Scholarship applications often include essay prompts or personal statements that allow applicants to showcase their goals, achievements, and aspirations.

9. Résumé
Applicants must submit a Résumé detailing their educational and extracurricular history, work experience, and relevant achievements.

10. Interviews
Some Graduate School Scholarships programs may conduct interviews as part of their selection process to get to know applicants better and assess their suitability for the scholarship.

11. Specific Eligibility Requirements
Specific scholarships may have unique eligibility criteria. For instance, some scholarships may be dedicated to students from specific Asian countries, regions, or ethnic backgrounds.

It is essential to thoroughly research the requirements of each scholarship program and carefully follow their application instructions. Applicants should also pay attention to deadlines, as they must complete application deadlines to ensure they are considered. Additionally, they should seek multiple scholarships to maximize their chances of receiving financial support for their educational pursuits.

Numerous scholarship opportunities are specifically designed for students of Asian-American descent. The purpose of these scholarships is to assist in this community’s educational and professional endeavors.

The Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI) Scholarship Program

The Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI) Scholarship Program is a partnership between AANAPISIs and their communities. Its purpose is to offer scholarships, enhance institutional capabilities, and mobilize local resources to promote economic development. The program offers scholarships to students from underserved APIA backgrounds, particularly emphasizing those who reside at or below the poverty line or have low socioeconomic status. Scholarship amounts range from one-time $2,500 awards to multi-year $10,000 awards.

The San Diego Chinese Women’s Association Scholarship

This scholarship offers monetary assistance to students pursuing higher education at either four-year universities, two-year community colleges, or vocational programs. University students are typically eligible for $1,500, while community college or vocational program participants are eligible for $1,000.

Matt Fong Scholarship in Public Finance for Asian Americans

The Matt Fong Scholarship in Public Finance for Asian Americans highlights the significance of public finance, specifically focusing on Asian undergraduate students pursuing majors in fields such as accounting and political science. The program provides a grant of $5,000 to two eligible students who demonstrate exceptional academic performance and a keen interest in the field of public finance.

Lola Scholarship Fund

The Lola Scholarship for Filipino-Americans aims to empower Filipino-American high school seniors by seeking applicants who have successfully overcome adversity. With an essay requirement of 800 to 1,200 words, the fund provides financial assistance of $3,000 to three qualified students dedicated to attaining their academic and career objectives.

AICPA Scholarship for Accounting Students from Minority Groups

The AICPA Scholarship for Accounting Students from Minority Groups is available to Asian-American students pursuing accounting degrees. It offers a financial aid range of $3,000 to $5,000 to minority students who are citizens of the United States, possess a minimum GPA of 3.0, and demonstrate a strong dedication to their accounting studies.

Featured Asian American Scholarships for Master’s Students

Scholarships for Asian American Students are not just financial aid but powerful catalysts for education and opportunity. These scholarships are a testament to the diverse talents, achievements, and contributions of the Asian American community. They provide critical support to students of Asian descent, making higher education more accessible, regardless of economic circumstances. These scholarships often come in various forms, reflecting criteria such as academic excellence, financial need, field of study, or community involvement. Scholarships have an appeal of financial aid as they alleviate the financial burdens of pursuing a college education and recognize and celebrate the vibrant mosaic of cultures and talents within the Asian American student community.

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Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF)

The Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF)[1] is a standout nonprofit organization with a profound commitment to providing financial assistance and comprehensive support to Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students across the United States. APIASF scholarships are open to AAPI students who are U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents. 

Many of its merit-based scholarships require applicants to demonstrate outstanding academic performance, often including maintaining a minimum GPA and achieving commendable standardized test scores. Several APIASF scholarships are rooted in addressing financial needs. Applicants may be required to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or provide other financial documentation to demonstrate their need for financial support.

APIASF places a high value on community engagement and seeks applicants who have been actively involved in their communities through volunteer work, leadership roles, or extracurricular activities. Beyond financial assistance, APIASF offers scholarship recipients access to valuable support services. These encompass mentorship, career guidance, and connection to a community of scholars and professionals who can provide invaluable guidance and assistance in navigating the challenges of higher education and career development.

Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) Scholarships

The Japanese-American Citizens League (JACL)[2] offers a range of national and regional scholarships, each with specific criteria and eligibility requirements. These scholarships are open to students of Japanese-American ancestry who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Some scholarships are available to students of all majors, while others may focus on specific fields of study or career goals.

Many JACL scholarships are merit-based and require applicants to demonstrate strong academic performance. Depending on the scholarship, this may include a minimum GPA and standardized test scores. JACL scholarships often consider an applicant’s contributions to their community, as well as their extracurricular activities and volunteer work.

Some JACL scholarships are need-based, and applicants may be required to provide information about their financial circumstances. Scholarship applications usually include personal essays and letters of recommendation and emphasize the applicant’s connection to the Japanese-American community, family history, or personal identity.

The JACL offers several scholarship programs, each with its mission and goals. For example, the JACL National Scholarship Program and the Mike M. Masaoka Congressional Fellowship provide higher education and civic engagement opportunities.

Chinese American Citizens Alliance (CACA) Scholarships

The Chinese American Citizens Alliance (CACA) Scholarships[3] are a set of esteemed awards aimed at providing financial support and recognition to students of Chinese heritage pursuing higher education in the United States. CACA, a renowned civil rights organization with a legacy of advocating for the rights and welfare of Chinese Americans, is deeply committed to empowering the next generation of Chinese-American leaders and scholars. These scholarships testify to CACA’s dedication to educational excellence and community involvement, offering vital financial assistance and acknowledging Chinese-American students’ diverse talents and contributions. 

Within the realm of CACA scholarships, various programs with unique eligibility criteria exist, each tailored to nurture academic achievement and promote Chinese-American students’ personal and professional development. These scholarships alleviate the financial burden associated with higher education and celebrate the vibrant diversity and aspirations within the Chinese-American community.

Korean American Scholarship Foundation (KASF)

The Korean American Scholarship Foundation (KASF)[4] provides diverse scholarships to support Korean-American students in the United States. These scholarships cover various academic stages, including undergraduate and graduate studies. Eligibility criteria encompass academic merit, financial need, community involvement, and leadership. Additionally, KASF offers scholarships in specific fields like STEM, business, healthcare, and the arts, promoting excellence in those areas. 

Some scholarships prioritize community service; others are region-specific and administered through local chapters. Merit-based scholarships reward academic achievement, while need-based scholarships consider financial circumstances, often involving the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Leadership skills can lead to additional scholarships, and specific awards are based on applicants’ connections to the Korean-American community, heritage, or personal identity.

Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) Scholarships

Filipino-American National Historical Society (FANHS) Scholarships[5], offered through various chapters and organizations, primarily aim to assist Filipino-American students pursuing higher education in the United States. They encompass scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate studies, including fields like STEM, the arts, healthcare, and business. These scholarships often prioritize community service, leadership, and academic merit, with consideration given to GPA, standardized test scores, and academic achievements.

Some FANHS scholarships are need-based, requiring financial documentation such as the FAFSA. Additionally, specific scholarships may emphasize an applicant’s ties to the Filipino-American community, family heritage, or personal identity. Eligibility criteria and types of scholarships can vary among different FANHS chapters and organizations.

Indian American Scholarship Fund (IASF)

The Indian American Cultural Association[6], or IASF, offers a range of scholarships, including 4-year, 1-year, and 2-year scholarships. These scholarships are made possible through the contributions of more than 20 Indian-origin families who support various awards, such as the Jagmohan Das Bapal Shah Award, with a generous contribution of over $12,000, the Aman Daftari Memorial Award, which has donated over $52,000, and the Boyapalli Reddy Award, with a donation exceeding $26,500, among others. The organization provides five merit-based scholarships and ten need-based scholarships for 2023.

To be eligible for these scholarships, all applicants must attend or plan to attend an accredited four-year college or university for undergraduate studies starting Fall 2023. Additionally, they must be of Asian-Indian descent and have graduated from an accredited high school in Georgia. High school seniors who meet these requirements are also eligible for these scholarships.

While most of the scholarships take financial need and merit into account, a few are solely based on merit, such as those determined by a written essay and the highest SAT/ACT scores. All academic scores and extracurricular activities, including participation in sports, will be evaluated to determine eligibility.

Vietnamese American Scholarship Foundation (VASA)

Vietnamese American Scholarship Foundation[7], or VASA, offers diverse scholarships to support Vietnamese-American students pursuing higher education in the U.S. These scholarships ease financial burdens and encourage academic excellence, community involvement, and leadership. They cover undergraduate and graduate studies, with specific fields like STEM, arts, healthcare, and business. Some are merit-based, while others consider financial need and community engagement. 

Applicants can have various connections to the Vietnamese-American community. Scholarship details may change annually, and local VASA chapters administer some scholarships. Visit the VASA website or contact local chapters for up-to-date information and requirements.

Taiwanese American Scholarship Fund (TASF)

The Taiwanese American Scholarship Fund[8] is dedicated to providing financial assistance and support to Taiwanese-American students pursuing higher education in the United States. Founded with the mission of empowering the educational aspirations of the Taiwanese-American community, TASF offers a range of scholarships to help students achieve their academic and professional goals. These scholarships are designed to ease the financial burden of education and recognize Taiwanese-American students’ diverse talents and contributions. 

The specific scholarships and their eligibility criteria may vary yearly, but they often consider factors like academic achievement, financial need, community involvement, and leadership qualities. TASF is a valuable resource for Taiwanese-American students on their educational journeys, fostering excellence and celebrating the rich heritage of the Taiwanese-American community.

South Asian Bar Association (SABA) Scholarships

South Asian Bar Association Scholarships[9], provided by the South Asian Bar Association (SABA), offer financial assistance and recognition to law students of South Asian heritage or those dedicated to advancing the South Asian community in the United States. These scholarships serve various purposes, including support for JD students through Law School Scholarships, aid for covering bar exam preparation and fees via Bar Exam Scholarships, and assistance for those focusing on specific legal fields aligning with SABA’s mission through Legal Field Scholarships. 

Additionally, Community Involvement Scholarships prioritize applicants actively engaged in the South Asian community, while Financial Need-Based Scholarships consider applicants’ financial circumstances, requiring documentation to demonstrate need. These scholarships aim to alleviate the financial burdens of legal education and contribute to the representation of South Asian individuals within the legal profession.

Professional and Affinity Organizations

Professional and affinity organizations dedicated to specific Asian American communities, such as the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP)[10] and the Association of Asian American Studies (AAAS)[11], also frequently offer scholarships. These scholarships are designed to support students who exhibit leadership potential, academic excellence, and a commitment to advancing the Asian American community. NAAAP’s scholarships empower future leaders, while AAAS’s scholarships often focus on fields related to Asian American studies, research, and community engagement. These programs underscore the importance of fostering excellence and understanding within the Asian American community.

FAQs About Asian American Scholarships

Are scholarships specifically designated for students of Asian and Pacific Islander descent?

Yes. Some scholarships are specifically tailored to offer monetary aid to students with Asian or Pacific heritage. The APALA Scholarship specifically targets students of Asian or Pacific descent who are currently pursuing or have been granted admission to a master’s program.

Are the Asian Pacific Alumni Association (APAA) scholarship and the Asian Pacific American Support Group Scholarship the same?

What are the eligibility criteria to apply for Asian American scholarships?

Is it necessary to submit individual applications for each Asian-American scholarship?

Is it possible for non-U.S. citizens to apply for Asian-American scholarships?

Conclusion About Asian American Scholarships

Scholarships for Asian Americans are pivotal in fostering academic excellence, empowering leadership, and advancing the Asian American community in the United States. These scholarships are not just financial aid but also symbols of recognition and support for the diverse talents, aspirations, and contributions of Asian American students. They alleviate the financial burden of education, make higher learning more accessible, and celebrate the achievements of those committed to their communities. Whether through national programs or those offered by professional organizations, these scholarships serve as a testament to the commitment to inclusivity and diversity within the educational landscape. As the Asian American community continues to flourish, these scholarships contribute to a more inclusive, equitable, and vibrant future where the aspirations of Asian American students are nurtured, celebrated, and realized.

Additional Financial Resources for Asian American Students

For Asian-American students pursuing higher education, it is crucial to have access to a diverse range of resources that can facilitate their academic endeavors. Here is a carefully selected list of supplementary resources that can offer assistance, direction, and valuable knowledge specifically designed to meet your requirements:

Financial Aid Guide: Information on scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options available for online students.

FAFSA for Graduate School: Comprehensive guide to understanding the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and how to apply for it.

Best Online Master’s Programs Rankings: Comprehensive rankings of the best online master’s programs across various disciplines.

Admissions Guide: Step-by-step advice on the application process for online schools, including tips on how to stand out.