Financial Aid for Minority Students

Earning a college degree is an expensive endeavor. All prospective students should explore their options for financial aid and take advantage of opportunities for which they qualify. Members of historically marginalized groups face systemic barriers that make their educational journeys more complicated and challenging those of their non-minority counterparts.

Minority students who wish to attend Christian colleges have a plethora of scholarship opportunities designed to help them overcome these barriers and reach their educational goals.

Up until the 1960s, minority students were relegated to segregated schools that were woefully underfunded compared to schools for white students. Since desegregation laws were enacted, test scores for minority students continue to rise. Despite these gains, inequality in educational opportunity still exists. Minority students are more likely to attend lower-funded schools, with less qualified teachers, inferior curricula, and fewer resources than the schools that predominantly service white students. Additionally, minority students are more likely to contend with extracurricular hardships such as poverty, domestic violence, and race-based targeting by the justice system.

Minority students who wish to attend Christian colleges have a plethora of scholarship opportunities designed to help them overcome these barriers and reach their educational goals. This page can serve as a guide as you navigate your options for Christian minority scholarships that can aid in financing your degree.

Scholarships for African-American Christian Students

FTE Fellowships for Doctoral Students of African Descent $20,000

Applicants must be of African descent and enrolled or admitted in a Th.D. or Ph.D. program in religious, biblical, or theological studies. View Scholarship

Valerie Russell Scholarship for African American Lay Women $1,500

Applicants must be African-American laywomen who affirm the values of the United Church of Christ. View Scholarship

Bishop John W. Hamilton Scholarship $500

Available to African-American female members of the United Methodist Church with a minimum GPA of 2.5. View Scholarship

Blanch M. Hubbard Scholarship $600

Recipients are African-American members of the United Methodist Church, enrolled at a UMC historically black college/university. View Scholarship

Professional Organizations for African American Students

  • Black Campus Ministries Black Campus Ministries (BCM) works on campuses of Historically Black Colleges/Universities as well as other institutions to provide spiritual guidance and resources to help shape future black Christian leaders. BCM's website has an extensive library of digital media including lectures, songs, and blogs.
  • United Negro College Fund The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) works to increase the total number of African-American college graduates through an established network of member institutions, creating support programs and increasing awareness of educational attainment. UNCF partners with church communities through the National Faith and Education Initiative.
  • National Black Student Union The National Black Student Union (NBSU) promotes the wellbeing of undergraduate college students. NBSU provides an annual conference, a corporate and graduate school fair, several Black Student Union adviser roundtables and fora on various topics, and the Center for Study of Black Students, which includes archives, publications, and websites.

Scholarships for Hispanic and Latino Christian Students

Olympia Brown and Max Kapp Award $2,500

Applicants must submit a paper, sermon, or project on an aspect of Universalism. Preference is given to students of color. View Scholarship

Journey Toward Ordained Ministry Scholarship $5,000

Students must be racial/ethnic minority members of the United Methodist Church and attending a UMC-related institution pursuing ordained ministry. View Scholarship

Women of Color $3,000-$10,000

Applicants must be women born of African, Black, Hispanic, Asian, or Native-American parentage pursuing a Ph.D. or Th.D. in religious studies. Must be UMC members. View Scholarship

Becas Univision Scholarship $5,000

Students must be of Hispanic heritage, the first generation to attend college, and have demonstrated financial need. View Scholarship

Professional Organizations for Hispanic and Latino Students

  • Alliance for Hispanic Christian Education The goal of the Alliance for Hispanic Christian Education is to provide solutions to challenges Hispanic Christian students face when earning their degrees. The Alliance works to promote recruitment and retention of these students, aid in the financing of the degrees with Christian minority scholarships, and provide ethno-cultural contextualization.
  • Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities represents hundreds of colleges and universities that are committed to the success of Hispanic students in higher education. Their efforts include promoting legislation to Congress to recognize Hispanic-Serving Institutions and to appropriate funding for these institutions.
  • National Hispanic Institute The National Hispanic Institute (NHI) fosters future leaders in the expanding Latino community in the United States. NHI creates learning experiences for high-achieving high school and college students to engage them in leadership positions to enhance the quality of life for those in the Latino community.

Scholarships for Native American Christian Students

Presbyterian Study Grant - Native American Supplemental Grant $3,500

Students must be members of the Presbyterian Church, pursuing a master's in divinity or Christian education, with demonstrated financial need. Native American students are eligible for a supplemental grant. View Scholarship

Native American Seminary $3,000-$10,000

Available to United Methodist Church members, must be of Native-American, American-Indian, or Alaska-Native (at least one parent) descent, and pursuing a degree at a University Senate-approved seminary. Tribal affiliation documentation is required. View Scholarship

Fund for Theological Education Fellowships Varies

Applicants must be of Latino/a, Asian, or First-Nations descent who have completed the coursework stage of their Th.D. or Ph.D. in biblical studies, religion, or theological studies program. View Scholarship

Roy H. Pollack Scholarship Varies

Applicants must be enrolled in a master of divinity program leading to fellowship as a Unitarian Universalist minister. Preference is given to persons of color. View Scholarship

Leonard M. Perryman Scholarship $2,500

Applicants must be United Methodist ethnic minorities at accredited U.S. institutions, interested in pursuing careers in religious journalism. View Scholarship

Professional Organizations for Native American Students

  • Nations Movement Nations Movement aims to enhance the lives of Native-American students and faculty through connection with Jesus Christ. Nations works on college campuses to create communities that advance its three tenets of Restoration, Nurture, and Service. Student members enjoy numerous opportunities for missions and internships affiliated with Nations Movement.
  • American Indian Business Leaders The goal of American-Indian Business Leaders is to increase the visibility of American Indians and Alaska Natives in entrepreneurial and business ventures. Their efforts to meet this goal include educational initiatives as well as opportunities for leadership development for members of the American-Indian and Alaska-Native communities.
  • American Indian College Fund The American-Indian College Fund works to increase the number of American Indians graduating with college degrees. They provide scholarships as well as volunteer, internship, and job opportunities to college students. Students benefit from virtual toolkits, money management, career development, and an alumni network.

Scholarships for Asian and Pacific Islander Christian Students

David Tamotsu Kagiwada Memorial Scholarship $1,500

Award recipients are of North American Pacific/Asian descent enrolled or accepted to an accredited graduate theological school or seminary. View Scholarship

David Eaton Scholarship Varies

Award is given to female students of a historically marginalized group who are enrolled in a master of divinity degree program leading to fellowship as a Unitarian Universalist minister. View Scholarship

Ethnic In-Service Training Fund for Clinical Pastoral Education $2,000

Applicants must be racial/ethnic minority student members of the UMC, pursuing clinical pastoral education. View Scholarship

Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund $2,500

Students must be U.S. citizens of Asian and/or Pacific-Islander descent and enrolling as an undergraduate student at an accredited U.S. institution with a minimum 2.7 GPA. View Scholarship

Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship $30,000

Applicants must be ethnic minority graduating high school seniors planning to attend accredited, four-year universities in the U.S. who demonstrate financial need. View Scholarship

Professional Organizations for Asian and Pacific Islander Students

  • National Pacific Islander Education Network National Pacific Islander Education Network serves students in the Pacific-Islander community with scholarship and financial aid information as well as career mentoring programs. Members network and share resources at an annual conference regarding academic research. Pacific-Islander club programs are eligible for grant awards.
  • Ascend Ascend is a nonprofit Pan-Asian organization serving business professionals and corporations in North America. The organization offers career development and professional enhancement resources in addition to leadership skills training. Student members can engage with mentors and learn the importance of merging Western and Pan-Asian business cultures.
  • National Association of Asian American Professionals The National Association of Asian American Professionals facilitates community service, professional development, and networking opportunities for Asian Americans at both the student and professional levels. Members access conventions, workshops, panels, seminars, and web-based sessions with resources for leadership training and discussions on representation and assimilation.

Scholarships for Undocumented Christian Students

The National Scholarship $29,000

Award recipients are high school students with DACA or TPS status who plan to enroll at one of TheDream.US Partner Colleges, who came to the U.S. before their 16th birthdays, and have significant unmet financial need View Scholarship

Golden Door Scholars Scholarships Varies

Scholars must be DACA- or TPS-status students, high school seniors, or recent graduates. Preference is given to students in states which require undocumented students to pay out-of-state tuition View Scholarship

Opportunity Scholarship $80,000

Award recipients are high school students with DACA or TPS status who live in a locked-out state (one which does not admit them to college or forces them to pay out-of-state tuition), who plan to enroll at one of TheDream.US Partner Colleges, who came to the U.S. before their 16th birthday, and have significant unmet financial need. View Scholarship

Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholarship $500-$5,000

Applicants must be of Hispanic heritage and planning to attend a four-year, accredited, nonprofit college or university. DACA students are eligible to apply. View Scholarship

Que Llueva Café Scholarship $500

Applicants must be high school or GED graduates with DACA status with financial need enrolling in an accredited college or university in the U.S for the first time. View Scholarship

Professional Organizations for Undocumented Students

  • TheDream.US TheDream.US is an organization dedicated to the educational success of undocumented students with DACA or TPS status. This association provides scholarships to these students, who are ineligible for federal student aid, and advocates for tuition and aid equity for all DREAMers.
  • MALDEF The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund is a Latino legal civil rights organization that advocates for immigrant rights in the search for economic opportunity and personal freedoms in the U.S. MALDEF provides several scholarship resources for students, including scholarships that do not inquire about immigration status.
  • Educators for Fair Consideration E4FC provides financial support to undocumented young people in the U.S. to help them overcome the barriers they face in the system. They provide scholarship opportunities and partner with educational institutions to enhance support for undocumented students on campus. E4FC also gives students educational resources and leadership training.

 

Scholarships

Christian minority scholarships are financial aid awarded to students who want to pursue higher education. Scholarships are often given on the basis of merit, as opposed to need. To earn these scholarships, a student must demonstrate academic achievement, even in the absence of demonstrated financial need. Scholarships are given out by schools, state or federal agencies, or private organizations. Scholarships are a type of financial aid that is considered "free money" since it does not require that the student repay the gift. This page contains information on many Christian minority scholarships.

Grants

Similar to scholarships, grants are also considered free money as they do not need to be paid back by the recipient. Grants are often awarded on the basis of financial need, as opposed to scholarships, which are often based on academic merit. Grants are given to students by state agencies, the federal government, colleges and universities, and private as well as nonprofit organizations. In general, there are grants intended for two different types of minority students: ethnic and nonethnic minorities. Ethnic minorities are students who may have faced hardship in their pursuit of an education because of their ethnic background. Nonethnic minorities, such as women or people with disabilities, experience hardship unrelated to their ethnic background.

Work-Study

Work-study programs give students opportunities to work at jobs on or off campus to earn money that they can use to offset some of their education costs. Jobs that qualify for work-study programs often involve a community service element. Christian students may be able to find work-study positions in their church communities to help pay for their degree. To qualify for work-study opportunities, many programs require that students demonstrate financial need. Work-study may not be a viable option for nontraditional students.

Federal Student Loans

Federal student loans are another option for students looking for financial assistance. This aid is money lent by the federal government to students who are furthering their education. There are two types of federal student aid programs: the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program and the Federal Perkins Loan Program. Federal Perkins Loans are usually tied to a particular school and restricted to students with exceptional financial need. Direct Loans are one of the following types: direct subsidized loans, direct unsubsidized loans, direct PLUS loans, and direct consolidation loans. The federal government pays the interest of subsidized loans, while unsubsidized loans require you to pay the interest yourself.

Private Loans

Private loans are another option for financial aid for students, although this route is more likely than the others to leave you with significant debt once you finish your degree. Private loans generally come with variable and higher interest rates than federal student loans. They are usually unsubsidized and some require that you begin repayment of the loan while you are still pursuing your degree. In contrast with federal loans, private loans are unlikely to offer any loan forgiveness programs to students. Lastly, private loans may require a cosigner or strong credit history for approval.

Filing the FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), is the first step to securing financial aid, including Christian minority scholarships. Federal aid such as scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs require students to fill out the FAFSA. Additionally, some forms of state and school funding, as well as private financial aid providers, ask applicants to complete the FAFSA to determine eligibility for aid. The filing deadline for the FAFSA is June 30 of the current academic year.

The FAFSA becomes available on October 1 of each year preceding the academic year for which you are applying for aid. Some states and colleges award aid on a first-come, first-served basis, so students applying for aid in those states may choose to submit their FAFSA as soon as possible to increase their chances of receiving funding. However, in states where this is not the case, it may make sense for students to delay and strategically file their FAFSA when their financial situation is such that they are likely to be eligible for the most aid.

Undocumented students are not eligible for federal student aid but should still fill out and submit the FAFSA to see if they may qualify for state-funded or school-funded aid. Students must be U.S. citizens or green card holders. Eligibility requirements for the FAFSA include demonstrated financial need and acceptance to or enrollment in a qualified degree or certificate program. When you begin your FAFSA application, you need several documents on hand, such as your Social Security number, driver's license number, and your federal income tax returns. If you are a dependent, you need this information for your parents as well. Considerations for the amount of aid include cost of attendance, expected family contribution, and the extent of your financial situation.

  • Scholarships for Dependents of Company Employees

    Students seeking scholarship funding sources should check with companies in their region, such as Microsoft or Southwest Airlines, because these corporate entities often provide scholarships to dependents of their employees. Eligibility requirements typically include pursuit of higher education and a certain level of academic performance. In some cases, these funds may be available to members of the community at large. These awards commonly range from $1,000-$10,000.

  • School-Specific Awards

    In many cases, institutions of higher learning offer Christian minority scholarships to qualified students in an effort to promote diversity among their student body. Minority applicants can typically qualify for this form of financial aid by writing an essay or personal statement. Often, the schools require students to write about their personal experience as a minority and the ways it has impacted their quest for an education.

  • Talk to Your School Counselor

    Don't forget that the guidance or academic counselor at your high school is as an excellent resource for information and advice on how to approach the financial aid process. These professionals are experts at matching students with the appropriate funding sources for which they are qualified. A crucial aspect of their assistance is their connections to local advocacy groups and national organizations that provide funding for minorities and other underrepresented students.

  • Make Sure Your Program is Accredited

    The majority of Christian minority scholarships require that applicants be enrolled or seeking enrollment in an accredited program of higher learning. This accreditation can come from regional accreditation bodies, such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or national accreditation agencies, like the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Accreditation serves as evidence of a school or program's level of academic rigor and adherence to predetermined standards.

  • Connect with Professional Organizations

    Through scholarships, internships, and other initiatives, professional associations work to advance the educational pursuits of minority students within their field. Typically subject-specific, these scholarships have several eligibility requirements, often asking applicants to demonstrate an interest in a particular field or high academic achievement. These funding sources are frequently concentrated in the sciences, specifically engineering and the soft sciences. Students should contact the communications agents of organizations in their community for their area of interest.

  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid On the official FAFSA website, students can learn about the FAFSA process and apply for federal student aid. This site provides a wealth of information about different types of financial aid for students looking for a general overview of their choices.
  • State Agencies Students may have success contacting their local department of education, higher education agency, adult education agency, or special education agency for help with applying for Christian minority scholarships or other forms of financial aid. This page provides links to each state's educational agencies.
  • U.S. Department of Education The U.S. Department of Education provides a federal student aid page that contains answers to many questions that students have as they navigate the process of finding and applying for financial aid. Students can find links to aid sources as well as a glossary of terms.
  • FastWeb Offering prospective scholarship applicants expertise gleaned from hosting a scholarship essay contest, FastWeb provides tips and examples for crafting a high-quality application essay. Among its resources, the site features previous essay submissions accompanied by constructive comments and notes.
  • Princeton Review A well-respected name in higher education, the Princeton Review provides students with a host of articles, guides, and quizzes that prepare them for the Christian minority scholarship application process and help them hone their academic goals. The site also offers expert feedback on application essays.