If you are a member of a minority group, you will want to investigate scholarships that have been created specifically to increase your educational opportunities. Some of these scholarships are designed to encourage minority members to pursue education in fields where, historically, they have not been well represented. Others are open to any educational direction.
For example, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) offers several thousand scholarships to African-American students annually. Hispanics, currently the fastest growing sector of the population and second largest ethnic group in the country, are statistically not as well represented in terms of college attendance. This is a concern both to the Hispanic community and the community at large, and for this reason, privately and publicly funded sources of college financial aid are becoming increasingly available for Hispanic students.
The League of United Latin American Citizens and the Hispanic College Fund are two major sources of help. Grant money for students of Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Nigerian, Swedish, and a host of other descents are also available from community organizations and business leaders. In some cases, these scholarships cover tuition completely.
Many scholarships are also available for women, whether they are members of a particular minority or not. Certain educational fields in which women have been traditionally under-represented offer financial incentives. Grants and scholarships for displaced homemakers, single mothers, and women in other disadvantaged situations are also available in abundance.
By far, the biggest sponsor of minority scholarships is Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft. The Gates Millennium Scholars Program donates 1billion dollars in financial aid to minority students with financial need. These funds are administrated by a variety of organizations, including the United Negro College Fund, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the American Indian Graduate Center, and the Organization of Chinese Americans, among others.
Millennium Scholarships cover four years of tuition. In addition, Millennium Scholarship winners who have received their degrees can apply for additional aid to in pursuit of graduate studies in education, library science, math, science, and engineering. One thousand Millennium Scholarships are awarded annually to citizens or legal and permanent residents with a GPA of 3.3 who fulfill Pell Grant restrictions regarding financial aid. A history of community service as well as membership in clubs or other extracurricular activities is also considered.