Minority Education Grants

Education grants for minorities provide a significant source of funds for those who otherwise might not have the financial resources to attend college or other institutions of higher learning. Other institutions that accept or provide minority education grants are community colleges, technical or vocational schools. Many grants are available directly through the institution whereas others are available through the federal, state and local governments. Also, some non-profit organizations provide education grants for minorities.

As with all things grants-related, requirements and eligibility determinate apply. Some education grants are available only to women; others require a demonstrated financial need; some are for a targeted population, e.g., Hispanics; while other grants are directed at funding underrepresented students. Merit grants are awarded to students that demonstrate academic excellence and leadership capabilities. Still other minority education grants target specific fields of study: engineering, medicine, law, mathematics, to name just a few.

To ensure success in obtaining an education grant as a minority means doing the homework. Begin with the federal government and access available information through studentaid.ed.gov or access directly www.fafsa.ed.gov and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Or, begin with the school or college one is interested in attending. Does it offer education grants to minorities? If so, what are the procedures? And most, importantly, where does one go to obtain the information and paperwork: Department of Admissions, Department of Student Aid? Find out where to start, how to start, and what application(s) is required as well as all other documents needed to apply. Do not overlook anything!

States provide minority education grants, too. However, states differ widely on how they administer grants for minority students, although most require that the student complete the federal student aid application. Equally important, the school or university must be accredited otherwise no grant or other financial aid will be considered.

Wisconsin offers the Minority Undergraduate Retention Grant. Minority students, excluding first year students, enrolled at least half-time in independent, tribal, or Wisconsin Technical College institutions can apply for these grants. Awards are based on financial need, and the minority student must be African American; American Indian; Hispanic; or Southeast Asian from Laos, Cambodia, or Vietnam admitted to the U. S. after December 31, 1975.

When looking for minority education grants, always investigate scholarships. In Minnesota, Native Americans who are residents of the state, and are at least one-fourth American Indian can apply for the Minnesota Indian Scholarship. As with other minority education grants, scholarships, too, have rules. Many focus on financial need.

Finding minority grants and scholarships requires work, and attention to detail. Almost all applications require complete financial disclosure or other information needed to determine eligibility. Merit grants require Letters of Recommendation. Follow through with all needed documents associated with the application to ensure no delays. And, remember: many of these minority education grants and scholarships are awarded on a “first come, first serve” basis. Start early, and stay late…to ensure success!

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