Scholarships and Grants that can help Low-Income or Minority Students.

Scholarships and grants are in effect free money. There are several offers that are available for very low income students or minorities as well as households that meet poverty guidelines. The grant or scholarship does not have to be repaid by the student and the funds can help cover the cost of attending college. Many organizations offer income-based scholarships to students of low-income families and minority background.

According to various research, only 20 percent of low-income students graduate college in 6 years, and the first generation of college students often find themselves facing challenges. Among those barriers includes a lack of support to navigate their academic journey. These students, many of whom are minorities, are often faced with financial hardships due to the cost of paying for college or taking out loans. Many organizations recognize the struggles and are committed to helping disadvantaged students graduate college.

Below are some need-based scholarships that low-income students can receive. These scholarships are "free money" and does not have to be repaid. There are businesses, mentoring, and corporations that help minorities as well, both paying for college and afterwards - such as by starting a business. Find small business help for minorities.

Scholarships focused on disadvantaged students

Google Scholarship Program: This scholarship program is opened to high school seniors and university students. Selected applicants will receive up to $10,000 for the academic school year.

Students must be enrolled full-time in bachelors, masters, or Ph.D. program and pursuing a degree in computer science, computer engineering, or some other IT or technology field. Preference will be given to students of unrepresented groups including, American Indian, African Americans, Latino/Hispanic, or Filipino/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. Applicants must also display a passion for technology and maintain strong academic performance.





Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship: A scholarship program that is offered through Google as a memorial dedication to Dr. Anita Borg. She devoted her entire adult life to technology by breaking the barrier that keeps minority women from entering the competitive and often discriminatory technology and computer fields.

The Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship program is sponsored by Google to encourage low-income minority women to excel. There will be assistance given to those students who go for a career in computer and technology field and how also become active leaders or role models. Selected applicants will receive $10,000 for the academic school year.

Preference is given to female students with strong academic record and a lower income. The applicant will also need to demonstrate a passion for increasing the involvement of women in the technology and computer field.
Hispanic Scholarship Fund: This scholarship is awarded to students of Hispanic heritage. The scholarship amount can range from $500- $5000 per academic year based on merit and financial need. Preference is given to students with STEM majors.

United Negro College Fund:  UNCF is a private scholarship lender who has helped over 450,000 African American students to earn a college degree. Each year, $100 million is awarded to help more African American students attend and graduate from college.  To be eligible, students must demonstrate a financial need and 2.5 minimum GPA on 4.0 scale.

Imagine America Foundation: Established in 1982, the Imagine America Foundation works with high schools, vocational programs, and universities to increase student retention rate. This organization has partnered with over 400 trade school across the United States to help students pursue a fast-track career in medical, electrical, business and much more.





Applicants of the Imagine America Foundation have received more than $130 million in awards and scholarships to provide high school graduates and adult-learners career training skills to succeed in the workforce. Most of the reward winners are low income and/or minority.

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation: A scholarship program dedicated to helping students who demonstrate a financial need. The foundation has helped students from grade 8th to graduate school. The program has awarded over $190 million in scholarships and grant awards since 2000. The foundation has also awarded an additional $100 million in grants to fund organizations to help students. This scholarship program is open to high achieving students to help develop their artistic and academic talent.

Young Scholars Program: This is a 5-year scholarship program for 7th-grade students with a low-income background as well as who demonstrate a financial need. High achieving 7th graders are provided with free academic advisement and financial support throughout the school year.

Selected applicants are eligible to attend sponsored summer programs, internships, and other service learning opportunities. The Young Scholar program has also funded free academic and extracurricular activities which may include, art and music lessons, as well as other supplemental educational activities.

AFAS General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant Program: This scholarship program is available to sons and daughters of a deceased, retired or active member of the Air Force, as well as widows/widowers. Grants amount can range from $500- $4,000 each year, depending on family income and education cost.

ThanksUSA - An organization that is funded by corporate donations and private contributions.  ThanksUSA has awarded over $14.5 million in scholarships to help low-income students pay for college, technical and vocational programs.

This non-profit organization is also dedicated to providing employment pathway to children and spouses of the military.  To be eligible, applicants must be a dependent, 24 and under or a spouse or child of military service personnel.




The (TEACH) Grant Program: A program provides up to $4,000 per year to students who wish to begin a career in teaching. Students who plan to teach, and who meet income guidelines, high-need subject are qualified to receive The TEACH grant.

Selected applicants who receive a free grant must perform teaching service at a low-income school or educational agency. This encourages people to give back. Applicants must also serve as a full-time teacher for four academic years.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): A federal grant for undergraduate students who demonstrate an extreme financial need. Many of the recipients are for kids who live in poverty or that come from single mom or dad run homes. If your school participates in this program, funds are automatically added to your student account. To be eligible, students must fill out the FAFSA form. Selected students can expect to receive between $100- $4,000 per year, depending on financial need.

The Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship: An achievement-based scholarship that is awarded to high school seniors. Most years the Coca-Cola Foundation awards tens of millions of dollars in educational support to scholars. Applicants are selected based on community involvement, academic performance, income status, race, and leadership potential. The goal is to help low income students and those from challenging backgrounds to get a better education.

Gates Millennium Scholars: A program funded by Bill and Melinda Gates to help reduce the financial barriers for low-income American Indian, African American, Asian and Hispanic Americans. Award amount depends on financial need, and it is a renewable grant that can be continued if scholars are maintaining satisfactory academic progress. The Gates Millennium grant can continue up to graduate level for scholars in majors of computer science, engineering, education, math, science or public health.

Michael & Susan Dell Foundation: This program is dedicated to assisting students in low and middle-income households and who are first in their family to attend college. Selected applicants will receive a total of $20,000 for six years to decrease student loans and debt.





Dell scholars will also receive a free laptop and a network of free support that includes counseling and resources to deal with stress and other life challenges that can prevent students from graduating college. Each year, Dell also provides employment opportunities to over 250,000 low-income young adults across the world.

By Jon McNamara

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