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Scholarships and Resources for Minority Graduate Students

Offset the cost of a master’s degree with these scholarships and resources specifically for minority students.

Author: Ellery Weil

Editor: Staff Editor

Overhead view of a diverse group of people stacking hands together in a gesture of teamwork and unity, standing over a gray concrete floor.

Grad school is increasingly expensive with tuition and the cost of living rising every year. The Education Data Initiative reports that the cost of a master’s degree typically ranges from $56,000 to 75,000. That price is heavily dependent upon geographical location and whether your school is public or private.

Those numbers can be worrisome for anyone. But for minority students, many of whom are members of historically marginalized groups, the financial burden can be especially daunting. Thankfully, the wide variety of scholarships available for current and future master’s students who are also minorities can help ease that burden.

Many specialized scholarships specifically target minority students. This includes those from advocacy groups, social justice organizations, private foundations, and others. The list below represents the many scholarship opportunities available for minority grad students to help you get started on funding your degree.

40 Graduate Scholarships for Minority Students

The following scholarships are available to students from racial and ethnic minorities as well as LGBTQ students. In addition to helping ease the financial burden of graduate school, many of these funding sources also offer valuable connections and networking opportunities with sponsors.

Some of the scholarships in the list are available for students in any discipline, while others target a particular field or institution. Some are also renewable for the duration of your postgraduate studies, so they’re valuable beyond the initial amount received, while others are one-time gifts.

AAA Minority Dissertation Fellowship

  • Amount: $10,000
  • Description: The American Anthropological Association (AAA) offers this funding opportunity to racial and ethnic minority students completing their doctoral dissertations in anthropology. Applicants must be admitted to candidacy before applying.

ABA Foundation Diversity Scholarships

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Description: The American Bus Association (ABA) offers scholarships for historically underrepresented groups in accredited programs pertaining to travel and tourism. Candidates qualify based on race, gender identity, orientation, socioeconomic background, and more.

ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship

  • Amount: $15,000
  • Description: The American Bar Association (ABA) sponsors this scholarship for incoming law students from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds.

AICPA Scholarship Award for Minority Accounting Students

  • Amount: $3,000-$10,000
  • Description: The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) provides this scholarship for full-time graduate students in accounting who are members of a racial or ethnic minority. Students must intend to pursue CPA licensure after graduation.

Albers-Alexander LGBTQ Law Scholarship

  • Amount: Up to $10,000
  • Description: This scholarship supports first, second, and third-year law students at one of several partner law schools. Applicants must be enrolled at a partner school and identify as LGBTQ as well as demonstrate financial need.

Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Description: The American College of Healthcare Executives offers this scholarship for students from a racial or ethnic minority background entering their final year in a healthcare management graduate program (e.g., MPH or similar). Students must be U.S. or Canadian residents and demonstrate financial need.

American Bus Association Diversity Award

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Description: This is one of numerous scholarships offered by the American Bus Association to encourage students to pursue a career in transportation, travel, and tourism. Students must have a declared course of study in the travel and tourism industry and be a member of a minority group.

American Indian Education Fund (AIEF)

  • Amount: $1,000-$2,000
  • Description: AEIF offers competitive scholarships to Native American or Alaskan Indigenous students pursuing master or doctoral degrees. Online programs are not eligible, and programs must be accredited.

APIQWTC Scholarship

  • Amount: $3,500
  • Description: This scholarship is open to Asian American/Pacific Islander women who identify as gay/lesbian, bisexual, queer, or transgender and are pursuing accredited degrees, including graduate degrees, or trade programs within the U.S.

Brown and Caldwell Minority Scholarship

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Description: Brown and Caldwell offer this scholarship to graduate students and undergraduate upperclassmen studying one of several engineering fields. Students must identify as a racial or ethnic minority and maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

CBC Spouses Education Scholarship

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description: The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) provides this scholarship to Black or African American students pursuing degrees, including postgraduate degrees, in a variety of fields. Students must maintain a 2.5 GPA or higher and be enrolled full-time.

Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund

  • Amount: Up to $15,000
  • Description: The Davis-Putter scholarship fund awards up to $15,000 to students enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, or trade programs who have demonstrated activity in the fight against injustice. This includes, but is not limited to, combating racism, sexism, and homophobia.

eQuality Medical Scholarships

  • Amount: $6,000
  • Description: These scholarships are open to students pursuing medical degrees at an accredited institution in California. While students of all orientations may apply, applicants must have records of service to the California LGBTQ community.

Flagship Scholarship

  • Amount: Need-based
  • Description: This scholarship is for LGBTQ students, including those in graduate school, designed to fund up to four years of education. In addition to the financial award, students will also have access to coaching, mentorship, and leadership development programs.

Florida Fund for Minority Teachers (FFMT) Scholarships

  • Amount: $4,000
  • Description: FFMT offers scholarships for students from minority ethnic backgrounds who have not yet earned an education degree to pursue graduate degrees in education at a participating university in Florida.

Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs

  • Amount: $24,000 per year (renewable)
  • Description: The National Academies for the Sciences offers the Ford Foundation Fellowship for full-time graduate students pursuing PhD or Doctor of Science degrees. Students from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds are given preference.

Gamma Mu Foundation Scholarships

  • Amount: $1,000-$2,500
  • Description: The Gamma Mu Foundation provides a range of scholarships for gay men and members of the wider LGBT community looking to further their education. Applicants must apply online and are assessed based on financial need and personal achievement.

George A. Strait Minority Scholarship and Fellowship

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description: The American Association of Law Libraries offers this award to graduate students who are both members of a legally-recognized minority group and enrolled in accredited graduate programs in either library science or law school.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF)

  • Amount: $500-$5,000
  • Description: HSF offers funding opportunities for Hispanic and Latino/a students pursuing graduate degrees in all fields, though STEM is given priority. Students must maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Hsiao Memorial Social Sciences Scholarship

  • Amount: Approximately $1,000
  • Description: The Asian Pacific Fund offers this scholarship to Asian-American graduate students, though students of other backgrounds may apply, studying the social sciences. Preference is given to students in financial need and those studying economics.

Jonathan Lax Scholarship for Gay Men

  • Amount: $5,000-$10,000
  • Description: Open to gay men in accredited degree programs in the five-county area in Pennsylvania that comprises metropolitan Philadelphia and those in Camden County, New Jersey, or students who hail from any of those six counties. Graduate and professional students are welcome to apply.

Kay Longcope Scholarship Award

  • Amount: Up to $3,000
  • Description: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists offers this award to LGBTQ students who also identify as people of color and who are pursuing careers in journalism. Graduate student applicants must be enrolled in an accredited journalism program.

Korean American Scholarship Foundation (KASF)

  • Amount: $500-$5,000
  • Description: KASF provides scholarships for Korean American students and descendants of Korean War veterans pursuing graduate or professional studies. Its four regional chapters distribute funds based on the location of your school.

LAGRANT Foundation Scholarships

  • Amount: $3,750
  • Description: Applicants must be of an ethnic minority, full time graduate students, and with a major in public relations, advertising, or marketing. In addition to the financial award, chosen recipients will also be included in a conference trip where they will learn more about their future profession.

LGBT Public Interest Scholarship

  • Amount: Up to $5,000
  • Description: The American Bar Association provides funding to a law student or recent graduate undertaking a clerkship or similar position. Applicants must be LGBT, a current or recently graduated law student, and maintain good academic standing.

McDowd-Filion Love Wins Award

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description: This award is given by the University of Missouri-Kansas City to graduate students in good academic standing who identify as LGBTQ and/or are working to promote LGBTQ equality, inclusion, equity, and social justice.

National LGBTQ+ Bar Scholarship

  • Amount: $2,500
  • Description: This scholarship is open to current law students who identify as LGBTQ+ and are at any stage of their law school program. Applicants must have demonstrated commitment to using the law to advance equality for the wider LGBTQ+ community.

NBCC Minority Fellowships

  • Amount: $10,000-$15,000
  • Description: The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) offers a variety of fellowships for students from recognized racial and ethnic minorities who are pursuing graduate degrees in preparation to become mental health counselors. Fellowships are available for master and doctoral students.

NBMBAA Scholarships

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description: The National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) partners with several organizations to offer a wide range of MBA scholarships to its members. Applicants must identify as Black or African American, be pursuing an MBA, and be an NBMBAA member.

Papito Opportunity Connection Scholarship

  • Amount: $25,000 (renewable)
  • Description: This scholarship, sponsored by the Rhode Island Bar Association, is open to students of color (POC) who come from the State of Rhode Island and have been accepted into an accredited law school.

Point Foundation BIPOC Scholarships

  • Amount: Up to $1,500
  • Description: The Point Foundation provides scholarships to students who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and who are also members of the LGBTQ community. Students must be “out” as LGBTQ and enrolled in an accredited program.

Pride Foundation Scholarships

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description: The Pride Foundation offers over 60 different scholarships for LGBT graduate students residing in the Northwestern U.S. Students only need to fill out one application form to apply for all relevant scholarships.

Prospanica Foundation Scholarships

  • Amount: $2,000-$5,000
  • Description: Prospanica, an association for Hispanic MBAs and business professionals, offers several scholarships each year for Hispanic and Latino/a students enrolled in accredited business-related programs at the undergraduate or postgraduate levels.

Reaching Out MBA Fellowship

  • Amount: $20,000+
  • Description: In partnership with several prestigious MBA programs, Reaching Out offers fellowships of at least $20,000 for LGBTQ+ MBA students. Recipients also attend fellowship retreats and networking events.

Roy Scrivener Memorial Research Grants

  • Amount: $9,000
  • Description: The American Psychological Foundation offers this grant to dissertation-level graduate students researching LGBT family therapy and related topics. Students must be advanced in their graduate studies and endorsed by a supervisor.

Tang Scholarship

  • Amount: Varies (renewable)
  • Description: The Tang Scholarship aids LGBT Americans of Asian and/or Pacific Islander background (AAPI) pursuing graduate studies. Scholarships are renewable for up to four years.
  • Apply here

Tina E. Yeh Community Service Fellowship

  • Amount: Up to $5,000
  • Description: This scholarship is for Asian American graduate students, undergraduates, and recent graduates of Yale University willing to intern for at least ten weeks at a recognized nonprofit that serves the Asian American community.

Toigo Foundation Scholarships

  • Amount: Varies
  • Description: The Toigo Foundation provides MBA funding as well as networking and other forms of support to students from ethnic and racial minority backgrounds looking to earn MBAs. Students earning dual degrees, including an MBA, may also apply.

Wayne F. Placek Grants

  • Amount: $15,000
  • Description: This grant from the American Psychological Association supports students at the postgraduate level, including those writing their doctoral thesis, in any branch of the social or behavioral sciences researching LGBT issues.

Women in Medicine LGBTQ Leadership Scholarship

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Description: This scholarship is open to women studying medicine in the U.S. or Canada who have demonstrated leadership within the LGBT community. Successful applicants must attend the Women in Medicine (WIM) conference.

How to Stand Out on Your Scholarship Applications

Scholarship applications consist of a variety of components, including transcripts, essays, statements of financial need, and letters of recommendation. Putting it all together can feel daunting, but it’s really an opportunity to show off. Scholarship committees read a wide variety of applications, and you want to make sure you stand out by creating the best application package possible. The following tips can help you do just that.

Beef up Your Extracurriculars

Extracurricular activities are just as important for graduate scholarship applications as they are for undergrad applications. Pick activities you’re passionate about, whether that’s sports, the arts, volunteering, or something else. Describe why you’ve taken time out of your busy schedule to pursue these activities in particular to help show your passion and dedication both in and out of school.

Apply to as Many as You Can

Increase your odds of getting multiple scholarships by applying for as many as you can. Don’t fall behind in your studies but try applying to a wide range of scholarships. Have a template of essays and a resume that you can easily modify for different applications to save some time.

Apply to Scholarships with More Eligibility Requirements

Some scholarships are only open to a very specific minority group, and they just won’t be for you. However, some scholarships have wide eligibility requirements to include students from all kinds of underrepresented backgrounds in terms of race, orientation, gender, etc. Scholarships with more eligibility requirements can help expand your list of potential funding opportunities.

Get Letters of Recommendation

Scholarship committees want to get to know you, so be sure you choose individuals who know you well to write your letters of recommendation to help show how great you are. The person’s title is much less important than them being someone you worked closely with or developed a mentor/mentee relationship with. These relationships ensure your letters of recommendation aren’t generic but tell the story of what makes you unique and a great choice for any scholarship.

Wow With Your Essay

The essay lets a scholarship committee hear about you in your own words. It’s where you can show why you care about attending grad school and discuss the impact a scholarship will have. Moreover, the graduate school scholarship essay is a good place to discuss your minority status and the impact it’s had on your life and goals, making the essay an especially important aspect of a minority scholarship application.

Be First in Line and Before the Deadline

Get your application in ahead of time to avoid risking a missed deadline. Submitting your application early also gives the committee time to reach out if they want any more information, like another letter of recommendation, and allows you to meet that request before the deadline.

Look for Local and Regional Scholarships

While many of the scholarships listed in this guide and in our other write-ups on scholarships for master’s students are open to students across the U.S., many other foundations and organizations offer local scholarships for residents of a particular town or even alumni of a particular high school. Look for funding opportunities like this with smaller pools of applicants to see if any are a fit. Because the pool of applicants is much narrower than a national scholarship program, you have greater odds of being chosen if you’re eligible.

Go-to Graduate School Resources for Minority Students

In addition to scholarships, there are a wide variety of other resources to help ease your transition into grad school. These include blogs, websites, rankings lists, advice from fellow students, and more. See below for a few examples of helpful graduate school resources for minority students to get you started.

  • American Campus Communities: For those relocating for grad school, ACC helps you find off campus housing near your school for a comfortable commute.
  • APA Grad School Podcasts: This series of podcasts from the American Psychological Association covers different aspects of grad school from a variety of perspectives.
  • APAGS Resource Guide for Ethnic Minority Graduate Students: Compiled by and for ethnic minority graduate students, these 102 pages are full of advice and resources for health and success in grad school.
  • ASU Campus Mental Health Resources: Arizona State University is just one of many campuses offering counseling and other mental health services to graduate students.
  • Betterhelp: This source provides remote talk therapy with licensed therapists for when in-person counseling can’t fit into a busy grad student’s schedule.
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): You may have filled out your FAFSA for undergrad, but did you know you can use it for grad school too? Federal grants and loans can also help you fund grad school.
  • LinkedIn: A social media site for professional matters, LinkedIn is a great way to network with fellow students, alumni, faculty, and more sometimes before you even set foot on campus.
  • National Center for Education Statistics: Looking for hard data on grad school? NCES provides detailed statistics on student demographics, outcomes, and more for a variety of grad programs.
  • National Grad Crisis Line: Similar to 911 and 988, this is a 24/7 hotline for graduate students experiencing mental health or personal crisis.
  • POC Postgrad Resource List: This Excel sheet compiled by a first-generation PhD student at Johns Hopkins University targets POC students pursuing STEAM graduate degrees.
  • Princeton Review Rankings: The Princeton Review ranks different grad programs on how well-supplied they are to handle minority student needs. See if your school makes the grade!
  • r/GradSchool: A general grad-school forum, this Reddit is a great place to ask questions and connect with fellow students.
  • r/LawSchool: This Reddit gives advice and offers commiseration on the law school experience as well as an opportunity to answer questions from your fellow law students.
  • r/MedSchool: This Reddit forum is for medical students to exchange information and sympathy with fellow students from a variety of programs.
  • Sublet.com: Another housing resource, this site provides furnished rooms and apartments, especially helpful to students in shorter grad courses.