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The Education Data Initiative reports that US student debt totaled almost $1.75 trillion in 2021. This debt often impacts underserved racial minority students more. Yet there are ways to make college more affordable — like applying for scholarships.
Almost half of Black graduates see their debt significantly increase within four years of graduation. On average, Black individuals owe $25,000 more than white students. Black students also often owe more than their net worth. These factors result in high monthly payments that many struggle to pay.
A publication from the American Institutes for Research shows similar trends for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) majors. In public school bachelor's degree programs, 42% of Black, American Indian, and Hispanic STEM learners accrued over $30,000 in debt — compared to 17% of students not in those groups.
The number of Black and Hispanic students receiving STEM degrees remains low. However, scholarships, grants, and federal student aid can make STEM careers more accessible.
Below, you can find several scholarships for under-resourced groups. This diverse list includes academic, identity, and need-based awards. Some are exclusively for students pursuing STEM degrees, while others are open to all majors.
Don't despair if the deadline's passed — these scholarships are offered annually and should be back for 2023. You can also explore your state government's page or CareerOneStop for extra financial aid resources.
Scholarships for Black STEM students
The following scholarships promote Black enrollment and retention in STEM degrees. The UNCF funds several of these scholarships. You can find more scholarships on their website.
Some scholarship programs only accept applicants who attend historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU).
Amount: $5,000 (undergraduate); $10,000 (graduate) Deadline: May 31, 2022
Eligibility limitations: Black student (no first-year applicants); minimum 3.0 GPA; interested in working with Intel; pursuing an approved science, engineering, or computer science major
About: Students submit transcripts and respond to three essay questions. Intel offers winners internship, networking, and research opportunities.
Amount: $40,000 ($10,000 per year) Deadline: January 9, 2023 (application opens August 1, 2022)
Eligibility limitations: Black/African American high school senior
About: Honoring Ronald H. Brown, the scholarship program looks for community leaders. Applicants should prove academic excellence and service mentality. They must provide recommendation letters, essays, and transcripts.
TE Connectivity African Heritage Scholarship Program
Amount: Up to $22,500 for two years Deadline: October 7, 2022 (application opens July 2022)
Eligibility limitations: Rising Black, African American, or multiracial college sophomore; 3.0 minimum GPA; pursuing an approved major (STEM included)
About: TE Connectivity requests copies of transcripts and the 1040 tax form. Students write an essay about overcoming challenges and present a recommendation letter. Winners take part in a summer internship.
Organizations like La Unidad Latina Foundation (LULF) and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) offer multiple scholarships. We've highlighted a few of their awards below.
Other scholarships are only available to students attending a Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) member institution. You can find a list of HACU-member schools here.
Café Bustelo El Café del Futuro Scholarship
Amount: $5,000 Deadline: July 1, 2022
Eligibility limitations: Latino/a student attending an HACU-member school; at least 18 years old; 2.0 minimum GPA
About: Café Bustelo honors individuals committed to improving their Latino/a communities. Applicants must write an essay explaining how their Latino heritage has shaped their academic and career goals.
Amount: Up to $30,000 over three years Deadline: March 17, 2023 (application opens January 2, 2023)
Eligibility limitations: Hispanic or Latino/a STEM majors; 3.0 minimum GPA; attended high school or currently attends a college in Northern California; community college student or rising junior/senior at a four-year institution
About: The Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley awards 100 scholarships per year. Applicants submit a personal statement, a recommendation letter, and transcripts. Winners may enjoy summer internships.
Professional organizations such as the American Indian Science and Engineering Society offer scholarships specifically for Indigenous Americans. Many require students to prove tribal citizenship.
The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) scholarships
Amount: $1,000-$20,000 Deadline: May 31, 2022
Eligibility limitations: AISES member; 3.0 minimum GPA; STEM major and university requirements vary
About: AISES partners with companies like Chevron and ExxonMobile to provide several STEM scholarships. Students generally submit tribal citizenship proof, essays, and a resume. They also need recommendation letters and transcripts.
American Indian Graduate Center NextEra Energy Foundation (NEEF) Scholarship
Amount: $5,000 per year Deadline: June 1, 2022
Eligibility limitations: Undergraduate/graduate student; American Indian Tribe or Alaska Native group member
About: The NEEF scholarship supports students pursuing a career in renewable energy. Approved majors include STEM disciplines. The foundation also accepts applicants pursuing energy, cultural sustainability, and environmental degrees.
Additional scholarships for racial minorities in STEM
Many organizations welcome applicants from more than one or any racial minority group. If you identify as Black, Indigenous American, or Latino/a, you may also be eligible for some of the scholarships in this section.
Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) - Bernard Harris Scholarship Program
Amount: $5,000 Deadline: May 5, 2023
Eligibility limitations: African American or Hispanic high school senior at a CGCS school; plans to pursue a STEM major; 3.0 minimum GPA; accepted at a four-year institution
About: Students write two essays and list their completed high school STEM classes. They need present transcripts and two recommendation forms.
José E. Serrano Educational Partnership Program with Minority-Serving Institutions
Amount: $45,000 in total support over two years Deadline: Application opens on September 1, 2022
Eligibility limitations: Rising junior at a minority-serving institution; maintains 3.2 minimum GPA; STEM major
About: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offers scholarships to STEM students who uphold its mission of science, service, and stewardship. Winners participate in two summer internships.
Amount: $20,000 ($5,000 per year) Deadline: May 15, 2023
Eligibility limitations: Rising first-year college student pursuing an actuarial degree; meets one minimum score requirement: 3.0 (GPA), 600 (SAT math), or 21 (ACT); Black, Middle Eastern, North African, Latino/a, or Indigenous American descendent
About: Students must prove math skills through grades or state test scores. The Actuarial Foundation expects a recommendation letter and proof of financial need.
This article was reviewed by Laila Abdalla, Ph.D. and Monali Mirel Chuatico
Laila Abdalla obtained her Ph.D. in English from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She taught undergraduate and graduate courses in English and successful writing at Central Washington University for over 21 years.
Currently, Abdalla serves as a Washington state career coach and advocate for individuals on temporary state assistance. Abdalla has devoted her career, teaching, and leadership to matters of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Above all, she is committed to her clients' and students' complete experience, raising awareness of BIPOC issues in employment, language, community, and culture.
Abdalla leads with equity in management and nonprofit volunteering, and continues to develop her own understandings of these complex issues — both professionally and in her lived experiences.
Laila Abdalla is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network.
In 2019, Monali Mirel Chuatico graduated with her bachelor's in computer science, which gave her the foundation that she needed to excel in roles such as a data engineer, front-end developer, UX designer, and computer science instructor.
Monali is currently a data engineer at Mission Lane. As a data analytics captain at a nonprofit called COOP Careers, Monali helps new grads and young professionals overcome underemployment by teaching them data analytics tools and mentoring them on their professional development journey.
Monali is passionate about implementing creative solutions, building community, advocating for mental health, empowering women, and educating youth. Monali's goal is to gain more experience in her field, expand her skill set, and do meaningful work that will positively impact the world.
Monali Mirel Chuatico is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network.