17 Scholarships for First-generation Hispanic Students

It’s no longer news that the Hispanic population has risen to 62.1 million in 2021 making them occupy 18.7% of the US population, and this also positively affected their high school educational growth. According to the United States Census Bureau in 1996, 58.2% of the Hispanic population ages 25 to 29 graduated from high school; by 2021, the share increased to 88.5%.

However, their college graduation rate is very poor, in fact, they have the lowest college completion rate among the minority group in the United States. The major reason for this is that first-gen Hispanic/Latino college students don’t get the necessary support from their families during college, according to IECA (Independent Educational Consultant Association)

The bright side is that there are several scholarships for first-generation Hispanic students that you might be fortunate to receive aid that will totally cover your whole fee plus provide monthly or annual Stipends.

We would encourage you not to only limit yourself to these scholarships exclusively for Hispanic students, but endeavor to also apply for other funds, including full-tuition scholarships like full-ride scholarships for law students, or fully-funded scholarships for agricultural students. But, if any of these full scholarships seem harder to get, then try and apply for other free scholarships for undergrads.

One thing you should know is that there are several scholarships out there, some of them will even have little concern over your grades, you just need guts and persistence to apply them.

Without much talk, let’s list these scholarships. 

scholarships for first-generation Hispanic students

Scholarships for First-generation Hispanic Students

1. Fiesta Del Sol Scholarship

For more than 2 decades the Guadalupe A. Reyes Fiesta del Sol Scholarship Program has awarded over $1.3 million on scholarships to first-generation Hispanic students from the Southwest side of Chicago. Candidates must have earned a minimum CGPA of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale or equivalent).

Also, you need to showcase financial need, demonstrate community or school service and must reside on the Southwest side of Chicago.

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2. The Hispanic Health Professional Student Scholarship

This is among the scholarships for first-generation Hispanic students that were established in 2004 by NHHF (National Hispanic Health Foundation) and as of 2023, they have successfully awarded approximately $2 million to 346 scholars. Currently, they are awarding 24 scholarships to graduate students in dental, medical, public health, policy, physician assistant, pharmacy, and podiatry students and BSN or graduate students in nursing school.

The scholarship is worth $5,000 annually for up to four years, as well as individual scholarship awards of $2,000 each.

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3. DR. Juan Andrade Jr. Scholarship for Young Hispanic Leaders

This scholarship seeks to recognize Hispanic students who share Dr. Andrade’s lifelong commitment to servant leadership. Each of the recipients of the scholarship will receive $1,000 for a four-year institution or $500 for a two-year institution and a complimentary registration to attend the USHLI National Conference.

The award might not really be so big, but it can help pay for some minor expenses.

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4. Esperanza Fund Scholarship

This is one of the scholarships for first-generation Hispanic students from Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. Applicants must plan to enroll full-time in an accredited, public two-year community college or four-year university in the US, demonstrate financial need, and have a household income of less than $100,000.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a citizen to be eligible.

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5. HENAAC, Great Minds in STEM

For more than 3 decades, GMiS (Great Minds in Stem) has recognized the achievements of America’s top engineers and scientists from the Hispanic community through the HENAAC (Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation).

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6. The Hector and Gloria López Foundation Scholarship 

Currently, this foundation is awarding a $2.4M grant benefitting Latino, first-generation students at UTSA (University of Texas at San Antonio). Like every other grant for first-generation Hispanic students, recipients don’t need to pay it, and their criteria for choosing are mostly focused on financial needs.

The best part is that recipients will receive full tuition assistance, however, only 15 outstanding students will be chosen, which makes it extremely competitive.

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7. Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Unlike most of the scholarships for first-generation Hispanic students we have listed, the HSF scholarships are awarded to 10,000 outstanding students. That’s one of the highest numbers of recipients you’ll ever see from a foundation.

Scholars will have access to a full range of invaluable Scholar Support Services, including career services, mentorship, leadership development, knowledge building, and wellness training. Also, scholars will receive up to $5,000, have access to select internship and job opportunities with HSF corporate partners, and many other access.

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8. Hispanic Scholarship Consortium

If you’re a student leader with a clear vision for your future, then you should apply for the HSC Scholars program. Not only will recipients receive scholarships but also mentorship and leadership training.

Besides being of Hispanic Heritage, applicants also need to plan to enroll in an accredited two-year or four-year college or university in the United States, also hold a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale, and must reside in Texas (U.S. citizenship not required).

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9. HACU Scholarship Program 

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) awards various scholarships to eligible students. Each month they provide separate kinds of scholarships, so it will be advisable to register so to get updated and notified on awards you met their requirements.

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10. Café Bustelo® El Café Del Futuro Scholarship

Café Bustelo currently awards twenty-five $5,000 scholarships for first-generation Hispanic students at HACU-member institutions to help further their education. Applicants will write an essay in English or Spanish (800 words or less) to share how their heritage, family, and community have impacted their desire and motivation to obtain a college degree; how they plan to give back to their community; and what they intend to accomplish with their degree.

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11. Indiana Latino Institute Scholarship

This list of scholarships for first-generation Hispanic students wouldn’t be complete without mentioning ILI scholarships because they provide several financial aid to Latino/Hispanic students. They include;

  • ILI Medical Interpreter Scholarship: for college students who would like to pursue medical interpreter training
  • ILI Academic Scholarship: ILI awards need and merit-based scholarships to outstanding graduating high school seniors and current undergraduate and graduate college students.
  • Alivio Medical Scholarship: also for students seeking to enter the medical field
  • ILI Promise Scholarship

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12. ScholarSHPE

SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) provides more than $1.8 million to up to 350 STEM students annually to ensure that finance doesn’t become a hindrance for them to complete their bachelor’s degree. Applicants need to be active SHPE members (so you need to join ASAP), have a minimum Cumulative GPA of 2.5, intend to pursue a STEM degree, and plan to enroll at an accredited two-year or four-year college/university in the US.

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13. Hispanic Dental Association Foundation Scholarship

Thanks to generous and strong support from corporate partners and individual donors like Colgate-Palmolive, Crest Oral-B, A-dec, Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, Dr. Lilia Larín, etc, this foundation has been able to annually provide Scholarships and grants to first-generation Hispanic dental students. One of the major criteria for applying is that candidates need to show commitment and dedication to improving and serving the oral health of the Hispanic community.

The scholarship amount varies, depending on donors’ funding.

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14. League of United Latin American Citizens

LULAC provides several scholarships for first-generation Hispanic high school seniors and undergraduate & graduate college students. My major interest is in the LULAC National Scholarship Fund which was established in 1975 to help youths in underserved communities make the dream of college enrollment a reality.

Unlike most other scholarships for first-generation Hispanic students we have listed, this requires applicants to either be U.S. citizens, legal permanent resident,s or be granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The amount ranges from $250 to $2,000 and to be eligible to win the $2,000 worth of scholarship, you need to have at least a 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale.

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15. National Association of Hispanic Nurses Scholarships

Annually, NAHN awards scholarships to active and eligible members who are enrolled in accredited LVN/LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse), associate, diploma, baccalaureate, and graduate nursing programs. The amount awarded depends completely on the amount donated.

Basically, the major requirement for receiving this scholarship is just to become a member.

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16. USC Latino Alumni Association

For more than 47 years, the University of Southern California Latino Alumni Association has awarded over $22.4 million in scholarships to 9,400 USC students who are committed to the Latino/Hispanic community. Their annual scholarships range from $2,000 to $5,000 for undergraduate students, and $500 to $5,000 for graduate students.

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17. MALDEF Scholarship

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund provides a law school scholarships program to support law students who seek to further the foundation’s mission of advancing the civil rights of the Latino community in the United States. They provide up to $10,000 worth of scholarships to 15 outstanding law Hispanic/Latino students.

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You can see there are several scholarships for first-generation Hispanic/Latino students provided by different organizations and foundations. In fact, most accredited colleges and universities in the United States partner with these firms to provide different scholarships to Hispanic students.

We would advise you to go through the scholarship resource of the school you intend to enroll in and see if they provide the scholarship you need. Or, go through these scholarships and view the schools partnering with them.

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