As the National Center for Education Statistics reports that 10% of all public school students or 4.7 million students total in the United States are English language learners (ELL), many private organizations and universities have created scholarships for ELL and ESL students. Since college students who speak English as a second language (ESL)are forced to overcome significant challenges to achieve a post-secondary education, scholarships are increasingly important for providing the financial support to enroll in appropriate language assistance programs. If you are not a native English speaker, the following are 25 of the best scholarships specifically for ESL and ELL students to access the resources you need for success in the college classroom.
1. ANU Cultural Awareness Grant for ESL Studies
Deadline: April 1st
At the English Language Institute of American National University, the Cultural Awareness Grant for ESL Studies is designed to provide up to $6,000 to international students enrolled in the ESL program who are not sponsored by their native country’s embassy or other governmental agency. Eligible students whose native language is not English must be accepted for enrollment in the Directed Study portion of the beginning or advanced ESL program to receive paid increments of $500 each term.
ANU Cultural Awareness Grant for ESL Studies
9705 Liberia Avenue Suite 299
Manassas, VA 20110
2. Collins Fund for English Language Learners Scholarship
Deadline: February 1st
With the goal of providing financial support to graduating ELL high school seniors who have a desire to continue their post-secondary education at an accredited U.S. institution, the Collins Fund for English Language Learners Scholarship grants $1,000 so that students have greater opportunities for higher education. Qualified candidates must be English language learners, have been accepted at a two or four-year college, and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 or GEM standard average score of 650.
Collins Fund for English Language Learners Scholarship
1618 SW First Avenue Suite 505
Portland, OR 97201
3. Communicate and Connect Scholarship Essay Contest
Deadline: May 15th
Sponsored by Rosetta Stone, the Communicate and Connect Scholarship Essay Contest offers up to $3,000 for graduating English as a Second Language (ESL) high school seniors who compose the best original 500-word essay describing how learning English impacted their life and opened up a world of possibilities. Contest participants must be full-time matriculated high school seniors, plan on enrolling in an accredited U.S. higher learning institution, and hold citizenship status or have an official student visa.
Communicate and Connect Scholarship Essay Contest
1919 North Lynn St. 7th Floor
Arlington, VA 22209
4. Dr. Mina Houtan Foundation Scholarship
Deadline: June 1st
Annually, the Dr. Mina Houtan Foundation awards a $3,500 scholarship to ESL students of Iranian descent who fluently speak Parsi and demonstrate an active interest in promoting Iran’s great culture, heritage, language, and civilization in higher education. Along with the application, students must submit two letters of recommendation, an official college transcript, a personal essay discussing goals and aspirations written in Parsi, and a letter of acceptance into an accredited four-year university.
Dr. Mina Houtan Foundation Scholarship
300 Central Avenue
Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234
5. Educate It Forward ELL Hispanic Heritage Scholarship
Deadline: May 14th
For outstanding graduating high school seniors of Hispanic or Latino descent, the Educate It Forward ELL Hispanic Heritage Scholarship is presented annually for $1,000 to Limited English Proficient students who are seeking the opportunity to overcome challenges for achieving the biggest life accomplishment: earning a college degree. Candidates must be nominated by an ELL teacher, be currently or formerly enrolled as an ELL secondary student, and demonstrate extraordinary academic commitment.
Educate It Forward ELL Hispanic Heritage Scholarship
869 Midwood Drive
North Bellmore, NY 11710
6. ELAC Foundation Scholarship for Exceptional ESL Achievement
Deadline: March 7th
Sponsored by the East Los Angeles College (ELAC) Foundation, the Scholarship for Exceptional ESL Achievement is granted each year to honor outstanding students who are currently enrolled in 3A, 4A, 5A, or 6A ESL classes at the college and are interested in transferring to any four-year university. Eligible candidates for the $1,500 award must be making exceptional process in learning English as a Second Language, have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or better, and demonstrate financial need.
ELAC Foundation Scholarship for Exceptional ESL Achievement
1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez
Monterey Park, CA 91754
7. English for Heritage Language Speakers Scholarship Program
Deadline: August 13th
Funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), the English for Heritage Language Speakers Scholarship Program covers tuition and provides a modest monthly stipend to native speakers of other languages who are seeking the opportunity to achieve professional proficiency in English for pursuing a career in the U.S. government. Preference will be given to native speakers of Arabic, Dari, Hausa, Hindi, Igbo, Mandarin Chinese, Pashto, Persian Farsi, Punjabi, Somali, Swahili, and Urdu who have English skills at level 2+ on the ILR scale.
English for Heritage Language Speakers Scholarship Program
1400 K St. NW Suite 650
Washington, DC 20005
8. Emily Griffith Foundation Scholarships for ESL Students
Deadline: March 12th
Each year, the Emily Griffith Foundation awards numerous scholarship opportunities for ESL students from around the United States who want to improve their English or complete career certificate programs at Emily Griffith Technical College. Scholarships are open to all English language learners who require financial assistance to fund tuition and books, maintain 75% attendance in ESL classes, and receive a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher in all coursework.
Emily Griffith Foundation Scholarships for ESL Students
1250 Welton St.
Denver, CO 80204
9. Henry and Virginia Apelian American Way Scholarship
Deadline: March 1st
At Union County College, the Henry and Virginia Apelian American Way Scholarship is awarded for $2,000 to full or part-time students of Armenian descent who have completed at least 15 credit hours satisfactorily in the ESL Program. Recipients must exhibit strong academic achievement with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8 or higher and demonstrate financial need for assistance. If there are no qualifying students of Armenian descent, priority will be given to students from Eastern European countries formed from the dissolution of the U.S.S.R.
Henry and Virginia Apelian American Way Scholarship
1033 Springfield Avenue
Cranford, NJ 07016
10. International Doorway Academic Scholarship Program
As the premier leader for helping thousands of international students from Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia earn an undergraduate degree at prominent American colleges, the International Doorway Academic Scholarship Program is designed for international ESL students who are seeking to improve their English proficiency skills while attending an accredited U.S. institution. Recipients can receive up to $10,000 annually for covering the costs of English studies courses, campus housing, and meal plans.
International Doorway Academic Scholarship Program
1111 Brickell Avenue 11th Floor
Miami, FL 33131
11. J.C. Casagrande Peace Scholarship
Deadline: April 15th
Established by the University of Florida’s English Language Institute (ELI) in honor of its longest serving director to celebrate international peace, the J.C. Casagrande Scholarship is granted for the value of that term’s tuition cost to full-time undergraduate English language learners at the ELI who display outstanding progress in language skills with a cumulative GPA of 4.0. Recipients are chosen based on involvement in community service, ethical standards, dedication to promoting international peace, and personal initiative.
J.C. Casagrande Peace Scholarship
Normal Hall Room 315
P.O. Box 117051
Gainesville, FL 32611
12. Jane and David Falk ESL Scholarship
Deadline: March 1st
Sponsored by the Westchester Community College Foundation, the Jane and David Falk ESL Scholarship is presented annually for $2,000 to provide financial funding to English as a Second Language students who have enrolled in at least one term in non-credit ESL coursework before entering into a degree program. Eligible candidates must demonstrate academic achievement with a GPA of 2.5 or better, exhibit financial need, and be involved in community service.
Jane and David Falk ESL Scholarship
75 Grasslands Rd.
Valhalla, NY 10595
13. Jewel Keusder Memorial ESL Scholarship Fund
Deadline: May 1st
Established by Cypress College in memory of an extraordinary Reading and ESL instructor who made significant contributions to the development of the current ESL program, the Jewel Keusder Memorial ESL Scholarship Fund grants non-renewable $1,000 awards annually for non-native English speakers enrolled in advanced ESL courses on-campus. Candidates must have successfully completed at least one ESL core course at Cypress and plan to continue their education at any accredited four-year U.S. institution.
Jewel Keusder Memorial ESL Scholarship Fund
Humanities Building 2nd Floor
9200 Valley View St.
Cypress, CA 90630
14. Kathy Chatterton Memorial Scholarships
Deadline: April 28th
In honor of a former member of the ESL Department at Los Angeles City College (LACC), the Kathy Chatterton Memorial Scholarships provide up to $500 to outstanding upper-level ESL students who are recommended by an ESL faculty member. In order to qualify, students must plan to transfer to a four-year college in the United States, have completed at least 12 units of ESL coursework, and be currently enrolled in at least six units of ESL at Level 5 or higher.
Kathy Chatterton Memorial Scholarships
855 North Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(323) 953-4000 ext. 2700
15. Kentucky ESL Student Scholarship Recognition Awards
Deadline: March 15th
Administered by the Kentucky Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (KYTESOL), the Kentucky ESL Student Scholarship Recognition Awards provides $1,000 to graduating high school ESL seniors from Kentucky high schools who have been accepted for enrollment at any two or four-year higher institution in the state. For consideration, applicants must submit a personal essay, two letters of recommendation, a high school transcript, and a college acceptance letter.
Kentucky ESL Student Scholarship Recognition Awards
115 South Miles St.
Elizabethtown, KY 42701
16. Leo S. Rowe Pan American Fund Scholarships
Sponsored by the Organization of American States (OAS), the Leo S. Rowe Pan American Fund Scholarships are designed to offer up to $15,000 to undergraduate and graduate English language learners who have been admitted for studies at an accredited institution in the United States. Ideal candidates must be citizens of Latin American or Caribbean nations, show satisfactory academic records with an overall GPA of 3.0 or better, and agree to return to their country of origin within one year after graduation.
Leo S. Rowe Pan American Fund Scholarships
1889 F St. NW Suite 769
Washington, DC 20006
17. New Jersey ESL/Bilingual Higher Education Scholarship
Deadline: March 1st
Each year, the New Jersey ESL/Bilingual Higher Education Scholarship is presented for $1,500 for non-traditional ESL or bilingual students over the age of 25 years old who are matriculated full-time or part-time in ESL courses at a higher education institution in New Jersey. Along with the application, candidates must submit a hand-written biographical statement, an essay describing how bilingualism influences our world, a recommendation from an ESL instructor, and a current New Jersey college transcript.
New Jersey ESL/Bilingual Higher Education Scholarship
60 Main St.
P.O. Box 1026
Woodbridge, NJ 07095
18. Nora Stone Smith Scholarship for ESL/ELL Students
Deadline: March 1st
Created by the Washington Scholarship Coalition in honor of a self-educated woman who returned to school in her late 50s to complete a M.A. in Literature, the Nora Stone Smith Scholarship for ESL/ELL Students is designed to recognize deserving high school seniors who have graduated within the past year and have participated in an ESL or ESL program at some point in their lives. Regardless of citizenship status, qualified applicants can receive up to $2,000 in assistance for tuition at an accredited Washington institution.
Nora Stone Smith Scholarship for ESL/ELL Students
190 Queen Anne Avenue N Suite 260
Seattle, WA 98109
19. Patricia M. Baggett Memorial ESL Scholarship
Deadline: December 18th
Founded by the English as a Second Language Department at Onondaga Community College in memory of a beloved tutor in the English Skills Lab, the Patricia M. Baggett Memorial ESL Scholarship will grant up to $1,000 each year for outstanding students who are currently enrolled in the ESL program. The scholarship will be awarded during the spring semester to the ESL student who has achieved the highest cumulative GPA after the fall semester.
Patricia M. Baggett Memorial ESL Scholarship
4584 West Seneca Turnpike
Syracuse, NY 13215
20. SCASA Post-Secondary Scholarships for ELL High School Seniors
Deadline: April 1st
The Sonoma County Association of School Administrators (SCASA) offers $500 Post-Secondary Scholarships for graduating high school seniors in Sonoma County of California who are or have been classified as English Language Learners (ELLs) at some point during their academic career. Eligible candidates must have plans to continue their education in college full-time, submit a letter of reference, and write an original two-page essay on the challenges they have faced as a second language learner.
SCASA Post-Secondary Scholarships for ELL High School Seniors
7165 Burton Avenue
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
21. Shawnee Mission English Language Learner Scholarship Program
Deadline: April 14th
Sponsored by the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation for recognizing outstanding students in Shawnee Missions schools in Kansas, the Shawnee Mission English Language Learner Scholarship Program will award multiple $1,000 awards annually to assist graduating high school seniors who begin their educational career in an ELL program. Recipients must demonstrate a strong commitment to pursuing a post-secondary certificate or degree from an accredited U.S. institution.
Shawnee Mission English Language Learner Scholarship Program
7235 Antioch Rd.
Shawnee Mission, KS 66204
22. The Dream.US National Scholarship Fund
Deadline: March 31st
For highly motivated dreamers who want to get a college education, the Dream US National Scholarship Fund provides up to $25,000 to graduating high school ESL or ELL students who are applying to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program at partnering colleges in New York City, Miami, Washington D.C., El Paso, Rio Grande Valley, and online. Qualified candidates must be first-time college students with less than 12 credits, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher, and meet all Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) criteria.
The Dream.US National Scholarship Fund
One Scholarship Way
Saint Peter, MN 56082
23. Toyota Latino English Language Learning Foundation Scholarship
Deadline: February 1st
With the goal of helping non-native English speakers become successful in their academic lives while fostering their cultural identity, the Toyota Latino English Language Learning Foundation Scholarship offers up to $1,000 to deserving ELL students who have a desire to continue their higher education at an accredited area college. Eligible Hispanic English language learners must submit a two-page personal statement, an official transcript, one letter of recommendation, and proof of community service involvement.
Toyota Latino English Language Learning Foundation Scholarship
P.O. Box 19975
Cincinnati, OH 45219
24. Virginia ESL Supervisors’ Association Student Scholarships
Deadline: March 22nd
Annually, the Virginia ESL Supervisors’ Association awards multiple Student Scholarships for up to $2,000 for graduating high school seniors who have been enrolled in an ESL program for at least one year in grades 9-12 and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Selection for the non-renewable awards is based on financial need, academic performance, letters of recommendation, English language skills, and commitment for pursuing higher education.
Virginia ESL Supervisors’ Association Student Scholarships
1415 Amherst St.
Winchester, VA 22601
25. Washington State International Student Transfer Scholarships
Deadline: September, December, March, and June 15th
At the City University of Seattle, 40 Washington State International Student Transfer Scholarships are available each year for $3,000 to new transfer students from two-year institutions in Washington who were enrolled in an ESL program. Qualified candidates must have satisfactorily passed ESL studies with a minimum overall GPA of 2.0 or higher, write an essay describing how a degree at CityU will help achieve future goals, and provide a list of involvement in non-academic community activities.
Washington State International Student Transfer Scholarships
521 Wall St. Suite 100
Seattle, WA 98121
Overall, there are a broad range of scholarships available for helping English language learners obtain a college degree to improve their lives, better their family’s situation, and benefit their entire native community. Whether you are currently an English language learner or English is your second language, be sure to check out these 25 scholarships for ELL and ELL students to discover financial assistance for achieving your dreams of academic and career success.