As recent statistics demonstrate that around 40.4 million immigrants and foreign-born citizens are currently residing in the nation, there is a rising demand for organizations to provide scholarships for immigrants and first generation Americans to finance a college degree.
Although the United States has a legacy of being the globe’s “land of opportunity,” young people whose immigrant parents have little education are frequently held back from achieving their highest potential in academia due to financial limitations. Luckily, the following are 25 of the best scholarships available to remove barriers to higher education for immigrants and first generation Americans nationwide.
1. Achievement Scholarship for Refugees and Immigrants
Deadline: March 31st
For residents of Wake County in North Carolina who have completed at least one academic year at a county high school, the Triangle Community Foundation offers the Achievement Scholarship for Refugees and Immigrants for up to $4,000 annually for attending any two or four-year institution full-time in the state. Eligible applicants must be first-generation U.S. citizens or immigrants, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher, and demonstrate a commitment for becoming a contributory member of society.
Achievement Scholarship for Refugees and Immigrants
324 Blackwell St. Suite 1220
Durham, NC 27701
2. Alfred Hugo and Gerda Else Radke Scholarship
Deadline: April 8th
Established at Averett University from a generous endowment from a beloved couple who immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1950, the Alfred Hugo and Gerda Else Radke Scholarship presents $1,000 each year to international or first-generation American students who are currently enrolled full-time. Qualified candidates should demonstrate financial need, intend to graduate from Averett with a bachelor’s degree, and have a GPA of 3.0 or better.
Alfred Hugo and Gerda Else Radke Scholarship
420 West Main St.
Danville, VA 24541
3. Ann Biggs/Thelma Salazar Scholarship for First-Generation Immigrants
Deadline: June 1st
At the University of Texas at San Antonio, the Ann Biggs/Thelma Salazar Scholarship for First-Generation Immigrants is awarded annually for up to $2,000 to first-generation Americans who have at least one parent who immigrated to the United States, with preference given to those from Mexico or Central America. Applicants must be enrolled full-time with good academic standing, show financial need, be pursuing a baccalaureate degree, and submit a copy of parent’s arrival-departure records.
Ann Biggs/Thelma Salazar Scholarship for First-Generation Immigrants
One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249
4. Banatao Family Filipino American Education Scholarship Fund
Deadline: April 28th
Through the Asian Pacific Fund, the Banatao Family Filipino American Education Scholarship Fund provides five annual awards for $5,000 to first-generation Americans of Filipino descent who will be enrolling full-time as a freshman undergraduate student at an accredited four-year institution of California. Eligible candidates must be majoring in engineering, mathematics, computer science, environmental science, or physical sciences with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Banatao Family Filipino American Education Scholarship Fund
225 Bush St. Suite 590
San Francisco, CA 94104
5. Caroline Sanecki Kuspa First-Generation American Scholarship
Deadline: April 15th
In honor of a first-generation American born to Polish immigrants in 1912 who was a passionate advocate for the arts, the Downriver Council for the Arts offers the Caroline Sanecki Kuspa First-Generation American Scholarship for $500 to high school graduates who are pursuing post-secondary education in any art form, including music, dance, theatre, literature, film, graphic design, and visual arts. Qualified applicants must be first-generation Americans, reside within the 21 DCA communities, and demonstrate financial need.
Caroline Sanecki Kuspa First-Generation American Scholarship
81 Chestnut St.
Wyandotte, MI 48192
6. Chin Shui Kuen and Allen Chin Scholarship
Deadline: May 5th
For immigrants and first-generation U.S. citizens of Chinese descent, the Chin Shui Kuen and Allen Chin Scholarship is granted through the Asian Pacific Fund to provide $1,000 in financial support for pursuing a graduate degree in economics from an accredited American institution. Candidates should have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, be pursuing a career in academia, and be involved in research topics that benefit Asian Americans in economic need.
Chin Shui Kuen and Allen Chin Scholarship
225 Bush St. Suite 590
San Francisco, CA 94104
7. D.H. Gustafson Family Paradigm Foundation Scholarship
Deadline: February 28th
Within the Eagan Foundation, the D.H. Gustafson Family Paradigm Foundation Scholarship is distributed annually for $1,000 for male and female immigrants or first-generation Americans who are currently residing and/or attending school in Eagan, Minnesota. In order to qualify for this scholarship funding, high school graduates should have financial need, possess a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, and demonstrate leadership in community involvement.
D.H. Gustafson Family Paradigm Foundation Scholarship
P.O. Box 211192
Eagan, MN 55121
8. Douvas Memorial First Generation American Scholarship
Deadline: April 30th
Named in honor of a generous bequest from Peter George Douvas, who was an immigrant from Greece to the Wyoming Department of Education, the Douvas Memorial First Generation American Scholarship provides $500 to first-generation American citizens whose parents were not born in the United States. Applicants must be high school seniors between the ages of 18 and 22, reside in Wyoming, and be entering their first year of undergraduate study in the state.
Douvas Memorial First Generation American Scholarship
2300 Capitol Avenue
Cheyenne, WY 82002
9. Educators for Fair Consideration New American Scholars Program
Deadline: March 12th
For those who intend to graduate from high school within the San Francisco Bay Area, the Educators for Fair Consideration New American Scholars Program offers up to $7,000 annually for foreign-born students with a minimum GPA of 3.3 or higher who will be enrolling full-time in an accredited undergraduate program. Candidates must submit a high school transcript, two personal essays, three recommendation letters, and evidence of being born in a country outside of the United States
Educators for Fair Consideration New American Scholars Program
354 Pine St. Suite 700
San Francisco, CA 94104
10. Esperanza Education Foundation Scholarships
Deadline: April 1st
Ranging in value from $5,000 to $20,000 depending on financial need, the Esperanza Education Foundation Scholarships are granted annually to immigrant students in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia with two parents who were born outside of the United States. Regardless of immigrant status, applicants must be graduating high school seniors, plan to enroll full-time at an accredited public university, and submit an essay on their involvement in the immigrant community.
Esperanza Education Foundation Scholarships
P.O. Box 27507
Washington, DC 20038
11. Foroutan Foundation Scholarship
Deadline: May 15th
Funded by the Foroutan Foundation, the Foroutan Foundation Scholarship is designed to give up to $10,000 annually to first-generation immigrants to the United States of Iranian descent who will be pursuing an undergraduate degree at an accredited university or college. Qualified applicants must be incoming freshmen or transfer students, have U.S. citizenship or legal residence in California, and possess a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher from a public high school.
Foroutan Foundation Scholarship
18101 Von Karman Avenue Suite 700
Irvine, CA 92612
12. George and Anita Rimler Scholarship
Deadline: February 15th
At the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), incoming freshmen are eligible to receive the George and Anita Rimler Scholarship for $1,000 as support for pursuing an undergraduate degree in business full-time with honors. With preference given to first-generation American students with financial need, the award is only open to deserving students who will maintain at least 15 credit hours per semester with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher.
George and Anita Rimler Scholarship
1015 Floyd Avenue 1st Floor
P.O. Box 843026
Richmond, VA 23284
13. Jack G. Shaheen Mass Communications Scholarship
Deadline: April 1st
Sponsored by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the Jack G. Shaheen Mass Communications Scholarship presents $1,000 annually to an extraordinary first-generation American student of Arab heritage who is majoring in journalism, radio, television, and/or film with at least junior-level standing. Applicants must submit a one-page statement of career goals, two original signed letters of recommendation, and an official academic transcript.
Jack G. Shaheen Mass Communications Scholarship
1990 M St. NW Suite 610
Washington, DC 20036
14. James Angelo Memorial Social Justice Scholarship
Deadline: May 1st
In honor of a refugee from South Sudan who was shot and killed in the fall of 2008 while working as a security officer in Portland at Mercy Hospital, the Maine-African Partnership for Social Justice has created the James Angelo Memorial Social Justice Scholarship to award $5,000 annually. Candidates must be first-generation African immigrants, be graduating high school seniors, and have an interest in pursuing a career in social work or criminal justice to affect social change in the local African immigrant community.
James Angelo Memorial Social Justice Scholarship
P.O. Box 16
Peaks Island, ME 04108
15. Kereakos Family Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: April 15th
At Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC), the Kereakos Family Memorial Scholarship is presented annually for $1,000 to an incoming freshman who is in an immigrant, child of an immigrant, or a first-generation American citizen with financial need. Eligible candidates must exhibit good academic standing with a cumulative GPA of 2.8 or higher, be entering community service-oriented careers, and be planning to pursue a four-year degree.
Kereakos Family Memorial Scholarship
851 30th Avenue SE
Rochester, MN 55904
16. Marcella Kochanska Sembrich Vocal Competition Scholarship
Deadline: April 5th
In memory of the great Polish soprano who made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1883 and led an extravagantly successful career, the Marcella Kochanska Sembrich Vocal Competition Scholarship is hosted by the American Council for Polish Culture for up to $1,500. Eligible first-generation U.S. citizens of Polish descent must be pursuing higher education study in voice or music, be under the age of 35 years old, not be under professional management, and submit a recording of a 19th or 20th century operatic aria.
Marcella Kochanska Sembrich Vocal Competition Scholarship
15 East 65th St.
New York, NY 10065
17. Mary Rosenblum Somit Scholarship Fund
Deadline: April 1st
Within the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo, the Mary Rosenblum Somit Scholarship Fund will award $3,000 annually to hard-working undergraduate students who are majoring in biochemistry, biomedical science, pharmacology, or toxicology with at least sophomore-level standing. Candidates must be immigrants or children of immigrants, show financial need, exhibit academic promise, and submit a personal essay.
Mary Rosenblum Somit Scholarship Fund
127 Sherman Annex
Buffalo, NY 14214
18. Mexican American Dream Scholarship
Deadline: October 25th
For outstanding students who are immigrants or of immigrant descent, the Mexican American Dream Scholarship is offered through the Council of Mexican Federations (COFEM) for $1,000 to provide financial support in pursuing an undergraduate degree at a four-year university. Applicants must be AB-540 students, be enrolled full-time with at least 12 units, have a minimum GPA of 2.8 or greater, demonstrate financial need, reside in Southern California, and agree to complete at least 50 hours of volunteer service.
Mexican American Dream Scholarship
125 Paseo de La Plaza Suite 500
Los Angeles, CA 90012
19. National Italian American Foundation Scholarships
Deadline: March 1st
Ranging in value from $2,000 to $12,000, the National Italian American Foundation offers annual scholarships for first-generation Americans of Italian descent to cover the cost of tuition for enrolling full-time in an undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate, medical, dental, or legal professional program. For consideration, applicants must demonstrate high academic achievement, outstanding potential, financial need, and dedication to community service.
National Italian American Foundation Scholarships
1860 19th St. NW
Washington, DC 20009
20. New Immigrant Scholarship Program
Deadline: April 15th
Through the National Network of Presbyterian College Women, the New Immigrant Scholarship Program distributes $1,500 annual awards to female immigrants to the United States between the ages of 18 and 25 years old who have been living in the country for fewer than five years, regardless of immigration status. Applicants must be enrolling in an accredited post-secondary institution, demonstrate financial need, be involved within the Christian church, and submit two sealed letters of recommendation.
Related: Scholarships for Christian Students
New Immigrant Scholarship Program
100 Witherspoon St. Suite 3044
Louisville, KY 40202
21. Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans
Deadline: November 1st
Annually, the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans are gifted for up to $25,000 to 30 deserving students who are green card holders, naturalized citizens born abroad, or the children of naturalized citizens born in the United States. Qualified candidates must be pursuing a graduate degree in any field, promote a strong sense of community, already hold a bachelor’s degree, have not reached their 31st birthday, and express a commitment to the values expressed within the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans
224 West 57th St.
New York, NY 10019
22. Reggie Poyau Memorial Scholarship
Established in 2004 in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greater Plymouth County to honor the memory of a Haitian immigrant who died while studying abroad in Africa during his junior year at Brandeis University, the Reggie Poyau Memorial Scholarship is granted for $2,150 annually to a deserving immigrant or first-generation American citizen. Selection will be based on applicants’ financial need, ambition, educational goals, character, and academic promise.
Reggie Poyau Memorial Scholarship
107 Wheeler Avenue
Brockton, MA 02301
23. SALEF Fulfilling Our Dreams Scholarship
Deadline: May 31st
Sponsored by the Salvadoran American Leadership and Educational Fund (SALEF), the Fulfilling Our Dreams Scholarship is available for $1,000 to immigrants and first-generation American students in the Los Angeles area who are enrolling at a community college, vocational/trade school, university, graduate school, or medical/dentistry school. Applicants must be pursuing a health-related degree, prove financial need, maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher, participate in community service, and be of Central American descent.
SALEF Fulfilling Our Dreams Scholarship
1625 West Olympic Blvd. Suite 718
Los Angeles, CA 90015
24. Smart Cookie Scholarship Fund
Deadline: April 2nd
Administered through the Women’s Foundation of California, the Smart Cookie Scholarship Fund is available for first or second-generation immigrants from Latin America who reside in Fremont, Newark, Menlo Park, Union City, Hayward, East Palo Alto, Redwood City, North Fair Oaks, or Santa Clara. Qualified applicants must be first-generation college students, be currently enrolled in an undergraduate program, showcase significant financial need, display leadership potential in the immigrant community, and foster a culture of respect.
Smart Cookie Scholarship Fund
340 Pine St. Suite 302
San Francisco, CA 94104
25. Turkmani Family Scholarship for First-Generation Americans
Deadline: February 23rd
At Cornell University, the School of Hotel Administration presents the Turkmani Family Scholarship for First-Generation Americans annually for up to $1,500 to undergraduate students who are currently enrolled in Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Hotel Administration program full-time with good academic standing. Strong preference will be given to immigrant students or first-generation children of immigrants who are from Western New York State.
Turkmani Family Scholarship for First-Generation Americans
174 Statler Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
Overall, whether you are a naturalized citizen or a permanent resident with immigration status, pursuing advanced education beyond high school is strongly associated with higher employment rates, an increased salary potential, enhanced rates of home ownership, and heightened independence from public service programs. Therefore, be sure to check out these 25 great scholarships for immigrants and first generation Americans to overcome the rising cost of tuition and get on the right track to achieving your American Dream for success.