Two Pacific Islander women smiling with flowers in their hair

Scholarship Tips and Opportunities for Asian and Pacific Islander Students

In honor of AAPI Heritage Month, here are some scholarship action steps and awards to apply to for Asian American and Pacific Islander students.

As a scholarship expert, I’m often asked about scholarships related to race, ethnicity, and heritage. It’s always smart for a scholarship seeker to include their heritage as a possible search category. Private companies, organizations, and foundations craft scholarship opportunities that honor or celebrate race, ethnicity, and heritage that align with corporate missions to increase diversity and opportunity in education and the workforce. In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, here’s a spotlight on some Asian American and Pacific Islander scholarship opportunities as well as three steps to approach searching for scholarships that align with your heritage.

Scholarship action steps for AAPI students

As mentioned before, heritage should absolutely be a search category for Asian American and Pacific Islander students when conducting their scholarship search process. Here are three key steps to follow.

Step 1: Use national scholarship search engines

Most scholarship search engines, such as CollegeXpress's Scholarship Search tool, enable students to find and filter opportunities that align with their heritage. It will require completing an account or profile before conducting your search, which can take some time on the front end but can save tremendous time in the long run. Check out online resources and create profiles for scholarship searching sooner rather than later.

Step 2: Research foundations related to your heritage

Many local, regional, national, and international foundations that support individuals of a specific heritage will offer scholarships. And most foundations offer multiple opportunities, so they can be a goldmine of potential scholarships. Key-word search examples include:

  • Pacific Islander + Organization + Scholarship
  • Asian American + Foundation + Scholarship

Including the year will also assist you in finding opportunities that are current. Two examples for Asian American students include the NAPABA Law Foundation and APIA Scholars. I highly recommend emailing these foundations to inquire about additional opportunities, as they’re generally connected to multiple organizations and can streamline research time.

Related: Scholarship FAQ: Expert Advice to Start Your Search With Confidence

Step 3: Expand your search with additional keywords

Many scholarship seekers make the mistake of limiting their search to opportunities that align with them too specifically, such as “Chinese American Scholarship.” Always expand your search with larger categories of scholarships, such as “Asian American Scholarship,” “Diversity Scholarship,” and “Minority Scholarship.” Expanding your search categories always equates with an expansion of possibilities. 

Scholarship opportunities for AAPI students

The following are examples of scholarships open and available to students who identify as Asian American and/or Pacific Islander:

ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund

The ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund is open to first-year law students who are Black/African American, Native American, Hispanic American, or Asian/Pacific Islander. It’s sponsored by the American Bar Association with an award of $15,000 and has a deadline that falls in April yearly. 

AANAPISI Scholarship

The AANAPISI Scholarship is open to students of Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity as defined by the US census. Applicants must be the first in their family to attend college, demonstrate financial need, and be enrolled as a full-time student in an APIA Scholars AANAPISI partnering college. Awards are given up to $5,000, and some are even multi-year awards. The deadline for this opportunity falls in November.

Related: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heroes of History: 5 Incredible Figures

APIA Scholarship Program

The APIA Scholarship is open to students enrolling as an undergraduate at a US accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 2.7. Applicants must be of Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity as defined by the US Census and a citizen or national/legal permanent resident of the US. Citizens of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau are also eligible to apply. Multiple awards of up to $20,000 are offered, and the deadline is in January. 

Chinese American Construction Professionals Scholarships

The CACP Scholarship is open to Chinese American undergraduate juniors and seniors as well as graduate students pursuing careers in architecture, engineering, design, or construction-related fields. Multiple awards up to $3,000 are available and have deadlines in June every year. Additionally, even if you don’t win a scholarship, all applicants are offered one free year of membership to the association.

NAPABA Law Foundation Scholarships

The NAPABA Law Foundation Scholarships are open to Asian Pacific American students pursuing Law degrees. There are multiple awards offered up to $7,500 with deadlines in March, June, September, and December. All the scholarships offered by the foundation use one combined application to expedite the process for applicants.

Related: Why the Scholarship Search Matters, Plus Quick Tips and Tricks

Remember: Race, ethnicity, and heritage are only one collective category of many that scholarship seekers can and should pursue. Be sure that it’s among your search categories but not your only search category. Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! 

Celebrate AAPI heritage further by checking out these 6 Great Colleges for Asian and Pacific Islander Students.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:

About Jean O'Toole

Jean O’Toole is an educational consultant and author of the bestselling book Scholarship Strategies: Finding and Winning the Money You Need. Over the past 15 years, she has helped tens of thousands of students in the United States. Individuals collectively have been awarded millions of dollars by applying Jean’s scholarship strategies. In 2008, Jean co-founded Connections101, a company specializing in providing motivational tools for scholarship searching. It is her goal to empower students to design their paths to their future without college debt. Visit Connections101.com for more information, and follow Jean on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Maurice Whan

Maurice Whan

$2,000 Spring Scholarship Contest Winner, 2021

This year has been tough for my family and myself, so receiving this scholarship has been a blessing in disguise! CollegeXpress has been an excellent resource in helping me prepare financially for college. Thank you again for this amazing opportunity!

Ida Akoto-Wiafe

Ida Akoto-Wiafe

High School Class of 2022

I wanted a school that wasn't too far away from home and could provide me with a full-ride scholarship. CollegeXpress helped me put into perspective the money I had to pay to attend those schools, which ultimately drove me to choose to attend a community college first to get used to being in college before transferring to the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, one of the colleges I was able to research further on CollegeXpress.

Daniel Ogunlokun

Daniel Ogunlokun

High School Class of 2022

When I started looking at colleges in the beginning of my senior year, I was conflicted about which ones I wanted to attend based on safety, tuition costs, location, academic rigor, and prestige. Searching the internet and getting more questions than answers, I came across CollegeXpress, which made all the steps I had taken look like a minor issue. Everything was summarized and detailed, and I couldn't be more thankful and appreciative.

Melanie Kajy

Melanie Kajy

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me tremendously during my senior year of high school. I started off using the college search to find more information about the universities I was interested in. Just this tool alone gave me so much information about a particular school. It was my one-stop shop to learn about college. I was able to find information about college tuition, school rank, majors, and so much more that I can't list it all. The college search tool has helped me narrow down which college I want to attend, and it made a stressful process surprisingly not so stressful. I then moved to the scholarship search tool to find scholarships to apply for because I can't afford to pay for tuition myself. The search tool helped me find scholarships that I was eligible for. The tool gave me all the information I could ever need about a particular scholarship that was being offered. The CollegeXpress scholarship search tool is so much better than other tools offered, like the Chegg scholarship search. Thanks to CollegeXpress, I was able to apply to tons of scholarships in a relatively easy way!

Yuhlani Patterson

Yuhlani Patterson

High School Student

CollegeXpress has helped me find so many scholarships that fit me. They match me to colleges I have specific interest in to make searching for colleges way easier and more efficient. CollegeXpress refers me to schools that have my major of interest and backup schools if I want to change my mind. CollegeXpress also gives out their own scholarships, so you have even more of a chance at gaining multiple scholarships. This website has helped me de-stress from the pressure of not being able to afford college, [of finding] what schools are right for me, and how to find easy access to scholarships that most people never knew existed.

College Matches
X

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Goldey-Beacom College

Wilmington, DE

Union University

Jackson, TN

Trine University

Angola, IN

Gonzaga University

Spokane, WA