The University Network

Scholarships For Asian American Students

Asian American and Pacific Islander college students represent a growing proportion of the student body in the United States. However, they also have the highest average unmet financial need of any ethnic group. Seventy-nine percent of Asian American students cannot pay the full cost of college, and low-income Asian American students face an average of $16,756 of unmet financial needs. 

In order to help more students of Asian descent pay their way through college, several companies, nonprofit organizations, and individual donors offer scholarships for Asian American and Pacific Islander students.

Here are eight scholarships for Asian American students.

1. APIA Scholarship Program

Asian and Pacific Islander Americans (APIA) Scholars is the largest nonprofit provider of college scholarships to Asian American students in the United States, offering several scholarships for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Awards range from one-time $2,500 to $20,000 scholarships doled out over multiple years. The application is open to Asian and Pacific Islander students of all nationalities, ethnicities, and backgrounds, but preference is given to ethnicities and nationalities that are underrepresented on college campuses, first-generation college students, and students living at or below the poverty level. Preference is also given to students who demonstrate a strong commitment to and interest in community service and leadership, as well as students who excel academically.

To apply, interested students must create an account with APIA and complete the online application. Applicants must provide personal information (including gender and ethnicity), information about their parent or guardian’s education, their own academic history (including GPA, course of study, and student status), financial information, and a CV listing extracurricular activities, work experience, and family responsibilities. Lastly, applicants are required to answer three of four essay prompts with written responses of 500 words or less.

Application Deadline: January 14

Award: Varies (from $2,500 one-year scholarships to multi-year $20,000 scholarships)

Eligibility:

  • Must be of Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity
  • Must be a citizen, national, or legal permanent resident of the United States, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau
  • Must be enrolled as an undergraduate student in a U.S. accredited college or university
  • Must have a minimum GPA of 2.7 in a 4.0 scale or GED
  • Must have completed the FAFSA
  • Must provide a letter of recommendation

2. AANAPISI Scholarship

Managed by APIA Scholars, the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI) Scholarship is developed in collaboration with AANAPISIs to provide scholarships to students attending APIA Scholars AANAPISI partner institutions. Awards range from one-time awards worth $2,500 to multi-year awards worth a total of $5,000. Preference is given to students who live at or below the poverty level, are first-generation college students, and/or are of ethnicities or nationalities that are underrepresented on college campuses. 

To apply, interested students must complete the online application, which requires students to complete the FAFSA, submit a list of extracurricular activities, work experience, and family responsibilities, and answer three of four essay prompts in 500 words or less per prompt. Preference is also given to students who demonstrate a strong commitment to and interest in community service and leadership, as well as students who excel academically.

Application Deadline: November 11

Award: Varies (from $2,500 one-year scholarships to multi-year $5,000 scholarships)

Eligibility: 

  • Must be of Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity
  • Must be a citizen, national, or legal permanent resident of the United States, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau.
  • Must be enrolled full-time in a degree-seeking program at an APIA Scholars AANAPISI partner institution
  • Must have completed the FAFSA
  • Must not already have a bachelor’s degree

3. Asian American Architects/Engineers Association Scholarship

The Asian American Architects/Engineers Association (AAa/e), an organization dedicated to supporting and empowering Asian American architects and engineers through mentorship, business development, and networking, offers scholarships to full-time students pursuing careers in architecture, engineering, construction, and related fields.

To apply, interested students must submit a one-page resume, a one-page personal statement describing their background and aspirations in architecture, engineering, or construction, two letters of recommendation, and a sample completed or proposed design or research project related to architecture, engineering, or construction (maximum five pages), accompanied by a short essay (maximum three pages) which provides project description, goals, methods, and results. For high school students, the sample project may be related to science, technology, or mathematics. For scoring criteria, see here.

Application Deadline: May 29

Award: $5,000

Eligibility: 

  • Must be of Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity
  • Must be a full-time student attending a U.S. college or university (international applicants are eligible)
  • Must be a full-time student working toward a degree or pursuing a career in one of the following professions: architecture, landscape architecture, urban design and planning, civil engineering, structural engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, transportation engineering, construction, or construction management
  • Must demonstrate a measurable level of involvement or service to the Asian/Pacific Islander community
  • Must be an AAa/e member before the application deadline

4. USPAACC CelebrASIAN Conference Scholarship

The US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce (USPAACC) offers corporate-sponsored scholarships to Asian-American students to be used toward post-secondary education. Between 10 and 20 scholarships ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 are offered every year to high school seniors. In addition to the scholarship, winners are asked to take part in virtual scholarship activities, write a thank-you letter to the sponsor of their scholarship, and write a letter to the USPAACC on their college life and studies at least once a year for their first four years of college.

To apply, interested students must complete the online application and submit a 2” x 2” headshot, a 350-400 word essay on “Why I Should be Awarded this Scholarship,” a high school transcript detailing the past two years of coursework, a copy of the most recent household tax return signed by taxpayers, a letter of recommendation from a high school teacher or guidance counselor, and a letter of recommendation from a community service organization. Students must also submit information about their intended field of study, and associated costs for the university the applicant is applying for.

Application Deadline: May 15

Award: Varies (between $3,000 and $5,000)

Eligibility:

  • Must be of Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity
  • Must be a high school senior
  • Must be at least 16 years of age at the time of application
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Must be beginning full-time study at a U.S. accredited post-secondary institution in the fall
  • Must have a minimum GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale
  • Must demonstrate leadership in extracurricular activities
  • Must demonstrate involvement in community service
  • Must demonstrate financial need

5. Prism Foundation Scholarship

The Prism Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to empowering the Asian American and Pacific Islander LGBTQ+ community, offers scholarships to outstanding students working to support the Asian and Pacific Islander and LGBTQ+ communities. Scholarships are available for a diverse group of undergraduate and graduate students of various ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, ages, and professional and academic interests. International students and noncitizens may also apply.

To apply, interested students must submit an application form that includes four short response questions and one essay prompt. Applicants must also provide a copy of their most recent transcript and one letter of recommendation from a teacher, school administrator, counselor, employer, or community leader highlighting the applicant’s community activism and leadership.

Application Deadline: June 7

Award: Varies (between $1,000 and $5,000)

Eligibility:

  • Must be attending a post-secondary institution (including community colleges, universities, and trade/vocational schools) in the United States in the upcoming academic year when applying
  • Must have a strong history of work and impact in the Asian and Pacific Islander and/or LGBTQ+ communities

6. The Tang Scholarship

The Tang Scholarship, a privately-funded scholarship established by Edward C. Yang, provides financial assistance to LGBTQ+ Asian and Pacific Islander students. Awards vary in size and may total a maximum of $60,000 over four years. In over a decade of operation, the smallest award totaled $4,000 and the largest totaled $45,000. Students are selected for awards based on their academic performance, extracurricular accomplishments, professional and personal goals, life story, and financial need. Students may pursue any major or degree at any college or university in the United States.

To apply, interested students must submit an application, including two letters of recommendation (one from a teacher and one from a supervisor, youth leader, or personal acquaintance), an official high school transcript and a college transcript, if applicable, a signed and dated personal statement on life challenges faced, extracurricular activities, and/or educational goals, evidence of financial need, and proof of citizenship or legal residency. Applicants must also participate in an interview with a minimum of four committee members.

Application Deadline: April 30

Award: Varies (maximum $60,000)

Eligibility:

  • Must identify as Asian/Pacific Islander with at least 25% percent ancestry
  • Must self-identify as either gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender
  • Must be involved in the LGBTQ+ community
  • Must graduate from a high school in one of the nine Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara County, Napa, Sonoma, or Solano
  • Scholarship will be awarded for full-time (minimum 12 units for all semesters/quarters) enrollment in an accredited two- or four-year college or graduate school (includes colleges, universities, community colleges, and trade/vocational schools)
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident
  • Must demonstrate financial need or hardship
  • Must demonstrate academic promise
  • Must have a minimum unweighted GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Must be between the ages of 17 and 25 as of the application deadline

7. Dingwall Foundation Korean Ancestry Grant

The Dingwall Foundation, an educational nonprofit established by a former Maryland professor, offers the Dingwall Foundation Korean Ancestry Grant, an educational grant worth a maximum award of $10,000 awarded to Asian American students, with a special preference for those with Korean ancestry. Awards are granted on academic achievement and the strength of the application, which includes a cover letter with a maximum of 1,000 words and at least two letters of recommendation.

To apply, interested students must submit an application featuring a personal statement with a maximum of 1,000 words, two or three letters of recommendation from professors or teachers, an official transcript from either college or high school, and an academic resume or CV.

Application Deadline: April 1

Award: Varies (maximum $10,000)

Eligibility

  • Must be of Asian ancestry, with at least one Asian grandparent, with a strong preference for applicants of Korean ancestry
  • Must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale
  • Must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program

8. Against the Grain Scholarships

Against The Grain Productions, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Asian American artists, offers several scholarships for Asian American students interested in careers in various arts and entrepreneurship. 

  • The Artistic Scholarship awards students pursuing a major in the performing, visual arts, journalism, and/or mass communications. Awards are worth $1,000 and may be applied toward school tuition and fees. To apply, interested students must submit an essay or artistic portfolio, a transcript, a resume listing leadership contributions and community service experience, letters of recommendation, and participate in a phone or in-person committee interview.
  • The Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship provides financial assistance to college seniors and graduate students who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and dedication to changing lives in the Asian American community. Awards are worth $1,500 and may be applied toward school tuition and fees. To apply, interested students must submit a video presentation showcasing their work and qualifications, an essay, a transcript, a resume listing leadership contributions and community service, letters of recommendation, and participate in a phone or in-person committee interview.
  • The #LiveLikeLyly Memorial Scholarship, dedicated to Lyly Koenig Mendez, an ATG supporter, fashion designer, and graphic designer, awards students pursuing careers in fashion or graphic design. Awards are worth $1,000 and may be applied to school tuition and fees. To apply, interested students must submit an essay or artistic portfolio, a transcript, a resume listing leadership contributions and community service experience, letters of recommendation, and participate in a phone or in-person committee interview.
  • The Lily Pabilona Emerging Entrepreneur Scholarship awards students pursuing a career in entrepreneurship. Awards are worth between $1,000 and $5,000 and may be applied toward school tuition and fees. In order to qualify for the scholarship, students must own and operate a small business that has been in business for at least one year and has been generating revenue for at least six consecutive months. To apply, interested students must provide a business plan and/or a link to their business’ website along with relevant social media accounts, as well as an essay, a transcript, a resume listing leadership contributions and community service experience, letters of recommendation, and participate in a phone or in-person committee interview.

Application Deadline: May 31 (for all scholarships)

Award: Varies by scholarship

Eligibility:

  • Must be of at least 25% percent Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity
  • Must be a citizen, national, or legal permanent resident of the U.S.
  • Must be either a high school senior or a college student currently enrolled full-time at an accredited U.S. vocational, junior college, or four-year college or university and must be a full-time associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree-seeking student by the upcoming calendar year
  • Must demonstrate leadership abilities through participation in community service, extracurricular, or other activities
  • Must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Must not be family members of the organization’s s Board members

For more scholarships, check TUN’s scholarship engine.