As more educational institutions welcome degree candidates from diverse populations, the number of financial aid opportunities for minority students continues to grow. According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), colleges and universities actively seek to recruit women and people of color for MBA programs. Despite these efforts, minority students remain vastly underrepresented in MBA programs throughout the country.
Many financial aid options exist to help learners pay for tuition, fees, and other educational expenses. These opportunities include MBA minority scholarships, grants, and fellowships.
The cost of education may deter some minority students from entering an MBA program. Fortunately, many financial aid options exist to help learners pay for tuition, fees, and other educational expenses. These opportunities include MBA minority scholarships, grants, and fellowships. Some colleges and universities even provide fully funded programs for eligible candidates.
A wealth of MBA minority scholarships exist for both ethnic and non-ethnic minorities. Students from certain backgrounds may qualify for ethnicity-based scholarships. Though fewer in number, certain MBA minority scholarships provide funding for undocumented students, including refugees, immigrants, and students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. These scholarships do not require U.S. citizenship to qualify.
Below, we’ll explore some MBA minority scholarships, as well as other funding opportunities.
Scholarships for African American MBA Students
- Earl G. Graves Scholarship
- Amount: $5,000
- Deadline: March 29 (last Friday in March)
Administered by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), this scholarship is awarded to junior or senior business majors completing a degree at an accredited college or university. Graduate students currently enrolled or accepted at an accredited college or university may also apply. The applicant must be a full-time student in good academic standing.
Applicants should submit a typed application, official college transcripts, a one-page essay, proof of full-time enrollment, and three letters of recommendation.
Additional Info: Members of the national NAACP board of directors, SCF trustees, National Youth Work Committee, the NAACP Scholarship Selection Committee and their families are ineligible to apply.
- Agnes Jones Jackson Scholarship
- Amount: $2,500
- Deadline: March 29 (last Friday in March)
Candidates must provide a membership card demonstrating current NAACP membership. Applicants must also hold a 3.0 GPA or higher and demonstrate financial need. This scholarship is reserved for U.S. citizens under the age of 25 who are attending school full time.
To apply, students should submit recent official transcripts, financial information, a one-page essay, evidence of full-time enrollment, and three letters of recommendation.
Additional Information: Members of the national NAACP board of directors, Special Contribution Fund, NAACP Scholarship Selection Committee, National Youth Work, and their families may not apply for this award.
- Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and McDonald's True to the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Forward Scholarship
- Amount: $10,000
- Deadline: June 17
This scholarship offers a $10,000 award to full-time graduate students at any of the TMCF’s 47 member schools. Candidates must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher and demonstrate strong leadership skills and involvement in the HBCU community.
Like other MBA minority scholarships, applicants must submit a resume, recent college transcripts, a student aid report, photos detailing HBCU activity, and two 500-word essays.
- Robert Toigo Foundation Fellowship
- Amount: $1,000
- Deadline: April 30
Qualifying applicants must hold full-time enrollment at an accredited U.S.-based, two-year master’s program in business, real estate, or finance. The award is open to U.S. residents and minorities as defined by the U.S. Department of Labor, which includes African Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, Latinos, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and South Asian Americans.
After submitting an application, candidates must complete an interview. Scholarship recipients receive career training along with financial aid.
- National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) Scholarship Program
- Amount: $1,000-$5,000
- Deadline: Jan. 31
NABA awards three types of scholarships to qualifying African-American students: the NABA National Scholarship, Corporate Partner Scholarships, and NABA Member Scholarship Awards. Applicants to all must hold active student NABA membership, full-time enrollment as a graduate student or acceptance into an MBA program, and a minimum GPA of 3.3.
Candidates must submit official transcripts, a current resume, a letter of recommendation, a personal biography of 75 words or less, a professional headshot, and a 500-word essay.
Professional Organizations for African American Students
Founded to support African- Americans entering the corporate world, the NBMBAA offers networking events, job listings, and professional certification, through more than 30 chapters nationwide. The NBMBAA also offers MBA minority scholarships for students attending select schools.
Formed to enhance college students’ quality of life through Black Student Unions, the NBSU encourages members to pursue graduate and professional study. Membership benefits include networking opportunities, access to an annual conference, and professional publications.
Named after Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, TMCF is the nation’s largest black college organization. TMCF awards millions in scholarships and funding to students and participating schools, including predominantly black institutions and publicly supported HBCUs.
Scholarships for Hispanic and Latino MBA Students
- Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF)
- Amount: $500-$5,000
- Deadline: April 2
The HSF is a merit-based scholarship open to Hispanic students pursuing any major. Eligible graduate students must hold a minimum 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale, plan to enroll full time at an accredited graduate school, and complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or state financial aid application (if applicable).
U.S. citizens, permanent legal residents, DACA status holders, or eligible non-citizens as defined by FAFSA may apply for this scholarship.
- Prospanica Foundation's Scholarships
- Amount: $2,000-$5,000
- Deadline: May 31
The Prospanica Foundation’s Scholarships are presented to undergraduate and graduate students who want to make meaningful contributions to society. The awards are granted to Prospanica members who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.
Eligible Hispanic or Latino students must hold a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, or a minimum 2.75 GPA with two years of full-time work experience. Applicants must also plan to enroll in a master’s program at an accredited business school in the United States or Puerto Rico.
- Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) Graduate Scholarship
- Amount: Varies
- Deadline: June 30
This scholarship is granted to graduate students studying science, technology, engineering, or mathematics in the United States or Puerto Rico. The amount of funding awarded depends on candidates’ academic standing and financial need. Applicants must hold a minimum 2.75 GPA, enroll full time in a program, and demonstrate current SHPE membership.
- Goldman Sachs MBA Fellowship
- Amount: $35,000 and summer associate salary
- Deadline: Varies
Established in 1997, the Goldman Sachs MBA Fellowship awards outstanding, first-year MBA students with both funding and summer employment. This opportunity remains open to black, Hispanic, Latino, Native-American, and female MBA students pursuing a summer associate position at Goldman Sachs.
Recipients are given a $35,000 award in addition to the summer associate salary. Summer positions are available in select cities throughout the country.
Additional Information: A fellow may receive an additional $40,000 and full-time associate signing bonus upon successful completion of the summer internship and acceptance of a full-time offer.
- Cafe Bustelo El Cafe Del Futuro Scholarship
- Amount: $5,000
- Deadline: May 25
Open to all majors, this scholarship awards funds to full-time undergraduate and graduate students of Latino descent, who are age 18 and older. Applicants must attend a Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities member institution. Applicants must write an essay about Latino heritage, family, or community.
Professional Organizations for Hispanic and Latino Students
The ALPFA offers career development opportunities to more than 81,000 members throughout the country. Student members may explore paid summer internships with Fortune 1000 corporate partners, scholarship opportunities, and exclusive job boards.
Prospanica provides Hispanic business professionals with support and advocacy, and offers both student and professional memberships. Student members receive mentoring services, internship opportunities, and MBA minority scholarships.
Serving as a unifying voice for Latin businesses, the LBA also operates the Latin Business Association Institute, an educational research organization. LBA membership benefits include networking opportunities, exclusive annual events, and legal assistance for businesses.
Scholarships for Native-American MBA Students
- American Indian Graduate Center Fellowship
- Amount: $1,000-$5,000 per academic year
- Deadline: June 1
Applicants must be enrolled full time in a graduate or professional program at an accredited U.S. institution in the U.S., and must demonstrate financial need. Candidates must also be enrolled as a member of a federally recognized American-Indian tribe or Alaska-Native group, or provide documentation of American-Indian ancestry.
- American Indian College Fund Full Circle Scholarship
- Amount: Varies
- Deadline: May 31
The American Indian College Fund Full Circle Scholarship provides funds to American-Indian and Alaska-Native students enrolled at any eligible institution. Partnerships with corporate and private donors provide funding for the awards.
The scholarship is open to U.S. citizens or eligible Canadians enrolled full time in an accredited undergraduate or graduate program. Applicants must be registered members of a recognized tribe, or a descendant of at least one grandparent or parent who is an enrolled tribal member. Qualifying students should also maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0.
- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Scholarship Award for Minority Accounting Students
- Amount: $3,000-$5,000
- Deadline: March 1
Sponsored by the AICPA, this scholarship provides financial aid to minority students who display outstanding academic achievement. The award is open to any degree candidate studying accounting or an accounting-related major, including business. Any ethnic minority student may apply.
Candidates must plan to pursue a CPA license. Before applying, students must first complete at least 30 semester hours of college coursework, maintain an overall GPA of at least 3.0, and show evidence of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. Applicants must also hold an AICPA student affiliate membership, participate in the AICPA Legacy Scholars program, and demonstrate financial need.
Additional Information: AICPA staff and family members are ineligible to receive this scholarship.
- Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) American Indian Scholarship
- Amount: $4,000
- Deadline: Feb. 15
This scholarship was developed to help Native-American students of any age, tribe, or state pay for higher education. While graduate students may apply, the DAR gives preference to undergraduate applicants.
Eligible students must hold a GPA of 3.25 or higher, demonstrate financial need, and provide evidence of American-Indian ancestry by letter or proof papers. The scholarship application is available on the DAR website.
- National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) Scholarships
- Amount: Varies
- Deadline: Sept. 5
This award is granted to full-time undergraduate and graduate students majoring in a business-related field at an accredited college or university. Scholarship recipients must attend the NCAIED Scholarship Awards Luncheon.
Candidates should submit a completed application, along with state or federal tribal enrollment documents, official transcripts, a letter of admission or enrollment, a copy of their class schedule for the fall semester, and a personal essay.
Professional Organizations for Native American Students
Founded to promote opportunities for American-Indian students, the AIBL maintains local chapters around the country. The country’s only American-Indian organization dedicated to empowering business students, the AIBL offers a paid internship program and networking opportunities.
The AIGC partners with tribes, the federal government, foundations, and individuals to provide Native-American students with educational funding. In addition, the group offers college application and financial aid application assistance, job opportunities, and internships.
As the oldest and largest American-Indian and Alaskan-Native organization, the NCAI is home to a variety of resources. The association offers numerous types of membership and benefits, including fellowship and internship opportunities, job listings, and leadership awards.
Scholarships for Asian and Pacific-Islander MBA Students
- Against the Grain Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship
- Amount: $1,500
- Deadline: May 7
Eligible applicants must demonstrate at least 50% Asian or Pacific-Islander ethnicity, and provide proof of U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residency. Candidates must also be enrolled in an accredited U.S. graduate program, hold a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, and show evidence of strong leadership skills.
Students of all majors may apply. All applicants must submit a video presentation showcasing work and qualifications.
Additional Information: Family members of Against the Grain Productions board members may not apply for this scholarship.
- The Lagrant Foundation (TLF) Scholarship Program
- Amount: $3,250
- Deadline: Feb. 28
Available to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or DACA recipients, the TLF scholarship provides funding to full-time minority students. Applicants must be studying advertising, marketing, or public relations at an accredited institution, and must be within a year or two semesters of graduation.
Candidates should submit a resume, unofficial transcripts, a reference letter, headshot, and an essay. Finalists must provide official transcripts.
- Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship
- Amount: $10,000
- Deadline: Feb. 10
This scholarship recognizes outstanding minority students preparing for careers in state and local government finance. The one-time award is presented to American and Canadian students studying public administration, finance, business, and related majors.
Applicants must be recommended by an academic adviser, dean of their graduate program, or department chair. Along with a letter of recommendation, applicants should provide a resume, transcripts, a graduate plan of study, and a statement of purpose.
- Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL) Scholarship
- Amount: $3,500
- Deadline: Feb. 28
The CAPAL offers two different scholarships for graduate students: the Public Service Internship Program and Public Service Field Internship Program. Both awards are granted to outstanding students who demonstrate leadership potential within Asian-American, Native-Hawaiian, or Pacific-Islander communities. The Public Service Internship Program places graduate students at an internship in the Washington, D.C., area. The Public Service Field Internship Program assigns candidates to public sector positions throughout the United States.
Eligible applicants must be U.S. citizens currently enrolled in a graduate program. Candidates must demonstrate a 3.0 GPA or higher, and should submit transcripts, a resume, letter of recommendation, and a personal statement.
- Rama Scholarships for the American Dream
- Amount: $500-$3,000
- Deadline: May 1
Sponsored by the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF), this scholarship provides lodging management students with educational funding. Eligible candidates must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate hospitality management program. Applicants should be U.S. citizens or permanent residents with a GPA of 2.5 or higher.
Preference is given to students of Asian-Indian descent, members of other minority groups, and Auro Hotels employees.
Professional Organizations for Asian and Pacific Islander Students
The NAAAP strives to empower Asian and Pacific-Islander leaders through networking, professional development, and community service. Membership benefits include access to the organization’s career center, professional webinars, and resource groups.
Also known as OCO, Asian Pacific American Advocates is a membership-driven organization with more than 50 chapters throughout the country. Members gain access to job listings and receive discounts on partner services and products.
This association connects professionals and MBA students across industries to assists partners and sponsors in achieving business growth. AscendNAAMBA hosts a Women’s Leadership Council, national conference, and mentoring programs.
Scholarships for Undocumented MBA Students
- Boundless American Dream Scholarship
- Amount: $1,500
- Deadline: May 31
This scholarship funds promising DACA or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) students who want to improve the world through technology. Funds may be applied to tuition, online courses, and other educational costs.
Eligible students must attend an accredited U.S. college or university and hold DACA or TPS status, or meet certain immigration criteria. Candidates should submit biographical information, a resume, transcripts, and three short essays.
- Forté Fellows Program
- Amount: Varies
- Deadline: Deadlines are determined by individual schools
These fellowships are intended for women pursuing an MBA full or part time at select business schools.
In addition to a financial award, recipients gain access to the Forté MBA Women Leadership Conference and the Financial Services FAST Track Conference, an online networking community, job openings, and leadership programs.
- Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans
- Amount: $25,000 plus up to $40,000 for tuition and fees
- Deadline: Nov. 1
The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans supports up to two years of graduate study in any field and for any advanced degree-granting program in the United States. Fellows receive an initial award of $25,000 in stipend support, as well as 50% of tuition and fees (up to $20,000 per year) for one to two years.
Intended for U.S. immigrants and children of immigrants, this program accepts applications from U.S. citizens, green card holders, naturalized citizens, and DACA recipients. Students with previous DACA status or learners awaiting a DACA decision may also apply. Candidates must be under the age of 31, and should be full-time graduate students at a U.S. institution.
- Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund
- Amount: $10,000 per year
- Deadline: April 1
This need-based award supports students active in social and economic justice movements. U.S. citizenship is not required. Recent scholarship recipients have been involved in struggles against racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression.
Applicants must provide previous or current transcripts, a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and financial information. Candidates must be United States residents planning to enroll at an accredited school.
- Semiconductor Research Corporation Master's Scholarships Program
- Amount: Varies
- Deadline: April 13
Created to encourage underrepresented minorities to study in the semiconductor industry area, this scholarship provides funding for students who display outstanding academic achievement. Eligible candidates may be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, refugees, or political asylum seekers in the United States.
Applicants must submit official transcripts, a personal information form, official GRE test results, and three references from scientists, engineers, or faculty members.
Professional Organizations for Undocumented Students
This organization works to support, unite, and provide resources to immigrants, expats, and the international student community. The association’s forum allows members to share experiences, research, and information. IIA membership benefits include job listings, networking events, and discounts.
Imprint provides immigrant professionals with a wide range of services, including educational advising, credential evaluation, and employment placement. The organization also helps unemployed or underemployed immigrants find positions that fits their skill and education levels.
The NILC strives to defend the rights of low-income immigrants. This organization publishes educational material, provides legal counsel and advice, and conducts training sessions. The NILC also provides student resources, including scholarship information and financial aid.
Types of Funding Available for MBA Students
Scholarships are a type of financial aid sponsored by schools, companies, governments, and other organizations. Because scholarships do not require repayment, they are an ideal source of funding for students trying to avoid incurring debt.
Some scholarships are offered exclusively to members of certain groups, such as minorities. Others are awarded on the basis of parental background, work, or military experience. While many MBA minority scholarships offer ample funding, fraudulent opportunities do exist. You can learn more about scholarships on the Federal Student Aid Office website.
Grants provide funding for tuition, student fees, and other expenses. While grants do not require repayment, most are awarded on the basis of financial need, and are usually sponsored by governments, schools, and organizations.
Grants for minorities usually fall into one of two categories. Ethnic grants are provided to individuals who identify as a specific ethnicity or race. Non-ethnic grants apply to groups that are not racial or ethnic minorities, such as women. You may find additional information about grants at the Federal Student Aid Office website.
- Work Study
Federal work-study programs allow students to earn money while pursuing a degree. Full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students with sufficient financial need may apply to the program and perform part-time jobs.
When possible, students are provided with jobs related to their majors. Participants may work on campus for their institution, or at a relevant off-campus organization. Your school’s financial aid office can provide more information about the application process.
- Federal Student Loans
Issued by the federal government, federal student loans allow students and parents to borrow money for educational expenses. Unlike private loans, federal loans offer payment postponement options, income-based repayment, and low fixed-interest rates. Federal loans usually do not require a credit check.
Federal student loans may be subsidized or unsubsidized. The U.S. Department of Education pays interest on a subsidized loan while the borrower attends school, up to six months after graduation, and throughout any deferment periods. Borrowers must pay the interest on unsubsidized loans at any time period. Graduate students may only apply for unsubsidized loans.
- Private Loans
Private lenders, such as banks or credit unions, offer a type of funding known as private loans. Unlike federal loans, the lender sets the terms and conditions of private loans, and borrowers must usually undergo a credit check.
Private loan recipients must usually pay interest while they attend school, and many loans come with high variable interest rates which may increase during the repayment period. Private loans may also require a cosigner, and some do not offer forbearance or deferment options. Prospective borrowers may explore loan terms by visiting the lender directly, or learn more about specific lenders through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website.
Filing the FAFSA
Students must complete a FAFSA to apply for federal student aid, including loans, work-study programs, and grants. The FAFSA is available in both English and Spanish, and provides access to the largest available source of student financial aid.
FAFSA filing deadlines depend on when the applicant plans to attend school. You may submit a FAFSA from Oct. 1, 2017 until June 30, 2019 to receive funding for the 2018-2019 school year.
Both U.S. citizens and eligible noncitizens may complete the form. The Financial Aid Office website maintains a list of all eligible noncitizen categories. To receive financial aid, an applicant must hold a high school diploma, GED, or evidence of homeschooling, and male candidates must register with the Selective Service System. Individuals with a drug conviction or a student loan default may not receive aid.
Applicants need a Social Security number, an alien registration number (if not a U.S. citizen), federal tax returns, and a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID to complete a FAFSA. Some applicants may need to provide bank statements and investment records. The amount of aid a student receives depends on several factors, including expected family contribution, enrollment status, and estimated cost of attendance.
Scholarship Application Tips
Apply for Scholarships Early and Often
Candidates should apply for scholarships well before starting a program. Some scholarship applications may take longer than expected to complete, and additional documents, such as letters of recommendation, may be difficult to source.
Know How to Avoid Scams
Students should know how to prevent identity theft, spot potential fraud, and avoid paying for free services. While companies may legally charge money in exchange for financial aid advice, not delivering on promised services is a form of fraud. There are many free sources of financial aid information available to students. The Federal Student Aid Office offers tips on avoiding scams and identity theft.
Find Free Information
The internet, public libraries, and school financial aid offices are all great sources of free information regarding MBA minority scholarships. Federal and state agencies, religious organizations, and local businesses, may also sponsor awards. In addition, ethnicity-based organizations such as the NAACP or National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) offer MBA minority scholarships.
Pay Attention to Details
Scholarship candidates may be required to compose an application essay. Minority students may need to describe their personal experiences regarding heritage or ethnicity, or their academic and career goals. When completing an essay, paying attention to details is crucial. It is important to proofread everything before submitting a final draft.
Search Specifically for Minority Scholarships
Many scholarships are created with the purpose of helping minority students pay for college. School financial aid office advisers can provide more information about these awards. Local organizations, ethnicity-based groups, churches, and employers are also potential sources.
Additional Scholarship Resources for MBA Students
- Federal Student Aid Office: A branch of the U.S. Department of Education, the Federal Student Aid Office is the nation’s largest provider of student financial aid. The Federal Student Aid Office also processes and distributes the FAFSA form, which determines eligibility for federal student aid.
- Sallie Mae: Sallie Mae is a banking corporation that issues private student loans and offers scholarships, contests, and sweepstakes, including the Bridging the Dream Scholarship Program. Sallie Mae’s website provides free search tools for finding graduate scholarships.
- U.S. Department of Labor Scholarship Finder: Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, the CareerOneStop Scholarship Finder provides a free search engine for students seeking MBA minority scholarships. The search tool allows candidates to narrow their search field by award type, state of residency, and other criteria.
- The Consortium: This alliance of graduate business schools and organizations awards merit-based, full-tuition fellowships and internships to top MBA degree candidates. The Consortium strives to increase minority participation in member schools, corporations, and organizations.
- Rising Farmworker Dream Fund: Created with the goal of empowering U.S.-based migrant and seasonal farmworkers through education and business, this unique program offers children of U.S. farmworkers awards ranging from $250-$10,000 to pursue and complete an MBA degree.