According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council, colleges and universities actively 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, there are many financial aid options to help students 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 help both ethnic and non-ethnic minorities. Students from certain backgrounds may qualify for ethnicity-based scholarships. Though fewer in number, some 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.
Below, we outline some MBA minority scholarships, as well as other funding opportunities.
Scholarships for Black MBA Students
- The Hubertus W.V. Willems Scholarship for Male Students
- Amount: Up to $3,000
- Deadline: May 15
The Hubertus W.V. Willems Scholarship for Male Students supports men enrolled in engineering, chemistry, physics, or mathematical sciences programs. Applicants must be U.S. citizens enrolled at accredited institutions in the United States. Graduating high school seniors and undergraduate students must be full-time learners with a minimum 2.5 GPA, while graduate student applicants may be enrolled full time or part time. Graduate students need a minimum 3.0 GPA for consideration.
While not required, membership to the NAACP is preferred. Applicants must demonstrate financial need based on federal poverty guidelines. Approximately 20-40 scholarships are awarded each year, with a maximum amount of $3,000. The application window extends from mid-March to mid-May.
- TMCF Walmart Foundation First Generation Scholars Mentorship Program
- Amount: $250 per semester
- Deadline: June 16
As a joint venture by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and the Walmart Foundation, the First Generation Scholars Mentorship program provides financial support to outstanding students enrolled in one of the 47 member schools within the TMCF network. Applicants apply to serve as mentors to first-generation scholars, assisting them as they adjust to life on a college campus.
Eligible students must have a minimum 3.25 GPA, U.S. citizenship, and full-time enrollment status.
To apply, students submit a resume; college transcript; and one letter of recommendation from a current instructor, faculty member, or TMCF campus coordinator. Additional application materials include answers to application questions about goals, learning experiences, and obstacles faced during collegiate study.
- Agnes Jones Jackson Scholarship
- Amount: $2,000
- Deadline: May 15
Candidates must have current NAACP membership. Applicants must also hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and demonstrate financial need based on federal poverty guidelines. This scholarship is reserved for U.S. citizens under the age of 25 attending school full time.
To apply, students submit official transcripts, financial information, a one-page essay, evidence of full-time enrollment, and three letters of recommendation.
Additional Information: Members of the NAACP board of directors, Special Contribution Fund, NAACP Scholarship Selection Committee, National Youth Work, and their families may not apply for this award.
- Robert Toigo Foundation Fellowship
- Amount: $1,000
- Deadline: March 27
Qualifying applicants need full-time enrollment at an accredited U.S. 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/as, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and South Asian Americans. Second-year fellows may apply for additional awards of up to $10,000.
After submitting an application, candidates must complete an interview. Scholarship recipients receive career training along with financial aid.
- National Association of Black Accountants Scholarship Program
- Amount: $1,000-$5,000
- Deadline: December 31
NABA awards three types of scholarships to qualifying African American students: the NABA National Scholarship, Corporate Partner Scholarship, and NABA Member Scholarship. Applicants must be active student members of the NABA, enroll full-time as graduate students or be accepted into an MBA program, and hold a minimum 3.3 GPA.
Candidates must submit a current resume, a letter of recommendation, a personal biography of 75 words or less, a professional headshot, a 500-word essay, and transcripts.
Professional Organizations for Black Students
Founded to support black professionals 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
- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Scholarship Award For Minority Accounting Students
- Amount: $3,000-$5,000
- Deadline: March 1
The AICPA Scholarship Award for Minority Accounting Students supports undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree in accounting or an accounting-related field who intend to enter the accounting profession. Recipients can use scholarship funds for educational expenses including tuition, fees, housing, and textbooks.
Ethnic minorities enrolled full time in a program accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business may apply. For consideration, applicants must demonstrate financial need, hold U.S. citizenship or permanent residential status, and must maintain a cumulative and major GPA of at least 3.0.
- Hispanic Scholarship Fund
- Amount: $500-$5,000
- Deadline: Feb 15
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 the FAFSA or state financial aid application (if applicable).
U.S. citizens, permanent legal residents, DACA status holders, and eligible noncitizens -- as defined by the FAFSA -- may apply for this scholarship.
- Prospanica Foundation's Scholarships
- Amount: $2,000-$5,000
- Deadline: May 27
The Prospanica Foundation's Scholarships go 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 students must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA 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.
- Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Graduate Scholarship
- Amount: $2,000-$5,000
- Deadline: May 27
This scholarship is granted to graduate students studying science, technology, engineering, or mathematics in the United States. The amount awarded depends on 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, announced in the fall
Established in 1997, the Goldman Sachs MBA Fellowship awards outstanding, first-year MBA students with funding and summer employment. This opportunity remains open to African American, Hispanic, Latino/a, Native-American, and female MBA students pursuing a summer associate position at Goldman Sachs.
Recipients receive 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.
Professional Organizations for Hispanic and Latino/a Students
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 it offers 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 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: May 1
To qualify, applicants need full-time enrollment in a graduate or professional program at an accredited U.S. institution, and they must demonstrate financial need. Candidates must also be a member of a federally recognized American Indian tribe or Alaska Native group, or they must 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 and eligible Canadians enrolled full time in an accredited undergraduate or graduate program. Applicants must be registered members of a recognized tribe or descendants of at least one grandparent or parent who is a tribal member. Qualifying students also need a minimum 2.0 GPA.
- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants 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 ethnic minority student studying accounting or an accounting-related major, including business.
Candidates must plan to pursue a CPA credential. Before applying, students must complete at least 30 semester hours of college coursework, maintain an overall minimum 3.0 GPA, and show evidence of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. Applicants must also hold 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 American Indian Scholarship
- Amount: $4,000
- Deadline: Feb. 15
This scholarship was developed to help Native American students of any age, tribe, and state pay for higher education. While graduate students may apply, DAR gives preference to undergraduate applicants.
Eligible students must hold a minimum 3.25 GPA, 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 Scholarships
- Amount: Varies
- Deadline: Varies, check in the fall
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 must submit an 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 offers a variety of membership 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 6
Eligible applicants must demonstrate at least 25% Asian or Pacific-Islander ethnicity and provide proof of U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residency. Candidates also need enrollment in an accredited U.S. graduate program, a minimum 3.5 GPA, and evidence of strong leadership skills.
Students of all majors may apply. 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 Scholarship Program
- Amount: $3,250
- Deadline: Feb. 28
Available to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and 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 within two semesters of graduation.
Candidates must submit a resume, unofficial transcripts, a reference letter, headshot, and an essay. Finalists must provide official transcripts.
- Government Finance Officers Association 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 advisor, dean of their graduate program, or department chair. Along with a letter of recommendation, applicants must provide a resume, transcripts, a graduate plan of study, and a statement of purpose.
- Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership Scholarship
- Amount: Varies
- Deadline: Feb. 15
The CAPAL offers two different scholarship internships for graduate students: the Public Service Internship Program and the 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 in 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 need U.S. citizenship and current enrollment in a graduate program. Candidates must demonstrate a 3.0 GPA or higher and submit transcripts, a resume, a 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, this scholarship provides lodging management students with educational funding. Eligible candidates need U.S. citizenship and enrollment in an undergraduate or graduate hospitality management program with a minimum 2.5 GPA.
Students of Asian Indian descent, members of other minority groups, and Auro Hotels employees receive preference.
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 opportunities. 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 assist partners and sponsors in achieving business growth. AscendNAAMBA hosts a Women's Leadership Council, national conference, and mentoring programs.
Scholarships for Undocumented MBA Students
- Immigrant's Rising Scholarship Fund
- Amount: $7,000
- Deadline: March
Low-income college and graduate students may apply for funding through the Immigrant's Rising Scholarship Fund. Graduates from San Francisco high schools or learners planning to attend a college or university in the San Francisco area may qualify.
Applicants must demonstrate financial need, be foreign-born without U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status, and be enrolled or plan to enroll in an accredited college or graduate program. High school students need a minimum 3.3 GPA, while college and graduate students need a minimum 3.0 GPA to apply. Recipients must participate in Immigrant's Rising events and maintain GPA requirements throughout the year.
- Boundless American Dream Scholarship
- Amount: $1,500
- Deadline: June 30
This scholarship funds promising DACA and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) students who want to improve the world through technology. To qualify, applicants must have come to the U.S. before their 16th birthday. 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 must submit biographical information, a resume, transcripts, and three short essays.
- 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 at 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, DACA recipients, and those who graduated from high school or college in the United States. Students with previous DACA status and learners awaiting a DACA decision may also apply, along with refugees and individuals granted asylum. Candidates must be under the age of 31 and 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 combating 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 U.S. 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, 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 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. Membership benefits include job listings, networking events, and discounts.
Imprint provides immigrant professionals with many services, including educational advising, credential evaluation, and employment placement. The organization also helps unemployed or underemployed immigrants find positions that fit their skill and education levels.
The NILC defends the rights of low-income immigrants. The 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.
Some scholarships are offered exclusively to members of certain groups, such as minorities. Others are awarded based on background, work, or military experience. You can learn more about scholarships on the Federal Student Aid Office website.
Grants provide funding for tuition, 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 and non-ethnic. Ethnic grants apply 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-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate students with demonstrable financial need may apply.
When possible, students take jobs related to their major. 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 during any time period. Graduate students may only apply for unsubsidized loans.
- Private Loans
Private lenders, such as banks or credit unions, offer private loans. Unlike federal loans, private lenders set the terms and conditions of loans, and borrowers must usually undergo a credit check.
Private loan recipients must pay interest while they attend school, and interest rates 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 through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website.
Filing the FAFSA
Students must complete the FAFSA to apply for federal student aid, including loans, work study programs, and grants. The FAFSA is available in English and Spanish and provides access to the largest source of student financial aid.
FAFSA filing deadlines depend on when the applicant plans to attend school. You may submit the FAFSA until June 30, 2020, to receive funding for the 2019-2020 school year, but each state sets its own deadlines, which you can view on the FAFSA website.
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 ID to complete the 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 take time 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 for 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 and National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, offer MBA minority scholarships.
Pay Attention to Details
Scholarship candidates may need 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, attention to detail is crucial. It is important to proofread before submitting a final draft.
Search Specifically for Minority Scholarships
Many scholarships are created to help minority students pay for college. School financial aid advisors can provide more information about these awards. Local organizations, ethnicity-based groups, churches, and employers are also potential sources of information.
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. It also processes and distributes the FAFSA, 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 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 to empower U.S.-based migrant and seasonal farm workers through education and business, this unique program offers children of U.S. farm workers $250-$10,000 to pursue and complete an MBA degree.