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Asian and Pacific Islanders comprise a growing percentage of business school students. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) reported that specialized master's programs saw the percentage of Asian students increase from 12% to 14% from 2011-2021.
These degree programs are expensive, however. The average cost of an MBA was $55,000 in 2015-2016, and costs have only risen since then. Still, professionals also increase their annual earnings after completing their graduate degrees. So, many Asian and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) seek scholarships for MBA programs to offset costs.
This guide explores scholarships for MBA enrollees. Read on to learn more about scholarships available only to Asian and Pacific Islander graduate students in the United States.
Scholarships for Asian and Pacific-Islander MBA Students
- Amount: 140 scholarships with amounts up to $5,000
- Application Deadline: Due in December
The Pauahi Foundation is a privately-funded organization. Each year, the foundation awards 140 scholarships of varying amounts (up to $5,000) to undergraduate and graduate learners. The foundation gives preference to students with Native Hawaiian ancestry, though people of other ethnicities can also apply.
Scholarship recipients must be attending MBA programs in the United States. Most of the scholarships are for full-time students, though a few can be awarded to part-time enrollees.
You only need to fill out one application on the Pauahi Foundation's website to be considered for all eligible awards. The foundation closes applications in December, awards scholarships in March, and dispenses funding in August.
- Amount: $5,000
- Application Deadline: April
This fellowship is only available to Yale undergraduate and graduate enrollees who demonstrate financial need. Offered by the Asian Pacific Fund, the Tina E. Yeh Community Service Fellowship offers $5,000 for students who intern for at least 10 weeks at an Asian-serving nonprofit in the United States or Canada.
Created by the Association of Asian American Yale Alumni (AAAYA), the fellowship honors Tina E. Yeh '83, who died in a plane crash. It aims to encourage low-income individuals to get involved with AAPI-oriented advocacy and community service work.
- Amount: $1,000
- Application Deadline: May 19
Honoring economics professors Liang-Lin and Katharine Hsiao, the Hsiao Memorial Economics Scholarship is awarded based on financial need and the "strength of professional recommendations."
Scholarships are available only to students who have at least one Asian parent and plan to enroll in economics MBA programs. Evaluators also give preference to applicants who plan to pursue a career in research or academia, preferably studying low-income Asian or Asian-American communities.
- Amount: $500-$5,000
- Application Deadline: June
Korean American and Korean students (defined as students with at least one Korean parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent) can apply for scholarships ranging from $500-$5,000 offered by the Korean American Scholarship Foundation. Applicants must apply to the KASF regional office where their universities are located, following instructions specific to each office.
Applicants must have GPAs of at least 3.0 and be enrolled in full-time programs. Candidates are evaluated based on merit, extracurricular activities, essays, and recommendations. Financial need is also a factor.
- Amount: Half of graduate school tuition and fees and a $25,000 living stipend for one or two years
- Application Deadline: October
Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans supports 30 graduate students each year as they pursue full-time programs.
"New Americans" are defined as children of immigrants, adoptees born outside of the United States, Green Card holders, refugees, asylum seekers, and naturalized citizens. Applicants must also be 30 or under, and both of their parents should have been born outside of the U.S.
Fellowship winners receive half of their tuition and fees, up to $20,000, along with $25,000 living stipends, for one or two years. Recipients with at least two years of graduate school to complete earn two years of funding. However, applicants in their second year of graduate school may only receive one year of funding if they only have a year left in their programs.
- Amount: $1,500
- Application Deadline: May
Offered by Against the Grain Productions, the Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship is issued to individuals who demonstrate "exemplary leadership, vision, and passion" in the Asian American community. To apply, students must be at least one-quarter Asian and U.S. citizens or permanent residents and maintain at least a 3.5 GPA. They should also plan to enroll full time in a master's degree program (undergraduates are also eligible) by the following calendar year.
Applying for the scholarship requires a video presentation, an essay, letters of recommendation, and an interview. Applicants are judged on their leadership history and academic work, along with the quality of their video and essay submissions.
- Amount: $5,000
- Application Deadline: March 31
The Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship is available to "racially/ethnically diverse" learners completing their final years of healthcare management graduate programs. So, only MBA students in Healthcare Administration or similar are eligible for this scholarship.
The Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) awards up to 15 of these scholarships each year. Only historically underrepresented Americans or Canadians who demonstrate financial need are eligible to apply. Applicants who are Student Associates of the ACHE are given priority.
Additional Resources for Financial Assistance
Financial Considerations for AAPI Grad Students
The Center for Economic Policy and Research (CEPR) reports that 56.8% of the Asian American and Pacific Islander workforce has at least a bachelor's degree. This is higher than the rest of the workforce: Only 32.7% hold bachelor's degrees or higher. What's more, Asians are the best-represented minority demographic in graduate business programs.
However, "AAPI" is a wide-reaching umbrella that consists of many subgroups, some of which are more likely to be low-income. These include Burmese Americans, 32.6% of whom are low-income, Mongolian Americans (27%), and Malaysian Americans (25.2%). Contrast this to the AAPI group with the smallest percentage of low-income residents: Indian Americans at 9.1%.
These statistics alone demonstrate that some AAPI groups are less likely to be able to pay for MBA programs than others. So, certain AAPI subgroups have more of a need for MBA grants and scholarships to fund their educations and build generational wealth. AAPI students can also apply for scholarships from professional organizations as well.
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