Funding Your PhD: Scholarships and Resources for Latino and Hispanic PhD Students

As a Latino or Hispanic PhD student, scholarships and outside funding can make or break your ability to successfully complete your program. That’s why we’ve compiled the best scholarships for Latino and Hispanic students in this guide to make funding your PhD as easy as possible.

Written By

Blake Weil

Last updated

May 02, 2023

The Latino and Hispanic community has seen tremendous educational growth recently, with a 54% increase in Hispanic and Latino doctoral recipients between 2010 and 2020. However, Hispanic and Latino students have also been identified as one of the most economically vulnerable populations in higher education. Between 2004 and 2016, Latino students saw a 60% increase in average student debt, with an estimated 36% of Latino borrowers owing more than the amount they originally borrowed 12 years after starting college. Economic burdens have been identified in research as one of the key factors thwarting Latino students’ educational aspirations.

The average Hispanic student pays $272 per month in student loan repayments—more than white students, less than Black and African American students, and about the same as Asian students. Considering this, it’s vitally important for Latino and Hispanic students to seek alternate sources of funding. Of these, scholarships are one of the best options, as they don’t have to be repaid. This article will show you a wide variety of scholarships for Latino and Hispanic graduate students with a variety of educational goals.

Scholarships for Latino and Hispanic Doctoral Students

Considering the financial burden of graduate school, students can reduce costs by pursuing a wide variety of scholarships. While scholarships are primarily used to reduce tuition expenses, many can also help with your living expenses while you are in graduate school. Various scholarships have been earmarked for Latino and Hispanic students and for students pursuing degrees in a wide variety of fields. This means that there’s likely a scholarship well suited for you no matter where your educational interests lie. Keep reading to find out what’s available.

ACAE Scholarship

  • Scholarship Amount: Varies
  • Eligibility Requirements: The Association of Cuban-American Engineers (ACAE) provides a scholarship for undergraduate and graduate students of Cuban and other Hispanic heritage to pursue degrees in engineering.
  • Apply Here

AICPA Fellowships for Minority Doctoral Students

  • Scholarship Amount: $12,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) Foundation provides 25 scholarships for minority accounting PhD students hoping to become future educators in accounting. Applicants must already be licensed as a CPA and have applied to or be currently pursuing a full time PhD or DBA.
  • Apply Here

ALA Spectrum Scholarship Program

  • Scholarship Amount: $5,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: The American Library Association (ALA) Spectrum Scholarship Program provides funds to support ethnic and racial minorities studying library sciences at the graduate level. Recipients also receive scholarships to attend the ALA Spectrum Leadership Institute. Applicants must be American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Middle Eastern/North African, and/or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander and also plan to attend an ALA-accredited graduate program in library and information science or a school library media program recognized by the American Association of School Librarians.
  • Apply Here

American Bus Association Diversity Scholarship

  • Scholarship Amount: $5,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: The American Bus Association Diversity Scholarship is focused on promoting underrepresented minorities in the travel and transportation industries. Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible and must submit a 500-word essay outlining their intent to work in and advance the transportation, motorcoach, travel, and tourism/hospitality industries.
  • Apply Here

American Physical Therapy Association Minority Scholarship

  • Scholarship Amount: $5,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: The American Physical Therapy Association offers scholarships to racial and ethnic minorities pursuing post-professional doctoral degrees in physical therapy. Applicants must be currently licensed physical therapists who have already completed at least two full semesters of doctoral coursework.
  • Apply Here

APSA Diversity Fellowship Program

  • Scholarship Amount: $5,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: The American Political Science Association (APSA) Diversity Fellowship is designed to help political science scholars from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds pursue graduate studies. Applicants must have applied for or currently be in the early stages of a doctoral program, with a demonstrated interest in teaching and potential for political science research.
  • Apply Here

ASA Minority Fellowship Program

  • Scholarship Amount: $20,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: The American Sociological Association (ASA) Minority Fellowship Program provides funding to doctoral-level sociology students from underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities. Applicants must be advanced in their sociology PhD program at the time of application.
  • Apply Here

AWWA David Caldwell Scholarship

  • Scholarship Amount: $5,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: The American Water Works Association David Caldwell Scholarship is open to female and ethnic/racial minority students seeking a graduate degree in engineering related to drinking water. 
  • Apply Here

BECA Foundation Scholarships

  • Scholarship Amount: $500-$2,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: The BECA Foundation provides scholarships to Latino undergraduate and graduate students from San Diego County, CA, including those pursuing careers in healthcare through the Alice Newell Joslyn Memorial Scholarship. While requirements vary by scholarship, students generally need to have either graduated from high school in San Diego County or currently attend a college or university in San Diego County.
  • Apply Here

Brown and Caldwell Minority Scholarship

  • Scholarship Amount: $5,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: Brown and Caldwell provides a scholarship for college juniors and seniors and graduate students pursuing degrees in engineering or environmental sciences. Students must identify as a member of a minority group and have a 3.0 GPA.
  • Apply Here

Charles Cheesman’s Student Debt Reduction Scholarship

  • Scholarship Amount: Up to $7,500
  • Eligibility Requirements: Charles Cheesman’s Student Debt Reduction Scholarship seeks to reduce the burden of student debt on minority students. The scholarship is open to undergraduate and graduate students and to college graduates who identify as first-generation Hispanic/Latino American and/or African American. To apply, students must submit an essay detailing their background, pursuits, and intent for the money they would save if they received the scholarship.
  • Apply Here

Chicana Latina Foundation Scholarships

  • Scholarship Amount: $1,500
  • Eligibility Requirements: The Chicana Latina Foundation provides scholarships for 40-45 Chicana and Latina women committed to equality and justice for their community. Awards are available to both undergraduate and graduate students in Northern California. Graduate students applying must have a minimum GPA of 2.7.
  • Apply Here

EMPOWER Scholarships

  • Scholarship Amount: $1,500
  • Eligibility Requirements: The EMPOWER Scholarship is designed to support ethnically diverse students pursuing a career in medicine or rehabilitation. The award is open to students in Minnesota and Wisconsin and is selected based on the applicant’s stated intentions, past accomplishments, need, and class ranking.
  • Apply Here

The Esther Ngan-Ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Scholarship

  • Scholarship Amount: $18,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: The Esther Ngan-Ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Scholarship is designed to support women from underrepresented ethnic and racial minorities obtaining graduate degrees in sociology. They must be pursuing a dissertation related to the concerns of women of color.
  • Apply Here

Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship

  • Scholarship Amount: $27,000, renewable up to three years
  • Eligibility Requirements: The Ford Foundation offers predoctoral fellowships to graduate students completing coursework that will lead them to either a PhD or ScD. Students may be enrolled in any research-based program of study and must have heritage from a select group of underrepresented minorities, including Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans.
  • Apply Here

FTE Fellowships for Latino/a, Asian, and First Nations Doctoral Students

  • Scholarship Amount: Varies
  • Eligibility Requirements: The FTE Fellowship is offered to sustain PhD and ThD students of Hispanic, Asian, and First Nations descent through their graduate studies. The fellowship is open to students studying religion, theological studies, or biblical studies who have completed the coursework stage of their degree.
  • Apply Here

George A. Strait Minority Scholarship

  • Scholarship Amount: Varies
  • Eligibility Requirements: The George A. Strait Minority Scholarship is granted by the American Association of Law Libraries to a student either enrolled in a graduate library program or law school in the U.S. interested in pursuing a career in law librarianship. It is open to members of recognized minority groups as defined by current U.S. guidelines.
  • Apply Here

Great Minds in STEM Scholarship

  • Scholarship Amount: $500-$5,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: The Great Minds in STEM Scholarship supplies need- and merit-based funding for both undergraduate and graduate degrees across STEM and health-related fields. Students must be enrolled in a program and have a minimum GPA of 2.5 for need-based funding or 3.0 for merit-based funding. Applicants must either be of Hispanic/Latino descent or be committed to helping underserved populations.
  • Apply Here

Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Scholarships

  • Scholarship Amount: Varies
  • Eligibility Requirements: The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities administers several scholarships for Hispanic and Latino undergraduate and graduate students studying at member colleges. While eligibility varies, students generally must be enrolled in a degree program at the time of their application.
  • Apply Here

Hispanic Scholarship Consortium Scholarship Program

  • Scholarship Amount: Varies
  • Eligibility Requirements: The Hispanic Scholarship Consortium offers a variety of renewable scholarships for Hispanic undergraduate and graduate students living in Texas. While eligibility varies based on the individual scholarship, all applicants must be of Hispanic/Latino heritage, reside in Texas, and have a GPA of 2.5.
  • Apply Here

Hispanic Scholarship Fund

  • Scholarship Amount: $500-$5,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: The Hispanic Scholarship fund supplies students of Hispanic heritage with funding for graduate school. They must be planning to enroll in a public or not-for-profit graduate program in the U.S. and have a minimum GPA of 2.5.
  • Apply Here

LAGRANT Foundation Graduate Scholarships

  • Scholarship Amount: $2,000-$3,250
  • Eligibility Requirements: The LAGRANT Foundation provides 100 scholarships to ethnic minority students pursuing graduate education in advertising, marketing, and public relations. Recipients also receive a trip to New York, NY; Portland, OR; or Minneapolis, MN; for career development.
  • Apply Here

LULAC National Scholarship Fund

  • Scholarship Amount: $250-$2,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) National Scholarship Fund provides scholarships to Hispanic students seeking higher education. Graduate school applicants for the award must be either enrolled full- or part-time in their program and be a constituent of a participating LULAC Council.
  • Apply Here

Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship

  • Scholarship Amount: $10,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: The Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship is open to upper level undergraduate and graduate students studying subjects related to a career in public finance. Applicants must be from an ethnic or racial minority and supply a letter of recommendation speaking to their commitment to public service.
  • Apply Here

NBCC Minority Fellowship Program for Mental Health Counselors (Doctorate)

  • Scholarship Amount: $20,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Minority Fellowship Program for Mental Health Counselors supplies $20,000 plus fully funded program activities. Applicants must be board-certified counselors currently pursuing a doctorate degree and who are knowledgeable of and committed to counseling minority populations. While not exclusively for ethnic and racial minorities, the NBCC prioritizes ethnic and racial minority applicants.
  • Apply Here

NCESA Diversity in Structural Engineering Scholarship

  • Scholarship Amount: Varies
  • Eligibility Requirements: The National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCESA) provides scholarships to support traditionally underrepresented minorities pursuing a career in structural engineering. This includes undergraduate and graduate students in structural engineering degree programs. Applicants must be from a traditionally underrepresented background, including racial/ethnic minorities and LGBTQIA+ students.
  • Apply Here

Papi & Mamita Memorial Scholarship

  • Scholarship Amount: $500
  • Eligibility Requirements: The Papi & Mamita Memorial Scholarships supports a first-generation undergraduate or graduate student from the Hispanic/Latino or African American community. Applicants must submit an essay introducing themselves and how they expect to use their degree.
  • Apply Here

Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

  • Scholarship Amount: $90,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans offer a large fellowship grant to American immigrants. Applicants must be documented immigrants to the U.S. or first-generation Americans and may be pursuing a doctorate in any field.
  • Apply Here

Prospanica Foundation Scholarship

  • Scholarship Amount: Up to $5,000
  • Eligibility Requirements: The Prospanica Foundation provides scholarships to Hispanic members pursuing PhDs and graduate level business coursework. Applicants must be Prospanica members and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 (or 2.75 with additional work experience). Prospanica is part of the Association of Hispanic MBAs & Business Professionals.
  • Apply Here

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Scholarships

  • Scholarship Amount: Varies
  • Eligibility Requirements: The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) provides a variety of graduate-level scholarships. Applicants must be members of SHPE, have a minimum GPA of 2.5, and currently be pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree in a STEM field at an accredited university.
  • Apply Here

How to Find and Apply for PhD Scholarships and Funding

When it comes to applying for PhD scholarships and funding, you want to make sure you’re maximizing every avenue and resource. Generally, the main thing is to be as thorough and accurate in your applications as possible. While you won’t get every scholarship you apply for, casting a wide net is necessary to make sure that you have every opportunity for success. Below are a handful of best practices to increase your odds.

Step 1: Research Scholarships & Funding Options

  1. Start early and check as many sources as possible:

    Most scholarships have strict deadlines and requirements for application. That means that starting early can ensure you have time to prepare your application to the best of your ability. Beyond that, a wide variety of sources means that you’ll be finding as many opportunities for scholarships as you can.
  2. Look for university funding:

    Many universities provide funding through their graduate programs. Speak with your project advisor and school financial aid office to discuss what options might be available for you.
  3. Use online databases:

    Online databases can be great resources to find scholarships and other funding opportunities. Many allow you to search by eligibility criteria, helping you narrow your search.
  4. Seek scholarships in your degree field or specialty:

    There are opportunities in most fields for scholarships. This can be useful because you’re not competing against every PhD student, just those in your field. Look at trade and academic organizations in your subject area.

Step 2: Prepare Your Applications

  1. Follow the scholarship guidelines carefully:  

    Make sure that you’re following all instructions for scholarship applications. You don’t want to lose out on a scholarship on a technicality, so double-check that your application meets the guidelines.
  2. Meet all of the application requirements:

    Most scholarships have very specific application requirements. Before you invest time in perfecting your application, ensure that you meet all eligibility requirements. 
  3. Customize your applications to fit the individual scholarship submission:  

    While it can be tempting to reuse application materials when you’re applying to a lot of scholarships, make sure you’re customizing them to each scholarship. The extra care and attention to the specific aims of a scholarship program can make the difference between receiving a scholarship or not.
  4. Focus on your achievements, skills, and experience:  

    You have a unique set of achievements and experiences, otherwise you wouldn’t have been accepted into a PhD program to begin with. Make sure your application highlights your best features.
  5. Obtain letters of recommendation:

    Many scholarship applications require letters of recommendation. Cultivate relationships with mentors in your field and give them plenty of time when requesting a letter of recommendation.

Increase Your Chances of Winning a Scholarship

  1. Apply for as many as possible:

    Simply put, the more scholarships you apply for, the more chances you have to receive one. While you shouldn’t waste time on scholarships you don’t qualify for, make sure you’re applying broadly.
  2. Be detail oriented and focus on quality:

    Each application is your primary contact with that scholarship committee. Make sure that you’re representing yourself as well as you can by focusing on quality and proofreading to polish the details of your application.
  3. Show your passion for your work:  

    You’re dedicating your career to your subject of study, so make sure that shows. Enthusiasm is appealing to many scholarship committees.
  4. Build professional relationships with others in your field:  

    Networking can help connect you with funding opportunities. Attend industry events and maintain contact with people you meet; you never know who will have the connection you need to help you succeed.
  5. Seek help from mentors and advisors:

    Your mentors and advisors have all been through this before and know best practices. Don’t be afraid to ask them for advice or for help fine-tuning your applications.

Resources for Latino and Hispanic PhD Students

Beyond finances, a PhD program can be hard for anyone, let alone for Latino and Hispanic students who deal with additional structural barriers. Luckily, there are a number of resources that can help you with advice, support, and a connection to a community of people with similar challenges. The resources below will help you manage the struggles of graduate school life.

  • All Things Latina – This podcast offers advice and inspiration for Latinas aiming for personal and professional development, including entrepreneurship, finances, and business decisions.
  • Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) – The ALPFA works to connect Latino business leaders with opportunities. The group provides job boards and career training and support.
  • Basic Brown Nerds – Addressing the frustration of trying to live as a model minority, the Basic Brown Nerds podcast covers identity and living authentically for Latino listeners. The podcast also focuses on professional development and personal branding.
  • Break the Good Girl Myth – Majo Molfino, an Argentinian-American writer, guides readers through the process of breaking free from the mold of being “good” and trying instead to be powerful. The author advocates for power and self-acceptance.
  • Council for Latino Workplace Equity (CLWE) – The CLWE promotes the integration of Latinos into the workplace and fights to protect their rights. The group hosts a variety of events, including leadership conferences and symposia.
  • Excelencia in Education – This foundation dedicated to promoting, supporting, and advocating for Latino student success in higher education.
  • HACE – The Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE) offers services for career planning, job hunting, and leadership development for Hispanic workers at all levels of their careers.
  • Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) – The HACU exists to promote Hispanic and Latino success in higher education, with annual conferences and a number of student programs.
  • Hyphenated – The Hyphenated podcast explores what it means to live in the ambiguous hyphenated space as a Latino-American. Guests share insight from a Latino perspective on a variety of topics, including industry and business as a Latino-American.
  • In the Thick – In the Thick is a podcast on the intersection of race, identity, and politics, filtered through a Latino perspective. Focused on stories the news doesn’t cover, the podcast is a great listen for Latino students hoping to stay on top of current events.
  • The Latino Student’s Guide to College Success – While primarily focused to an undergraduate audience, this book gives advice for Latino students, stories from Latino graduates, and statistics on schools with historically large Latino populations.
  • Latinos in Higher Ed – Latinos in Higher Ed is an online community and job board for Latinos working in the educational space. The organization also promotes networking events for Latinos working in higher education.
  • LULAC – This organization supports Latinos in higher education. The events and initiatives help engage students in public policy at the national, state, and local level.
  • MANA – MANA is a grassroots organization for Latinas. Their work includes community building, public policy advocacy, and leadership development.
  • National Association for Chicano and Chicana Studies (NACCS) – The NACCS serves academic institutions studying issues pertaining to Chicano/Chicana and Latino/Latina life.
  • National Hispanic Corporate Council (NHCC) – The NHCC promotes Hispanic business interests through regular programming related to Latinos in the workforce.
  • National Immigration Law Center (NILC) – The NILC provides legal and financial support for low-income immigrants, including students. The group provides connections with legal support and direct financial support, including scholarships.
  • The PhD Project – The PhD Project is an organization seeking to increase the number of underrepresented minorities pursuing PhDs in business-related fields. The group offers networking and student events.
  • SACNAS – The Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) hosts events to support students in STEM fields.
  • SHPE – The SHPE works to promote the success of Hispanics in the engineering industry and in STEM education.
  • Tamarindo – Tamarindo is a culture and advice podcast that looks at the world through a Latino/Latina lens to give perspective and advice. Oprah’s magazine highlighted Tamarindo as one of its favorites for both education and humor.
  • This Latina Needs Therapy Too – A funny and frank podcast, This Latina Needs Therapy Too honestly confronts the struggles of living as a Latina woman in today’s America. Dealing with mental health, toxic generational cycles, and personal relationships, the podcast provides support.
  • United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) – The USHLI promotes education and leadership development throughout the Hispanic community, including programs to train Hispanic students for leadership positions.
  • United We Dream – United We Dream is a national organizing body providing resources and advocacy for undocumented immigrants. The group has a number of resources on navigating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (commonly referred to as DACA) status and opportunities for advocacy.
  • What Would Frida Do? – Providing life advice through the lens of iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, in this book author Arianna Davis offers advice for living a bold and authentic life, encouraging perseverance, and living your personal truth.