Financial Aid for Minority Students

Discover financial aid opportunities for minority students working towards degree programs with a focus in psychology. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Historically, minorities have been largely underrepresented in higher education. Recent census data illustrate staggering gaps between racial groups when it comes to educational attainment, with black students earning roughly half as many bachelor's and advanced degrees as white students. A similar study suggests economic and financial disadvantages contribute to this gap. The number of black, Hispanic, and Asian children who qualify as low income, poor, or in extreme poverty far outweigh their white counterparts.

These findings point to the importance of supporting minorities in higher education, especially in the field of psychology. Today, the major remains as popular as ever, with scholarships for minority graduate students in psychology on the rise. Aspiring psychology majors who happen to be African American, Latino/a, Asian American, Native American, or undocumented may pursue financial aid benefits for students with similar ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Psychology students can receive funding opportunities in the form of federal aid, scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs. Many programs prefer minority applicants who plan to serve their communities after graduation.

Scholarships for African American Psychology Students

ASA Minority Fellowship Program

Amount: $18,000 Deadline: January 31

Applicants must enroll in a graduate program leading to a Ph.D. in sociology. Social psychology majors are also eligible. Applicants must belong to a minority group and hold status as a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, lawful resident, or DACA immigrant.

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The Agnes Jones Jackson Scholarship

Amount: Up to $2,000 Deadline: Varies

Applicants must be current members of the NAACP, U.S. citizens, and under 25 years old. Candidates should be enrolled in or accepted to a U.S. college or university. Students should also hold a minimum GPA of 2.5 (high school seniors and undergraduates) or 3.0 (graduate students). The NAACP's Poise Foundation offers 20-40 scholarships each year.

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The Handbook of African American Psychology Scholarship

Amount: Varies Deadline: Varies

This scholarship assists black students who plan to use psychology to improve the well-being of African and African-American communities. Applicants must belong to the the Association of Black Psychologists and enroll full time in a psychology college program.

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The Stephen C. Rose Scholarship for Psychology Research on African American Youth

Amount: $1,000 Deadline: April 7th

The Association of Black Psychologists grants this award to candidates conducting research on the mental health of African-American students on college campuses. Applicants must be current members of ABPsi. In addition to the monetary award, recipients receive a travel stipend to present of their research at the annual ABPsi conference.

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SAGE Student Research Scholarship

Amount: $750 Deadline: May 15th

Applicants must conduct research into the psychology of African Americans with the potential to inform public policy. Papers should have a high likelihood of being published in a professional journal or industry publication. Candidates must be members of ABPsi. In addition to the monetary award, recipients receive a travel stipend to attend the annual ABPsi conference. ABPsi may ask recipients to present their research.

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Professional Organizations for African American Students

Scholarships for Hispanic and Latino Psychology Students

The NASP-ERT Minority Scholarship Program

Amount:$5,000 Deadline: October 30

Applicants must be minority students and members of the National Association of School Psychologists. Candidates should have a minimum 3.0 GPA, enroll in an NASP-approved school psychology program, and pursue a career in school psychology after graduation. Doctoral students are not eligible.

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NLPA Distinguished Student Service Award

Amount: $500 Deadline: July 15

The National Latina/o Psychological Association awards this scholarship to NLPA members who have made extraordinary contributions to the Latina/o community. Candidates demonstrate service such as developing mental health legislation, creating educational or outreach programs, and fundraising.

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NLPA Outstanding Dissertation Award

Amount: $500 Deadline: July 15

Applicants must be graduate dissertation candidates conducting research in Latino psychology who presented their findings since the most recent NLPA conference. Nominations for this award must include the date the dissertation project was defended and a reference letter from the applicant's dissertation chairperson.

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NLPA Cynthia de las Fuentes Dissertation Award

Amount: $500 Deadline: July 15

Applicants must conduct dissertation research into psychological theory or practice specifically affecting Latino populations. Candidates may also complete a dissertation project that makes a significant professional contribution to the Latino community through the study of psychology.

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The Haz La U Program

Amount: $2,000-$3,500 or $15,000 Deadline: October 15

Applicants must be graduating high school in 2019 and entering college in 2019-2020. The program selects Hispanic students who demonstrate leadership and community service. Candidates should possess U.S. citizenship, DACA eligibility, or permanent residency status. Recipients must attend a regional awards ceremony at their own expense.

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Professional Organizations for Hispanic and Latino Students

Scholarships for Native American Psychology Students

The American Indians Into Psychology Program - Pre-Graduate Scholarship

Amount: Varies Deadline: Varies

Applicants must enroll in pre-professional, bachelor's-level coursework that will eventually lead to a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Student must attend a public or nonprofit university accredited by the American Psychological Association.

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The American Indians Into Psychology Program - Health Professions Scholarship

Amount: Varies Deadline: Varies

Eligible candidates include Native Americans and American Indians who are members of a federally recognized tribe. Candidates must enroll in an APA-accredited doctoral clinical psychology program. Recipients must begin service commitments within 90 days of completing their professional training.

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The Psychologists in Public Service Wayfinder Award

Amount: Varies Deadline: May 1

Applicants must demonstrate significant research, clinical, or educational practice. Candidates may also develop programs involving cultural revitalization, advocacy, or wellness within the Native-American community.

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The Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health Scholarship

Amount: Varies Deadline: May 1 for summer session; November 1 for winter session

Johns Hopkins University grants this award to Native-American or Alaska-Native students, scholars, and professionals in health-related disciplines. Candidates should express interest in attending a winter or summer intensive at Johns Hopkins' Center for American Indian Health.

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Indian Health Service Scholarships

Amount: Varies Deadline: April 13

IHS offers preparatory, pre-graduate, and health professions scholarships for students and professionals in approved health-related fields. Options include pre-clinical psychology, counseling, and clinical psychology. Eligible candidates must be members or descendants of a federally recognized American Indian tribe or Native Alaskan territory. Applicants should have U.S. citizenship or naturalization status and at least a 2.0 GPA. Recipients must plan to serve the Indian population in their career.

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Professional Organizations for Native American Students

Scholarships for Asian and Pacific-Islander Psychology Students

Filipino American Psychology Scholarship

Amount: $500 Deadline: February 1

The Asian American Psychological Association - Division on Filipino Americans awards this scholarship to graduating seniors in pursuit of a Ph.D. or MA in psychology. Students in the first two years of graduate study may also apply.

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AAPA Dissertation Research Grant

Amount: $500 Deadline: April 1

Applicants may submit grant proposals to the Asian American Psychological Association for projects contributing to the research and advancement of Asian American psychology. Awards last for up to one year.

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Goldstein and Schneider Scholarships by the Macey Fund

Amount: $3,000 Deadline: June 30

Applicants must be members of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology with ethnic minority status. Candidates must enroll full time in a Ph.D. program in industrial/organizational psychology at a regionally accredited school.

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The AAPA-APF Okura Mental Health Leadership Foundation Fellowship

Amount: $20,000 Deadline: Varies

The Okura Mental Health Leadership Foundation and the Asian American Psychological Foundation award this fellowship to researchers, educators, and practitioners helping to advance the study and treatment of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

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AAPA Okura Community Leadership Award

Amount: Varies Deadline: September 1

The community leadership award recognizes members of the Asian-American psychology community who demonstrate outstanding achievements in service or leadership. Recipients may work in psychology, psychiatry, social work, or medicine.

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Professional Organizations for Asian and Pacific Islander Students

Scholarships for Undocumented Psychology Students

The Dream National Scholarship

Amount: Varies Deadline: March 1

This scholarship awards up to $14,500 towards an associate degree; up to $29,000 towards a bachelor's degree. Comparable to the Department of Education's federal Pell Grant, this national scholarship is one of the largest programs for students with certified DACA or TPS status. Applicants must be high school seniors planning to pursue an undergraduate degree or community college graduates planning to pursue a bachelor's degree. Applicants should have a minimum 2.5 GPA and unmet financial need. Students must intend to enroll full-time and be eligible for in-state tuition at a partner college. Students may qualify for an additional $4,000 stipend for supplies.

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The Dream Opportunity Scholarship

Amount: Up to $80,000 Deadline: January 23

The Dream offers an opportunity scholarship to students pursuing higher education in a "locked out" state that either does not offer in-state tuition or does not admit DACA or TPS students. Applicants must be high school seniors or graduates with a minimum 2.8 GPA and SAT or ACT scores. Candidates must have DACA or TPS status. Recipients should enroll in an undergraduate program at one of the Dream's partner colleges no later than spring of the following year. The scholarship application also serves as the admissions application for the Dream partner schools.

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Pepsico Cesar Chavez Latino Scholarship Fund

Amount: $5,000 Deadline: June 8

Applicants must be of Latino/a descent, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and enroll full time in an undergraduate degree program in Arizona or California. Students may be U.S. citizens, legal residents, undocumented immigrants, DACA recipients, or other non-citizens. Pepsico offers this scholarship to 10 students each year until 2021.

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Boundless American Dream Scholarships

Amount: $1,500 Deadline: May 31

Applicants must be DACA or TPS students enrolled in or applying to an accredited college or university. Since the scholarship emphasizes technology-inspired innovation among minority students, applicants must submit written responses describing the impact -- inspired by technology -- they hope to make in the world. Candidates should also submit essays addressing what the American Dream means to them and what they have achieved despite hardships in their lives. Boundless Immigration Inc. offers two scholarships each year.

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The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans

Amount: Varies Deadline: November 1

This award provides a stipend of up to $25,000, plus 50% of tuition and fees per year (up to $20,000). The P.D. Soros Fellowship assists immigrants and the children of immigrants. Applicants must be 30 years of age or younger at the time of application, and must be enrolled in or applying to a full-time graduate program in the U.S. Current graduate students may only seek funding for their program within the first two years of study. Both of each applicant's parents must have been born outside of the U.S. as non-U.S. citizens. Each fellowship applies for one to two years of graduate study.

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Professional Organizations for Undocumented Students

Types of Funding Available for Psychology Students

The following types of funding are listed from least likely to most likely to incur debt.


Perhaps the most highly sought-after form of "free" financial aid, scholarships typically reward students for their academic and personal achievements. Students do not have to pay back any portion of a scholarship. National associations, individual schools, private foundations, and other organizations all offer scholarships for minority graduate students in psychology. Each scholarship includes different requirements. For example, some minority-specific psychology scholarships may require study in a particular field or a period of community service after graduation. Scholarship recipients may also pursue need-based funding through federal grants and work-study programs. With no interest or repayment obligations, scholarships are the best method of financial aid for college students.


Grants, like scholarships, do not need to be paid back. Students typically receive grants based on financial need. When it comes to grants for minorities, there are two main categories -- ethnic and non-ethnic. Applicants belonging to a racial minority qualify for ethnic minority grants, while non-ethnic grants are reserved for students with physical or learning disabilities or another minority group. Ethnic minority grants may be of particular interest to graduate students in psychology, since they can help fund a study abroad experience, research project, or dissertation.


Federal work-study programs provide students with part-time jobs to help cover the cost of tuition, books, housing, and other expenses. Upon reviewing your FAFSA, the Department of Education determines if you are eligible for work-study and, if so, lists your maximum award for the academic year. Students receive minimum wage, subject to their school's available funds for work-study awards. Students may work for their school, a public agency, or a local nonprofit organization, depending on availability. In some cases, minority students in a psychology program may receive a work-study opportunity related to their major. However, these positions may be limited, since schools must apply at least 7% of work-study awards to community service jobs.

Federal Student Loans

The Department of Education offers direct loans and Perkins loans. These financial aid options are funded by the federal government and your school, respectively. Federal direct loans may be subsidized or unsubsidized based on financial need. Other options include direct PLUS loans, which help graduate students and the families of undergraduate students cover educational expenses in excess of other financial aid. Direct consolidation loans combine all loans into one sum through a single third-party servicer. Unlike grants and scholarships, loans require students to pay back the initial amount with interest. Federal student loans offer lower interest rates and more forgiving repayment schedules than private loans.

Private Loans

Once all of the above forms of financial aid have been exhausted, students may pursue a loan through a private lender. While private loans can be helpful in providing additional financial aid to responsible borrowers, this type of aid can rapidly increase student debt for those who borrow too much or misunderstand the terms of their agreement. Many banks and businesses offer private student loans. Some banks even manage a subsidiary division specifically for loan servicing, such as Citizens One and Sallie Mae. Unlike federal student loans managed through the Department of Education, private loans require higher interest rates and less flexible repayment terms. These loans typically require a credit check or a cosigner.

Filing the FAFSA

Whether you are broadly considering grants for an undergraduate degree, or specifically pursuing scholarships for minority females in psychology, all paths leading to financial aid begin with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Filing the FAFSA is mandatory to determine your eligibility for federal grants, scholarships, work-study awards, and federal loans. The FAFSA even informs the lending process for private loans, as some banks and other loan servicers set interest or repayment terms based on your FAFSA status.

The FAFSA is available to both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking students. However, applicants must be citizens or eligible non-citizens of the U.S. to apply. Undocumented immigrants cannot access aid through the FAFSA. Other eligibility requirements include a high school diploma or GED, enrollment in a certificate or degree program, continued academic progress at a satisfactory level, and registration with the Selective Service System. Applicants cannot be in default on a federal student loan or have a conviction for the sale or possession of illegal drugs while receiving federal student aid.

The FAFSA works by estimating each student's estimated family contribution. The Department of Education then calculates the student's maximum federal award. Schools use the data to determine institutional scholarships, work-study, and loan limits. While applicants have between October 1 and June 30 to complete the FAFSA, the Department of Education encourages students to apply as early as possible. Early filing allows you to access limited federal funding opportunities and expedite reporting to other potential sources of financial aid.

Items needed to complete the FAFSA include:

Scholarship Application Tips

Understand Your Options

Start by contacting organizations in your community or school that provide resources to underserved populations. Options include the NAACP and the Black Student Association. Consider explaining your position as an aspiring college student and asking about awards such as scholarships for minority females in psychology. Also request tips on how to successfully apply for financial aid as a minority student. You may be surprised at the response you get for showing such initiative and taking command of your application process. Worst case scenario, your contact gives you information you already know. At best, you'll receive some insight into how to submit exactly what the scholarship committees are looking for.

Start Early, Get Organized

While it may be your style to do things last minute, haphazard applications are a surefire way to get passed over for scholarships, no matter how impressive your qualifications. Pursuing financial aid is a crucial aspect of the college application process, and the time you spend organizing your materials should reflect how important the scholarship is to you and your education. The committee reviewing your application will likely award scholarships to students who can follow directions precisely, in addition to meeting eligibility requirements.

Put Time and Effort into Your Essays

Many scholarships for minority students in psychology require compelling essays as an important component of the application process. Scholarship committees often consider an applicant's mission statement, academic aspirations, and life experiences just as much as merit-based and need-based qualifications. Scholarships require an essay for a specific reason, so be sure to take your time, be genuine, and let your personality come through.

Ask an Experienced Applicant

Consider consulting an older family member, friend, alum, or mentor who has successfully applied for scholarships as a minority student. While your predecessors may not have applied for exactly the same awards as you, they may be able to offer invaluable insight into what the selection committee was looking for. Many applicants have mastered the process by applying for several types of aid, including scholarships for minority graduate students in psychology, grants for doctoral psychology dissertation research, and awards for students with significant financial need.

Solicit Letters of Recommendation

While letters of recommendation are one of the key components of a scholarship application, they can also be the most unpredictable. You must rely on each individual source to submit their recommendation by the deadline. Assume the letters of recommendation will take longer than expected, and consider soliciting the letters as early as possible. Giving yourself plenty of time means you can avoid feeling rushed, and avoid rushing those writing your recommendations.

Additional Scholarship Resources for Psychology Students

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