Scholarships & Grants for Asian-American Students

ByMoneyGeek Team

Updated: March 16, 2023

ByMoneyGeek Team

Updated: March 16, 2023

Advertising & Editorial Disclosure

Asian-Americans are one of the fastest-growing racial groups in the United States. They are expected to pass Hispanics and become the largest group of immigrants heading to the U.S. by 2065, according to past research by the Pew Research Center. With higher education enrollment of Asian and Asian-American students soaring, nonprofits, corporations and government entities have made millions of dollars in scholarships available to these students. Identifying and applying for these grants and scholarships can be a time-consuming process. To help make this task a little easier for you, we have put together a wide range of options for scholarships based on your specific needs.

Scholarships & Grants for Asian-American and Pacific Islander Students

APIA Scholarship Program
This organization's scholarships are open to full-time, undergraduate students who are citizens of the United States, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia or Palau. Students must attend one of the AANAPISI colleges, including American Samoa Community College, California State University East Bay, California State University Sacramento, City College of San Francisco and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Several scholarships are offered, including some sponsored by corporate sponsors such as AT&T and Toyota. Students who wish to apply must submit a letter of recommendation and fill out the FAFSA.

Award amount of scholarships and deadlines vary. Check with the APIA Scholars website for details.

Gates Millennium Scholars Program
Funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this award was established to support outstanding African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian-American and Hispanic students. Gates Millennium Scholars can request funding for a graduate degree program in one of the following disciplines: computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science.

CCAPW Scholarships
The Central California Asian Pacific Women offers scholarships of varying amounts to Asian and Pacific Islander women who live in California's Central Valley. Scholarships are rewarded based on the priorities of first-generation student, academic achievement, leadership, contribution to the API community and ethnic diversity.

The award amount varies, and some scholarships are not awarded every year. Check the CCAPW Scholarship website for deadlines.

U.S. Pan Asian Chamber of Commerce
This scholarship goes to Asian-American high school seniors who demonstrate academic achievement, leadership, community service and financial need. Applicants must be of Asian or Pacific Island heritage and have a GPA of at least 3.3. The award amount varies.

RMHC/Asia Scholarship
The Ronald McDonald House offers scholarships to high school seniors who have at least one parent of Asian heritage and plan to attend college. Applicants must be legal U.S. residents.

Tang Scholarship
Administered by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, this scholarship targets Asian-Pacific Islander students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender and involved in the gay community. Applicants must graduate from high school in one of nine counties in the San Francisco Bay Area and have a GPA of at least 3.0.

Resources and Scholarships for Undocumented Students

Many of the scholarships available to Asian-American and Pacific Islander students require that applicants are U.S. citizens or documented immigrants. What if you or your parents came to the United States illegally? In that case, the options for scholarships and financial aid narrow. But there are some glimmers of hope. In California, for instance, state law lets undocumented immigrants pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities, so long as the student has attended three years of high school in California. And there are a handful of scholarships available to undocumented Asian-American students.

Ascend Educational Fund
This nonprofit awards scholarships to immigrant students and children of immigrants who are graduating from a New York City high school and plan to attend public or private colleges or universities. Applicants must be born outside the United States or have two parents born outside the U.S. Scholarships are given regardless of ethnicity or immigration status.

Dream Summer
An internship program organized by the Dream Resource Program of the UCLA Labor Center, Dream Summer employs participants for 10 weeks working at social justice organizations with a focus on immigration issues.

Resources for First-Generation Asian College Students

According to the Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA), it is a myth that all Asians are more academically and financially successful than the rest of the student population. Laotian, Hmong and Cambodian immigrants have a lower per capita income than the rest of Asian Americans. Approximately 11 percent of Asian Americans live below the federal poverty line. For students in these families, financial issues make attending college a challenge, as does the obstacle posed by language barriers. According to the AAPA's most recent report, nearly half of Laotian and Hmong adults attended college but failed to earn a degree.

Some nonprofits work to buck this trend by offering resources for first-generation students; the Frederick & Demi Seguritan Scholarship sponsored by the Asia Pacific Fund is one such program geared towards immigrants. The award gifts an annual scholarship to a first-generation Asian American with a passion for business. Applicants need not major in business but must show financial need and live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Cost-Saving Budget Tips for Asian-American Students

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An immediate and easy way to save money and cut your expenses is by reviewing your monthly budget. Common Asian-American student expenses, from auto financing and insurance to credit cards, renters insurance and student health insurance, can be assessed for potential cost-savings.

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Renters insurance protects you and your valuables in the house or apartment you’re renting in instance of a fire, theft or vandalism, or injury on the property. If you have renters insurance, or are thinking of starting coverage, shopping around can help save you hundreds of dollars a year.

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If you’ve already got an auto loan or you are thinking about financing a new or new-to-you vehicle, it’s important to know your financial options and how to get an affordable monthly payment that fits your budget.

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You could be missing out on savings when it comes to comparing quotes for your car insurance. Learn more about the best car insurance options, available student discounts, and ways to decrease your monthly payment.

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Learn how to be credit-savvy by creating a budget for your credit card spending. Learn more about student credit cards and gas credit cards, how to maintain a low payment, and ways to increase your credit limit and score.

Asian-American & Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions

Contrary to the stereotype, not all Asian-American students attend elite institutions. Recognizing that reality, the U.S. Department of Education created the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) program. These schools are public universities and community colleges where at least 10 percent of the students are Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders, and where at least half the students receive federal financial assistance.

The federal government has designated over 30 AANAPISI institutions, and the list keeps growing. Most are in California and U.S. territories such as American Samoa and Guam. A couple are scattered on the East Coast (University of Massachusetts Boston and Queens College CUNY), and there's some cropping up in the Midwest (University of Illinois at Chicago) and Texas (Richland College).

AANAPISI schools cumulatively receive millions to help Asian American students earn degrees and find jobs. For Asian-American students attending AANAPISIs, benefits include scholarship eligibility and academic help. San Jose State, for instance, uses its AANAPISI grant to improve students' writing skills and graduation rates. The University of Illinois at Chicago has devoted the money to operating an Asian American studies program, mentoring Asian-American students and teaching writing skills. Here is a list of AANAPIS schools.


  • American River College
  • American Samoa Community College
  • Bunker Hill Community College
  • California State University, East Bay
  • California State University, Sacramento
  • Century College
  • City College of San Francisco
  • CUNY Hunter College
  • De Anza College (CA)
  • Evergreen Valley College
  • Foothill College
  • Guam Community College
  • Highline Community College
  • Irvine Valley College
  • Laney College (CA)
  • Middlesex Community College
  • Mission College (CA)
  • Mt. San Antonio College
  • Northern Marianas College
  • Orange Coast College
  • Richland College (TX)
  • San Francisco State University
  • San Jose State University (CA)
  • South Seattle College
  • University of California Irvine
  • University of Guam
  • University of Hawai'i at Hilo
  • University of Hawai'i at Manoa
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Massachusetts–Boston
  • University of Minnesota–Twin Cities
  • University of Nevada–Las Vegas

About MoneyGeek Team

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The MoneyGeek editorial team has decades of combined experience in writing and publishing information about how people should manage money and credit. Our editors have worked with numerous publications including The Washington Post, The Daily Business Review, HealthDay and Time, Inc., and have won numerous journalism awards. Our talented team of contributing writers includes mortgage experts, veteran financial reporters and award-winning journalists. Learn more about the MoneyGeek team.