Getting a Master’s degree can leave a dent in anyone’s bank account. The expenses are high, ranging from $30,000 to $100,000 per year. The amount depends on the type of institution as private schools have higher tuition fees. The tuition coupled with book and living expenses is more than most common people can afford.
In 2015, around 10% of all graduate school enrollments were from people who identify as Hispanic. Out of this 10%, 62.8% of them were Hispanic women.
It is even more difficult to finance your education if you belong to a minority or disadvantaged group. The lack of support stems from the fact that people who come from minority families are often overlooked from the educational system.
Hispanics are an example of a group of people where education rates have been less than average. However, this situation is slowly changing as Hispanics are becoming more included and offered assistance to complete their degrees. According to a survey from the Council of Gradate Schools (CGS) and the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) Program, between 2005 and 2015, there has been a 6.4% increase in graduate enrollments of Hispanics.
Difficulties That Hispanic Women Face For Their Education
The largest difficulty of Hispanics to get their graduate degrees is funding their studies. There are several reasons for this:
Most Hispanics and minority groups come from families who have financial difficulties. The wages that Hispanic workers get are much lower than those of Whites, with a difference of more than $10,000 per year. This makes it difficult for them to invest in their children’s higher education.
Few Hispanics manage to complete undergraduate education, let alone get a graduate degree. In addition, since the family experiences financial hardships, the young of the family often have to get jobs and contribute an income to the household instead of going to university.
Most Hispanics who have migrated to the U.S have low education levels. They might not have even finished high school or didn’t attend basic elementary education. This makes it difficult for them to stress the importance of education to their children.
The emphasis on working and earning income for the family and the lack of education of parents, makes it much difficult for Hispanics to access higher education, enroll and complete it.
The U.S has initiated programs for learning the language and around 80% of the students are Hispanic.
Hispanics who have migrated to the U.S have difficulties in speaking English. Despite taking English language lessons, they rarely reach average to above average reading comprehension, which makes it difficult for them to succeed in university.
In addition, graduate school requires students to have some level of success in a graduate standardized test such as the GRE or the GMAT. To pass these tests, students need to know English at an advanced level so Hispanics and minorities are presented with another difficulty in accessing graduate school education.
Besides the family backgrounds, finances, and language problems, there is also an inherent cultural bias towards women to complete their education. In families with lower income, women are expected to work and provide income for the family, or stay home and rear children instead of completing degrees. This makes it even more difficult to access education and get a graduate degree.
Scholarships For Hispanic Women
Due to these difficulties, it is highly important to encourage graduate school participation from Hispanic women. This support can be given in a variety of ways, ranging from academic tutoring and training, to financial assistance. This article will focus on scholarships and different types of financial assistance, which Hispanic women can apply. By getting these scholarships, they could fund their education and advanced degrees.
Here are some organizations and ways through which Hispanic women can get funding for graduate school.
The Chicana Latina Foundation has supported affordable education for Hispanic women since 1977. The foundation awards 35 merit-based scholarships each year. Each scholarship is valued at $1,500.
The conditions to be eligible for the scholarships are as follows:
- Students have to be Hispanic women
- Students have to be enrolled in a Northern California university or college
- Students have to maintain a 3.0 GPA
- Students have to complete 10 hours of public service after they get the scholarship
Additional details about the foundation, the scholarship, and procedures can be found at ChicanaLatina.org.
The APA Judith McManus Price Scholarship
This scholarship is aimed at women and minorities such as Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans. They offer one funding opportunity of $4,000 annually. To be eligible for this scholarship, students have to be:
- Citizens of the U.S
- Women or belong to a minority group
- Enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate Planning Program
- Able to demonstrate their financial need through FAFSA
For more information about this scholarship and other similar ones, visit planning.org.
Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley (HFSV)
The HFSV organization offers scholarships specifically aimed at Hispanic women. These scholarships are valued at $1,000 each and annually the organization awards three of them. The scholarships are funded by the Hispanic Women’s Council of Northern Carolina.
To be eligible for the scholarships, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be a woman of Hispanic descent
- Are enrolled in a program in the fields of psychology, liberal arts, and economics
To find out more about these scholarships, visit hfsv.org.
Hispanic Women’s Corporation (HWC)
The Hispanic Women’s Corporation is an organization dating back to 1981. It aims to improve leadership and professional skills of Hispanic women. It does this through different conferences, workshops, and professional opportunities.
They also compile databases and directories where Hispanic women can find funding opportunities to get their Master’s Degrees. Each scholarship has different eligibility criteria, but the organization supports women in the application process if they need it.
To find out more about HWC and their scholarship directory, visit hispanicwomen.org.
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
MALDEF’s objective is to make graduate school affordable for a few fields. They offer two scholarships for these types of students:
- Law school students
- Student activists
The Law School scholarship is awarded to ten students each year. The value of the scholarship is $5,000 for each student. The Student Activists scholarship offers funding to students who are activists and supporters of immigrant rights.
For more information and detail on the scholarship and the procedures, visit maldef.org.
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund Institute (HSFI)
The HSF scholarship offers funding between $500 to $5,000 on merit-based criteria. It is aimed at Hispanic students at all educational levels. Students of all fields of study are encouraged to apply, but STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathamtics) is emphasized.
The eligibility criteria for this scholarship includes:
- Students have to be of Hispanic descent
- Students have to plan to enroll in a full-time, non-profit graduate school
- They have to U.S citizens, Permanent Legal Residents, DACA or Eligible Noncitizens
- Students have to complete the FAFSA to demonstrate financial need
- Minimum 2.5 GPA for graduate students
For more information on application processes and the deadlines go to hsf.net.
In addition to this scholarship, HSF has compiled a database with more opportunities. The database or directory lists scholarship, internship, and job opportunities for people of Hispanic descent.
Eligibility requirements are different for each scholarship, but in general they require:
- Official transcripts
- Essays or Statement of Purpose
- Letters of Recommendation, etc.
To find a scholarship which could fund your graduate school education, follow the link to the HSF database here: finder.hsf.net/resources/audience/graduate-student.
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU)
This association is a sponsor for four types of scholarships:
- Aetna Nursing Scholarship
- NASCAR – Wendell Scott Sr. Award
- Travelers Scholarship
- United Health Foundation – Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Scholarship
All four scholarships range between $2,000 and $5,000 in value. To be eligible for getting one of these funds, the students have to:
- Demonstrate financial need by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- Attend a HACU member institution in the U.S or Puerto Rico
- Other criteria depending on the type of scholarship
Visit hacu.net for more details on each scholarship.
In addition, they also have a list of other graduate scholarships aimed at Hispanics, which can be found at hacu.net.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The FAFSA is not necessarily aimed at Hispanic women, or Hispanics in general. However, it is a great resource and worth trying if you want to fund your graduate education. The FAFSA is a form which students fill out to receive financial aid. There are multiple documents to fill out and you have to prove that you are not financially able to afford education.
Based on the FAFSA, the U.S government can give you scholarships and grants, with which you can complete your graduate degree.
Besides these scholarships for Hispanic women, there are also many other resources that you can use to get your master’s degree.
These include, but are not limited to the following:
- The Adelante Fund
- Brown and Caldwell Minority Scholarship Program
- CANFIT Nutrition, Physical Education and Culinary Arts Scholarships
- American Library Association Spectrum Scholarship
How To Choose A Master’s Degree Scholarship?
As a Hispanic woman who wants to get a graduate school degree, but cannot afford the tuition for it, there are some tips that you can follow. These tips will help you make the most out of the scholarship and funding opportunities that are offered to you. At the end, you will graduate from your Master’s Degree with minimal or zero student loans.
Choose a university for your degree
Most people have an idea of what field they want to get their graduate degree in. Based on it, they pick a few universities that match their goals. What you can do is have a list of six to nine universities in which you will apply.
Look for universities which are looking for diversity. They are more likely to even give you diversity based or merit based scholarships. In addition, talk to Hispanic alumna, since they will be able to tell you how they went about affording their degrees.
Do not look exclusively at Ivy League universities. The competition is extremely high and they only admit a few students with outstanding records.
Complete the FAFSA
Even if you will never use it, it doesn’t hurt to try out filing the FAFSA. You might get lucky and qualify for any scholarships or grants which will help you fund part of your tuition.
Look for external funding
Check out the foundations and organizations above which have funding opportunities for graduate school. They might not cover your entire tuition, but they will cover some of it. A strategy you can use is to apply to as many as possible until you get enough funds from different sources.
Try to filter out scholarships which you do not meet the eligibility criteria. You will only spend time working on the application and will not qualify. Instead, look at organizations which specifically target Hispanics and women. Those are the ones where you will have the highest chance of getting scholarships.
What about living costs?
Besides tuition, you will also have to cover living costs. Those can also be quite expensive depending on the university you are choosing to attend. One way to cover these expenses is to look for master’s degree scholarships, which also give monthly stipends for living expenses.
Another strategy is to find and apply to universities which offer graduate teaching or research assistantships. These are part time jobs at the university which pay quite well and can help cover your rent and other expenses.
You could also find part time internships, which relate to your field of study. These will have double benefits. They will help you cover living costs and add to your resume so that you can find a job easily. And finally, you can also find weekend odd jobs which pay by the hour, if you have the time to dedicate to them.
Whatever strategies and funding opportunities you use, do not give up on your dream to get your Master’s Degree. It is a valuable and reputable degree with many benefits.