The Hispanic Scholarship Fund, or the HSF, is the nation's largest education fund for Hispanic students. They provide hundreds of thousands of dollars of financial aid every year, helping deserving students every year realize their dreams of earning college degrees. But they are so much more than a source of money for educational costs. Their mission is not to just make financial support available, but to provide resources to encourage and support Hispanic students to finish their educations.
Today, the degree attainment rate for Hispanic students is a discouraging 19 percent. The major goal of the HSF’s Generation 1st Degree Campaign is to get at least one person in each Hispanic household to earn their degree. These new degree holders, it is hoped, will in turn encourage other members of their families to pursue college degrees of their own. If this campaign is successful, 14 million Hispanic students will become college graduates by 2025, pumping up the degree attainment rate for U.S. Hispanics to 60 percent.
One of the primary ways HSF hopes to succeed in getting these new college graduates is by making money available to deserving students. In partnership with many corporate and government bodies, the HSF makes dozens of scholarship opportunities available for Hispanic students. HSF does offer a general scholarship, valued between $1,000 and $5,000. Students only have to be Hispanic, attend college full time, and maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average to qualify.
Many of their scholarships are intended for students studying specific fields. For instance, the HSF/Honda Award Scholarship provides $5,000 for Hispanic undergraduate students pursuing a career in the automotive industry. The HSF/Proctor and Gamble Company Scholarship awards $2,500 for qualified students working on degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. And for students working on degrees in business, the HSF/Winchell’s and Yum Yum Donuts Scholarship awards $3,000.
The HSF understands that handing out money to students, no matter how successful their past records may be, does not mean they will finish college. Students need a support system to help them through the rough patches that every college student experiences. They publish a College Roadmap for high school students and their families so they understand what they need to do to prepare for college. They also travel around the country to put on free workshops and seminars to help students succeed.
HSF does not end their commitment to the success of their students once they get into college. They have a Scholar Chapters Network on many college campuses around the country, promoting leadership and academic success. These chapters also help match undergraduates with HSF graduates as mentors, which is a great way to enhance post-graduate job prospects. Their Career Center also helps connect recent graduates with job prospects.
The HSF is a rich resource for Hispanic college and college-bound students. It is committed to the success of the students they help beyond paying for tuition, so it is crucial for all Hispanic students who are qualified to apply to as many of their scholarships as possible!