With the number of minority students enrolled in higher learning institutions in the United States steadily increasing, scholarship opportunities available for them are expanding, too. Criminal justice scholarships for minorities are available as well, including ones for undocumented students. Financial aid applicants are often required to provide documentation proving their ethnicity. For example, many scholarships for Native Americans require a Certificate of Indian Blood, or citizenship cards. Professional organizations for each minority group provide members with opportunities to network, explore job opportunities, and share ideas on how to succeed professionally and promote equality.
African American Criminal Justice Students
Irlet Anderson Scholarship Award $3,500
Charles Fonseca Scholarship $2,000
Edna R. Anthony Scholarship $1,000
Ruth D. Peterson Fellowship for Racial and Ethnic Diversity $6,000
Dorothy Bracey/Janice Joseph Minority and Women New Scholar Award $1,000
Professional Organizations for African American Students
- National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice This nonprofit aims to provide equal justice for blacks and other minorities by improving the justice system. Members can attend events to network and learn best practices in the criminal justice industry.
- The National Association for Advancement of Colored People This association is the United States’ oldest and largest civil rights organization; members are dedicated fighting for social justice.
- National Black Chamber of Commerce This organization advocates for African American-owned businesses, with more than 200 chapters in 40 states and 50 nations.
Hispanic and Latino Criminal Justice Students
Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association Scholarship $2,500
Law Enforcement Explorers Scholarship $1,000
George A. Strait Minority Scholarship $5,000
Adelente Fund Gilbert G. Pompa Memorial Scholarship $1,000
CUNY Becas Scholarship Program $6,330
Professional Organizations for Hispanic and Latino Students
- Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association This is the oldest U.S. association of Hispanic American command officers from criminal justice agencies and law enforcement. Member officers work at the county, municipal, state, and federal levels. Members are committed to promoting Hispanic American professionals in the criminal justice and law enforcement systems, and provides criminal justice scholarships for minorities.
- The National Organization of Hispanics in Criminal Justice This nonprofit provides training and other career resources for Hispanic professionals in law enforcement, corrections, and the courts.
- Association of Latino Professionals for America The longest-standing professional organization for Latinos, this association comprises more than 81,000 members in 45 professional chapters and 160 student chapters across the United States. It hosts events throughout the year, and offers a career center where members can submit their resumes and apply to positions listed on the job board.
Native American Criminal Justice Students
AAIA Sequoyah Graduate Scholarship $1,500
American Indian College Fund Full Circle Scholarship Program Varies
Bois Forte Band of Chippewa Scholarship Program $5,000
Chickasaw Nation Governor’s Scholarship $500
Fort Peck Tribes Scholarship Program $2,000
Professional Organizations for Native American Students
- National American Indian Court Judges Association This national organization’s members include tribal justice personnel, plus others who are devoted to strengthening and supporting tribal justice systems. The association provides training and seminars to enhance members’ professional ability in criminal justice.
- National Indian Justice Center The justice center is an independent national resource for tribal governments and Native communities. It aims to deliver and design legal research, education, and technical assistance programs to improve the administration of justice in Indian country.
- National Congress of American Indians This is the largest and oldest organization representing professionals of American Indian and Alaska Native descent. It serves the interests of tribal communities and governments, and promotes a common understanding of how tribes operate in American governments. The congress also works to improve the quality of life for Native American people and communities.
Asian and Pacific Islander Criminal Justice Students
Sho Sato Memorial Scholarship $1,000 - $5,000
Thomas T. Hayashi Memorial Scholarship $1,000 - $5,000
Minoru Yasui Memorial Scholarship $1,000 - $5,000
Lena Chang Scholarship $2,500
Japanese Bar Scholarship $2,000
Professional Organizations for Asian and Pacific Islander Students
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice Asian Americans Advancing Justice is a national affiliation comprising organizations that advocate for the social rights of Asian Americans and other minorities. The organization promotes justice, empowers communities, and brings constituents together to strengthen multi-racial democracy.
- Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center This organization advances the legal and civil rights of Asian Americans by providing legal services. It combines systemic advocacy with community legal education and individual representation.
- East Coast Asian American Student Union This nonprofit inspires, educates, and empowers people who are interested in Asian American and Pacific Islander issues. Volunteers run the organization, and advocate through outreach to Asian American and Pacific Islander student organizations.
Undocumented Criminal Justice Students
Presidential Fellowship for UCLA Undocumented Students Varies
Scholastic Art & Writing Awards $1,000 - $10,000
Freedom of Religion Foundation Catherine Fahringer Memorial Award $2,500
California Strawberry Scholarship Varies
Aurelio 'Larry' Jazo Migrant Scholarship $1,000
Professional Organizations for Undocumented Students
- Undocumented Immigrants & Allies Knowledge Community This organization focuses on sharing knowledge, research, and resources for undocumented students and students from mixed-status families. It connects its members and encourages them to work together to create resources, gain knowledge, and share job opportunities.
- Rural Organizing Project The project focuses on political engagement, connecting undocumented citizens and advocating for changes to immigration policy. The organization provides resources to undocumented students and hosts events where they can network and learn about recent policy updates.
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals DACA provides some individuals who immigrated to the United States with a renewable, two-year period of deferred action to prevent deportation. U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services handles DACA applications.
|Scholarships are merit-based financial aid, most commonly awarded to students with high GPAs, community service experience, and extracurricular activities. They are awarded based on criteria determined by the award’s funder or donor. Criteria typically aligns with the funding organization’s goals and views. Students do not have to pay back scholarship money, which is awarded in varying amounts, depending on the funding organization. Students must follow application guidelines and adhere to the deadlines in order to be considered.|
|Student grants are based on students’ financial need, and can be used for tuition, room and board, fees, books, and other education-related expenses. The two main student grant categories are ethnic and non-ethnic. Ethnic grants are for minority students who face cultural, linguistic, or financial barriers in education. Non-ethnic grants are awarded to students specifically with financial barriers in education. Students’ colleges and universities usually offer grant applications, and grant money does not need to be repaid.|
|The Federal Work-Study Program is a federally funded initiative through which students can earn education funds by working part-time while enrolled in a degree program. More than 3,400 higher learning institutions participate in the work-study program, which is offered to students in specific majors, who demonstrate financial need. Participants are often required to maintain a set grade point average to continue their work-study program, and students can usually only work up to a certain number of hours per week.|
Federal Student Loans
|Federal student loans include subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Subsidized loans accrue interest that is paid by the government while the borrower is in school, whereas students borrowing unsubsidized loans must pay all the interest. Borrowers do not have to repay their federal student loans until they graduate, leave school, or fall below part-time enrollment status. Interest rates are fixed and often lower than credit card interest rates. Credit checks are not required for federal loans, except for PLUS loans, which are for graduate and professional students or parents. Federal student loans are often tax-deductible, with no prepayment penalty fee.|
|Private loans are offered by banks, credit unions, schools, and state agencies. They are usually more expensive than federal student loans, and often require payments while students are still in school. Private loans are not subsidized, so the student assumes full responsibility for paying loan interest. These loans have variable interest rates, sometimes higher than 18%, which can heavily increase the total repayment amount. To obtain a private loan, students usually must have an established credit record, since the borrower’s credit usually determines the interest rate.|
Filing out the FAFSA
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) lets students apply for financial aid from work-study programs, student loans, and federal grants. Many colleges and state governments use students' FAFSA information to determine their eligibility for state- and school-funded financial aid. Some private financial aid providers can also access FAFSA information. Financial aid eligibility is determined by several factors, including citizenship status, academic achievement, criminal record, and financial status.
To fill out the FAFSA, students need their social security number, most recent federal income tax return, alien registration number (if they are not a U.S. citizen), bank statements, investment records, and records of untaxed income. They must also create an FSA ID to sign documents electronically. Most FAFSA applications take less than an hour to complete.
Determine Your Eligibility
Many criminal justice scholarships for minorities require students to demonstrate financial need. The first step in determining eligibility is identifying the scholarship amount, so the student can specifically determine how that amount would help offset their education cost. For instance, a $2,000 scholarship might help pay for a set amount of classes for the student. Once students describe how they would use the funds, they can then express why they need the financial aid.
Research Scholarship Requirement
Most criminal justice scholarships for minorities require students to be enrolled in a criminal justice or law program. Students need to research scholarship requirements to make sure the program they are enrolled in qualifies them to apply. They also need to make sure their scholarship foundation of choice accepts their degree program’s accrediting agency.
Provide Proof of Membership
Criminal justice scholarships for minorities often require students to prove their minority status. Native American scholarships frequently require students to be part of a federally recognized tribe. In those instances, students should make sure their tribe is federally recognized before applying, and prepare to provide citizenship or tribal cards as proof of their heritage and tribal membership. Other minority scholarships mandate that their applicants be members of a specific minority organization, so applicants should make sure they have proof of their membership.
Visit a Campus Writing Center
Essays are often an application requirement of criminal justice scholarships for minorities. Essay prompts usually give a specific topic or question, and students should research it thoroughly before they begin writing. Applicants who need help writing their essay can visit their campus’s writing center.
Participate in Extracurricular Activities
Community involvement and extracurricular activities often set scholarship applicants apart. Minority students should pursue opportunities in their community or school’s extracurricular department. Students can specifically seek out projects that would appeal to the scholarship foundation.
- Scholarships.com Scholarships.com serves as a database for students to look for different scholarship opportunities. Students can use the site to search for scholarships by type, amount, and other criteria. The site also provides a link to the scholarship’s webpage, a description of the scholarship’s purpose and criteria, and amount.
- Unigo.com This web database helps students research scholarship and loan opportunities. It prompts students with a series of questions to determine which colleges and types of financial aid suit them best.
- FAFSA Website The FAFSA website allows students to complete their FAFSA online. The application requires students to provide details including their parents’ income and personal information. Students’ answers determine what types of financial aid, if any, might suit them.
- CollegeScholarships.org This website helps students search for scholarships, grants, and student loans by sorting scholarships into different categories, including minority, athletic, state, student type, degree level, and subject.
- Sallie Mae Website Sallie Mae is a major educational loan provider, and its websites allows students to research different scholarship opportunities, review tips for writing scholarship essays, and learn more about how to apply for scholarships. They can also research financial aid and learn about student loans.