Enrollment Tips

5 Ways for Asian-Americans to Pay for Grad School

By The Room 241 Team February 18, 2013

Searching for ways to pay for grad school can be a daunting process. With many opportunities for scholarships, grants and loans, it is a great time to head back to school. Although a graduate education may cost some money up front, scholarship and grant awards can defray the costs associated with higher education. Additionally, a master degree in education or an EdD typically boosts your potential salary and makes you a more valuable applicant on the job market. Asian-American students searching for ways to fund post-secondary education should explore these five funding opportunities as well as awards in their local communities.

Funds for grad school

Asian and Pacific Islander Scholarship Fund

  • Type of award: scholarship
  • Program description: The Asian and Pacific Islander Scholarship Fund is a large, U.S.-based non-profit organization designed to make education more affordable for Asian and Pacific Islander students.
  • Who is eligible? Any student who is of Asian or Pacific Islander ethnicity as defined by the United States Census is eligible. All applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent resident of the U.S. and have a minimum GPA of 2.7. To be eligible for a scholarship, applicants must also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Application deadline: January 15.
  • Website: For more information, visit the APIASF website today.

Japanese American Citizens League

  • Type of award: scholarship
  • Program description: The Japanese American Citizens League is a large Asian-American civil rights organization. In addition to funding scholarships, the organization lobbies for social justice and civil liberties. All scholarships are one-time awards for eligible students.
  • Who is eligible? Any active member of the national JACL may apply. The awards are open to individuals of any ethnic background who are JACL members. Eligible applicants must be accepted to a qualified degree-seeking program.
  • Application deadline: April 1, 2013.
  • Website: Visit the JACL scholarship website for additional information.

Organization of Chinese Americans-UPS Gold Mountain Scholarship

  • Type of award: scholarship
  • Program description: The Organization of Chinese Americans is a national organization with the mission of advancing education, fostering leadership, preserving cultural heritage and advocating for social justice for Asian-Pacific Americans. The organization has teamed with United Parcel Service to offer several $2,000 scholarships to qualified applicants. seeking a higher degree.
  • Who is eligible? Applicants must be a member of the Organization of Chinese Americans. They must also demonstrate academic achievement and financial need.
  • Application deadline: April 18
  • Website: The OCA-UPS Gold Mountain Scholarship website has more information about this financial award.

Korean-American Scholarship Foundation

  • Type of award: scholarship
  • Program description: The Korean-American Scholarship Foundation is a non-profit organization managed by volunteers. Each year the organization offers numerous scholarships for graduate education. The scholarship awards range from $1,000 to $5,000 and may vary by regional chapter.
  • Who is eligible? Any individual of Korean heritage is eligible to apply. Applicants may be U.S. citizens, legal residents or Korean Nationals. Successful applicants must have a GPA greater than 3.0 and must currently be enrolled in a degree-seeking program.
  • Application deadline: Deadlines vary by region. Consult the website for more information.
  • Website: The Korean American Scholarship Foundation website has more information about regional application deadlines and guidelines.

Upakar Foundation Indian-American Scholarship Fund

  • Type of award: scholarship
  • Program description: Upakar is an organization dedicated to advancing the educational prospects and career possibilities of Indian-Americans. Each scholarship provides up to four years of support, at $2,000 per year.
  • Who is eligible? Applicants must be of Indian heritage to qualify. All students must be U.S. citizens or hold a Green Card. They must also demonstrate academic merit and financial need. To receive a scholarship renewal for additional years, students must maintain at least a 3.3 GPA.
  • Application deadline: April 30
  • Website: Visit the Upakar Foundation website for more details.

Getting started

In addition to the opportunities listed above, the U.S. government offers grants and loans to qualified Asian-American students. To get started, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The application is free and available to all students seeking a higher degree. Applying early in the annual application cycle can help you get greater financial aid opportunities, so visit the website today to take charge of your graduate education.

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