Scholarships for Asian-American Women

All you have to do to appreciate the scholarship potential of Asian American students in the United States today is pick up any high school graduation program and check out the names of the people listed as valedictorian and salutatorian. Chances are those names will be Asian in origin. Now, this may sound like a generalization with nothing to back it up, but statistically Asian students boast the highest college retention rates in the country.

Already accounting for over 5% of the people in the US, Asians have become one of the most rapidly growing sectors of our population, and there has been a rush to offer scholarship opportunities to these students.

Due to the excellent high retention rates in college, the rapid population growth rate, and the abundance of funding opportunities being offered, you couldn’t find a better time to apply for scholarships. Most of the awards listed below are being offered only to Asian women, however, in a few cases, we have included some that are offered to both Asian men and women because they are just too important to ignore.

Asian Women in Business

The Asian Women in Business (AWIB) is the only not for profit organization in the U.S. whose primary mission is to promote and assist Asian women entrepreneurs. As part of this effort they provide scholarships to female students each year who can demonstrate leadership, scholarship, community service, and/or entrepreneurship. Presentations this year will be made in November. Each scholarship will be in the amount of $2,500. Application deadline is October 1st. You can find complete eligibility details on the AWIB website at including where to send your completed application packet.

Gates Millennium Scholars Program

This program, created in 1999, is funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It was established to provide outstanding students – African American, American Indian/Alaska Natives, Asian Pacific Islander Americans, and Hispanic Americans – with an undergraduate college education, no matter what their major field of study, and to fund graduate studies in the areas of education, engineering, library science, mathematics, or science. It is the aim of this program to help students with significant financial need reach their full potential in life. For complete details, visit the website at Application deadline is January 14th.

Asian & Pacific Islander American

If you are an Asian or Pacific Islander, and you intend to enroll in an accredited US college or university in the fall, and can demonstrate your need for financial assistance to further your education, you might qualify for one of these APIASF scholarships. Although applications are open to both men and women, historically approximately 70% of the funds have been awarded to female students, and in one year alone this program provided scholarships for students in 46 U.S. states. Deadline is January 9th. Everything you need to know about this program, including how to establish your need for financial assistance, and eligibility requirements can be found at the website at

APIASF Community College

A surprising number – about 50% -- of Asian and Pacific Islander American students attend Community Colleges and this program is designed for them. APIASF partners with various corporate sponsors to provide funds for these scholarships.

If you attend City College of San Francisco, Coastline Community College, DeAnza College, and South Seattle Community College, there is current information on the website for students at this time. Awards range from $2,500 to $5,000. Deadline is October 15th. The specific awards listed above are available now; however, information about scholarships for other community colleges will appear occasionally throughout the year. Check the APIASF website frequently for information about those.

Asian American Bar Association

This foundation offers a number of scholarships to Asian Pacific American law students each year who meet various eligibility requirements. Deadlines is September 1st.

OCA Scholarships

This applicant must be an Asian Pacific woman who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. She must be able to demonstrate a need for financial assistance in order to continue her education. She must also have an excellent academic record and have demonstrated leadership ability, independence, creativity, and contributed in some way to her community. The minimum amount of this award is $2,000, and there are ten given each year. Deadline is January 10. This scholarship is sponsored by the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), Inc.

Pan-Asian (USPAACC)

Sponsored by such corporate interests as McDonald’s, Pepsi, CBS, FedEx – just to name a few – the U.S. Pan-Asian American Chamber of Commerce has been providing scholarships to deserving Asian American students, both men and women, since 1989. Scholarships from this source may be used at any type of educational institution. There are a number of scholarships offered by this foundation annually. If you would like more information about this resource, visit the website at

Ronald McDonald House Charities

Ronald McDonald House Charities began to support students with limited funds to pursue expanded educational and career opportunities in 1985, and to date they have awarded over $19 million to help high school seniors attend college. In order to apply for the RMHDC/ASIA (Asian Students Increasing Achievement) Scholarship, applicant must have at least one parent of Asian/Pacific Islander heritage. Deadline is January 20th. Visit the website at

Other Sites to Watch

Below are listed some other scholarship sites that offer annual scholarships whose deadlines have passed for this coming year, however, check in on their websites regularly for details.

  • Asian American Journalist Association -- The AAJA has a goal of increasing the Asian presence in the American media, and to this end are presenting annual merit-based scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 to eligible women and men majoring in journalism.
  • Asian Pacific American Librarians Association – If you are studying to become a librarian and have reached the graduate level, you need to check into this scholarship. It is awarded annually in the amount of $1,000. Deadline is May 1st.

The Financial Assistance Office of Your University or College

Many schools now offer scholarships specifically targeting female students and/or students of Asian heritage. Yours may be one of them, and this is a topic that should be on the top of your list when you make your college visits.

For Underrepresented Minorities

Many professions still find themselves underrepresented by minorities and/or women in the workplace, and therefore offer scholarships to minority groups to encourage students to enter fields they might not have otherwise entered. A few of these scholarships would include:

Need Based – Merit Based Programs

There are many grants and scholarships that are available to all women – and that includes those with Asian and Pacific Islander backgrounds. There are some that are primarily need based, and if you can demonstrate your need for funding to continue your education by completing the free FAFSA application online, you may qualify for one of them. There are also merit based scholarships that have a financial need requirement. In other words, if you have a really great academic record, and also have the need for funding, you might receive one of these scholarships. However, you will receive neither unless you apply. The only real trick to obtaining funding for education is to apply – often!