Scholarships for immigrants and refugees

Are you looking for scholarships for immigrants and refugees? In the USA, there are many scholarships especially for refugees and immigrants. On this page, you will find scholarships by state, by nationality, and by learning topic. You can apply for these scholarships to help pay for your education.

Scholarships for Refugee Students
Photo by Chandler Christian, CC.

What are scholarships?

Scholarships are money awards to help you pay for your education. In the USA, many students apply for scholarships to help them pay for college. The scholarships on this page are especially for refugee and immigrant students. Some of them are for “first generation” students. This could mean that your parents were immigrants or refugees. It can also mean that you are an immigrant or refugee who now has citizenship. There are also scholarships for students who are not citizens.

National scholarships for immigrants and refugees

One scholarship of $10,000 is awarded each year. This scholarship is non-renewable. That means you will not get it again next year. It can be applied to one academic year.  Applicants must be born outside the USA and must already be in school (or accepted) as a full-time undergraduate student at an accredited US college or university. High school seniors who want to enroll in college are also eligible. A recent transcript must show a  GPA of 3.4 or greater.

Phone: (866) 315-8261

Dream.US Scholarship – National Scholarship

Renewable scholarship with a possible stipend for DREAMers (DACA and TPS). A stipend is a sum of money you could receive in addition to your scholarship. You must be planning to enroll full time in an associate or bachelor’s degree program for the first time. High school graduates (or HSE diploma) must have GPA 2.5+. Community college graduates must have GPA 3.0+. You must be eligible for in-state tuition at a partner college.

Phone: (855) 670-4787

Dream.US Scholarship – Opportunity Scholarship

Scholarship for DREAMers (DACA or TPS) living in states where they will have to pay out-of-state tuition or will not be accepted to the schools in their state. You must have graduated high school or earned HSE diploma with GPA 2.8+ .

Phone: 855-670-4787

Gates Millennium Scholars Program

Scholarships for African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American students. You must have a “significant financial need” in the United States. You will need to state how much money your family makes and they will decide if you can apply.

Contact: online form at

Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans

A $90,000 award over 2 years for immigrants, refugees, and first-generation Americans. You must be planning to enroll full time in a graduate degree program. You also must be under the age of 31.

Phone: (212) 547-6926 Email: PDSoros@pdoros.or

Running of the Bulls Scholarship for Immigrants

Two $1000  scholarships for immigrants or children of immigrants. To be eligible you must be in a 4-year college or you must have been accepted by a 4-year college. Your GPA must be 3.0 or higher as well. Email:


Non-profit that provides free in-person/online support. They provide and scholarships to low-income students from the start of their college application process to their graduation from college.

Phone: 415 652-2766

Scholarships by state

This is  a list of scholarships for refugees and immigrants in different states.


Asian Pacific Fund

Californian residents: please look on the website of the Asian Pacific Fund. The fund administers several great scholarships in California including for students of Filipino, Asian, and Pacific Island heritage, and for migrant farm workers. You can download applications for all of them on the scholarship web page.

Phone: (415) 395-9985

Immigrants Rising Scholarship Fund

Scholarship of up to $7,000 for low-income immigrants. You must be graduating from high school or enrolled in college and graduate programs. You must live in or attend a school in the San Francisco Bay Area. Contact information is on the website when applications are open. Or you can email

Foroutan Foundation

Scholarship for first-generation immigrant students. You must be a US citizen or legal resident residing in California.

Phone: (877) 968-6328

District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia

Esperanza Education Fund

For students born outside the USA or who have both parents born outside the USA and planning to enroll full-time at an accredited public college or university. Applicants must be either a graduating senior at a high school in the District of Columbia, Maryland, or Virginia or a recent GED grad residing in DC, Maryland or Virginia. The scholarships range from $5000 to $20,000, depending on financial need. Scholarship recipients will be selected based on qualities traditionally valued and demonstrated by the immigrant community. Esperanza also provides students with mentors to help them navigate college, internships and starting a career. Apply online.



HIAS Chicago

HIAS provides academic scholarships to students who immigrated or whose family immigrated to the Chicago area with the assistance of HIAS Chicago, or who accessed HIAS’ immigration and citizenship services once in the United States. Scholarships include: the Benton-Bernstein Scholarship for those entering the helping professions; the Tilly Warshaw Scholarship for high school graduates, and several others.

Phone: 312-357-4666

IIE – Julia Stasch Scholarship for Refugee and Asylee Students

The Institute of International Education (IIE) offers the Julia Stasch Scholarship for Refugee and Asylee Students to support students who are studying at one of the City Colleges of Chicago or a Community College in Chicagoland.  Please note that students who came to the USA as refugees or have been granted asylum and are now permanent residents or citizens are also eligible.

Awardees will receive a $10,000 scholarship to cover outstanding tuition balances, living expenses, and other costs related to their education. The scholarship also includes a 1-week leadership program in summer 2020 to provide students with leadership skills. 



James Angelo Memorial Social Justice Scholarship

A 2-year scholarship to attend Southern Maine Community College. It is awarded to an African immigrant graduating from a Portland high school.

Phone: (207) 741-5957


Fred S. Findling Memorial Immigrant Scholarship

The Fred S. Findling Scholarship is a one time award of $1500. It is open to any immigrant that is currently enrolled at a Michigan college. Awards are granted without regard to race, religion, sexual orientation, age, or nationality. You do not need to fill out an application or write an essay. To apply, send a 30-second selfie video explaining why you deserve this scholarship. Videos that are longer than 30 seconds will not be considered.


Grand Rapids Community Foundation

A list of over 70 scholarships with one application for graduating student. You must live in Kent County high schools. You can also go to high schools in Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Ottawa, Montcalm, Muskegon, or Newaygo counties.

Phone:  (616) 454-1751 ext. 103
Email: (Education Program Officer Ruth Bishop)


Paradigm Foundation Scholarship / DH Gustafson Family Foundation

A scholarship for first-generation Americans or immigrants. You must be graduating from an Eagan, Minnesota high school. You can apply with one application for this scholarship and 100+ other scholarships in the Eagan Foundation.

Phone:(651) 243-1198

New York

Ascend Educational Fund

Ascend Educational Fund awards scholarships ranging from $2,500 to $20,000 to immigrant students and children of immigrants who are graduating from a New York City high school to attend public or private colleges and universities, regardless of ethnicity, national origin, or immigration status. Apply online when application period opens in November.


Columbia University Scholarship for Displaced Students

The Scholarship supports displaced students from anywhere in the world who are unable to complete their higher education. These students will receive full tuition, housing, and living assistance while pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees across all 18 Columbia schools and affiliates, reflecting Columbia’s full institutional commitment to addressing this global crisis. This program will commit up to $6 million in support for up to 30 students annually. Mentoring and support will be provided by the Scholarship, as well as by schools and student groups at Columbia. Apply online at the scholarship application page.

This scholarship program is for foreign nationals with refugee status or who have received US asylum or submitted a US asylum application, or are in the US under Temporary Protected Status.


Mary Rosenblum Somit Scholarship

The Mary Rosenblum Somit Scholarship fund provides $4,000 ($2,000 per semester) to an undergraduate at the University of Buffalo, New York, who is majoring in biochemistry, biomedical sciences or pharmacology and toxicology. Preference is given to students who are immigrants, children of immigrants or first-generation college students. Apply on the website.

Phone: (716) 829-3955

North Carolina

Achievement Scholarship for Refugees and Immigrants of Wake County

Scholarship for first-generation US citizens, refugees, and immigrants graduating from a Wake County high school. You do not need legal documents to apply.

Phone: (919) 474-8370 ext. 4028


The Refugee Connect Student Scholarship

Scholarship for refugees residing in the Greater Cincinnati tri-state area. All refugees pursuing higher education at a public, private, technical college or university in the USA can apply. There are no age restrictions.

Phone: (513) 449-0368


Ann Biggs/Thelma Salazar Endowed Scholarship for First-Generation Immigrant Children

This scholarship is for first-generation immigrant children – those who have at least one parent who immigrated to the United States. Preference will be given to children of immigrants from Mexico or Central America.

Phone: (210) 458-8000


One Refugee

Full scholarships and mentoring for full time students with refugee background, preference given to freshman students starting at a community college. Must maintain GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Phone: (801) 360-5707


Alfred Hugo Radke and Gerda Else Radke Scholarship

Scholarship of $1000 for international or first-generation American student who whose intent is to graduate from Averett University and demonstrates financial need. Must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or better.

Phone: (434) 791-5600


Douvas Scholarship

Scholarship of $500 awarded to a first generation American youth. You must prove financial need and plan to attend one of the 7 community colleges of the University of Wyoming.

Phone: (307) 777-6198

SAT test fee and college application fee waiver

SAT test and college application fee waiver

This is for students whose families have a low income. A waiver means that you will not need to pay the fee. You can apply for up to four schools. Waivers are available to low-income 11th and 12th grade students in the USA or US territories. US citizens living outside the USA may be able to have test fees waived. You can apply for SAT Subject Test fee waivers if you are in grades 9 through 12.

Phone: (866) 630-9305

Scholarships for specific fields of learning

Ariane de Rothschild (AdR) Fellowship: Social Entrepreneurship & Cross-Cultural Network

A two-week fellowship for entrepreneurs and social leaders. A fellowship in a job where you are not paid. Instead, you get to learn new skills and meet people who can help you. You must have an interest in change and cross-cultural conversation. It is best if it is conversation between Jewish and Muslim communities.

Contact: online form at

Catholic Relief Services International Development Fellows Program

A 12-month fellowship program for people who are working on a career in international development. You must have a graduate degree in a field relevant to international development. You also must have spent at least 6 months overseas in a developing country. You must be fluent in English and a second language.

Phone: (888) 277-7575

English for Heritage Language Speakers (EHLS) Program

A 8-month program that improves your English communication skills from advanced to professional-level. A full scholarship will be provided to people who are accepted to the program. You must requirement that get a job with the federal government when you are done with the program.

Phone: (202) 687-4455

The Western Union Foundation Family Scholarship Program

Scholarship of $2,500 designed to support young people around the world in who want to go to college. You must be between the ages of 18-26. You must choose an undergraduate degree in a STEM field or business.

Tel: (202) 686-8652

scholarships for refugees and immigrants in the US. Thanks to the Portland Adult Education Program for use of their photos. Photo by Molly Haley.
Photo courtesy of Molly Haley, Portland Adult Education Program.

Scholarships for specific groups and nationalities

Some foundations, organizations and professional associations save money to award scholarships to people of certain ethnicities.

Students of African descent

Future Scholars of Africa (FSA) 

Future Scholars of Africa (FSA) is a Utah-based nonprofit organization created by students, for students. FSA provides high school and college students who are immigrants, refugees, or asylees from Africa with scholarships, mentorship, and free tutoring in all subjects. Services are customized to fit the needs of each student. For example, for high school students planning to go to college, they provide mentorship for on how to succeed throughout college. Email if you are interested in receiving help from FSA.


James Angelo Memorial Social Justice Scholarship

A 2-year scholarship to attend Southern Maine Community College. It is awarded to an African immigrant graduating from a Portland high school.


Asian, South East Asian and Pacific Islander students

Asian Pacific Fund Scholarship

2 to 3 scholarships of $2,500 – $5,000 each for students of  Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity and resident in California (Bay area preferred). Download the application on the website. Administered by the Asian Pacific Fund.

Phone: (415) 395-9985

Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund

Scholarships for Asian and/or Pacific Islanders with a focus on students with strong financial need and/or are first in their families to go to college who are attending specific universities (see website for list).

Phone: (877) 808-7032

GAPA Foundation

Scholarship for students who express activism in the Asian and Pacific Islander (API). It is also for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities studying at a school in the US.

Phone: (415) 857-4272 Email:

Regeneration Center Scholarship

Scholarship for motivated undergraduate and graduate students. You must be planning on studying science, medical or biology students of Southeast Asian heritage.


Students of Arab descent

American Mideast Leadership Network

Scholarship awarded on a competitive basis to students of Arab heritage. You must be planing on applying to a community college, four-year college, and graduate school. The school must be in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut.

Phone: (347) 924-9674/ (917) 591-2177

Arab American Institute

Several scholarships available for Arab Americans or individuals of Arab descent studying in the USA. Please visit the website for full list of scholarships.

Jack G. Shaheen Mass Communications Scholarship

Scholarship for students of Arab descent. You must be a junior, senior or attending graduate school in the field of media or journalism. You can also be majoring in journalism, radio, television and/or film. You must be in an undergraduate program as a junior or senior. You can also be in a graduate program.

Phone: (202) 244-2990

Network of Arab American Professionals

Scholarship for Arab-Americans who have  excellent grades and are involved in activism and in their community.

Contact: online form at

Arab American Association of Engineers and Architects (AAAEA) – Capital Area

Scholarship for full time undergraduate or graduate students. You must be studying engineering, architecture, computer science, or IT. You must be a current student member of AAAEA – Capital Area or a child of a current member.


The Arab American Women’s Business Council 

Scholarship for Arab American women attending school in Michigan.

Contact: Yvonne Abraham Email:

Students of Filipino descent

Banatao Family Filipino American Education Fund

Five scholarships of $5000 each given annually to students of at least 50% Filipino heritage who are living in California.  Download the application on the website. Administered by the Asian Pacific Fund. Phone: (415) 395-9985 Email:

Students of Iranian descent

Foroutan Foundation

Scholarship for first-generation immigrant students. Must be a US citizen or legal resident residing in California.

Phone: (877) 968-6328

The Iranian Scholarship Foundation

Multiple scholarships for students of Iranian descent based on financial need, community involvement, or academic achievement.


Momeni Foundation

Multiple scholarships available to graduating high school students and full time college students of Iranian descent.

Phone: 727-433-2133

Latino/Hispanic students

Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Scholarship for Hispanic students seeking 4-year or advanced degrees. Scholarships range from $500 to $5,000 based on relative need.

Contact: online form at

The MALDEF Scholarship Resource Guide

A list of scholarships, including the MALDEF Law School Scholarship Program. This is for law students who want to advance the civil rights of the Latino community.

Contact: online form at

Salvadorian American Leadership and Educational Fund’s (SALEF) Fulfilling Our Dreams Scholarship Fund

Scholarship for Central American and Latino students who want to enroll in college. You must live in the Los Angeles area. Scholarships are open to all students regardless of immigration status.

Phone: (213) 480-1052

Students from Myanmar

University of the People of Myanmar Fund 

Scholarship for new students from Myanmar seeking an associate’s degree from the University of the People.


Students of Palestinian descent

American Federation of Ramallah Palestine

Scholarships for Palestinian and Palestinian American students from low-income homes.

Phone: (734) 425-1600

Syrian students

Emergency Refugee Assistance Scholarship Fund

Scholarship for students around the world who are refugees or asylum seekers from Syria.


Scholarships for migrant worker families

College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) 

The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) is a federally-funded educational support and scholarship program that helps more than 2,000 students annually from migrant and seasonal farm-working backgrounds to reach and succeed in college.  Participants receive financial assistance during their freshman year of college and ongoing academic support until their graduation. You can check the list of CAMP programs to see if there is a scholarship program in your state.

Gloria Mattera National Migrant Scholarship Fund

Scholarship worth $500 for students entering or enrolled in college or other education programs. It is also for individuals who did not complete high school but show promise of ability to continue schooling.

Contact: Chris Norton, Director
Phone: 800-245-5681

Lapiz Family Scholarship

A $2000 scholarship for farm workers or child of farm workers  of any racial or ethnic background. Must be US citizen or permanent resident. Download the application on the website. Administered by the Asian Pacific Fund.

Phone: (415) 395-9985

Scholarships for New Americans or first-generation citizens

The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

A $90,000 scholarship awarded over 2 years for immigrants, refugees, and first-generation Americans. You must be planning to enroll full time in a graduate degree program. You also must be under the age of 31.

Phone: (212) 547-6926

Achievement Scholarship for Refugees and Immigrants of Wake County

Scholarship for first-generation citizens, refugees, or immigrants who attended school in Wake County, North Carolina. There is no documentation required.

Phone: (919) 474-8370 ext. 4028
Contact: Julia Da Silva

Douvas Memorial Scholarship: First Generation American Scholarship

Scholarship for first-generation Americans residing in Wyoming. You must be planning to attend one of the state’s 7 community colleges or the University of Wyoming.

Phone: (307) 777-6198

Paradigm Foundation Scholarship/ DH Gustafson Family Foundation

Scholarship for first-generation Americans or immigrants graduating from an Eagan, Minnesota high school. Apply with one application for this scholarship and 100+ other scholarships within the Eagan Foundation.

Phone: (651) 243-1198

Scholarships with no documentation required

Achievement Scholarship for Refugees and Immigrants of Wake County

Scholarship for immigrants, first-generation citizens, or refugees (no documentation required) who attended school in Wake County, North Carolina.

Phone: (919) 474-8370 ext. 4028
Contact: Julia Da Silva

CPS Dream Fund Scholarship

A talent and need-based scholarship for DREAMers attending a Chicago public school.

Contact: Luis Narvaez

Immigrants Rising Scholarship Fund

Scholarship of up to $7,000 for low-income immigrants graduating from high school. You can also be enrolled in college and graduate programs who live in/attend school in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Immigrants Rising also keeps an updated list of other scholarships that do not require proof of citizenship of residency. 

Golden Door Scholars

Scholarship for students with great-grades. You must be planning to pursue an undergraduate degree at a 4-year college. Applicants must be approved for DACA or TPS. You must be eligible to participate in paid internships.


Mexican-American Dream Scholarship

This scholarship program is offered by the Council of Mexican Federations in North America (COFEM). It awards scholarships of $500 to Community College students and $1,000 to undergraduate students attending four-year colleges or universities in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Inland Empire, San Bernardino and Ventura countries in California. Applicants must be considered undocumented or must benefit from AB-540 or DACA. Also they can be a member or be related to a member of a COFEM-affiliated federation or club.

Phone: (213) 417-8394

Scholarships for refugees or asylum seekers

Champlain College New American Student Scholarship

Need-based scholarship for Vermont’s refugee and asylum-seeking students. This is only for students planning to attend Champlain College.

Phone: (802) 860-2777

Emergency refugee assistance scholarship fund

Available to students around the world who are refugees or asylum seekers.


Small Giants Scholarship Fund for Refugees

Scholarship for refugees or asylum seekers planning to attend University of the People.


The IIE Scholar Rescue Fund

This is a year-long fellowship. A fellowship is a unpaid job where you get to learn new skills. It is for professors, researchers, and public intellectuals who face threats to their lives and careers in their home countries.

Phone: (212) 205-6486 Email:

Scholarships for women

AAUW career development grants

Career Development Grants provide funding to women who hold a bachelor’s degree and are preparing to advance or change careers or reenter the workforce. Primary consideration is given to women of color and women pursuing their first advanced degree or credentials in nontraditional fields. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents whose last degree was received before June 30, 2014. Funds are available for tuition, fees, books, supplies, local transportation, and dependent care. Apply on the website.

Phone: 202.785.7700

The Arab American Women’s Business Council (AAWBC)

Scholarship for Arab American women attending school in Michigan.

Contact: Yvonne Abraham

The Hegg Hoffet Fund 

Professional courses for women who want to re-enter their professional field. There are also language courses for integration into their new country or courses to pass required national exams.

Phone: (+41) 22 731 2380

Red Thread Fellowship Award

The Red Thread Fellowship is available to college-bound women of international backgrounds who will be entering an American college or university in the coming fall.The fellowship consists of two parts: a $1000 scholarship award and year-long mentorship support.  There are no GPA or U.S. residency requirements. The application consists of several short-answer questions, two essays, and two letters of recommendation. We require that at least one of your recommenders be an academic reference, such as a teacher or a guidance counselor.  Apply on the website.


Scholarships for everyone

Careeronestop scholarship finder

Careeronestop is a US government website that helps people find jobs and training for jobs. It has a list of scholarships that you can search. You can filter by level of study or by place or by both. Under “affiliation required,” you can even filter for being in an ethnic minority.


You can also apply for grants, which are another kind of financial support for education. The office of Federal Student Aid provides grants, loans, and work-study funds for college or career school. Apply at Federal Application for Free Student Aid (FAFSA).

There are many scholarships for immigrants and refugees. If you know of others to add, please email us.  We will add them to the list.

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