Scholarship Opportunities for Hispanics Abound
There is good news for Hispanic families on a budget searching
for a way to pay for higher education costs: College bound
Hispanics can benefit from increasing scholarship opportunities.
This year, Hispanic students have a wealth of scholarship
options. Just as frenzied students are selecting college
programs or planning their return to school, many Hispanic
organizations are announcing scholarship funding programs and
guidelines for the school year beginning this fall.
Offering scholarships to minority and disadvantaged students has
gained popularity. Corporate giants like CNN, Coors, General
Motors, Lockheed Martin, MasterCard, NASCAR, Office Depot,
Sallie Mae, Time Warner and Wachovia are among the companies
providing scholarships to Hispanic students this year. Why are
these do-gooders dedicating thousands of dollars to Latino
scholarships and what can other companies learn from them?
While each one of these companies may have more than one reason
to support existing Hispanic scholarship programs established by
Latino organizations such as the Hispanic Association of
Colleges and Universities, National Association of Hispanic
Journalists, Hispanic College Fund and Hispanic Scholarship
Fund, most benefit from the positive community and public
relations results the programs generate.
Over the years, Latino consumers have become increasingly
acculturated into mainstream America. Some have gained positions
of influence in the public and private sectors and most have
become more sophisticated consumers. Part of the process has
resulted in the realization for some that they have been
neglected and even mistreated by many companies that ever since
the 2000 Census target them as consumers for their products and
At the same time, marketers and communicators have begun to wise
up to the growth and potential of the Latino markets with many
keeping their eye on of the future prize of the rapidly growing
Hispanic buying power, estimated by The Multicultural Economy,
1990-2009, report from the Selig Center for Economic Growth to
near $700 billion a year. Scholarship programs are a relatively
inexpensive means of generating good will among future consumers
of their products and services. At the same time, the recipients
of the scholarships may also become members of their future
There are critics who argue that in some cases the scholarships
are too few in relation to the total number of students in need.
And that they are the direct result of criticism of exclusionary
policies that have denied Latinos their fair share of the
American pie. That may very well be true. And yet, more students
than before are benefiting from scholarship programs. As they
graduate and join America's working hordes, they too will impact
the future and perhaps generate additional programs.
The good news is that this results in opportunities for
Hispanics students and benefits the donors in multiple ways. The
impact is immediate as Latino communities and leaders become
aware of the programs. There are also long term effects as the
recipients go to school and eventually graduate with an
appreciation toward the company that made it possible, in part,
for them to complete their studies.
At the same time the Internet has made scholarship hunting much
easier and possible for many students who a few years ago would
have been limited to their school counselor's advice and other
local resources. The generation entering America's colleges and
universities has better access to online resources, including
information on scholarships and who funds them, than any other
before it. Smart companies are banking on the benefits by
putting their money where their corporate mouths are and funding
Latino scholarships. And equally smart Latino students are
taking advantage of the increasing opportunities.
Elena del Valle is a 20-year marketing and communications
veteran. She is editor and contributing author of Hispanic
Marketing & Public Relations (Poyeen Publishing $49.95).
Additional information on marketing and public relations
targeting Latino consumers and Hispanic scholarship programs is