Overview

Scholarship recipients will be selected based on qualities traditionally valued and demonstrated by the immigrant community: hard work, resourcefulness, perseverance in the face of adversity, academic achievement, leadership, and commitment to one’s community. A committee drawn from the local community will review applications and select a group of finalists for interviews. The Esperanza Education Fund will award scholarship for students to attend public colleges or universities or community colleges. The scholarships range from $5000 to $20,000, depending on financial need. Scholarships will be disbursed directly to the recipient’s educational institution. The award represents the total amount of money that will be disbursed over the student’s college education (i.e., if a student had a $10,000 award for a four year public university, they would receive $2,500 a year).

As you apply, please note that an Esperanza scholarship is more than financial assistance for college.  We also provide our students with mentors to help them navigate college, internships and starting a career.  We have activities for scholars throughout their college years to help get to know each other and give them the skills and networks to succeed both in and after college.  We are looking for scholars who want to take advantage of these additional opportunities and become part of the Esperanza community.

Qualifications

  • Applicant must be born outside the U.S. or have two parents born outside the U.S.
  • Applicant must be planning to enroll full-time at an accredited public college or university in the academic year the award is offered.
  • Applicant 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.
  • Applicant must have a family income of less than $100,000 in 2020.

Important Dates and Deadlines

April 1, 2021 – Scholarship deadline
Early May 2021 – Notification of finalists
May 15 and May 23, Interview of finalists
Late May – scholars notified

Online Application

Once the Scholarship is open, applicants will submit their applications online.

https://esperanzafund.awardspring.com/

Sample PDF of Past Application (Reference Only)

Sample PDF Esperanza Scholarship Application *Use your Zoom In computer function to enlarge screenshots if they appear small.

The above PDF is for reference and planning only. Please use the online application to submit your application.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I am already in college. Can I apply for the Esperanza Scholarship?
A: No. The Esperanza Scholarship is open only to high school seniors and recent GED graduates not yet enrolled in college.

Q: I have a GED and want to go to college. Can I apply for the Esperanza Scholarship?
A: Yes, you can apply as long as you passed your GED test within the last four years. Please be sure to select “I’m a GED student” when you reach the qualifications tab.

Q: I want to go to a community college. Can I apply for the Esperanza Scholarship?
A: Yes, as long as you meet the other eligibility criteria. The Esperanza Scholarship provides two-year scholarships for students to attend community college.

Q: I am currently in community college and want to transfer to a four-year college. Can I apply for the Esperanza Scholarship?
A: No. The Esperanza Scholarship is open only to high school seniors or recent GED recipients

Q: I live in California but want to attend college in Virginia. Can I apply for the Esperanza Scholarship?
A: No. The Esperanza Scholarship is open only to students graduating from high schools located in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.

Q: I live in Virginia but want to attend college in public college or university in California. Can I apply for the Esperanza Scholarship?
A: Yes, as long as you meet the other eligibility criteria.

Q: I did not take the SAT or ACT. Can I apply for the Esperanza Scholarship?
A: Yes. If your college did not require you to take the SAT or ACT, you are not required to submit a score report.

Q: What is the Esperanza Education Fund’s College Board code?
A: The Esperanza Education Fund does not have a College Board code. Please make a copy of your score report in case you are selected as a finalist.

Q: Is there a minimum GPA requirement for the Scholarship? 
A: No, there is not minimum GPA requirement, but if you went to high school in the United States for all four years, we are highly unlikely to award you the scholarship if your GPA is under a 3.0.  If you moved to the United States during high school, we will take into account that grade conversion from your foreign high school may be inaccurate and may award you a scholarship if your cumulative GPA is under a 3.0.

Q: I have applied to several schools, but I haven’t decided where I will go yet. Can I apply for the Esperanza Scholarship?
A: Yes, as long as you applied to a public school and understand that you will not receive any scholarship funds if you do not enroll in a public college or university. If you apply for the scholarship and later decide to attend a private school, please email us at apply@esperanzafund.org so that we can disregard your application.

Q: I am not sure if the school I want to attend is public or private. How can I tell?
A: Check on the school’s website or call the school’s admissions office.  If you type the school’s name into Google, the search results will indicate whether the school is public or private.  Most community colleges are public. Some popular public schools in the region include:

  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • Montgomery College
  • Prince George’s Community College
  • University of the District of Columbia
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Baltimore
  • Morgan State University
  • Salisbury University
  • Towson University
  • St. Mary’s College of Maryland
  • University of Virginia
  • College of William and Mary
  • Virginia Tech
  • James Madison University
  • University of Mary Washington
  • George Mason University

We put a drop box in the application with the most popular local colleges.  However, if you are going to a public college in another region, you are still eligible for the scholarship.  Please select “other” and then list a public institution.

Q: I was born in the United States, and only one of my parents is an immigrant. Can I apply for the Esperanza Scholarship?
A: No. The Esperanza Scholarship is open only to immigrants (born outside the United States) and those who are children of two immigrants.

Q: My family is from Puerto Rico. Can I apply for the Esperanza Scholarship?
A: No. Because Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, they are not considered immigrants.

Q: I am not a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident. Can I apply for the Esperanza Scholarship?
A: Yes, as long as you meet the other eligibility criteria. The Esperanza Scholarship is open to all immigrant students, regardless of ethnicity, national origin, or immigration status.

Q: My tuition is covered by other scholarships. Will you pay for room and board or books?
A: No. The Esperanza scholarship will only pay for tuition. However, other scholarships may pay for both; therefore, you could potentially use the other scholarship’s money for room and board and Esperanza funds for tuition.

Q: How many applications do you receive per year, and how many scholarships do you award?
A: We receive 500-600 applications a year and award 8 to 12 scholarships.