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Application Opens May 15

The Esperanza Education Fund provides scholarships to students from Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC who are immigrants or the children of immigrants. 

The Esperanza scholarship application will open May 15. Stay tuned and continue to check back for updates! 

Scholarship Benefits


The Esperanza Education Fund awards a total of $50K - $100K in scholarships annually, depending on available funding. Esperanza selects approximately ten (10) scholarship recipients from a pool of 300+ applications each academic year.

  • Each scholarship award will be no more than $20,000. In 2023, awards for students attending community colleges ranged from $3,000 to $7,000. Awards for students attending four-year universities ranged from $4,000 to $16,000.

    • Amounts are determined based on need.

  • Scholarship awards are divided into equal payments that are disbursed each qualifying academic semester of college/university enrollment in an accredited degree program.

    • For example, a scholarship in the amount of $4,000 to a recipient attending a two-year community college will be disbursed as 4 equal payments of $1,000, one payment per qualifying academic semester to equal a total award of $4,000.​

    • A scholarship award in the amount of $10,000 to a recipient attending a four-year university will be disbursed as 8 equal payments of $1,250, one payment per qualifying academic semester to equal a total award of $10,000.

  • Scholarship awards are disbursed directly to the colleges and universities the scholars attend.


Scholarship Awardees become Esperanza Scholars

As an Esperanza scholar, you have access to the invaluable resources of mentorship and annual programming. Each Esperanza scholar will

  • Be paired with a mentor who can help them throughout their higher education journey with academic and social support, networking, and career advice.

  • Participate in an annual Career Day with professional development activities.

  • Gain access to cohort program activities to build community among our scholars.

Scholar Benefit

​If you do not meet all four criteria, please do not apply. Applications from ineligible applicants will not be reviewed.

  • Must have been born outside the U.S. OR have two parents who were born outside the U.S.

  • Must be a graduating senior at a high school in the District of Columbia, Maryland, or Virginia OR have earned a GED within the last four years and reside in District of Columbia, Maryland, or Virginia

  • Must plan to enroll full-time in an accredited, public two-year community college or four-year university in the US for the academic year​

  • Must have had a household income of less than $100,000

There are no citizenship requirements for the Esperanza Education Fund Scholarship.

You are not eligible if

  • You are attending a private college or university.

  • You earned your high school diploma outside the U.S., unless you have subsequently earned a GED in the U.S.

  • You graduated high school the previous Spring.

  • Household financial information

  • Family background

  • Intended college or university

  • High school transcript or GED scores

  • SAT or ACT scores (optional)

  • Extracurricular activities

  • Two essays

  • Two letters of recommendation

Sample PDF of Past Application

*For Reference Only

Application Materials

Selection Process & Criteria


All eligible applications submitted by April 1 will be read by multiple judges. The top 16-24 applicants will be invited to interview. A panel of approximately five to seven judges will interview the finalists and select the top 8-12 to receive scholarships.


Judges score applications on three criteria: academic achievement, extracurricular involvement, and distance traveled

Academic achievement

  • This score is based on applicants’ high school GPA, class rank (if available), SAT or ACT scores (if available), and number of honors/AP/IB courses taken.

Extracurricular involvement

  • This is broadly defined. For example, someone working 20 hours per week might score highly in this section. High scores might also be awarded to someone who founded or served as president of a club at their school, who has performed a great deal of community service, or who watches their younger siblings every day after school while their parent works.

Distance traveled

  • This is metaphorical, not literal. Distance traveled is a measure of how much the student has achieved in light of the obstacles they have faced. For example, someone who crossed the border alone two years ago but has nonetheless achieved a 3.0 GPA and joined the soccer team would receive a high score. In contrast, a lower score might go to someone with a 4.0 GPA who was brought to the United States as an infant and was raised by parents who both had college degrees.

Selection Process & Criteria
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