If you’re a student looking to reduce the cost of your education and set yourself up for success after graduating, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) is an amazing resource. Not only does the HSF offer their scholars a wide range of support services to succeed in higher education — they also have some pretty generous scholarships! 

That’s why, in this post, we’re going to share all the information you need to put together a winning application for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

Here’s what will cover: 

  • How much scholarship money you can win as an HSF Scholar 
  • The Hispanic Scholarship Fund eligibility requirements 
  • How to apply for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund 
  • The HSF application timeline 
  • 6 tips to improve your chances of winning an HSF scholarship 

Let’s jump right in!

What Is the Hispanic Scholarship Fund? 

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is a nonprofit organization that aims to empower Hispanic and Latino students with the knowledge and resources to excel in higher education. 

Every year, the HSF selects around 10,000 students to become HSF Scholars. If you’re selected as an HSF scholar, you gain access to a wide range of amazing services, including internship and job opportunities with the HSF’s corporate partners, mentorship opportunities, leadership development programs and conferences, wellness programs, and exclusive scholarship opportunities. 

HSF Scholarship Opportunities 

Annually, the HSF awards HSF Scholars more than $30 million in merit-based scholarships – ranging from $500-$5,000 per student! These scholarships can be used to pay for tuition, fees, books, and other academic-related supplies, room/board and transportation expenses related to school.

But, it’s important you know up front that not all HSF Scholars receive scholarships. That’s why later in this post we’ll give you some tips on how to boost your chances of winning! This is, of course, assuming you’re eligible to apply. Let’s check now to see if you are! 

Hispanic Scholarship Fund Eligibility Requirements 

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund can be an option for you at nearly every stage of your education, including when you’re a:

  • Graduating high school senior
  • Undergraduate student (all years)
  • Community college student transferring to a four-year university
  • Graduate student (law school, medical school, MBA, and all other full-time masters or PhD programs)

But to become an HSF Scholar and be eligible for scholarships, you must also:

  • Be of Hispanic heritage
  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent legal resident, or DACA 
  • Have a minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent) for high school students; minimum of 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent) for college and graduate students
  • Plan to enroll full-time in an accredited, public or not-for-profit, four-year university, or graduate school, in the US, for the upcoming academic year
  • Submit the FAFSA or state-based financial aid forms (if applicable)

How to Apply for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Applying for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund will require you to gather several documents to complete your online application. Luckily, it’s nothing too complicated! 

Here’s everything you’ll need: 

Your most recent high school or college transcript. You may be able to request these online. If not, you’ll need to speak with your high school guidance counselor or college registrar. 

A completed FAFSA. If you’ve never done this, check out our guide on how to apply for FAFSA

A copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR). You’ll get this after submitting your FAFSA.

Financial aid award letter from the college/university you will be attending. You’ll get this from your college/university’s financial aid department. 

A picture. You’ll need to submit a professional headshot or student photo.

Enrollment verification from your college/university. You’ll need to request this from your school’s admissions office. Or, if you’re not yet enrolled, you can wait to send it the summer after you have received your HSF award notification.

A personal essay. You’ll be asked to write an essay about your goals, strengths, education values, and why you’re applying for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

At least one academic recommendation letter. This letter will need to come from a teacher, academic advisor/guidance counselor, or some other person who has influenced your academic development. You can also include additional recommendation letters, including from someone who knows you outside of an academic environment (e.g. sports coach, your boss at work).

Employment Authorization Document (EAD). This requirement only applies to you if you’re a DACA recipient.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund Application Timeline 

So, by now you may be wondering: when is the application for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund open and when is it due? Well, we’ve got you covered! Here’s the official HSF scholarship timeline: 

January 1: The Hispanic Scholarship Fund application opens. 

February: The application is due. The deadline in 2021 was February 14. So, plan for around that time next year. 

March – April: Finalists for the HSF are announced and asked to submit recommendations, transcripts, the SAR, and the personal essay.

May – June: The HSF evaluates applications and selects Scholars who will then be notified if they have received a scholarship (funded) or if they were waitlisted for an award (waitlisted). All HSF Scholars will gain access to HSF support services as long as they submit the remaining required documents. 

June – September: All HSF Scholars must submit their financial aid award letter.  

October – November: All HSF Scholars must submit their enrollment verification form. 

October – December: The HSF Scholarships are awarded to a select number of HSF Scholars.   

6 Tips to Improve Your Chances of Winning a Scholarship from the HSF 

Unsurprisingly, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund receives thousands of applications from qualified students every year – but not all will be chosen as HSF Scholars. And even fewer will be given scholarships. So, here are a few tips to boost your chances!  

Start Your HSF Application As Soon As Possible

By starting the HSF application ASAP, you lower the risk of missing any important documents, deadlines, or instructions. It also gives you time to follow up with the people who need to submit things like your transcripts, financial aid award letter, recommendation letters, etc.

Starting early also means you’ll have time to pass your materials to a teacher, parent, or guidance counselor to review and make sure your application is as close to perfect as can be! 

Submit the FAFSA Early 

Students who submit the FAFSA early tend to get better financial aid packages. But, given how much information you need to complete it, it’s also easy to put off until the last minute. Try not to do that! 

Remember, you’ll need to have submitted FAFSA and your Student Aid Report to complete the HSF application. You don’t want your application to be incomplete because you waited too long to start the FAFSA! If it’s your first time completing the FAFSA or need a quick refresh of what you need to do, take a look at this guide on how to apply for FAFSA.

Strive for a Strong Academic Record 

The minimum GPA to apply for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund is a cumulative 3.0 based on a 4.0 scale for high school students and a cumulative GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale for college/graduate students. But, remember, these scholarships are competitive! 

If you still have time to improve your GPA before applying, do your best to make that happen! Seek extra help from your teachers, use free resources like Khan Academy to get ahead, and take honors/advanced level classes to help demonstrate your academic strengths. 

Write a Remarkable Personal Essay 

Scholarship essays play a pretty significant part in many scholarship competitions. Why? Because they’re the only time the scholarship selection committee gets to hear your voice and learn about what makes you unique. So, be sure you’re not writing a generic, boring essay that could easily be written by any of your peers. 

The best scholarship essays tell a story that shows you are connected to the mission of the scholarship foundation and, consequently, the ideal person to award the scholarship. If you’re not sure how to write an essay like this, be sure to check out our guides on how to write a scholarship essay and how to write a personal statement.  

Seek Out Leadership Opportunities

Good grades aren’t all scholarship foundations want to see from applicants. They also want to award students who show initiative in areas they’re passionate about! That’s why, if you have time before applying, striving for leadership in your extracurriculars, volunteer work, and/or job is one of the best things you can do.

While there isn’t a section of the HSF application specifically dedicated to leadership, there are ways to showcase it in your application. For example, your leadership experience could be a great thing to mention in your personal essay and could also show up in your recommendation letter. 

Make Sure You Get a Stellar Recommendation Letter

Similar to the personal essay, recommendation letters give scholarship foundations, like the HSF, the opportunity to get a more objective perspective of you and your academic potential. Typically, what gets written about you in the letter is out of your control. But there are some things you can do to get the best letter possible. 

First, make sure you’re following the HSF guidelines by getting someone who knows you in an academic setting. Then, make sure that person knows what things to highlight about you in the letter by sharing with them why you’re applying for HSF, your academic goals, your resume with work and extracurricular experience, and a copy of your personal essay.

You can also ask your recommender to read our guide on how to write a scholarship letter of recommendation where we share all the information they’ll need! 

Where to Find More Scholarships 

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is one of the best support resources for Hispanic and Latino students pursuing higher education. If that’s you, we hope the information we shared here helps you prepare an outstanding application! 

We also hope you know there are many more scholarships you can apply for and win! To easily find them, download Scholly Search, the #1 scholarship app in the world that instantly matches you with hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in scholarships based on your interests, accomplishments, and traits! 

You can also check out the rest of our blog where we share tips on how to graduate debt free, understand your options for college financial aid, and win scholarships like the Fulbright Scholarship.

Good luck!