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Here are 9 Scholarships you can Apply for as an Arab American

posted on: Sep 1, 2020

By: Noah Robertson/Arab America Contributing Writer

In the U.S. there are millions of scholarships offered every year through universities, private companies, non-profits, and even private citizens. Most of these scholarships have specific limits, whether it is finances, merit, career path, gender, or even ethnicity. Compared to other ethnic groups, Arab Americans do not have nearly the same number of scholarships available specifically for them. This article will list most of the scholarships that are available for Arab Americans, the limits available for those scholarships, and the issue with the low number of scholarships offered.

A Summary of Scholarships in the U.S.

As a former high school senior and current college student, I know the hard work it takes to find scholarships, apply, and hope you are awarded one. For me, there were not many scholarships specifically for a white, middle-class male, but just like any other college student, I applied en masse to the general ones and knew I had a decent chance of getting some. In fact, Caucasian students get 75%+ of merit-based scholarships from institutions despite representing less than 3/4 of the student population. With people finally recognizing that many minority students are held at a disadvantage in these scholarship races, there have been many created specifically to benefit minority students and ensure they have an equal chance of receiving support. This is where the Arab American problem comes in.

College Scholarships Available for Arab Americans
The results when searching for “Arab American Scholarships” on a scholarship consolidator

Searching across the internet for scholarships using keywords such as “Latino scholarships, African-American scholarships, and minority scholarships,” there is a wide range of scholarships to be found. Unfortunately, many of these scholarships come with descriptions like this one: “awards the following Law Scholarships to students of color (African American, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander or Alaskan Native).” This scholarship is designed to benefit students of color, and it certainly gives opportunities to them, but where are Arab Americans on that list? Even the research on people of color receiving scholarships does not include Arab Americans, which is problematic as we will see in how many scholarships are available specifically for the Arab American community.

Scholarships for Arab Americans

There are scholarships available specifically for Arab Americans to fill the gap created by other limited “minority” or “people of color” scholarships, but they are limited in number, funding, and by major or college. After about an hour and a half of non-stop searching, I was able to find twelve scholarships created specifically for Arab American students. One of those scholarships was for any Arab American, while the rest had location, school, profession/major limits, or included other minority groups as well. On Arab America’s scholarship page, we do have a longer list of available scholarships, but some are simply “diversity” scholarships and are limited by the specific Arab country you have connections to.

Scholarships Available for Arab Americans
A Khalaf Family Scholarship Fund Recipient (this scholarship is limited to Engineering programs in Michigan)

This is an issue rarely recognized and one necessary to address given the ~3.6 million Arab Americans in the U.S. Some may say, while this is only 1.1% of the American population, Pacific Islanders make up 0.5% of the U.S. population so why would a larger minority group not be included in some “minority” scholarships as well? Along with the low availability of targeted scholarships, there is also the issue of almost no Arab American scholarships awarding more than $5,000 with most $2,500 or less.

Why This Matters?

Just like every other minority community, a person of color, diversity group, or however you want to describe the Arab American community, they need money. Arab Americans can apply to all of the general scholarships and the non-specific diversity and minority scholarships available, but it is important that they have more opportunities specifically for them. There are ethnic group-specific scholarships for just about every community, but Arab Americans do not have a large number available to them and have low award amounts as well. This situation needs to change.

Scholarships Available for Arab Americans
Arab Americans college students celebrating their graduation (image from Arab American University)

How This Could Change?

It is important to note that this argument is not saying Arab Americans should be getting money taken from other ethnic groups, but that those organizations or individuals who are looking for ways to spend their money should be aware of this lack of opportunities for Arab Americans. If awareness about the low number of scholarships available for just Arab Americans were increased, it would be likely that more scholarships could be created without compromising the funds available for other ethnic and minority groups. At the very least, having scholarships geared toward Arab Americans with fewer limits would be an important start to supporting the growing community and ensuring Arab American students have equitable resources.

Scholarships Available for Arab Americans
Arab American scholarship recipients from the Ebeid Family Foundation

Available Scholarships for Arab Americans

The No-Limits Scholarship:

NAAP (Network of Arab American Professionals) Arab American Scholarship
Amount: $1,000 to one person every year
Scholarship page:
Limits: for a student of “Arab Heritage” who exemplifies their mantra of “collective advancement”

Engineering and Business Scholarships:

Khalaf Family Scholarship
Amount: $2,500/year
Scholarship page:
Limits: Engineering programs in Michigan

Ebeid Family Fund Scholarships (multiple scholarships for different schools)
Amount: $2,500 – $5,000
Scholarship page:
Limits: Scholarships available only for Engineering and Business students at Kettering University, Wayne State University, University of Michigan Dearborn, and University of Detroit Mercy

McLennan Family Foundation Scholarship
Amount: $2,500/year
Scholarship page:
Limits: University of Michigan Dearborn students in Engineering or Business schools

McLennan Family Foundation Scholarship
Amount: $2,500/year
Scholarship page:
Limits: Wayne State University students in Engineering or Business schools

AAAEA Scholarship Program
Amount: $4,000/multiple winners
Scholarship page:
Limits: Must be a member of AAAEA in the Capital Area and engineering, architecture, or computer science student

Arab-American Women’s Business Council Scholarships
Amount: $1,000 with 4-5 awards
Scholarship page:
Limits: Graduate, undergraduate or high school senior who plans to attend an accredited Michigan college or university

Mass Communication Scholarships:

Arab American Scholarship Foundation Program
Amount: $1,000
Scholarship page:
Limits: 3.5 GPA, financial need, the university must contribute to the scholarship fund, Mass Communication or Political science

Jack G. Shaheen Mass Communications Scholarship Award
Amount: $2,500 with 4 yearly awards
Scholarship page:
Limits: Junior, senior, or graduate student; majoring in journalism, radio, television and/or film


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