In recent years, colleges and universities have expanded their efforts to diversify their student populations. According to data from the University of Michigan's National Poverty Center, the poverty rates for black and Hispanic children in 2010 were more than twice the rate for white children. Mindful of the correlation between poverty and decreased educational opportunities, universities and organizations are offering more scholarships to minority students.

United Negro College Fund

The United Negro College Fund distributes a wide variety of scholarships to African-American students attending historically black colleges or universities. One of UNCF's programs is the Merck Graduate Science Research Dissertation Fellowship, which provides funding to doctoral students who are one to three years from completing their dissertations. This scholarship is awarded annually to a minimum of 12 students studying in the biological or chemical science field. Each one is worth over $50,000. The UNCF also has many other undergraduate and graduate scholarships available to minorities of varied backgrounds.

McKnight Doctoral Fellowship

The McKnight Doctoral Fellowship provides funding for entering doctoral students for three years, with another two years matched by a participating institution in Florida. According to, the "Fellowships [are] for African-American or Hispanic students who intend to seek the Ph.D. degree in one of the disciplines in the arts and sciences, mathematics, business, engineering, health sciences, nursing or the visual and performing arts." The award includes a $12,000 annual stipend and a $5,000 annual tuition allowance. Up to 50 awards are given each year.

Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation

The Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange provides up to $18,000 to assist post-graduate doctoral students in completing their dissertations. The fellowship is for students who hold citizenship in the Republic of China (Taiwan), graduated from a Republic of China college or university and are studying overseas in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America or South America. The study areas must be Chinese based and focus on the humanities or social sciences. This fellowship is for a one-year duration and is not renewable. Fellowship recipients must also study at an accredited institution and cannot hold full-time employment during the duration of the fellowship.

National Physical Science Consortium

The National Physical Science Consortium awards fellowships to graduate and doctoral students of both genders and all ethnicities. However, on its website, NPSC notes that 95 percent of its award recipients have been either female, minority or both. The site also notes that these are the demographics most underrepresented in the sciences. Fellowship amounts total up to $20,000 annually and may last up to six years. Some past recipients of the NPSC fellowship include African-American scholar Dr. Amelia Estwick, who received a doctorate from George Washington University and now works for the Department of Defense as a research analyst; and Hispanic scholar Dr. Carlos Valdez, who is a research scientist with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

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