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Historically underrepresented groups such as African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans are eligible for millions of dollars in grants. Of particular note are those fields that have been traditionally lacking diversity, such as the sciences and business.

There  are many organizations willing to help out in these trying times.

The Multicultural Advertising Intern Program through the American Association of Advertising Agencies awards grants to students pursuing degrees in advertising and media communications.

Minority students pursuing a degree in Hospitality Management may be eligible to compete for grant money sponsored by the Hyatt Hotels Fund for Minority Lodging Management Students.

If you thought women were successfully entrenched in all areas of industry and professions, then think again. In fact, recent attempts to create more gender equality have progressed slowly and recent studies have shown only increasing chasms between women and men especially in the technology arena. The Margaret McNamara Memorial Fund, sponsored by the World Bank, awards up to $11,000 to international women pursuing studies in the U.S. intended to help her homeland community. Eligible recipients must be planning on returning to their country of origin to be considered. Career-changers, women looking to add to their educational portfolio or those who have been displaced from college may be eligible for one of the many grants awarded to women with financial need by the American Association of University Women. The Jeanette Rankin Foundation awards need-based education grants to women 35 and older challenged by higher educational systems and by financial disadvantages. Zonta International sponsors a variety of sizable grants to women across the board, including the Young Women in Public Affairs Award program.

Non-traditional usually encompasses students who have been displaced from college either did not finish degrees or never went directly from high school to college. Also, students migrating from technical programs to four-year may be included in the category. Often women returning to careers following stints raising families or single parents with children will find funding under this heading.  The Soroptomist International of the Americas funds the Women’s Opportunity Awards, which offer monetary grants to women in disadvantaged situations. Applicants must be responsible for supporting their household or otherwise strapped to receive these competitive awards.

Women who have been seriously severed from a post-high school education and who would benefit from a college education may qualify for the Kalamazoo Women’s Education Coalition grant. Awards are between $250 and $3,000 and may include expenses to cover other lifestyle expenses that contribute to the recipient’s financial situation.

Single mothers not only have challenges when it comes to making time for college, but the financial burden of child care costs as well as putting food on the table often keep them in jobs versus college programs. The Raise the Nation program helps colleges and universities offer grants to women who would otherwise not be able to attend. Purdue University’s Span Plan has been providing educational grants to adults beyond college age for years.

The Hitachi Foundation funds $5,000 grants to graduating high school students who stand out in their communities for community involvement, service to others and in leadership roles.

{For more from Oretha Winston follow her on Twitter}

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