Scholarship Of The Month: The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Scholarship

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Washington DC - Capitol Hill: United States Capitol

April’s Scholarship of the Month organization provides awesome resources for their winners.

Sometimes a scholarship is worth more than just the cash award. Some scholarship organizations provide their scholarship winners with resources such as internship opportunities, mentoring, and other awesome perks. When you win a scholarship like this, you are winning a supportive network of individuals who will work tirelessly to help you to succeed.

In previous posts, I have not highlighted the additional perks that some of the scholarship organizations offer. Thus, for this Scholarship of the Month post I will be highlighting a scholarship organization that provides awesome resources for their winners: The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Scholarship!

According to the CHCI scholarship representative, the program offers “paid internships and fellowships, college access programming, and educational resources. We also offer unique scholar-intern programs that allow students to complete a paid internship experience in conjunction with receiving scholarship dollars.” From my experience, these additional resources are often more beneficial than the cash award! I received a paid internship offer from a scholarship provider and I earned more from the internship than I did from the cash scholarship award.

The CHCI award will be a very competitive scholarship. Be sure to highlight your community service activities, what those activities meant to you, and why you were motivated to pursue those activities. Triple proofread your essay (as strong writing skills are required for this award) and don’t be afraid to talk about your passion!

Good luck!


Website: CHCI Scholarship Program

Award Amount: up to $2,500

Deadline: April 16th

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must be a current student
  • Must have full-time enrollment in a      United States Department of Education accredited community college,      four-year university, or graduate/professional program within the United States      and Puerto Rico during the period for which scholarship is requested
  • Must demonstrate financial need
  • Must show consistent, active      participation in public and/or community service activities
  • Must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent      resident, asylee, or an individual who is lawfully authorized to work      full-time without restriction for any U.S. employer and who, at the      time of application, possess lawful evidence of employment      authorization.

Q&A with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Scholarship

Q: Tell us about your motivations to start this scholarship program.

A: CHCI has managed leadership programs in Washington, DC for 35 years, offering paid internship and fellowship programs. The CHCI Scholarship Program was created in 2001 to provide critical financial assistance and increase graduation rates among Latino students in post-secondary education. We have provided over $4 million in scholarships to over 1,400 outstanding scholars.

Q: What is the scholarship judging process like? Are the judges volunteers? Employees?

A: Each scholarship application is reviewed twice by a volunteer review committee consisting of staff volunteers, members of the CHCI Alumni Association, volunteers from the DC Hispanic Employee Network, CHCI partners, and sponsors.

Q: What are some things that you look for in an applicant with great “leadership potential”?

A: We look for applicants who have a history of performing public service-oriented activities in their communities and demonstrate a desire to continue their civic engagement in the future. There is no GPA or academic major requirement.

Q: As a scholarship that values community service, can you talk about what makes for impressive community service? 

A: Impressive community service does not have a cookie cutter template, but includes activities such as organizing and taking part in community events, volunteering, and starting groups that advocate for a specific cause. Our scholarship recipients are passionate about using their chosen field to help better the community, and this comes through in their application.

Q: What is the biggest mistake you see applicants make when applying for your scholarship?

A: The biggest mistake we see numerous times is that applicants do not read the instructions carefully prior to submitting their application. As elementary as it may sound, it is critical for applicants to read every detail on a scholarship application.

Q: What are some characteristics that make an applicant stand out?

A: Stand-out applicants have high levels of civic engagement, leadership potential, strong writing skills, and a desire to make a difference in the Latino community.

Q: Do you have any advice for the students who are applying for this award?

A: Applicants should plan ahead and not wait until the day of the deadline to submit. Unpredictable situations can arise and they want to be able to have ample time to ensure their application is complete and on time.

Q: The definition of “financial need” is very different from one scholarship provider to the next. Can you elaborate on what financial need means to your organization?

 A: We require all applicants to submit a copy of their Student Aid Report and consider their EFC as part of the application review process. There is also a question on the application that allows students to share any unusual family financial circumstances and/or expenses that they are facing that may not be reflected in their EFC.

Will you be applying for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Scholarship? Let us know!


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  1. Bob Tran April 2, 2014 / 12:19 am

    This scholarship asks for my SSN. Is this a legitimate scholarship?

  2. Diane Melville April 3, 2014 / 11:20 am

    Great question! Yes, this is indeed a legitimate scholarship. You’ll never see us promote a scholarship on SALT that we don’t consider to be a legit opportunity.

    That said, bravo for being cautious about sharing your SSN! You should never share your SSN without knowing first if the organization will protect your privacy.

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