One of the biggest issues with Hispanic scholarships is that those receiving them are too often unprepared to do college level work when they arrive on campus. This, coupled with money issues, is the biggest reason Hispanics have the highest dropout rate among all ethnic groups.

How do you combat this negative trend? There are several ways to combat this. First and foremost the majority of Hispanic scholarship funds should go to students who have demonstrated that they are capable of doing college level work.

Of course this brings us to the chicken and the egg question regarding Hispanic scholarships. Is it better to send as many remotely qualified Hispanic students to college even if they continue to have the highest dropout rate? With this side of the argument the hope is that any exposure to college is a good thing and will have a positive trickle down effect on the Hispanic community, which will make it stronger and more vibrant over time.

The argument here in this space, however, is that it is better to target the gifted student with a superior work ethic and excellent grades. Provide him or her with an abundance of Hispanic scholarships so that this truly gifted, hard-working student does not have to leave college due to lack of funds.

Hispanic scholarships—especially those sponsored by state or federal governments—should include an essay component about why the student loves America. Far too often taxpayer money is going toward funding Hispanic scholarships for students who go to campus and aren’t truly educated, but only hide in the Chicano Studies Department and become mis-educated about what it is to be an American.

Funds for Hispanic scholarships should not be going to students who don’t appreciate the country that has allowed them to qualify for Hispanic scholarships in the first place.

Hispanic scholarships fill an important role in our society. The United Negro College Fund has allowed generations of African-Americans who otherwise might not be able to attend college to matriculate at America’s top universities. The hope is that Hispanic scholarships can emulate these efforts.

Hispanics are the fastest-growing population in the United States. One of the first and best places all prospective college students, including Hispanics, should look for financial aid is the FAFSA Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Hispanic scholarships are available through the federal government and the FAFSA will help you find out what you qualify for. If your household income is less than $41,000 you will usually qualify for at least a Pell Grant, which can be worth up to $5,800. You may qualify for other financial aid as well.

Before Hispanic scholarships can have the wide ranging effects many are hoping for they must be targeted toward those academically gifted students most likely to succeed at the college level. Those Hispanic students who excel in math, science, engineering and technology can tap into the most money of all because those fields are actively seeking worthy students for Hispanic scholarships.

If you can combine ROTC scholarships with other sources of financial aid you are not only guaranteed a job as an officer when you graduate, but a virtually free education as well.

Are you ready for the NEXT STEP!