By tamaraSeptember 15 will mark the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. It’s an important observance for the U.S., which has the second-highest Hispanic population in the world (Mexico is number one). In fact, it is projected that the U.S. will have nearly 129 million Hispanic residents by 2060. This means that more Hispanic students will be attending college to pursue their undergraduate and graduate degrees. Many providers are taking note and stepping up to help these students fund their educations. Whether students identify as Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban or another Spanish-speaking culture, there are many scholarships now available to help them reach their educational goals. Here are just a few of the programs currently open to Hispanic students. 1. National Hispanic Health Professional Student Scholarship Students who are currently enrolled in a medical, dental, nursing, public health or public policy program may be eligible to win up to $10,000 for college. A total of 20 scholarships are offered each year, ranging in value from $2,000 to $10,000 each. Deadline: October 4. 2. HSF/Wells Fargo Scholarship The Hispanic Scholarship Fund offers a variety of scholarships for Hispanic students through its partnerships with other companies. The Wells Fargo program provides scholarships, valued between $1,000 and $5,000 each, for high school seniors and community college students who plan to transfer to a 4-year college or university. Deadline: December 15. 3. Coca-Cola® Hispanic Heritage Month Scholarship High school seniors have a chance to win one of several scholarships, including the grand prize of $20,000! To enter, students simply need to complete the application and submit a photo of themselves holding a Coca-Cola® bottle or can. Deadline: December 15. 4. HSF General College Scholarship This competitive scholarship program is open to high school seniors, undergraduate and graduate students. Students must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Approximately 8,000 scholarships, valued between $1,000 and $5,000 each, are awarded every year. Deadline: December 15. 5. RMHC/HACER Scholarship Program Each year, Ronald McDonald’s House Charities provides several scholarships through its local chapters. Typically, awards are valued at $1,000 each, but amounts may be higher or lower in some program areas. High school seniors under the age of 21 are eligible to apply. Deadline: January 21. Hispanic students should also check with their local community groups and associations to see if any scholarships and grants may be available to them. They should also check out free scholarship services, such as Latino College Dollars. It’s important that students do not limit themselves to just ethnic-based awards, as they may also be able to earn scholarships based on their academic record, family income, athletic ability and other skills or talents. When searching for scholarships, students should always cast a wide net.