McDonald's Commits Half a Million Dollars in Scholarships to Asian and Pacific Islander American Students

November 20, 2019


In partnership with APIA Scholars, fifty-five college scholarships will be awarded to students in 2020  

McDonald’s announced today that it has committed $500,000 to establish the first-ever McDonald’s/APIA Scholarship program in partnership with APIA Scholars. Fifty-five Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) college students will benefit from the program, furthering McDonald’s longtime support of providing educational and career resources to bright future leaders.  

The McDonald’s/APIA Scholarship program will award 15 four-year scholarships and 40 one-year scholarships to rising college freshmen through APIA Scholars, which will be awarded in Spring 2020. According to APIA Scholars, half of all APIAs have a college degree, compared to a third of all Americans, but there are tremendous disparities within the APIA community, economically and educationally. Only 25% of Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and Southeast Asian Americans have college degrees and the top 10% of APIAs earn more than ten times the bottom 10% of APIAs, which is why scholarship programs like the McDonald's/APIA Scholarship program are so crucial to the community. Emphasis will be placed on students who are first generation college attendees and demonstrate high financial need.

“McDonald’s is very excited to launch the McDonald’s APIA Scholarship program to give a platform for APIA students to achieve their higher education dreams,” said William Cho, a Seattle McDonald’s Owner/Operator. “We believe everyone deserves the chance to go to college, regardless of finances, and McDonald’s is committed to help make that happen.”

Founded in 2003, McDonald’s partner, APIA Scholars, is the nation's largest non-profit organization that provides college scholarships to APIAs with financial need and has distributed more than $150 million in scholarships with the support of partners.

“We are grateful to McDonald’s for their longstanding support and partnership in our mission to make a difference in the lives of APIA students,” said Noël S. Harmon, President and Executive Director, APIA Scholars. “There are tremendous disparities within the APIA community, both economically and educationally, that are often overlooked. As a founding sponsor of APIA Scholars, McDonald’s has supported our efforts to address these disparities. We are grateful to McDonald’s for recognizing the need and working with us to make a difference.”

APIA Scholars is currently accepting online applications for the McDonald’s/APIA Scholarship at The application will be available for the 2020-2021 academic year until January 22, 2020 at 5:00 PM EST. Applicants must meet the requirements below in order to be eligible:

  • Be of Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity as defined by the U.S. Census
  • Be a citizen, national, or legal permanent resident of the United States. Citizens of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau are also eligible to apply
  • Be enrolling as an undergraduate student in a U.S. accredited college or university in the Fall 2020
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale (unweighted) or have earned a GED
  • Must apply for federal financial aid for the 2020-2021 academic year using the Free Application for the Federal Student Aid (FASFA) by early April 2020
  • Submit one letter of recommendation online

McDonald’s also offers the HACER® National Scholarship for Hispanic students and the McDonald’s Black and Positively Golden Scholarships to students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In addition to the scholarships offered, McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity program provides eligible employees at participating U.S. restaurants an opportunity to earn a high school diploma, receive upfront college tuition assistance, access free education/career advising services and learn English as a second language. For more information about McDonald’s support of education, please visit http://www.mcdonald’

About McDonald’s USA

McDonald's USA, LLC, serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to more than 25 million customers every day. Ninety-five percent of McDonald's 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by businessmen and women. For more information, visit, or follow us on Twitter @McDonalds and Facebook

About APIA Scholars

Based in Washington, D.C., APIA Scholars is the nation's leading non-profit organization devoted to providing college scholarships for Asian Pacific Islander Americans (APIAs). APIA Scholars works to create opportunities for students to access, complete, and succeed after post-secondary education; thereby developing future leaders who will excel in their career, serve as role models in their communities, and ultimately contribute to a vibrant America. Since 2003, APIA Scholars has awarded more than $150 million in scholarships to deserving APIA students. APIA Scholars manages three scholarship programs: APIA Scholarship, the AANAPISI Scholarship, and the Gates Millennium Scholars/Asian Pacific Islander Americans funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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