Amongst educational experts and experienced world leaders, there’s little debate about the value of a college education. From the additional knowledge gained through specialized classes and valuable tutoring to the experience gained by interacting with your peers and teachers alike, the four years of college that many Americans are experience are looked back on fondly, and laced with importance.
Over the last decade, more and more students are making their way into many of the nation’s best colleges, fueled by the desire to learn and secure themselves a lucrative future. Many come from smaller state schools and other educational institutions, many others from cities that have lower-than-average college attendance rates. It’s the education turnaround, and it’s happening right now.
But there are groups that are underrepresented in higher education, both economic groups, racial groups, and other demographics. Amongst these are African Americans, who for the better part of four decades, have been underrepresented in many of the nation’s top schools and state universities alike. It’s a tough statistic to live with, and it’s one that many people are working to turn around.
Today, there are numerous African American scholarships available, both from public funds and a range of private institutions. In this guide, we’ve covered almost all of the major scholarships, from small funds for African American students to government programs designed to improve education amongst African Americans. To learn more about the available scholarships, continue reading.
It’s important to note, before we dive into the scholarships available, that there are scholarships out there for a wide variety of ethnic groups, people of immigrant backgrounds, and others. There’s no benefit to belonging to a certain ethnic group when it comes to college attendance, as many people claim. These scholarships are to increase diversity, not to reward undeserving people unfairly.
One of the largest and most well-known African American scholarships is the fund issued by the United Negro College Fund. Designed to provide assistance to thousands of would-be students in their quest for higher education and professional experience, this multi-million dollar fund dishes out four and five-figure financial assistance to thousands of different college students each year.
Scholarships from the UNCF are available for a variety of purposes and intended study paths. These include specialist science scholarships, which are only available for those intending to study science disciplines. These are typically the largest scholarships offered by the UNCF, and are designed as an attempt to improve the low involvement of African American students in the hard sciences.
Mathematics and engineering – two other disciplines with low involvement rates from African American students – are also backed up by scholarships from the UNCF. As such, students that would like to learn either physics or one of its related disciplines – electronics, astrophysics, and others – as a major, may be entitled to receive funding from the United Negro College Fund.
Another leading scholarship program, albeit one that’s neither as large nor as general as the UNCF’s college funding program, is the ABA Diversity Scholarship Program. Designed to assist students of any underrepresented ethnic group, the program offers college-related financing to a wide range of students from an African American background. It also supports many Asian American students.
Unlike the UNCF scholarships, which are available for many students leaving high school for their college career, ABA scholarships are only available to students that have already completed a year of college. As such, they have strict GPA and attendance requirements. If you’re interest in this type of scholarship, it’s important that your first-year college results are enough to qualify for funding.
A number of large private companies also offer scholarships to talented young African American individuals, particularly those aiming to complete a particular course of study. The HP Scholars Program is a private scholarship program run by the large technology company. It offers limited financial assistance to African American students aiming to complete an engineering degree.
Likewise, religious institutions, particularly those based in areas with a high concentration of African American families, offer limited financial support for incoming college students. One well-known example is the Lett Scholarship Fund – a private program designed to enhance the college experience for African American students from a missionary, ministerial, or church background.
Given the sheer amount of ethnicity-based scholarships available – many lists reach well into the hundreds of scholarships – it’s difficult to cover every available option for students. If you would like to learn more about the scholarships available to African American students across the entire country, it’s worth looking at an online resource dedicated to outlining all related scholarships.
Likewise, if you’re interested in specialized scholarships for your region, state, or university, it’s worth speaking with a college representative about the programs offered. Many colleges have an assistant that works directly with scholarship and funding providers. These employees can assist you in finding the scholarships that are most suitable, appropriate, and accessible for you.
The college experience is an important one – that’s a fact that few people would doubt. It’s also an expensive one – another fact that’s rarely disputed. By using scholarships, whether made for African American students or for a particular region, you can substantially reduce the costs of attending college, and significantly decrease your reliance on loans and outside college funding.