Home > College/University, Financial Aid, grants, minorities, scholarships > Accessibility of Minority Grants for college

Accessibility of Minority Grants for college

Since I started college four years ago, the amount of minority participation in higher education has increased. To note a minority is defined as “any group in society that consists of people who are identified by some biological, social, or cultural trait and who are singled out as objects of prejudice and discrimination (Popenoe 2001).” David Popenoe goes on to say that the five ethnic groups that are most visible are African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, and white ethnics. With such an increase in minority participation in higher education there has been an increasing need to give a financial means for them to complete studies with little financial burden. Scholarships have definitely served in this area and fellowships in the case of graduate students. Still minority grants don’t seem to be readily accessible to the individual.

Grants are monies allocated to various entities whether they are individuals, corporations or non-profits. All grants require an application process. For college students, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) serves as the application for federal grants. Minorities benefit greatly by taking the twenty or so minutes to fill out this document as receipt of the Pell Grant, and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (among others) can deliver help as I’ve experienced personally. Albeit, as stated on Collegescholarships.org receipt of other federal grants is dependent on whether one is eligible to receive the Pell grant. So if you’re not eligible for the Pell grant you’re immediately ineligible to receive any of the other federal grants….Though with grants being available through the Federal Reserve’s one would assume that this is sufficient for a college education. However, this doesn’t hold true with the continuous increase in educational costs. So where does one turn when the FAFSA isn’t enough?

Collegescholarships.org identifies United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the Hispanic College Fund, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the American Indian College Fund as potential resources for the searching minority. I can only speak on my experience with UNCF in the past, however. Five years ago I was exposed to the UNCF website which has a wealth of information for the minority who qualifies. Yet, I wasn’t even able to touch a single penny from the website because I wasn’t planning to attend any of the UNCF partner colleges/universities. So what is the minority attending a predominately white institution to do? The actual arduous application process that normally accompanies grants was not only foreign to me but out of my league in terms of time and knowledge of how to search then apply for them. Personally, I don’t think grants are the way to go for the undergraduate student. Instead they should direct their focus on scholarships which require action (application, essays etc.) yet are more familiar than grants. That’s not to say that the FAFSA shouldn’t be completed and the grants offered accepted, but I do feel minority college grants aren’t accessible to the undergraduate. Now that I’ve completed my tenure and plan to attend graduate school, I’ll begin the same extensive funding search yet again with the intentions of coming out with as little loans as possible. So perhaps in some month’s time I’ll stumble upon information that serves to contradict my current frame of mind concerning minority grant accessibility for the undergraduate. I truly hope so.

****Popenoe, David. Sociology, 11th ed. Prentice-Hall, Inc. 2001.

****Collegescholarships.com. Minority College Grant Programs. 2010.

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