Minorities Receive Less Financial Aid Than Whites
In a policy analysis, The Distribution of Grants and Scholarships by Race, Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Fastweb.com and FinAid.org, found “minority students are less likely to win private scholarships or receive merit-based institutional grants than Caucasian students.” After crunching the numbers, Kantrowitz discovered that although whites make up less than two-thirds (62%) of the student population in the country, they receive more than three-fourths (76%) of all institutional merit-based scholarships.
So how does this happen? Even though Kantrowitz does make a point to show that although scholarships only for Caucasians exist, they’re few and often short lived. Looking deeper into the issue, he claims that the discrimination isn’t deliberate, but rather has more to do with the types of merit-based scholarships that are handed out and the interests of the sponsors which tend to disproportionately select for Caucasian students. In his conclusion Kantrowitz explains:
African-American students are much less likely to participate in equestrian sports (horseback riding, polo, rodeo), water sports (scuba diving, sailing, surfing, swimming, crew, water polo) and winter sports (ice hockey, skiing, snowboarding, figure skating) than Caucasian students. They are much more likely to pursue basketball, track & field, handball and football.
The sponsors of rodeo scholarships aren’t motivated by a desire to indirectly discriminate against minority students; they just like to promote rodeo. But the net result is that private scholarships as a whole disproportionately select for Caucasian students. Similarly, golf, archery, cycling, weight lifting and wrestling scholarships tend to implicitly select for Caucasian students.
So if more people of color get involved with sports and other activities primarily considered the domain of whites, does that mean they’ll start to get a bigger chunk of the scholarship money? It doesn’t just end with sports and extracurricular activities though. When analyzing data among high school students with GPAs of 3.5 or above, Kantrowitz found:
Caucasian students are more likely to win private scholarships than African-American, Latino or Asian students. Minority students represent 29.2% of high GPA students but receive only 22.4% of private scholarships, while Caucasian students represent 70.0% of high GPA students but receive 76.8% of private scholarships.
Another interesting fact included in the data: Less than 5% of all scholarship programs and less than 10% of the total number of individual scholarship programs consider the student’s race among their eligibility criteria. So where are minorities getting money for college? Grants based largely upon income. The analysis shows:
Minority students receive more need-based grants because minority students are more likely to be low income than Caucasian students. Of students who submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), 83.0% of African-American students, 79.6% of Latino students and 69.5% of Asian students are low-income, compared with only 55.3% of Caucasian students.
Perhaps that explains how the persistent falsehood about minorities getting more than their fair share got started. Read the study here to go through all the numbers and stats that debunk the myth.
[Photo By Tiffin University]