Money from Large and Small Donors
African American citizens have been the single largest minority group in the United States. Many counts, however, now have their numbers being overcome by those of another minority group—Hispanics.
Scholarships for minorities are plentiful, especially in STEM fields
that have been traditionally dominated by white males, such as Engineering, Business, Sciences, Medicine, and Mathematics.
While much ground has been gained in the last couple of decades with increasing percentages of black students finishing high school, there are still an alarming many who either cannot afford to attend college or who lack the resources and guidance to lead them in those directions. Many blacks still come from middle to lower income households and most have no other family members with a college education.
Many institutions have helped black students bridge ethnic related economic barriers, making a college education possible for underprivileged minorities.
The United Negro College Fund
The United Negro College Fund has for decades been on the forefront of black and minority education, trends, and societal issues. Their motto, “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste,” is familiar to many generations of Americans.
The UNCF has financed nearly half a million students’ educations. Many of their financial dollars go directly to fund the efforts of the 39 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in existence in the United States. But where does the UNCF get its money? Their money comes from a wide range of giving organizations.
- Bank of America made an impressive donation in March 2006 when it gave one million dollars to the UNCF.
- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funds the Gates Millennium Scholar Fund, a scholarship program that is managed by the UNCF.
The UNCF provides a safe and authoritative list of various scholarships available to black students.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities
There are 39 recognized private Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The UNCF maintains a detailed list of HBCUs. Much of the UNCF’s funds go directly to reduce tuition costs among these reputable colleges that include such well-known names as Spelman, Stillman, and Morehouse.
Students might begin with these institutions where tuition costs remain considerably lower than at other private colleges, thanks to the financial support of such established organizations as the UNCF.
Business and Corporate Organizations and Sponsors
Corporate and business organizations and associations remain important resources for students, especially those who already know what field of study they will pursue.
Reputable corporate sponsors, such as Eli Lilly, Delta Airlines, and Microsoft fund engineering-related scholarships administered by the National Society of Black Engineers. Programs like these draw stiff student competition for their awards and have pre-requisites attached, such as:
- Proven monetary need.
- In some cases, criteria include the requirement that the candidate agree to ultimately take a job position with the sponsoring corporation for a determined amount of time following graduation.
The Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology scholarships are designed for African-American students planning on pursing fields of study in the Science or Technology sector and who are applying to one of the Black Colleges or Universities listed by the UNCF. This particular fund was founded by a group of black professionals who chose to contribute personal resources to enrich the educational experience of young black students.
Often scholarships are closer to home than one realizes. For example, The Coleman A. Young Foundation makes scholarships available to African-American students living in the Detroit area. Make sure you check local and regional organizations and associations, both municipal and private, before you set your sights on more distant chances. You might discover college funding right in your own backyard.
African American Women
African-American women have any number of collegiate scholarship opportunities. Women of all backgrounds are being buoyed up in the college realm, both as undergraduate and graduate level.
African-American women, like their white, Asian, Native American, and Hispanic counterparts, are often uniquely positioned to be eligible for intended scholarships and grants. The National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc.maintains two scholarship programs, each awarded annually to young black women pursuing undergraduate studies.