Black scholarships abound for college students

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Black scholarships abound for college studentsAfrican-American students are still very much under-represented in America's colleges and universities, according to Yohuru Williams, vice president of the American Institute for History Education and associate professor of History at Fairfield University, in an e-mail interview with Money College.

The gap in bachelor degree attainment between African-Americans and white students has grown since the 1960s and 1970s. Additionally, black male students are significantly under-represented with 63% of all African-American undergraduates being women.

Money is still a contributing factor to the achievement gap between black and white students. Some students aren't aware that black scholarships are available. The "I can't afford college myth" keeps black students from moving forward into higher education.

The United Negro Fund has been working since 1943 to provide black scholarships and it currently administers 400 black scholarships and internship programs. Since its inception, it has given more than $3.5 billion in black scholarships, aiding more than 350,000 students attend and graduate from college. But this organization alone cannot make up for the huge financial deficits available to black students.

Williams names The Posse and Jackie Robinson Foundation as organizations that "provide far more comprehensive models that take a holistic approach, providing not only financial assistance but real tools to help African-American students overcome some of these hurdles."

The Posse starts working with students long before college application is submitted. It is a youth leadership development program for black scholarships that "identifies promising students from disadvantaged urban backgrounds." The students are placed in supportive, multi-cultural groups of 10 (Posses) and provided with "opportunities to pursue personal and academic excellence." These students are then awarded black scholarships, and 90% of these students graduate.

In addition to black scholarships, the Jackson Robinson Foundation provides skill training opportunities that will help them be successful in college.

Get access to black scholarships through sites like Scholarships.com that has a great deal of information on African-American scholarships, Black History Month scholarships, and minority scholarships. Black Excel also compiles links to more than 1,000 black scholarships and cultural scholarships.

Don't forget to search in your area of interest when seeking black scholarships. For instance, African American actor Denzel Washington has established the Pauletta and Denzel Washington Family Gifted Scholars Program in Neuroscience.

The United Negro College Fund is also offering a scholarship to African-Americans in biosciences. LEAD is a program whose mission is to support high school students from diverse backgrounds with outstanding academic potential and encourage them to pursue careers in business, engineering and health science.
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