Purdue event on minority scholarships runs July 16-18

Minority scholarships are readily available for students with the right academic backgrounds, but despite the availability of these minority scholarships, African-American students remain underrepresented on Big Ten college campuses.

Only 4% of Purdue' University's undergraduate and graduate students are black, or half of the state percentage, according to a recent report. In fact, Purdue ranked fourth from the bottom, at 13%, for enrollment of domestic minority students among Big Ten and other peer schools, according to the report.

G. Christine Taylor, Purdue University's vice provost for diversity and chief diversity offer, shared with WalletPop some ideas on what minority students could do to get into Purdue. With more than 20 years of experience in education and diversity, Taylor said that acquiring minority scholarships was only part of the battle.

Students must be sure to have the requisite skills and course selections in order to come and be successful, she said. Because Purdue is by and large a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) university, students early on should begin preparing to attend such a college.This includes taking higher level math and science courses and AP classes. This also means understanding the route to college, which starts as early as third grade. Taylor stressed that college preparation should begin at birth.

She also emphasized that parents and students need to understand the route to college is a building block process that begins with choosing the right school district for your child and focusing on reading instruction. All of these things must be done before the search begins for minority scholarships.

In response to the need for early intervention for college preparation in minority communities, and to help with minority scholarships, Purdue is sponsoring the Youth Empowerment Summit on July 16-18 themed "Not Another Teen Statistic." This program will be at the Indiana Black Expo.

The three-day event encourages youth, ages 11-18, to focus on their academic, personal and community service goals and develop leadership skills. In addition, the summit offers training to youth service workers. The Indiana Black Expo also provides one of Indiana's largest funds for minority scholarships.

In the short term, Taylor suggests that all students must understand the admissions cycle. They must meet applications, FAFSA, and other financial aid deadlines to qualify for a minority scholarship. They should also visit the college and make sure it's a good fit for them.

Financially, Purdue University is working to raise money that will provide more minority scholarships. So far, the university has had success with the Emerging Urban Leaders Scholarship program, which will enroll the first 33 students through minority scholarships in the fall.

Students can also search for minority scholarships. A good place to start is blackexcel.org, a website that offers information and links to a host of minority scholarships.
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