African American College Grants

Statistics and Program Opportunities

Promoting diversity in education leads to equal opportunity for minority groups; but when universities use affirmative action policies to engineer multicultural student bodies, the results can become contentious.  Since being upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003, race can be used as a factor for granting college admission. The Supreme Court will be taking up another case in 2012, to continue debating this method of promoting minority representation in post secondary education.

Regardless of the standing of the affirmative action issue, one thing is certain:  Access to college for African Americans is definitely increased through college funding opportunities that target this under-represented group.  Grants and scholarships come from a wide range of funding sources.

College is expensive, so it’s important to grab any free-money gift aid that is available; whether it comes to you as a result of your location, religion, African American heritage or some other individual trait.  If you are a minority student, your quest for college financing should encompass mainstream general aid resources, as well as those that speak to your unique cultural legacy.

College enrollment among African Americans has increased as a reflection of concerted efforts to move minority education forward.  Grants that help offset the financial challenges of higher education are important pieces of the puzzle.  If you need money for college, use all the resources at your disposal to identify government agencies, advocacy groups, corporations and individual schools that offer grants for African American students.

United Negro College Fundafrican american grants for college

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) is the oldest organization in the United States that is  dedicated solely to the educational advancement of African Americans. The UNCF was founded in 1944, and in 1972 adopted its familiar iconic motto: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

The organization stands as one of the most important supporters for African Americans pursuing their higher education goals. Not only does the UNCF award a host of grants, scholarships and fellowships directly to black college students, but the group also provides generous funding to dozens of historically black colleges and universities that serve African American students at all levels .

UNCF partners with state governments and private industry to administer scholarships and grants for needy Black students.  Other financial aid offerings are funded by endowments and memorial funds set aside by individuals and trusts seeking to increase access to college for under-represented groups.

Cultural barriers are overcome by efforts that emphasize bachelor’s and master’s level education, rather than relegating participants to two-year vocational studies.  Corporate grant and internship sponsors include:

Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Strong support for the education and social advancement of African American students has come from over one-hundred Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in the United States. Such familiar institutions as Spelman, Morehouse College and Howard University populate the list:

The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities was recently strengthened by President Obama’s Executive Order on Educational Excellence for African Americans.  Signed by Obama in July, 2012, the initiative strives to create positive outcomes for black students through increased access to post-secondary education, thus promoting higher college graduation rates among African Americans.  By implementing best-practices standards at HBCU Obama hopes to further his ultimate goal for the United States; becoming the nation with the highest percentage of college graduates by 2020.

Public and Private Organizations Offer Specialized Grant Funds

Grants, scholarships and internships originate from a variety of sources, including African American advocacy groups that support students pursuing particular training.  General college aid programs are also initiated by corporate sponsors, for the purpose of expanding access to diverse student populations.

If you are matriculating with a committed career goal, investigate the possibilities for financial aid within your chosen discipline.

Large corporations like Coca-Cola promote minority education through a diverse network of grants, scholarships and partnerships.  Some funds go directly to learning institutions, but if you follow the money trail laid down by corporations, you’ll find financial aid opportunities.

Microsoft offers scholarships and internships for minority students.  And these go above and beyond founder, Bill Gates’ Millennium Scholars Foundation, which shares the wealth with 1000 needy students annually.

grants for african americans

Federal and State Grant Funds

U.S. Department of Education financial aid opportunities have been in place to assist minorities and disadvantaged students since the mid-20th century. States too, administer aid for college, and some of it targets minority populations directly.  The first step for African American students needing college dollars is to apply for federal and state funds.

Requesting government aid starts with the Federal Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA).  The standardized form uses information about your family’s financial situation to compile a snapshot of where you stand relating to your college costs.

Your EFC, or Expected Family Contribution is an important reference point for universities determining your financial need.  Your EFC is included in your Student Aid Report (SAR), the document that formally outlines your ability to pay for college.

  1. Need that goes beyond your EFC
  2. Status as a full- or part-time student
  3. Total cost of your education
  4. Attending school for a full academic year

This grant program provides up to $5500 annually for African American students displaying some level of financial need.