Keep saving for Ashley and Derrick’s college fund because it’s the most important thing you can do for them. Although white Americans may complain that it’s hard for them to receive scholarship funding, they still take the majority of money available. According to an interview between NPR’s Michel Martin and Mark Kantrowitz, author of the book, “Secrets to Winning a Scholarship” and publisher of Fastweb.com, the free scholarship matching service, whites receive 72% of scholarship awards while minority students only receive 28%.
Kantrowitz details some of the myths of scholarship hunting and additional tips and facts during his discussion with Martin. First things first: the competition is stiff for receiving grants all around. Kantrowitz reports that “less than 3/10ths of a percent of undergraduate students pursuing bachelor’s degrees have won enough money to cover their complete tuition.” In addition, only one in 10 students earn scholarships from the private sector. This means that most students will look to money from federal and state grants, and money from the college they plan to attend. Depending on the company a parent works for, students may also look forward to receiving employer tuition assistance.
The reason why Caucasian students are more likely to receive funding is because scholarship providers are individuals who often support students with their shared interests. Kantrowitz gives the example of a scholarship offered for students involved in equestrian sports. There’s no deliberate discrimination, but chances are white students are more likely to be involved in this type of activity.
Minority students are more likely to receive Pell Grants, which are based on applicant income and assets. As minority students sometimes come from families with lower income, they have a 38% chance of securing this award, compared to 20% for their Caucasian counterparts. The percentage jumps a little higher for African Americans students.
It all goes back to the importance of saving, says Krantrowitz. He dispels the myth that saving could actually hurt scholarship chances; however, Krantrowitz does say that you can be “penalized for up to 5.64 percent,” but it also allows for greater flexibility when searching for colleges.
Though the odds may look uneven and a bit daunting, the more scholarships you apply to the better. It’s also good to keep education tax benefits such as the Hope Scholarship Tax Credit in mind. You can claim it by following your federal income tax return.