Another Myth from Today’s White Frame: Students of Color Get A Lot More Scholarships

One of my graduate students is teaching an undergraduate course where a student, once again, insisted that students of color get privileged in getting a lot more college grants and scholarships than white students do. The insistence that students of color get a disproportionate percentage of scholarships and grants is a common experience for those who teach introductory and other social science courses. Yet, for the most part this is yet one more public falsehood and “sincere fiction” from the contemporary white racial frame. Among other reasons, such fictions are designed to take white and other American minds off the past and present realities of widespread racial discrimination.

Here is one more study — by Mark Kantrowitz — that shows that students of color actually get less than their proportionate share of private fellowships and institutional grants that white students. This is his summary (September 2011):

This paper presents data concerning the distribution of grants and scholarships by race. It debunks the race myth, which claims that minority students receive more than their fair share of scholarships. The reality is that minority students are less likely to win private scholarships or receive merit-based institutional grants than Caucasian students. Among undergraduate students enrolled full-time/full-year in Bachelor’s degree programs at four-year colleges and universities, minority students represent about a third of applicants but slightly more than a quarter of private scholarship recipients. Caucasian students receive more than three-quarters (76%) of all institutional merit-based scholarship and grant funding, even though they represent less than two-thirds (62%) of the student population. Caucasian students are 40% more likely to win private scholarships than minority students.

We are still a nation of socially constructed illusions when it comes to many racial matters.