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.


  1. mgutierr

    This study proves that our nation’s history of racial discrimination and racist actions towards People of Color still continue to have effects on the lives of People of Color today. I often hear that slavery is over and racial discrimination is illegal so racism no longer exists, when in reality the most subtle forms of racism still have huge impacts in people’s lives. Last January, I was able to attend an event titled “Education: Have we Realized the Dream?” where Willamette Academy students openly discussed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream and clearly explained the differences between equity and equality. The misconceptions that students of color receive more scholarships is often seen as unfair to their white counterparts and is a way of maintaining and reinforcing white privilege within a higher education setting.

  2. c1r2s3

    For anyone’s educational beliefs to succumb to such a notion that African Americans receive ANY type of privilege over whites in relation to academic funding is purely a pathetic scapegoat. In an attempt to blanket the inheritance or development of such a racist and discriminatory mind, of course one chooses higher education funding as a default! Why not? It always has been anyway! This is nothing but a ploy to further white superiority and supremacy propaganda; to continue the give and take cycle that education has always been to African Americans. Dating back from slavery times when African Americans weren’t even allowed education, the minute it is given you seen its nearly snatched back by segregation. African Americans were then given a desegregated falsehood and just as soon as this notion of “education equality” is given we hit present day in a time where now we intertwine “equal education” with “zoning” restrictions in an attempt to subject African Americans to unsatisfactory education, as well as further the continuation of this give and take cycle that is education. It was to be expected that eventually higher education would be attacked, just as soon African Americans are on an equal playing field and are being allotted the same abilities as everyone else to further their education, they are subjected to the same give and take cycle. At the rate education is going if this notion reaches the minds of many more, what’s next? Grants and scholarships only being permitted to whites, and only loans permitted to blacks?

  3. Cymegan

    We can easily find out that the reason of this myth come out because the the white student still have superiority complex deep inside, becasue she think the minorities are economicly weak than caucasions, so when she see some of minority students have the scholarship she would think they have privilege to get help. But the truth is caucasion students are 40% more likely to win private scholarships than minority studetns. this fact comes out a sociology theory, the conflict theory that the conflict between major groups and minority groups due to the unequal tretment. it reminds me a example of case that a african-american student was reject by University of CA the suprem court back that time said universities can not descriminate toward colored studets, they shoud accept African-American students but not too much! compare to jim crow and black code, the life of AFRICAN-AMERICANS is getting better but still the backstage and frond stage of disctimination is continued.

  4. srw317

    I found this interesting because I was under the illusion that the myth was true because I know my personal experiences supported it. However, now I realize that it is the other way around and looks like institutional racism as well as white privilege. Receiving any scholarships are a privilege, though most do not realize it. I wish that students were not grouped into categories where their race is dependent on such an important season of life that could truly determine some peoples futures from whether or not they could attend school financially.

  5. klp035

    Although students of color tend to have scholarships specifically to fit their demographics, most do not even apply nor receive these scholarships. There are plenty of scholarships that are avaliable for all students and the ratio to students of color to white students that get these scholarships are signifcantly different in favor of anglo students. If we reference the theory of reality of white privilege, it seems as though students of color have the lower hand in getting scholarships or receiving funding, let alone getting into a higher learning institution. If there were not scholarships specifically for students of color there would be significantly less students of color pursuing higher education because of the decreased amount of funding that they would receive.

  6. tiffkayy

    It is easy to see why one would believe this. This is something that is discussed in the backstage amongst white people all of the time. Thats only because racism still exists. Everyone has the equal opportunity at an education. It doesn’t have to be that African Americans get all of the scholarships but maybe they put forth more of an effort to get what they want. We had to fight during slavery times and we are still fighting now.

  7. aznino

    I do not understand why they say this because if we did I would not be struggling to go to college and work at the same time. I have never been offer a scholarship nor have I apply to one and I am a person of color. The reason I have not apply is because I have heard other people of color complain that they did not get accepted to get a scholarship or that they did not meet the requirements and this are person that personally I think deserve it.

  8. Isaac112

    Reply to “Minority Students get all the funding”
    My first reaction to the students making his claims in the Article is that he was suffering from Reverse-Discrimination. He felt that since his skin color was not of minority descent, he had a lesser chance of obtaining a scholarship. In the end he found out that Caucasians do receive more scholarship then minorities in college; thus putting an end to this myth. However, this now makes me notice as a reader the obvious White Privilege these types of students get while in College. In this case, the student failed to realize his advantage but this typically is common in most colleges. Students will complain about certain types of reverse discrimination while not noticing the privileges of their skin color. In the future, I hope that maybe this can change and hopefully the numbers will equal out more.


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