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by Scholarships.com Staff

Are you looking for an affordable college option, but finding yourself less than interested in huge state colleges? You might want to look into attending a HBCU. A new study by the United Negro College Fund finds that, on average, historically black colleges and universities charge much less than their historically white counterparts. The study found that not only do HBCUs charge 31 percent less than comparable institutions, but that their tuition and fees also rose more slowly than similar colleges.

The report compares total tuition charges at UNCF's 39 member institutions with comparable institutions for the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 academic years. The average tuition and fees at the HBCUs was $20,648 for 2006-2007 and $21,518 for 2007-2008. In comparison, comparable institutions had total tuition and fees of $26,451 and $28,156 respectively. Their tuition charges also rose between 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 at a rate more than double that of HBCUs ($870 to $1706). Five of the HBCUs surveyed did not raise tuition at all, whereas all comparable institutions charged some amount more.

UNCF analyzed data from the National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. Comparable schools were selected based on a variety of criteria, including Carnegie Classification, level of institution, degree granting status, and private or public status. However, as U.S. News' Kim Clark points out, the study did not take into account the net prices of these schools--the amount students can actually expect to pay. Many colleges and universities offer substantial scholarships and grants, especially private colleges where most students see significant discounts off the sticker price.  There are a variety of institutional and UNCF-sponsored scholarships offered specifically to students at HBCUs, as well as a number of African American scholarships that can help make tuition more affordable for students at these schools.

With or without financial aid, choosing to attend college at a historically black college or university can result in substantial savings. There are other benefits to attending HBCUs, as well, especially for students who may need extra support. Since many HBCUs serve students from diverse and often disadvantaged backgrounds, they have systems in place to better support students who might otherwise struggle in college. HBCUs also tend to produce students more appreciative of diversity, so if that's important to you, you may find your home at one of these colleges. Regardless of what you ultimately decide, it can't hurt to diversify your college search. By learning about and visiting a variety of schools, you're more likely to find the one that fits you best.


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by Emily

While state universities are held up as examples of high-quality college educations at affordable prices, not everyone who wants to go to college can afford them. A new report by the advocacy group The Education Trust looked at this concern and found that despite heavily publicized campaigns enacted in the last few years, public flagship universities still are not doing enough to enroll and assist low-income and minority students.

Public flagships tend to be relatively large, research-oriented universities and are typically considered the most academically challenging and highly respected public schools in the country. Contrary to private colleges, a central part of the mission of public universities is to educate the students of the state, including the ones who cannot afford to pay full freight. Concerns have repeatedly been raised that the makeup of public flagship universities has looked less and less like the makeup of their states over time, suggesting a failure to uphold their public mission.

The Education Trust published a report in 2006 that provided support for these concerns, showing that low-income and minority students were underrepresented at state flagships when compared to the states’ overall college-going populations. The new report, entitled Opportunity Adrift, revisits this issue and winds up reprising the initial report’s criticisms, saying that while universities have put more money toward recruiting and funding low-income and minority students, they still have a lot of room for improvement.

Between 2003, the year their first report analyzed, and 2007, the source of the current report’s data, minority students became slightly better represented at the nation’s 50 public flagship universities. However, the improvement was only slight and disparities continue.  Similarly, average financial aid has increased sharply for students in the bottom income quintile, while holding more or less steady for other income levels from 2003-2007. After adjusting for inflation, students with the lowest income received an average of 23% more institutional grant aid in 2007 than they did in 2003. However, about $750 million of flagship universities’ $1.9 billion total institutional aid goes to students with family incomes over $80,400, students who probably have significantly less financial need.

Despite the shift in aid priorities from merit-based awards to need-based awards, public flagship universities actually enroll a higher percentage of high-income students and a lower percentage of low-income students than they did in 2003. Budget woes of the last two years are likely to drive this gulf even wider as schools find themselves needing to enroll more tuition-paying students and states are forced to cut funding to aid programs that may help low-income students enroll in public universities.

Individual institutions have made marked improvements in enrolling and funding low-income and minority students and the report takes care to highlight their achievements. However, the main conclusion of the report's authors is that more needs to be done to ensure that high-achieving students from disadvantaged backgrounds continue to be able to access higher education that can help them improve their lives. Research has shown that low-income students are less likely to attend colleges that challenge them and are more likely to opt not to go to college or to drop out before completing their degrees. A growing body of work, including this latest report, suggests that recruiting and retaining low-income and minority students should be a primary concern for public flagship universities that want to uphold their missions of providing an affordable college education to their states' populations.


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by Agnes Jasinski

The Washington-based American Council on Education (ACE) released figures today that while female undergraduates continue to outnumber men at community and four-year colleges, that gender gap has begun to level off. According to the report, "Gender Equity in Higher Education: 2010," the percentage of undergraduate men at community colleges and four-year institutions remained between 42 and 44 percent between the 1995-1996 and the 2007-2008 academic years.

Exceptions remain among Hispanic undergraduates, where the men continue to lag behind the women when it comes to enrolling in college. The percentage of male Hispanic students 24 or younger enrolled in undergraduate programs fell from 45 to 42 percent between 1999 and 2007. According to an article in Inside Higher Ed today, the reports suggests this can be explained by the large number of Hispanic males who are also immigrants, making it more difficult to get in and pay for college costs. Less than half of Hispanic male immigrants who live in the United States complete high school.

So why has the gender gap stabilized among all of the other student populations? Jacqueline E. King, the assistant vice president of ACE’s Center for Policy Analysis and the author of the study, said in Inside Higher Ed that this was the "new normal," and that the stabilization was a good thing. She also warned that the data that will account for the 2008-2009 could be different, however, as the recession may have caused some effects to college enrollments. (Only time will tell, but anecdotal evidence suggests more men have been enrolling in college in the difficult economy, perhaps as a response to lay-offs or to sharpen their skills in a tough job market.)

Prior to the report, some organizations had suggested more attention be paid to the low numbers of men enrolling in higher education, proposing types of affirmative action programs to get more men onto college campuses. Since then, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights began an inquiry to determine whether men were in fact getting preferential treatment. The ongoing gender bias investigation has targeted 19 schools across the country.

Sure, some women now boast that they're the breadwinners of their households, but disparities remain once you look beyond those undergraduate figures. While men are less likely to go to college than women, and even return to college later in life, men still lead in the number of PhD and MD degrees awarded and pull in larger salaries, perhaps because they dominate high-paying fields like engineering and computer science. Inside Higher Ed also suggests the most attention should be paid to minority applicants, as many of the men who struggle academically or choose not to enroll in college come from minority backgrounds.


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by Agnes Jasinski

Minority scholarships are one of the more common scholarships by type out there, with numerous organizations looking to make college more affordable for those who may have been traditionally under-served in higher education. Scholarships for Asian students are no different. In honor of May being Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, this week’s Scholarship of the Week is limited to women of Asian and Pacific Islander descent.

This week’s award comes from Central California Asian Pacific Women, a group of business and community leaders looking to support young women in their educational endeavors. Since 1981, the group has given more than $750,000 in scholarships to more than 180 of California’s Asian and Pacific Islander women. If you don't fit in to this category, try conducting a free scholarship search, and there are dozens of awards out there for not only Asian students looking to pay for college, but students from all minority groups and other demographic populations.

Prize: Scholarships vary, but the maximum amount is $1,000. Awards are given in July.

Eligibility: Applicants must be Asian and Pacific Islander women residing in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced or Tulare Counties in California. The selection criteria include academic achievement, extracurricular activities, and financial need. Applicants may be entering, continuing undergraduate, or re-entry students in a college or university. Special awards are also available for students studying in the areas of health, business, or early childhood education.

Deadline: May 15, 2010

Required Material: Those interested in the award are asked to complete online applications that include short essays in response to three questions to communicate personal experience, academic, and/or special circumstance information. Applicants must also submit official transcripts and two letters of reference; at least one of these should be from a teacher or counselor from the last or current school that applicant attended.

Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com. Once the search is completed, students eligible for this scholarship award will find it in their search results.


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by Agnes Jasinski

As the economy begins to look a bit less bleak and unemployment figures finally begin to see signs of improvement, a career in business may look more stable than it would have in the last year or so. If you’re pursuing a major or career in business, there are a number of business scholarships out there than will help you pay for an often expensive endeavor. If you’re a minority future businessman or woman, then this week’s Scholarship of the Week is for you.

The Marriott Minority Entrepreneurs Scholarship Program is aimed at helping minority college students and entrepreneurs in funding their educations. The award, which comes from a partnership between the International Franchise Association and Marriott, awards three $3,000 scholarships each year, and doesn’t require a very lengthy application process. If you don’t quite fit the criteria but are interested in business, make sure you browse our awards in that category or conduct a search based on your particular student characteristics.

Prize: Five $3,000 scholarship awards are presented annually.

Eligibility: To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be enrolled in an accredited college or university or be adult entrepreneurs pursuing executive education. Adult entrepreneurs must have at least five years of business ownership or managerial experience. All applicants must be U.S. citizens, and considered a member of a minority group — African-American, American-Indian, Hispanic, or Asian-American.

Deadline: June 15, 2010

Required Material: Applicants must complete an application form from the IFA Educational Foundation, along with an official academic transcript. The application includes a requirement for a brief essay asking for applicants’ career goals and reasons why they should receive the scholarship. Adult entrepreneurs must also submit a resume summarizing professional and academic experience.

Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com. Once the search is completed, students eligible for this scholarship award will find it in their search results.


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by Agnes Jasinski

It’s a well-known fact that disparities exist when you look at the college graduation rates of black and Hispanic students versus white and Asian students. Two reports released yesterday, however, included data on colleges where those disparities aren’t as wide, suggesting that there are schools that are doing much better than others when it comes to graduating minority students.

The reports, released by The Education Trust and based on several years of database comparisons from College Results Online, looked at both private colleges and public universities. Many of those schools that boast small gaps (or a lack of a gap at all) have programming in place that promotes academic achievement across all student groups, according to an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. At the University of California at Riverside, where 63 percent of Hispanic students, 67 percent of black students, and 62 percent of white students graduate, administrators have focused on retention and boosting students’ leadership skills to keep them coming back. At the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, where 56 percent of black students and 51 percent of white students graduate within six years, administrators have focused on student success as part of their mission, and believe that it is more cost-effective for the school to have students graduate rather than to recruit new students, according to the reports.

According to an article from Inside Higher Ed, even those poor performers—Wayne State University, where there is a 34 percent gap between graduation rates for white and black students, and California State University at Chico, which graduates about 31 percent of black students, 41.5 percent of Hispanic students, and 57.5 percent of white students—are taking steps to improve their graduation rates. At Chico, for example, those numbers actually represent an improvement after the campus opened a minority student success center. At Wayne State, access to need-based financial aid has been expanded to address a big reason why many at-risk students drop out of college.

Overall, about 60 percent of the country’s white students, 49 percent of Hispanic students, and 40 percent of black students graduate with six years, according to The Education Trust. These new reports, however, show that there are steps colleges can take to improve upon those numbers and to improve retention across student groups.


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Muchas Felicidades, Excelencia in Education

Nonprofit Campaigns to Improve College Graduation Rate Among Hispanics

September 8, 2010

by Alexis Mattera

Right now, a mere 12 percent of all college graduates are of Hispanic descent. Those stats are no bien, if you ask me, but Excelencia in Education is poised to do something about it today when it unveils several nationwide plans to improve college completion among Hispanics.

According to an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Excelencia in Education says that 50 groups will be joining the campaign; the official policy document will be released in March. "We know everyone has to increase their numbers, but we have so much farther to go," Deborah A. Santiago, vice president for policy and research at Excelencia, said of the Hispanic population. Santiago knows her stuff: The policy brief Excelencia will release today states that young adults who are Hispanic are less likely to be enrolled in college than are other young adults and in 2008, the college-going rate for Hispanic high-school graduates between the ages of 18 and 24 was 37 percent and for all 18- to 24-years-olds, the proportion of Hispanic people enrolled in college was just 26 percent.

Is it possible to increase these numbers? Santiago and her team obviously think so, as does President Obama, who has promised the U.S. will be the world leader in overall college-degree attainment by 2020. To reach that goal, Excelencia says, 3.3 million more Hispanic people than are now projected to complete college would have to earn degrees in the next 10 years. Excelencia will also track the college-completion progress of black and white students on an annual basis in addition to their work with Hispanics, using this year’s the statistical report as a baseline.

We know Scholarships.com is visited by students of many ages, locales and ethnicities so we’d like to hear what you think regarding this matter. What do you think of Excelencia in Education’s plan? Obama’s goal?


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An Unfair Hike

California Supreme Court May Up Tuition for Illegal Immigrants

October 7, 2010

An Unfair Hike

by Alexis Mattera

Proposed tuition increases at several institutions have been in the news lately. While the ones being discussed at the University of Colorado and Adams State College will affect all students as the schools compensate for the lack of state funding, California’s are targeting one specific sect of the student population: illegal immigrants.

No official ruling has been made yet (one is expected within 90 days) but California’s Supreme Court is currently reviewing whether illegal immigrants must pay higher tuition at state universities. The arguments center on a 2002 law that allows anyone graduating from a California high school can pay in-state tuition at a California state school – a law that more than 40 out-of-state students from the University of California and other public colleges say violates federal immigration law. If the court rules in the students’ favor, illegal immigrants will be required to pay out-of-state tuition. To put the cost in perspective, that would be $34,000 per year instead of $11,300 at the University of California. That’s not pocket change.

As someone who once paid out-of-state tuition and has the student loan bills to prove it, I can say from experience that ponying up the monetary difference isn’t fun…but if I was living in-state and got slapped with a tuition bill more than triple what I was expecting to pay, wow. It doesn’t matter if you’re living in California or the Carolinas, are a citizen or in this country illegally, how do you feel about this proposal and the impact it could have if it’s passed?


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House Passes Controversial Dream Act

Dream Act to Create Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Students

December 9, 2010

House Passes Controversial Dream Act

by Suada Kolovic

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday to give undocumented students who’ve graduated from high school, completed two years of college or military service and have no criminal record a shot at citizenship. The bill, known as the Dream Act, passed by a 216-198 vote after heated debates stemming from the fact that said students would also be eligible for federal financial aid.

The legislation is backed by President Obama who, according to the Huffington Post, called it “an important step” toward comprehensive immigration reform. In a statement, Obama said, "This vote is not only the right thing to do for a group of talented young people who seek to serve a country they know as their own by continuing their education or serving in the military, but it is the right thing for the United States of America.” Republicans, on the other hand, have slammed the bill and repeatedly referred to the Dream Act as a “nightmare act.” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) described the bill as nothing more than “mass amnesty that will undoubtedly encourage millions more to illegally immigrate into our country.”

Today, the Senate is scheduled to vote on whether to begin debate on a slightly different version of the bill...though it’s unlikely Democrats can muster the 60 votes needed in the 100-memeber chamber to advance it.


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