Struggles of University Minorities
Statistically speaking, more people are graduating high school and going to college than ever. At the same time, the percentage of minorities in the country is growing. However, these trends aren’t necessarily intertwining in the way we hoped. There are a lot of issues that are keeping minorities from getting access to the education they are looking for and even hampering their college experience when they are there. Let’s take a closer look at these issues and exactly what they entail.
So, what are some of the significant issues that are impacting minorities in university settings?
Financial Issues: Statistics show that there is a major wealth gap between certain minority groups and their white counterparts, which leads to issues when the time comes to get into college. This can manifest in a few ways. For one, minority students, African-Americans, and Latinos, in particular, may not have the funds to pay college tuition. This may either cause them to avoid pursuing university all together or end up taking massive amounts of student loan debt. Taking on more student loan debt is one of the factors increasing the racial wealth gap. As a result, minority college graduates may have the same tier of education but have more difficulty buying homes and starting families in the future.
Often the loan money that students are capable of getting isn’t enough to cover all the expenses that come with school. This can include room and board, books, as well as other living expenses. It is a primary reason while the dropout rate for minority students that go to university is more significant than white students.
Stereotypes: Stereotypes can manifest in a variety of different ways on a college campus, creating a hostile environment for minorities. This can manifest in several ways, from an African-American feeling they are only accepted due to “affirmative action” policies to an Asian-American dealing with “impostor syndrome” due to higher expectations, to Hispanic-Americans having their citizenship called into question. Many minorities feel underrepresented on a lot of major college campuses as it is. Moments like these make them often feel more isolated, which could mean an impact on mental health and academics.
Many colleges are trying to do their part to try and create a more inclusive space on campus. This includes promoting programs/events designed to support minority students, as well as diversifying their staff. However, for a lot of minority students, the financial issue is generally the crux of the problem. If you don’t have a lot of root money to work with, it’s essential to seek out scholarships and grants. Many of these are specifically designed for minorities to help them get into/through college. Here are a few prominent examples.
- The NAACP gives out scholarships to African-American applicants on an annual basis, based on the decisions of the organization’s scholarship committee. You will also need to provide letters of recommendation and proof of full-time enrollment status.
- The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is the largest national resource for Latino higher education. Along with scholarships, the group provides support with institutional program grants.
- The largest scholarship provider nationwide for Asian students in the Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF). This group provides a series of targeted scholarships for other benefactors.
- The bulk of Native American scholarship funds support tribal colleges and universities, but some apply to mainstream schools as well.
In addition to these significant scholarships, there are also hundreds of smaller ones designed for minorities going into certain programs or niches. Compile all of these together, and you can have a substantial chunk of your college tuition covered.
One of the key items that can mitigate some of the problems that minority students have is making sure that they have access to the infrastructure and resources to get support while they are on campus. In some cases, minority students may be trying to navigate a new area far from home with less of a support system to work with. Different administrations can get ahead of these issues by creating options to help better acclimate students to their new surroundings and achieve their academic goals.