First, thanks for visiting my site. I have been inspired by the stories I have read in numerous articles how education uplifted students from our previous generations. Coming from a country colonized by British Empire for almost two centuries, I can understand some of your feelings unknown to many in the USA. Unfortunately, the last few decades the educational expenses have increased multiple times compared to healthcare, income and housing costs. While many of your grandparents just started their life after a lot of struggles, such added expenses are turning higher education seekers into the victims of high debt burden for their lifetime. There is also good news for you. Here, I will at first go through historical developments briefly, bring the concerns that you need to be aware to avoid traps set by colleges, and give the good news of scholarships, awards, federal support and generous private grants of the big donors supporting the people who deserve equal opportunity.
How did the idea of two Americas start? America’s establishment is embedded in utilizing slavery where they were strictly prohibited from even basic learning. Generations of abuse further traumatized and continued to impact the educational opportunities through school zoning, urban design and advanced tests. Moreover, immigrants started to flock in the USA from all around the world. Many of them were not wealthy and had built their lives from scratch. It will be a mistake just to have racial or color-based silver line in this matter. Opioid crisis in the Rust-Belt and Midwest shows how globalization is impacting even the white majority living in the suburbs. So, it is no longer racial divide, it is a caste system of who Graduates with a good college degree or not. There is no easy solution to this issue immediately no matter who you support for the office. You must take charge of your life at this point.
- Towards Progress: Educational opportunities started to open gradually through commitments of civil rights movements, feminism, immigration and post WWII economic policies. It is hard to finger point to a single event. In 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson passed The Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), federally backed student loan program. The goals were to help the Vietnam veterans to get back into civil life, compete for space programs to counter Soviet Union and open the college education to all who can’t afford it usually. The program paid-off well for the first few decades. However, Afro-American students still had many struggles in the segregated America in different states. Slowly, scholarships started to focus on them. Historical black colleges and universities (HBCU) like Howard and Tuskegee University, and Spelman College have contributed a lot in this journey.
- Why is it still Challenging in 2020? The systematic racial divide through state and local policies are putting the school districts of the minorities in strain. Somehow it is always found the system is not supportive enough for the minorities. Moreover, social issues rising from high prison rates of minorities, family breakups, alcohol and drugs, did not help to progress the dreams of many minorities impacting their educational goals. Many minorities just find it difficult to navigate through the complex web of education. Often, colleges are aware of that and tell them that a college degree can change their lives. Propaganda is the best when it is mixed with some truths and false. Yes, one can prosper with college degrees only if it guarantees jobs. Otherwise, the interest and student loans can turn into nightmares. Loan defaults come from minorities at higher proportion and first-generation college students. Here are some of our charts to show how a wrong decision can haunt for life:
Good News: Increasing demands for equality is helping scholarships, awards, reduced or zero tuition fees for under-served communities. Here, I am listing a few in brief. Each category will be discussed in detail in my future blogs.
Pell Grant: A Federal Pell Grant is free money for disadvantaged students with severe financial needs. It does not have to be repaid like normal loans. The maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $6,345 for the 2020–21 award year (July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021). The amount depends on different factors such as financial needs, tuition fees, enrollment status, and plans to attend school for a full academic year or less. · Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online in the following link: www.fafsa.ed.gov
- Many federal, state and private scholarships are available in need-based category.
- Applicant’s background, financial condition, family education history and major in college are considered. Like in Harvard and some other IVY leagues, low income families pay according to their means. In Harvard, below 65K household income, tuition is free. Families with incomes from $65,000 to $150,000 pay 0-10% of their income.
- The Question is which colleges are easier for you. HBCU are a great resource for any minority student. Here is a great link of such resources: https://hbculifestyle.com/101-minority-scholarships/
- Donations by foundations are not the same for all the colleges. Many universities are trying hard to fix their pasts. You might be a beneficiary of that.
- State universities have student offices representing minority communities and greatly involved in recruiting and career counseling. They also keep a list of scholarships from Nationals Science Foundation and many other federal and state agencies. You are not alone in your journey. Many people want you to be educated.
- Some other useful links for minority, Afro-American and Hispanic students:
In future blogs, I will get more into this matter. Participation in a civil manner is the real progress of the minorities. Education emboldens you to be a part of future American story. You are here to create a new story, not to reverberate the past only. You want your voice to be heard, so are we. Get your education at first. None will deny you a seat on the table.