Grants for African American students used to be scarce. African Americans, for the longest time, have remained a disadvantaged sector of society in the field of education. The late 1980’s, though changed this situation. With the aid of countless efforts from private supporters, as well as state and federal laws, as well as students of African American ancestry now have more options for college funding for them to choose from. Enrollment of African American students in colleges and universities has dramatically increased, making them almost at par with Hispanics in the composition of tertiary level students in the Unites States.
The United Negro College Fund or UNCF has been the primary driving force in promoting college education among African American youth. Since 1994, the UNCF has championed the cause of advancing the education levels of African Americans.
With its motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste” adopted in 1972, the organization has expanded its list of donors and grown in popularity, making more funds available to deserving African Americans. Aside from directly giving and managing grants, scholarships and fellowships to rightful African American students at all tertiary levels, UNCF also provides funding to more than thirty colleges and universities with a majority African American population, to make education in these institutions more affordable. This makes African American students opt to choose four-year programs and eventually, graduate degrees rather than just 2 year vocational courses that make them under-educated, a main issue among Hispanic students.
As mentioned earlier, UNCF has continuously supported historically black colleges in the United States. These universities and colleges like Howard and Spellman Universities have advanced in stature and funding that they themselves have provided grants to promising students. The provision of academic merit grants and scholarships have increased in these institutions, a sign that support for African American scholarship grants has increased.