Race-based scholarships - American Education
Financial grants awarded by a college or university to a student primarily on the basis of race, rather than academic, athletic or other abilities. Until 1995, race-based scholarships had been permitted under U.S. federal regulations as long as they were granted to help “remedy past discrimination” and promote diversity on the campus. Race-based scholarships accounted for about 4% of the more than $3.5 billion in scholarships awarded by four-year colleges in 1992. In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a lower court ruling that race-based scholarships funded with public money at the University of Maryland were unconstitutional because they discriminated against white students. Race-based scholarships funded with private money, however, are part of a long tradition of privately funded scholarships for students from a wide variety of special groups, including American Indians, Chinese Americans, Italian Americans, Jews, foreign students, women, men, Christians, lineal descendants of Confederate soldiers and “students of Huguenot ancestry,” among others.
Although privately funded race-based scholarships are entirely legal and ethical, many colleges hesitate to publicize the availability of race-based scholarships for fear of provoking reverse-discrimination lawsuits by white students who are refused admittance in favor of less qualified blacks (see UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA REGENTS V. BAKKE). Most such scholarships are, therefore, awarded without fanfare, usually to black students who might otherwise forgo opportunities to attend a prestigious college because of financial need. Among the most prestigious institutions that admit awarding race-based scholarships are the University of Virginia, Duke University, Washington University in St. Louis and Rice University. Emory University offers race-based scholarship programs for the top graduates of Atlanta’s public schools, whose student bodies are predominantly black, and Rutgers University, New Jersey’s state university, awards scholarships annually to minority students who finish in the top 10% of their high school classes and have combined SAT scores of at least 1,100. Called the Carr scholarships, the awards cover about two-thirds of the annual cost for tuition, room and board for New Jersey residents.