Black ExperienceEducation

Racial Disparities Evident in Financial Aid for Students: Report

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education documents differences in the percentages of Black and white college students receiving financial aid from varied sources and their average amount of school funding.

The report, “Trends in Undergraduate Nonfederal Grant and Scholarship Aid by Demographic and Enrollment Characteristics: Selected Years, 2003–04 to 2015–16,” provides comparable data regarding African American and white college students, including:

• During the 2015-16 academic year, 43.4 percent of African American college students received some type of non-federal financial aid, compared to 46 percent of white students who received non-federal aid. At that time, the average amount of non-federal aid for Blacks was $6,300 compared to $7,400 for whites.
• Although Blacks were slightly more likely than whites to receive financial aid from their states, the average dollar amount of aid was identical.
• Some 2.6 percent of white students received merit-based aids from states, compared to 1.5 percent of Blacks.
• Nearly 27 percent of whites but only 22.5 percent of Blacks received financial aid awards from the educational institution that they attended. The average award to whites was $1,200 higher than it was for Blacks.
• While whites were slightly more likely than Blacks to receive need-based awards from the institutions they attended, some 14.2 percent of Wwhites received merit-based financial aid from their colleges or universities compared to 8 percent of Blacks.

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