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What are Minority Education Grants?

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  • Written By: Jessica Hobby
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2018
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A minority education grant is a monetary gift given to a minority student who is pursuing his higher education. Education grants differ from student loans because they do not have to be repaid. Minority education grants operate in the same fashion, but recipients must have minority status.

When thinking about minority education grants, many people only consider ethnic minorities such as Hispanics or African-Americans. In reality, there are many other segments of the population considered minority groups. For example, those with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and, in some cases, women are given minority status for grant purposes.

On a general level, minorities receive education grants to level the playing field; however, specific reasons differ slightly based on which minority group is being referenced. Ethnic minorities often encounter discrimination due to the sociopolitical construction of race, therefore, minority grants are offered to aid in diversifying education and the professional labor market. In the case of minorities who have a physical or a learning disability, they receive minority education grants to help them tackle barriers which may prevent the pursuit of a higher education or a professional career. Minority grants are given to women to help them achieve success in male-dominated fields.

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Although recipients of minority education grants usually must maintain a minimum standard in their academic standing, these grants are typically need-based in contrast to merit-based monetary gifts called scholarships. Many minority education grants are subsidized by national governments. Additionally, minority foundations and businesses also offer grants to minority students.

Whether a minority individual receives an education grant from his national government, a minority foundation or a business, he usually must fill out a lengthy application. In order to be considered for federal minority education grants in the United States, students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA determines need by calculating a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Eligible applicants have an EFC of zero or a very low EFC and may receive all or a combination of a Pell Grant, a Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and other occupation-specific grants.

Minority foundations and businesses that offer education grants often determine need and eligibility based on the EFC determined by the FAFSA. In some cases, minority foundations and businesses will have additional criteria to determine eligibility. At the very least, students should expect to provide a personal statement and occasionally may be required to prepare an essay question determined by the organization offering the grant.

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