U.S. Department of Education Releases New Data on Racial Differences in Financial Aid

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education documents differences in the percentages of Black and White college students who receive financial aid from different sources and the average amount of aid for students from each group. For comparison, the report also provides historical data.

Here are some of the key finding regarding African American college students:

* During the 2015-16 academic year, 43.4 percent of African American college students received some type of non-federal financial aid. For White college students, 46 percent received non-federal aid. The average amount of non-federal aid for Blacks was $6,300 compared to $7,400 for Whites.

*Blacks were slightly more likely than Whites to receive financial aid from their states and 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. And White’s average amount of merit-based aid was slightly higher than the average merit-based award to 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.

* Whites were slightly more likely than Blacks to receive need-based awards from the institutions they attended. But Whites were significantly more likely than Blacks to receive merit-based financial aid from their colleges or universities. Some 14.2 percent of Whites received merit-based financial aid from their colleges or universities compared to 8 percent of Blacks.

The full report, Trends in Undergraduate Nonfederal Grant and Scholarship Aid by Demographic and Enrollment Characteristics: Selected Years, 2003–04 to 2015–16, may be downloaded by clicking here.

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  1. while this article discusses those that have received financial aid does it take into account the percentage of white students who apply for aid compared to the percentage of black students who apply for aid? This could have a direct impact on percentage of stuents who receive the aid. a simple example is, if 60% of all white students apply for financial aid based on merit and 40% of all black students apply for financial aid based on merit then naturally, the percentage of white students who receive aid compared to the percentage of black students who receive aid would be different. we need to look at the whole story. Its like looking at the results of a scientific study without looking at the controlling factors. We need the whole story.

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