Sophomore Shauna Cowherd loves to sing and dance, hence she is a theatre major at Northern Kentucky University. Another thing she is devoted to is her African-American heritage – and not just because it helped her get a scholarship.
In the past, colleges around the nation have given out minority-based scholarships to bring black students to predominately white schools and white students to predominately black schools. However, one particular school just took a step toward changing those ways. The Daily Helmsman Online recently reported the University of Memphis will no longer offer scholarships exclusively to minority students.
“It really does not surprise me,” said Cynthia Pinchback-Hines, associate dean of African-American Student Affairs and Ethnic Services. “I could see minorities being singled out for scholarships coming in a matter of time. It just creates more competition among students for the same money.”
NKU offers financial aid and scholarships for dorm housing, tuition and more for minority students. However, race is not the defining factor in picking applicants.
“People think we give out financial aid to some students strictly because of their race,” said Katherine Meyer, director of Student Retention and Assessment. “We look more at their GPA, their financial history and their financial status at home, rather than their race.”
All the minority-based scholarships at NKU require students to have a minimum GPA ranging from a 2.0 to a 2.75. The Educational Diversity Housing Scholarship and Educational Diversity tuition Scholarship require applicants to write an essay about how they would bring diversity to NKU.
As a student, Cowherd would be affected if NKU ever stopped giving away minority scholarships. “Without my scholarship, it would be a lot harder for me to stay in school,” she said. “The scholarship really helped me out a lot.”
However, Meyer said she does not see NKU coming to the point where it stops giving out minority-based scholarships. “It would negatively impact the university. It would also shame some students out of an education.
“I did not attend a diverse campus. I like how students here can take advantage of learning cultures from other students. I would hate to see the day NKU ever lost its cultural diversity,” Meyer said.