Say “No” to Free Money?

By Shelby White

Education & Career, Featured

The reality of most college students in today’s society is that we work hard to maintain a good academic standing in college with very little financial assistance. The problem with potential funding such as scholarships is not that they aren’t available, but the lack of research and effort students put in to benefit from them. As an African American college student, I can admit my own efforts have been lacks, regarding going after scholarships that are designed to see me succeed, simply because writing that essay or gathering the few documents I need in order to be eligible seemed like too much work. Essentially, I, who has put forth a lot of time to make sure I do my best in college, have said “no” to free money when all organizations want to do is reward me for my hard work. Which part is more ludicrous: turning down free money, or the lethargic reasoning behind my lack of effort?

For minority students (and all ethnic groups in general), there are scholarships that cater to them, including African Americans. According to the 2010 US Census, 12.6% of the 307.8 million individuals that makes up the US population are African American. These statistics have a huge impact in the amount of money given to African American students in the form of scholarships over the last few years. As the second largest minority group, African Americans are eligible for many minority scholarships such as the “Gates Millennium”, “African American Achievement” and “Jackie Robinson Scholarship” that provide not just partial but full rides to any college you desire to attend. We just do not take advantage of them.

Looking at reality of the typical African American college student, we are considered to be financially unstable to attend college which is why minority scholarships and other merit-based scholarships should have the benefit of encouraging students to not only continue in their education but also put forth the effort to apply for them. When it was time for me to apply for the scholarships and grants for the college I attend, El Camino College, I started off on the right foot. I began my application ahead of time and filled out the basic information quickly. When I reached the essay portion of the application, I procrastinated and ended up missing the deadline, even after it was courteously extended. As the months went on, I saw friends of mine receive scholarships that I know I could have easily gotten if I would have put forth the effort in completing the application. In retrospect, I know never to make this mistake again because with all the hard work I’ve done this past year, it should not go unrewarded.

As for all African American college students, we work hard to make the grades we do in college. We made it to the college level already despite the negative stereotypes against us, so not why attempt to receive recognition for it? With all the organizations designed to help African Americans succeed in college, there should not be any reason to deny the help offered to us. So, when I “google” African American scholarships and find one suited for my academic profile that includes an essay and other documents, that take some effort to acquire, will I say “no” to free money? I encourage all students of color to put forth the research and effort to find the assistance from these scholarships we all deserve.

2 Comments on "Say “No” to Free Money?"

  1. Pinkie Sep 19, 2012 · 10:37 pm

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  2. Zedrick Yarborough Dec 20, 2012 · 10:30 pm

    I believe all African Americans with brains have the potential to enhance education and prosperity. But Is someone hidding the Information resourses because our chances and opportunities isn’t visible. I believe we need to put up signs, persuading posters, and even billboards to inform our brothers and sisters. For Instance, I attend Hillsborough Community College, and I wanted to take a class for African American Literature; but they said ” the class was closed because no one (Africans) attended the classes.” Now I take It into my own hands to post posters to inform the people (Africans) to take these classes into consideration, while it’s still here. But hey, If there still any scholarships for African American (males) please email me. I would be more than happy to attend an African American Institute. Man I have so much to share! Thanks..

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