Scholarship applicants should be primarily selected based on need and merit with little to no focus placed on factors such as race and gender.
Increasingly, college degrees are becoming a requirement in the American job market. In an age where students struggle to pay for an education, they are becoming reliant upon scholarships to help pay their way. With competition at an all-time high, schools should focus on offering scholarships to the most qualified applicants instead of making special concessions to gender or race.
The most important elements for selecting scholarship recipients should be financial need and merit. Students with financial need should be given first priority for grants. They may not be able to attend school without the money. A degree is vital in today’s job market, and those who cannot afford to attain one may be confined to lower-paying jobs, which can create an inescapable cycle of poverty.
Merit is another important aspect. Even if a student demonstrates financial need, if he or she does not show a willingness to succeed and become valuable to the work force, the scholarship may serve better elsewhere.
Affirmative action is meant to create a level playing field for historically repressed groups such as women and African Americans by providing more opportunities to attend college. The program is also meant to combat higher poverty rates among minorities. According to State Health Facts from 2010-2011, 34 percent of Hispanics and 31 percent of African Americans fall below the poverty line in Texas, compared to 12 percent of whites.
However, students should not receive more opportunities for scholarships solely based on their racial or ethnic backgrounds. All applicants with financial need should be considered, regardless of race, gender or any other feature. All students should be offered the same opportunities to attend college, even if discrimination and prejudice are still prevalent in some aspects of society.
Applications should be reviewed blind to race, gender, name and other specific information that could be used to unfairly distinguish candidates. Applicants should be considered based on their, merit and need alone.
According to a March 10, 2011 University Star article, an organization called the Former Majority Association for Equality offered a scholarship exclusively for Caucasian men. People may be offended by the idea of a Caucasian male-only scholarship, but the controversy it created among some groups highlights the double standard in our society. While other groups, such as black people, may have a higher poverty rate and a higher percentage of applicants in need, there are also Caucasians who cannot afford school and need grants. This does not mean that we should offer a separate scholarship for every race or ethnicity. Instead, awards should be offered to all students who truly need them and demonstrate the ability to succeed.
As tuition rates continue to soar, students will continue to need scholarships. Instead of turning students away based on race, gender or other factors, all students who need money for school should be given an equal opportunity to get the aid they need.