Need Help Paying For College? These Privately-Funded Groups Help To Keep Black Students Out Of Debt

Need Help Paying For College? These Privately-Funded Groups Help To Keep Black Students Out Of Debt
UNCF via Twitter

The struggle for equal access to education has taken a bit of a different turn. At one time in this country, Black students had to overcome the notion of "separate, but equal" public facilities which extended to schools at every level. HBCU's were born out of that tradition as Black folks decided to educate their own.

While all ethnic groups are feeling the pain of skyrocketing costs, economic disparities are making it more difficult for Blacks to pay for college--even at historically Black colleges and universities. Black families earn less than Whites, so higher numbers of students must borrow more money in their quest for a degree.

Making matters worse, Black students graduate with more debt and generally earn less than their peers. They also have a much higher rate of student loan default. Financially, this reality does nothing to break the cycle of poverty nor does it position Black families to build wealth. The student loan crisis will likely get worse before it gets better, so what is a bright, young, Black student supposed to do?

To help close the gap, more and more private funders are establishing scholarship programs for students who attend HBCU's. These funders offer merit-based scholarships and grants to deserving students who might not otherwise be in the position to attend the schools of their choice. Find listed below some well-known organizations, but you may also consider visiting to see a list of other scholarship programs available.

The Artishia and Frederick Jordan Scholarship Fund

The Artishia and Frederick Jordan Scholarship Fund

The Artishia and Frederick Jordan Scholarship Fund was founded in 1976 by Bishop Frederick Douglass Jordan in memory of his wife, Artishia Jordan. Jordan, an AME Bishop, and his wife are Howard University alums who attended in the 1920s. Since its inception, the Jordan fund has awarded scholarships to over 1,000 students totaling $1.6 million. To learn more about the Jordan Fund, visit them online at Jordan

United Negro College Fund

Founded in 1944, the United Negro College Fund has raised more than $4.5 billion to help more than 430,000 students attend and graduate from college. Every year, the UNCF awards over 10,000 students in excess of $100 million in scholarships. They also provide financial support to 37 HBCU's.

One of the most successful programs of its kind, the UNCF has more than doubled the number of minority students attending college. It boasts a six-year graduation rate of 70 percent, which exceeds both the national average for all students by 11 percent as well as the national average for Black students by 31 percent.

Visit the UNCF website to get started. After all, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

Thurgood Marshall College Fund

Named for the first Black Supreme Court Justice, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) uniquely supports all HBCU's, which includes the 47 publicly-supported institutions. Since 1987, TMCF has helped students acquire a high-quality college education affordably. 

Their efforts, however, do not end with the cutting of a check. TMCF helps develop future leaders and even provides top-performing students with assistance in finding career opportunities. 

To its credit, TMCF has provided assistance upwards of $250 million for students and member-schools. TMCF is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, charitable organization. Its motto? "TMCF is the place 'Where Education Pays Off.'" Visit them online at

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