Black-Only Scholarship Ended at the University of Memphis

Sheri Lipman, legal counsel at the University of Memphis, said recently that because of the settlement of the longstanding racial desegregation case in Tennessee higher education, it is now illegal for the University of Memphis to make classifications based on race. As a result, the Geier Scholarship program for black students has been discontinued. “The bottom line is we don’t have a choice,” Lipman told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. This is what the law says, and this is what we have to do.”

In the current academic year there are 193 Geier Scholars at the University of Memphis. They will continue to receive scholarship funds under the program until they graduate but no new Geier scholarships will be awarded. The scholarships have provided up to full tuition for eligible students plus $1,000 in spending money.

In its place the university has established the Memphis Advantage scholarship program. These scholarships are available for a student from any underrepresented minority group, those students who are the first generation in their family to attend college, or to residents of rural West Tennessee counties.