SUNY Opens Minority-Only Scholarships to Whites

Illustration by Eleanor Mill

The board of trustees of the State University of New York system has voted to open up to low-income whites two scholarship programs that had been reserved for minority students. This past year the $6.2 million Graduate Fellowship program provided financial aid to about 500 minority students at 24 SUNY campuses. The Empire State Minority Honors Scholarships benefited 898 students. Since 1987 the two scholarship programs have been exclusively for black, Hispanic, and American Indian students.

The action by the SUNY trustees came after the university, along with 200 other institutions of higher education, received a letter from the right-wing Center for Equal Opportunity. The letter strongly hinted that legal action or the filing of a complaint with the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights would be made if the programs remained exclusively for minority students.

Copyright © 2006. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.