The Gates Millennium Scholarship Program Has Helped Thousands of Black Students Go to College

The seventh class of Gates Millennium Scholars was recently announced. This year’s 1,000 winners of the Millennium Scholarships come from 822 different high schools in 47 states.

The scholarship program, backed by a $1 billion contribution from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is administered by the United Negro College Fund. The scholarships offer full unmet financial need of underrepresented minority students including African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, and Asian and Pacific Islanders. Scholarships can be renewed for up to five years for students in good academic standing. In addition, college graduates who go on to seek graduate degrees in education, science, engineering, mathematics, library science, and public health are eligible for continued funding.

Since its inception seven years ago, the Gates scholarship program has given out over $300 million to more than 11,000 students. While there is no data on the race of the recipients, undoubtedly several thousand Gates Millennium Scholarship winners are black.

Students who win the Gates scholarships have achieved a graduation rate of 77.6 percent. Nationwide, the overall black student college graduation rate is 41 percent.