Pell Grants Are a Major Factor in College Affordability for African Americans

doed_logoThe U.S. Department of Education has released a new report on Pell Grant recipients in the United States. Pell Grants are federal financial aid for students from lower-income families. The grants, which can be as much as $5,775 annually, do not have to be repaid.

The Pell Grant program, founded in 1965 and named after Democratic U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island, has expanded significantly since the turn of the century. In 1999, 3,763,710 undergraduate students received Pell Grants. Total program expenditures that year were about $7.2 billion. By the 2011-12 academic year, nearly 9.5 million students received Pell Grants totaling more  than $33.5 billion.

The Pell Grant program is a major factor in college affordability for African Americans. Nearly 62 percent of all African American undergraduates received a Pell Grant in the 2011-12 academic year. For Whites, 33.5 percent of undergraduates that year were Pell Grant recipients. While Blacks make up bout 13 percent of total enrollments in higher education, they are about one quarter of all students who receive Pell Grants.

The average Pell Grant award for Black students in the 2011-12 academic year was $3,400. This was slightly higher than the average award for White students.

The full report, Trends in Pell Grant Receipt and the Characteristics of Pell Grant Recipients: Selected Years, 1999–2000 to 2011–12, may be downloaded by clicking here.

Comments (2)

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  1. Jacob M. says:

    See, what lacks her is a college saving bonds that black parents don’t do that white parents seems to get. A combination of Pell-Grants, scholarships( if eligible), and an established saving bond would help assuage the about of loan debt and interest charges. However. if many of these student are coming from single-parent homes where costs must diverted to basic necessities (i.e, food, water, bills) than it is completely understandable. But, I am beginning to believe increasingly that these student are pretty much left on their own without much familial support.

    • caribbean queen says:

      you cannot possibly be serious. please research the longstanding and ever-widening wealth/income gulf with respect to black vs. white families, not to mention black female vs. white female disposable income gap. then you will see how white families “just seem to” be able to better fund their offspring’s higher education. blaming the victim for generational poverty and lack of opportunity is an old game. the only thing that will cure this problem is a robust reparations policy, which is — frankly — severely PAST DUE.

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