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In conclusion, we note two recent reports that have focused in full or in part on the subject of financial aid and its potential reform. First, the Rethinking Student Aid study group convened by the College Board a recently recommended a major overhaul of the financial aid system. Second, the Spellings Commission also sought to improve financial aid by recommending an improvement in the financial aid process, transparency in net price, and better targeting of financial aid.
There will continue to be dialogue on these issues, to be sure, but these policies regarding support provide the foundation of opportunity for under-represented minority students, as they do for all. While general need-based and merit-based support are provided by the federal government, states, and institutions, financial support for students in STEM is provided primarily by the federal government with some additional foundation support.
The need for financial support for students in STEM fields has been demonstrated in a series of reports. NCES found that degree completion in science and engineering was positively related to receiving financial aid. Merit-based financial support allowed these students to focus their time and effort on their studies and research, contributing strongly to their success. CGS reports that four-fifths 80 percent of respondents indicated that financial support was a main factor in their ability to complete their doctoral program.
Graduates from mathematics and physical sciences programs were the most likely to report that financial support was one of the main factors enabling them to complete their degree 83 percent , followed by engineering and life sciences both at 82 percent, social sciences 80 percent , and humanities 73 percent. Rising Above the Gathering Storm argued that the educational attainment of U. Department of Education, partly fulfilling the Gathering Storm recommendation. The program awards need-based Academic Competitiveness Grants to first- and second-year undergraduates who have completed a rigorous high school curriculum and National SMART Grants to third- and fourth-year undergraduates majoring in certain technical fields or foreign languages deemed vital to national security.
An early audit of the program found that participation in these programs was low and that the Department of Education was not undertaking enough effort to promote the grants. Data on the financial support for science and engineering graduate students provide two windows into how students are supported in these fields.
The second largest mechanism is the research assistantship 25 percent , teaching assistantships 18 percent , and fellowships or traineeships 12 percent. The federal government is the second largest source, providing financial support for one-fifth of full-time graduate students in As shown in Figure , there is variation by field. For example, in fall , full-time students in physical sciences were financially supported mainly through federally funded research assistantships RAs 42 percent and teaching assistantships TAs 38 percent.
RAs also were important in agricultural sciences 57 percent ; biological sciences 42 percent ; earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences 41 percent ; and engineering 40 percent. In mathematics, more than half 53 percent of full-time students were supported primarily through TAs and another 21 percent were self-supported. The federal government is a more significant funder of doctoral education in science and engineering, primarily through federally funded RAs, but also through a limited number of TAs, individual fellowships, and institutional grants that support traineeships.
Financial Support of Doctoral Completion. The overwhelming majority of respondents received financial support for their doctoral study 94 percent and 70 percent reported that they were guaranteed multiyear support at the time of admission. Compared more Graduate research assistantships are generally funded through federal research grants awarded to universities.
The other primary sources of federal support, particularly fellowships and traineeships, are provided through such programs as: While most science and engineering graduate students actually rely on multiple sources of support rather than one primary source, the key to retention and reduced time-to-degree is sustained funding.
The ideal funding package—particularly at the graduate school level—would allow the student to focus on studies and research full time, without increasing debt burden, and would include stipend, full tuition and fees, research and travel allowance, cost of living subsidy, health insurance, and other applicable costs of education. A final financial consideration at the graduate level is the availability of funding for professional development activities.
To the extent that students can participate in conferences, present papers, engage in summer research, or take advantage of similar activities, the deeper their commitment to their program, their discipline, and their profession. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds will likely require additional financial support for these activities as well. Sources of this support may include institutional funds or funding from federal or philanthropic programs. Returning once again to the four approaches to increasing the participation of underrepresented minorities in STEM, it is clear that under-represented minorities may benefit from:.
We began this chapter by reviewing the research indicating that financial support is strongly correlated with postsecondary completion, a finding that applies to underrepresented minorities as well as others. Data show, however, that in fact the issue of financial support is typically more salient for underrepresented minorities. At a general level, the median household income for underrepresented minorities is lower than for whites and Asian Americans. It can be seen at a more specific level as well in data that illustrate the consequences of insufficient support.
Data from the NSF — Survey of Earned Doctorates, for example, show that in general underrepresented minorities—and African Americans in particular—are more likely to draw on personal and family resources for support when working on a doctorate. Black doctorate recipients indicated the greatest reliance on their own resources to finance their doctoral program 41 percent , followed by American Indians 32 percent , Hispanics 29 percent , and multiracial recipients 25 percent table This is true for underrepresented minorities in science and engineering as well.
Data on primary mechanism of support for science and engineering doctorates, as shown in Table , show that underrepresented minorities are twice as likely Not surprisingly, as shown in Figure , underrepresented minorities—and, again, African Americans in particular—report higher debt burdens across fields on completion of a doctorate. Universities, Summary more These trends have important consequences. First, self-support and loans create a larger burden for underrepresented minorities both during and after graduation.
The need to rely on personal sources—particularly outside work—means that the student has less time to focus on study and research and leads to lower grades, longer time-to-degree, and higher probability of attrition as noncompleters are more likely to have engaged in outside work. Studies have shown that holding a part-time job off-campus may be negatively related to persistence in college Astin , especially for URMs Nora, Cabrera, Hagedorn, and Pascarella Second, and even more important, the burden on the personal finances and debt of those who attend college and graduate school can also serve as a market signal that likely deters other underrepresented minorities from attending, participating, and completing in STEM in the first place, which keeps the proportions of underrepresented minorities in STEM low.
While some of the financial problem can be addressed through need-based programs, there remains a strong need for programs that target under-represented minorities. Researchers have found that financial incentives are most effective in reducing attrition among low-income and minority students when provided in conjunction with academic support and campus integration, which we will discuss further in the next chapter.
As shown in Figure , graduates of LSAMP programs have a higher propensity for additional coursework, graduate enrollment, and graduate degree completion, both in STEM and overall, compared to both white and Asian American students and other underrepresented minority students not in an LSAMP program. At the doctoral level, again, the package and timing of support are critical. Underrepresented minority students are more likely to receive fellowships than any other type of support and least likely to be supported by research assistantships, as shown in Table In general, the availability of a range of financial support options, tailored to the needs of students at a particular point in their graduate studies, can be the most effective way to increase recruitment and reduce attrition of underrepresented minority graduate students in STEM.
Individuals from racial and ethnic groups. Pacific Islands. Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. A maximum of five years of support is available. In addition to these federal programs, foundations have provided important sources of fellowship support for underrepresented minorities in STEM. The Ford Foundation Fellowship Program 36 has been an important source of support at the doctoral level, as has the Alfred P.
While independent evaluations have shown the effectiveness of federal programs such as the NSF Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation LSAMP and the NIH minority research training programs, to tackle the scale of change necessary in order to increase underrepresented minority participation in STEM, these and other programs like them must be scaled up to meet the national challenge and achieve the national goal of increasing participation in a transformative way.
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National Math and Science Initiative. National Research Council. Ready, Set, Science! National Science and Technology Council. Ensuring a Strong U. Scientific, Technical, and Engineering Workforce in the 21st Century. You can also use business loans to supplement funding from a minority business grant. Remember, before committing to any loan, you should make sure you fully understand the cost and other terms.
Although there are no direct tax incentives for minority-owned businesses, understanding business tax breaks and assistance programs might help your business. A number of tax incentives at the local, state, and federal level are designed to encourage businesses to operate in locations that are economically distressed. They publish articles on career advice, how to build wealth, and profiles of African American business success stories.
Ever wish you could pick the brain of a successful small business owner? Here, they confess all their secrets. Making It TV is packed with information pertaining to minority enterprises. The site also hosts events or workshops on topics from finding small business grants, getting government contracts, and starting a business. This book is less about practical advice and more a forward-looking analysis of the importance of minority-owned businesses.
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