The Delaware African American Heritage Council is now accepting applications for its new scholarship.
Tamika Vinson-Reid, one of the co-chairs of the heritage council, said the scholarship was put together because the council saw an opportunity to help local students who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC).
“DAAHC recognized there was a disturbing trend happening at the local school district level in that BIPOC were far less likely to win private scholarships or receive merit-based institutional grants than their white counterparts,” Vinson-Reid said. “In fact, we estimated that over 90% of scholarships were awarded to white students, leaving huge financial shortfalls for students of color considering higher education.”
Vinson-Reid said the DAAHC scholarship was “strategically created to expand the opportunity and increase the likelihood for African American students to pursue higher education” at either a four-year college or university, or a technical school.
“We know that when you minimize or remove financial barriers, you help to clear the path forward,” Vinson-Reid said.“Higher education is often prohibitively expensive for many, but especially for African American families, who often experience wage disparities. Coupled with increase in tuition, cost of attendance including room and board, or books and supplies, along with a decline in federal assistance and divestment on the state level, these are all contributing factors that could cut off a student’s access to the next level in their education.”
The scholarship is available to graduating seniors who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and attend either Hayes High School or the Delaware Area Career Center. Students must possess a minimum GPA of 2.5 (C+) on a 4.0 system and must be accepted to an accredited college, university or technical school in the United States.
Vinson-Reid said that while first-generation college or trade school students are encouraged to apply, it is not a condition of the scholarship.
To apply for the scholarship, students can visit bit.ly/DAAHCScholar.
Four $500 scholarships to be used for school-related expenses, including books and materials, will be awarded. Applications are due by 5 p.m. Friday, April 23.
Vinson-Reid said the council hopes the scholarship will help local students reach their dreams.
“Through this scholarship, we want to alleviate as much of the financial burden as possible as we believe all students deserve to reach their highest potential,” Vinson-Reid said. “We also seek to affirm, advance and value the hopes, dreams and needs of African American students and families.”
Vinson-Reid said she hopes local African American students are encouraged by the scholarship.
“We want African American students to know that their academic work hasn’t gone unnoticed and that we value the uniqueness, resilience that they bring to the classroom, despite any challenges they may have encountered along the way,” Vinson-Reid said. “We want more African American students to enroll, maximize the learning opportunities and graduate! We also want these students to return to Delaware as teachers, welders, lawyers, electricians, bankers and nonprofit professionals to create a more diverse workforce and reinvest in our community.”
Vinson-Reid added that the council is looking for partnerships to fund future scholarships and said organizations interested in supporting the DAAHC Scholarship Fund can visit http://bit.ly/DAAHCScholarshipFund.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.Reach