Closing the educational attainment gap for African American students is a daunting task, especially considering this gap has hardly narrowed in 50 years. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics show African American students accounted for only 14% of total undergraduate enrollment in 2016. Further research from the Brookings Institution indicates racial disparities in student loan debt are more extensive than previously understood.
In response to this need, CFSA donors Phil and Carol Lyons have established the African American Educational Opportunity Fund to provide higher education scholarship support specifically to African American students living in the Tucson metropolitan area.
Mr. Lyons shared, “Growing up in Chicago, I saw the detriment of the lower quality education in African American communities. I also saw that through philanthropy and volunteerism, superb education could create tremendous success for African American students given the opportunity to thrive in college. Thus, we want to support students in our community who may not have had the chance to attend college, giving them the same opportunity to succeed.”
Scholarship recipients will be recommended by the members of the African American Legacy Fund Advisory Board, who will take into consideration financial need, academic achievement, and existing financial aid. Additional consideration will be given to students who may not qualify for traditional scholarships or grants and/or are the first generation in their family to attend higher education.
“We are trying to get everyone closer to the same starting point and give each of them a fighting chance to realize their potential,” said Mr. Lyons.
To increase the impact of this scholarship, Phil and Carol are truly stepping up to the plate.
They have generously agreed to match, on a dollar for dollar basis, donations up to $100,000 to the African American Educational Opportunity Fund. Please click here to make a donation today.
Financial assistance through the new African American Educational Opportunity Scholarship will be available to students starting in the Spring 2021 semester. Additional information about the application process will be available soon.