Friday, March 29, 2013

Martin Luther King Jr Scholarship for underrepresented minorites changes policy, now recognizes Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders!

We are happy to share that another important scholarship program for underrepresented minorities has chosen to open its doors to Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders! 

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), which administers the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship, is adding Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders (aka "Pacific Islanders") to the list of underrepresented minorities who are eligible to apply.

This change gives Pacific Islanders the chance to apply for a scholarship that grants $80,000 in financial aid each year to high achieving underrepresented minorities.

We commend everyone who was involved in making this important change for the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship, especially those who we've been communicating with over the past months.

After completing our national study on Pacific Islander access to underrepresented minority scholarships and fellowships, the P.I.A. project reached out to the Martin Luther King Jr. program. We shared our findings, as well as related policies and decades of data confirming that Pacific Islanders are significantly underrepresented at the undergraduate and graduate level. This week, they shared that they have decided to add Pacific Islanders, and that the policy change will be reflected in future applications.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship program was established in 1985 at UIC to help underrepresented minorities who have demonstrated high academic achievement as well as commitment through community and campus service. Each year, the scholarship provides $80,000 in financial aid to underrepresented minorities, through 15 undergraduate scholarships ($2,000 each), 5 graduate fellowships ($5,000 each), and five professional fellowships ($5,000 each).

In making this significant and commendable change, the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship joins the HBCU Minority Scholarship, Actuarial Diversity Scholarship, and two National Medical Fellowships scholarships for underrepresented minorities. This is the fifth underrepresented minority scholarship to choose to include Pacific Islanders in the six months since the P.I.A. project started sharing our data with academic programs and asking them to revisit their policies.

Once again, mahalo nui loa to everyone responsible for making the right choice and opening up this important scholarship to a deserving, underrepresented group!


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