Resources for Black College Students – Wherever You Go to School

by TBS Staff

Updated June 1, 2021 • 6 min read

Black college students can access resources designed to rectify historical imbalances, including scholarships, financial aid, career development opportunities, and student groups.

Black undergraduate enrollment increased significantly from 2000-2010, but declined over the last decade. For schools, encouraging Black enrollment means providing additional resources to combat systemic disadvantages Black students face. These include social clubs, organizations, and career-oriented assistance programs. Black students can also network with alumni, explore opportunities for employment, and find funding to further their education.

College-Provided Resources

Resources for Black college students and alumni offer assistance, support, and networking opportunities across professions and vocations. Online, hybrid, and on-campus enrollees can all explore student groups, alumni associations, and career development offices. Some institutions even have dedicated offices that provide resources specifically for minority students.

Advocacy Groups and Student Organizations

Advocacy groups support and work to uphold people's rights, as do student organizations within colleges and universities. Organizations focused on Black students bring together individuals and groups to participate in social, educational, and multicultural events, helping Black students build friendships, gain confidence, and foster lifetime relationships.

The NAACP works with educational leaders to support students and teachers by providing financial resources, curricula content, and information to help Black students thrive. The NPHC formed in 1930 as a collaboration of African American Greek-lettered sororities and fraternities. This council promotes communication, training, and economic empowerment among member organizations to combat racial isolation and social barriers among Black student populations. NAFEO is an umbrella organization for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) in the United States. As a voice for Black students, NAFEO participates in advocacy initiatives and offers financial support to enhance the role of HBCUs and PBIs in higher education.

Mental Health Resources

Mental health resources serve a vital function on college campuses. Counseling services, workshops, and support groups can assist students dealing with issues such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Mental health resources for Black college students provide help for emotional and mental health challenges specific to African Americans.

Dedicated to providing mental health support for young people of color, The Steve Fund works with mental health providers, families, scholars, and other nonprofit organizations to provide assistance to young people of color. The Steve Fund offers workshops, programs, and consultation services for colleges and universities. Rest for Resistance supports minority groups and marginalized communities that lack access to healthcare and mental health resources. Through its QTPoC Mental Health program, Rest for Resistance builds both online and in-person safe spaces for transgender and queer people of color. This organization breaks down the social stigma around mental health and therapy to provide an online community that supports Black women of all ages. Therapy for Black Girls promotes mental health among Black girls and women through podcasts, blogs, discussion forums, and resources for finding therapists.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Along with the opportunities available to all enrollees, Black students can also apply for scholarships and financial aid designated for African American learners. Scholarship and financial aid resources for Black college students provide essential funding and can also lead to mentorship, networking, and community-building opportunities.

Established in 1944, UNCF offers over 10,000 student scholarships annually and provides discipline-specific support for learners attending HBCUs. As an advocacy organization dedicated to building community engagement, UNCF partners with workplaces, churches, and other organizations to engage with alumni. In the spirit of its namesake, JRF builds leadership opportunities among young learners. This foundation addresses the achievement gap in higher education through its scholarship and fellowship programs. The JRF scholarship provides four years of financial support along with mentoring and support services. The NAACP awards scholarships for outstanding students through the POISE Foundation. Opportunities span academic disciplines, education levels, and support amounts.

For more scholarship and grant suggestions, check out our guide to Scholarships for African American and Black Students 2020. It provides valuable information on application processes and where to find financial aid resources. The guide also explores subsets of scholarships for Black students based on gender and discipline, lists grant opportunities, and answers frequently asked questions.

Career Development

Career development resources for Black college students can help graduates plan for their lives beyond the classroom. By offering assistance with resume writing, interviewing, and networking, career resources help prepare Black students to enter the competitive job market. Professional organizations also help students prepare for the workforce through mentorship programs, job listings, and career guidance resources.

BGC builds STEM knowledge among young women of color. With institutions worldwide, BGC's goal is to train a million girls in programming languages, computer coding, and related topics by 2040. To address the divide between Black technology workers and the larger information technology industry, Blacks in Technology hosts hackathons, provides fellowships, and offers virtual career fairs. Members include non-technology professionals, current tech employees, entrepreneurs, and academics working in technology disciplines. NABA empowers African Americans working in accounting through career connections, networking opportunities, and professional services. Additional resources include scholarships and collaborations with financial, accounting, and business partners around the country. NOBCChE builds partnerships with school districts, higher learning institutions, and professional organizations to enhance STEM professions around the world. NOBCChE also provides a career center and continuing education opportunities for its members. NABCJ focuses on legislation, law enforcement, and prosecution to serve the needs of African Americans and people of color working in criminal justice. The association hosts conferences and offers resources for students, professionals, and community leaders. With support for students and professionals in energy-related disciplines and careers, AABE focuses on policies and issues within the field. AABE encourages African American involvement in public and private sectors by discussing and developing energy regulations, environmental issues, and related topics. NAAAHR, established in 1998, serves over 15,000 members and affiliates through networking and career opportunities, educational and professional development resources, and mentorship programs. Dedicated to supporting Black and African American human resources practitioners, NAAAHR also houses a collegiate network for students. Founded in 1975, NABJ brings together journalists, educators, and media professionals at all stages of their education and careers. This association supports students with scholarship and internship programs, subscriptions to industry publications, and online job resources. Tasked with ensuring equity in justice administration, NOBLE maintains 59 chapters in the United States with members around the world. The organization offers awards and scholarships, leadership training, and networking opportunities to individuals and businesses who support its goals and mission. With roughly 200,000 members and 115 chapters, NBNA encourages collective action among African American nurses around the world. Along with working to ensure access to healthcare, NBNA provides financial resources for students and collaborates with private and public agencies with similar aims. This association has promoted the careers and work of Black professional physicists and physics students since 1977, working to increase the visibility of African Americans in the field. NSBP offers outreach, seminars, and career information, housing 16 sections with meetings, workshops, and mini-courses.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Get Financial Help While in College?

Eligible students should submit FAFSA forms to receive financial aid. Candidates can find additional aid through professional organizations, private funders, and college and departmental resources. You can also peruse this list of scholarships for Black students.

What Are the Best Websites for Students?

To find the best assistance resources, students should refer to the FAFSA website and the financial aid websites of the colleges and universities they seek to attend. The best websites for students are those that offer clear, concise, and correct information.

What Are Some Barriers for College Students?

Barriers for college students include a lack of information, insufficient funding, and inadequate preparedness for the expenses associated with earning a degree. Time constraints, professional obligations, and lack of access to essential resources can all present obstacles for degree-seekers.

How Can You Find Out What Resources Are Available to You as a College Student?

College students should explore their institutions' websites and consult with the student services department for information on available resources. Learners can also talk to current students and alumni or contact individual academic departments for additional information.

What Challenges Do College Students Face?

College students face challenges both inside and outside the classroom. Difficulties with coursework may accompany limitations brought on by mental health or other medical issues, limits on one's time, or a lack of financial support.

Header Image Credit: Jacob Lund | Getty Images

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