As economic inequality and the costs of higher education have increased since the 1970s, scholarships for races of students underrepresented in higher education, are more necessary than ever, said Riverside resident Dennis Lopez
, who has long been involved with minority student scholarships.
Latinos, blacks and American Indians
attend universities in far lower percentages than their percentages in kindergarten through 12th grade.
More also live in high-poverty neighborhoods, he
Private scholarship efforts to help them only scratch the surface of the need, he
Lopez also is director of business and institutional relations for the Inland Empire Scholarship Foundation, which seeks private donations for scholarships for Inland Latino students.
Latino, African-American and American Indian students also are more likely to go to community colleges than to state universities, said Lopez
, who helped found the Latino Coalition for Educational Equity & English Learners of the Inland Empire
University admission has become more competitive as the state's budget crisis has cut funding and enrollment.
To get in, students need to attend not only high schools with high-quality academic programs, but also middle schools with strong academics to prepare them for college-prep classes in high school, Lopez
Scholarships for black or Latino students are one means of motivating those students to prepare for college, he