The use of scholarships and financial aid in higher education is a dynamic field, with federal, state, and national conversations increasingly focused on the cost of college and students’ ability to pay. Most colleges and universities use scholarships to reinforce their unique mission and goals, including those related to access, diversity, and inclusion. But, when awards are made with some consideration of certain factors (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation), different federal laws can be triggered. It is essential, therefore, that institutions and scholarship providers understand these requirements so that scholarships can be awarded in an effective, legally sustainable way that achieves institutional goals.
Very few recent court and federal agency decisions have focused specifically on scholarships. The entire universe of U.S. Supreme Court case law involving challenges to race-conscious enrollment practices – and virtually all lower federal court decisions – focus instead on the admission process. As a result, some may be unaware that general rules applicable to admission extend to financial aid and scholarship decisions as well. This engagement is intended to inform institutions and scholarship providers on the federal legal and policy framework and provide recommended strategies for meeting legal obligations and broader institutional goals.Attendees will receive a copy of the accompanying manual, A Federal Legal and Policy Primer on Scholarships Key Non-discrimination Principles and Actionable Strategies for Institutions of Higher Education and Private Scholarship Providers, developed by Art Coleman and Terri Taylor of EducationCounsel and supported by the NSPA and The College Board.
About the College Board's Access & Diversity Collaborative
Since its establishment in 2004, the Access & Diversity Collaborative has established itself as the "go to" resources on policy, practice, legal and strategic guidance to colleges, universities, and state systems of higher education to support their independent development of their mission-based diversity goals and their strategies to achieve them. Building on the success of its first decade, the Collaborative seeks to serve as a resource for pragmatic policy and practice guidance and a convenor for thought leadership and collaborative engagement on policy and practice development. The Collaborative is sponsored by a dozen national higher education organizations and a diverse group of more than 40 public and private colleges and universities. For more information on the Collaborative, please visit the ADC website: http://diversitycollaborative.collegeboard.org/.
EducationCounsel is a mission-based education consulting firm that combines significant experience in policy, strategy, law and advocacy to drive improvement in U.S. education systems, includng a focus on closing achievement gaps and advancing issues of equity and opportunity. Its work includes a significant focus on the design and development of enrollment strategies and policies to advance access, diversity and inclusion goals. EducationCounsel has helped lead the work of the College Board's Access and Diversity Collaborative for over a decade. For more information on EducationCounsel, see www.educationcounsel.com.
About the NSPA
National Scholarship Providers Association (NSPA) is dedicated to supporting the needs of professionals administering scholarships in colleges and universities, non-profits, foundations and businesses. Its mission is to advance the collective impact of scholarship providers and the scholarships they award. Established in 1999, the NSPA facilitates the creation of scholarship effective practices, encourages professional development, and sparks cooperative relationships among scholarship providers. As a collective, the NSPA works to develop standards for scholarship administration, conduct research to understand the depth and breadth of the scholarship industry, create professional resources for its members, encourage the development of scholarship programs, and advocate changes to policies that impede students’ abilities to use all sources of financial aid effectively.