The University of Toronto admitted 14 black students to their medical school in the 2017-18 recruitment round. This was more than a 300% increase on the number of black students admitted four years prior, and is credited to the first Black Students Application Program (BSAP) that the university launched in 2017.
While the program is still in its relative infancy, it represents an example of some of the initiatives geared towards attempting to improve the access to quality education opportunities for all. In another instance, the state of Maine last month offered to help pay off student loans for anyone who moved there. This move would likely end up being more beneficial to students (and graduates) of color, who have almost $25,000 above the average in student loans.
The University of Toronto initiated BSAP to help alleviate barriers that would have dissuaded or otherwise made it difficult for black students to apply for admission. Some of these include racism, insufficient resources and a fear that the university might not be safe for them. Racism is still rampant in many American institutions of higher learning, while cyberbullying continues to be a huge challenge.
A lack of resources is perhaps the biggest hindrance for black students wanting to attend university. It is estimated that about 86.8% of black students borrow federal student loans to fund their college education for a period of four years. This is comparative to a significantly lower 59.9% of white students who go through the same process.
Managing student loans
There are different ways, however, to manage these student loans. One of the pieces of sage advice given to achieve this is to not drastically change one’s lifestyle once you are out of college. This is a good way to manage your finances even when you start earning, and to prioritize well. Refinancing of student commitment can also go a long way towards lifting off the burden. It also helps to stick to a well thought-out repayment plan and to keep communication channels open with the lenders.
There still are many hurdles for students (especially black students) to overcome in order to have access to affordable, quality and stress-free education. Initiatives such as BSAP and Maine’s offer for debt-laden graduates, as well as opportunities to refinance students loans provide hope that it can nonetheless be achieved.