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The IU School of Social Work at Fort Wayne Diversity and Equity Scholarship was created by faculty to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion by providing financial assistance to BSW social work students who are often underrepresented in academic institutions.

Data shows that students of color and LGBTQ+ students are more likely to encounter hardships that impact their ability to participate in higher education such as enrolling in programs or maintaining enrollment status due to financial concerns. Additionally, these students are more likely to graduate with more debt with higher student loan interest rates. The development of this scholarship aims to alleviate the financial hardships on these students and create an equal opportunity for all students to pursue their education.

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The data below clearly illustrates why we are undertaking this effort to increase financial assistance for our students of color and others who are underrepresented in our student body.

  • 42.9 million Americans hold student loan debt. On average individuals owe $32,731, with Black college graduates owing $25,000 more than their White counterparts. (Conron, Luhur, O'Neil, & Santiago, 2021).
  • Women hold 2/3 of all student loan debt and take an average of 2 years longer to pay off student loans despite making higher payments. (Conron, Luhur, O'Neil, & Santiago, 2021, Hanson 2021).
  • LGBTQ+ graduates owe an average of $16,000 more than the general population. (Student Loan Hero, 2018).
  • 40% of LGBTQ+ students report encountering discrimination during the loan acquisition process. (McNeil, 2020).
  • Four years after graduation, 48% of Black students owe an average of 12.5% more than they borrowed.
  • Black and African American student borrowers are the most likely to struggle financially due to student loan debt, with 29% making monthly payments of $350 or more. (Hanson, 2021). See https://educationdata.org/student-loan-debt-by-race.

Please join us in our efforts to support underrepresented students at the IU School of Social Work – Fort Wayne.
Thank you!


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Angela Williams
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