Whites-Only Scholarship to be Changed at Columbia

    May 15, 2013

As the costs for college continue to skyrocket, the task of finding money for higher education is now harder than ever. Though exclusionary scholarships tailored to certain kinds of students are often a way for those with a specific background (such as women who want to study Computer Science) to go to college, one prestigious U.S. university is now seeking to change an 80-year-old scholarship that discriminates based on race.

According to a New York Daily News report, Columbia University is now supporting a change in the Lydia C. Roberts Graduate Fellowship and Lydia C. Roberts Traveling Fellowship. The scholarships are currently available only to students from Iowa who are Caucasian. The university has reportedly filed an affidavit in the Manhattan Supreme Court in favor of modifying the scholarship.

The scholarship was founded in 1920 by Lydia C. Chamberlain, who set out the criteria by which scholarship applicants should be judged. According to the Daily News, organizations such as the NAACP have been calling on Columbia to cut the scholarship for decades. The scholarship hasn’t been awarded since 1997, and at least one former student who received it and spoke with the Daily news claims not to have known that being white was a stipulation of the award.