Page Grants is a scholarship program awarded to students of color who graduate from a Minnesota High School and attend a Minnesota post-secondary institution. Students at all levels of academic achievement can qualify for a grant. The selection process highlights an applicant’s commitment to education, willingness to mentor children, and financial need. Students who are selected for a Page Grant, known as Page Scholars, attend a 2/4-year program at a Minnesota school and agree to complete annual service projects with children. Each year, 1,000 students apply for Page Grants from 250 Minnesota high schools and colleges/universities. We specifically target students of color who are unlikely to pursue post-secondary education due to barriers, including lack of financial resources and average grades. In response to low enrollment rates in higher education from African American males, American Indian students, and Greater Minnesota students of color, we make special recruitment efforts. On average over 500 Page Scholars are selected to receive a Page Grant. Page Grants range in value from $1,500 to $2,500 annually. Subsequent grants are based on students’ academic progress and mentoring performance.
AGES SERVED BY THIS PROGRAM
18 to 35 years
Founded in 1988, the Page Education Foundation gave 10 Page grants in their first year, growing to more than 500 annually. In 2016, the Page Education Foundation received the Minnesota Council of Nonprofit’s Anti-Racism Award. Our organization’s model was also praised by former President Bill Clinton as the best example of passing on a gift. In his book, Giving, he shares “The Page Education Foundation is as dedicated and hard-nosed as its founder’s approach to football and the court. Students don’t ‘take the money and run.’ As Page Scholars, they are required to return to their communities and mentor younger children on the importance of education. Alan Page doesn’t just want to help people; he wants to empower them to help themselves.”
NEEDS ADDRESSED BY THIS PROGRAM
The education achievement gap for students of color is a national problem but the gap is particularly glaring in Minnesota. African American, Hispanic, South East Asian and American Indian students are not performing at the same academic level as their affluent white peers. The 2019 State of Our Students report from the MN Department of Education showed that in reading only 34% of African American students are performing at grade level, compared with 67% of white students. In math, 34% of African American students are performing at grade level, compared with 63% of white students. MN high school students of color also continue to graduate at a lower rate than their white peers. For the 25% of Minnesota students of color who do pursue post-secondary education, less than half will graduate with a bachelor’s degree after 6 years.
A college certificate or degree is linked to numerous life benefits including higher earning potential, more career opportunities, improved job security and satisfaction, better employment benefits, better health, and most importantly it offers an inter-generational pathway out of poverty. In addition to the direct economic benefits associated with post-secondary education, the community experiences lower crime rates, greater civic participation and volunteerism, and individuals contribute more to improving out state through their taxes. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development project that 1 in 3 new jobs created in the next decade will require education beyond high school. Given that communities of color now make up a larger share of our state’s population, Minnesota’s economic future depends on investing in the education of these youths.
Financial aid is a strong indicator of college persistence and success for students of color from working class families and disadvantage backgrounds; combined with recent increase in college tuition, investing in the financial support of students of color through their pursuit of higher education is more important than ever.
In 32 years, $15 million in Page Grants have been awarded to 7,500 students who have studied at over 100 post-secondary schools across the state. Overall, 63% of Page Scholars will graduate from their respective program in 5 years or less.
Page Grants have been awarded to students of color from a variety of backgrounds. The application window opens Jan 1 - May 1.