Andrew Young, McGraw Hill team up for HBCU scholarship program

By the time Andrew Young graduated from Howard University in 1951, he estimates that he probably never spent more than $400 a semester for his education and graduated debt-free.

Today, according to the U.S. Department of Education, the average cost of college in the United States is $35,550 per student per year, including books, supplies, and daily living expenses.

“The challenge today is how do you get an education and get a job to help pay you to pay back all of that money you borrowed that is going to leave you in debt,” the former Atlanta mayor and U.N. ambassador asked. “College should not destroy your credit rating and set you back before you start.”

In an effort to assist students who plan to attend Black colleges, on Friday, Young was on hand for the launch of the new Andrew Young HBCU Scholarship Program.

 Funded by McGraw Hill Education, an arm of McGraw Hill publishing, the program hopes to create an “educational ecosystem” to help support high school students enrolled in the company’s existing civil rights education curriculum.

McGraw Hill Education has poured an initial $50,000 into the scholarships, which will fund 10 first-year students next fall who plan to attend a Historically Black College and University (HBCU).

HBCU students on average graduate with more debt since a higher percentage of them are from lower income households. Sean Ryan, McGraw Hill’s president, said that there is more financial support to come.

“Every young adult needs a fair chance,” he said.

The idea behind the scholarship program was hatched by Matt Daniels, the chair of the law and human rights division at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C.

He helped develop the “Civil Rights: A Global Perspective,” curriculum that is funded by McGraw Hill and is included in the publishing house’s new American and world history textbook series. The curriculum addresses the rising violence present in the United States by examining the non-violent principles of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

“We want to use this to plug the gap,” Daniels said. “For many students, HBCUs are usually the first ladder out of poverty.”

Originally Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution here.

Ernie Suggs is an enterprise reporter covering race and culture for the AJC since 1997. A 1990 graduate of N.C. Central University and a 2009 Harvard University Nieman Fellow, he is also the former vice president of the National Association of Black Journalists. His obsession with Prince, Spike Lee movies, Hamilton and the New York Yankees is odd.

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