Assessing the Impact of The Gates Millennium Scholars Program on College Achievement Through the Lens of Segregated Schooling
Guest, Joanna Ruth
This paper seeks to examine how low-income, high-achieving minority students are impacted on metrics of college achievement based on receiving funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program and/or attending a racially segregated high school. I hypothesize that students who receive the monetary scholarship through GMS will perform better on metrics of achievement than those students who applied for the grant but ultimately were denied. I also hypothesize that students from racially segregated educational backgrounds will be subject to more obstacles in their secondary schooling experiences, which will keep them from experiencing the same levels of postsecondary achievement as their peers from integrated schools. Finally, I propose that receiving GMS funding may be more influential for students who attended segregated high schools, which is examined through interacting the two key independent variables within the regression model. This research uses survey data collected by the Gates Foundation on Cohort V, a group of students who applied for GMS funding in 2004. To qualify, the respondents had to be low-income, high-achieving minority students interested in obtaining a higher education. In order to report on the effectiveness of their scholarship program, the Gates Foundation collects data on both students who received the scholarship, and those who applied but ultimately were not awarded the grant. Through running multivariate regression models on key measures of college achievement – enrollment status, GPA, total student loan burden, and hours employed outside of school – this research produced mixed results. Neither receiving GMS funding nor attending a segregated high school had a statistically significant impact on enrollment status or having an above average GPA. However, my findings did show GMS recipients were less likely to incur high levels of student loan debt and were employed for a lesser number of hours per week outside of school. Overall, with little exception in this research, attending a segregated high school does not hold back these high-achieving students.
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