Duke University Ends Scholarship Program for Black Students: Why You Should Care


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By Laura Onyeneho, Houston Defender

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Duke University has ended a scholarship that helped Black students attend (Seven Shooter/Unsplash)

Duke University discontinued its Reginaldo Howard Memorial Scholarship Program, a full-ride scholarship historically awarded to Black undergraduate students.

Following the 2023 Supreme Court ruling limiting affirmative action in college admissions, this decision raises concerns for Black students seeking higher education opportunities.

Founded in 1979, the Reginaldo Howard program provided full tuition, room and board for Black undergraduates, with some demonstrating financial need. The scholarship was named after Duke’s first Black student body president, and it aimed to increase Black enrollment and leadership at the university.


Dismantling the Reginaldo Howard program aligns with a national trend of eliminating Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) offices in some public schools. A recent Texas law restricts state-funded universities’ use of funds for such initiatives.


Experts predict these measures will further marginalize underrepresented students, faculty, and staff. The University of Texas A&M System and the University of Houston System stopped requiring diversity statements from job applicants, a practice that fosters inclusivity in hiring. Proponents of diversity programs argue this doesn’t discriminate against white applicants, as federal and state laws already protect against that. However, anti-DEI advocates claim these practices lead to unfair hiring.

Learn more at Houston Defender.

HBCUs might be a solution after the demise of affirmative action.

More stories about living while Black.

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