UMass Amherst
Research: Office of the Vice Provost


Academic Preparation – However, we do have data on academic preparation.  Many students may choose an institution based on the match between their academic profile and the profile they believe represented by other students admitted in the same cohort.  In our case, taking the most recent data available (2003), we can identify some differences in the academic profiles of Black, African-American students, Hispanic-Latino students, and White, non-Hispanic students.  Admitted Black, African-American students had average SAT scores in the 978 range, and high school GPA’s in the 3.06 range.  Hispanic-Latino students had scores in the 1020 range, and high school GPA’s in the 3.19 range.  White, non-Hispanic students had SAT’s in the 1150 range and GPA’s in the 3.29 range.  Students from Asian/Pacific Islander categories, in contrast, have SAT’s in the 1106 and GPA’s in the 3.31 range.  Many admitted students in all racial or ethnic categories at the lower edge of the distribution represented by these averages might have chosen to attend less demanding institutions or institutions better adapted to support their learning needs.  Other admitted students at the top end of these ranges might have many alternatives to the University of Massachusetts Amherst with lower cost or higher merit-based financial aid.  Note that these considerations apply to all students, whatever their racial and ethnic category.

Financial Support--Recognizing the financial challenges of attending the University of Massachusetts Amherst, especially for students from families with fewer financial resources, the campus provides a wide variety of need-based aid.  Although the packaging of financial aid is complex and must follow a wide range of federal and state guidelines, the following indicators may help place the student support provided in perspective.  Black, African-American students receive on average approximately $3,847 in Need-Based and Non-Need Based financial aid per person.  Hispanic-Latino students receive on average $3,266 in financial aid, and White, non-Hispanic students receive on average $2,462 in financial aid.  These differences do not reflect racial distinctions, which are illegal, but instead reflect the different economic circumstances of the families within each racial ethnic category.  Clearly, the campus invests a substantial portion of its financial aid resources in support, although we do not know whether we invest enough.

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