Financial aid officers at the University of Houston say most scholarships available there are handed out based on merit.  The perception that white students are shut out of financial isn't really accurate, according the UH program coordinator Joshua Menefee.

“I wouldn't say that,” Menefee says.  “There are some scholarships that deal with ethnicity, but the majority of scholarships are strictly based on merit -- SAT scores, that written essay, resume, community service...”

Ethnicity is a consideration when it comes to grants or corporate gifts.  Menefee says students should start thinking about college late in their sophomore year – or, no later than the first semester of their junior year.

Some families make just enough money they’re not eligible for grants, but still can’t afford to pay the entire tuition amount for a degree.

“Receiving other gift aid, grants, things like that,” he says, “They have what I would call a 'tweener' EFC.”

EFC is an acronym for “estimated financial contribution.”