Starting in the summer of 2008, UC Santa Barbara is hosting the American Economic Association’s Summer Training and Minority Scholarship Program.
The AEA Summer Training Program, which began in 1974, seeks to prepare talented undergraduates for doctoral programs in Economics and related disciplines, by offering a unique opportunity for students to gain technical skills in Economics, and conduct research with prominent faculty. All US citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply for scholarship assistance; however, preference is given to members of underrepresented minority groups historically disadvantaged in the US context, and who have demonstrated financial need. The purpose of the Minority Scholarship is to increase the number of African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans with doctorates in Economics.
Although roughly 12% of Bachelor’s degrees in Economics are earned by African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans, only about 5% of recent Economics doctorates received by US citizens have been earned by minorities. This number is in fact a significant improvement, though, attesting to the Summer Program’s past success: as of 1995, only 3% of all US citizens employed in 4-year colleges or universities were minorities.
The American Economic Association, which serves as the leading professional body of academic economists in the United States, is committed to addressing this gap. Recruitment of minorities into Economics and other quantitative social sciences affects research agendas, enhances the quality of minority-oriented public policy think tanks, and ultimately increases the pool of talented faculty interested in teaching at colleges and universities with large minority enrollments. This last effect is a critical step in strengthening the intellectual communities at historically Black, Hispanic, and Native American colleges and universities.
UC Santa Barbara is the 10th university to host the Summer Program, which is located at a host site for three to six years. Previously the program was hosted by Duke University, the University of Colorado at Denver, the University of Texas (Austin), Stanford, Temple, Wisconsin (Madison), Yale, Northwestern, and California (Berkeley).
UCSB has a top Ph.D. program, and an Economics faculty renowned both for teaching and research in economic theory, econometrics, finance, and a large number of applied fields. Adding further strength to the ongoing program is UCSB’S partnership with the University of Texas-Pan American, a leader among Hispanic Serving institutions, and North Carolina A&T State University, an excellent gateway to historically black colleges and universities. The Summer Program itself is an exceptionally demanding one. Designed to be taken for either one or two summers, it provides courses in economic theory, mathematics, statistics, and econometrics, as well as research seminars intended to acquaint students with pressing issues and methods of analysis.
Program participants are expected to have completed at least two years of undergraduate study (including substantial mathematics), but many participants are presently working, and some currently are in Master’s programs in Economics or related disciplines. UCSB will also work with talented students who need further preparation in mathematics prior to undertaking the program. Participants must apply to the program by March 15; most of those admitted also will receive funds for books, housing and living expenses, plus a stipend.
The AEA Summer Training Program is open to all qualified students, regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender. The Minority Scholarship Program is open to qualified US citizens and permanent residents of the US, with preference given to those who are members of racial or ethnic minorities historically disadvantaged in the US context, and for which there are gains to diversity from increasing their representation in the Economics profession. Financial assistance awards also depend on demonstrated financial need.
In recent years, the vast majority of the AEA Summer Program participants have entered or are preparing to enter doctoral programs. During the past six years, 195 students participated (many for two summers). From this group, 73 have already entered doctoral programs, 50 have entered master’s programs with the intention of going on for a doctorate, 70 more are applying or expect to apply to doctoral programs directly, and many more are considering doing so.