According to a Facebook post, VUU will be one of eight historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to be awarded this funding. TikTok is also providing $1 million each to two additional academic institutions, for a total of $10 million in funding to support underrepresented students.
The financial assistance will be used to support TikTok’s Health Heroes program.
“Each school will receive $1 million in funding to support undergraduate and graduate scholarships for students pursuing medical careers or other health related fields, helping to ensure the success of future Black, Latinx, and Indigenous health heroes,” TikTok officials said in a release.
According to a 2018 article in Harvard Business Review, Black people make up 13 percent of the U.S. population; but only 4 percent of U.S. doctors, and less than 7 percent of U.S. medical students self-identify as Black. In a qualitative study of Black students’ perspectives on careers in medicine in the Journal of the National Medical Association, students reported financial constraints as one of the major barriers in pursuing a career in medicine.
“The grant will be going toward student scholarships within Virginia Union University’s health sciences programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level, as well as the university’s public health studies major,” VUU Communications Specialist in Academic Affairs Wes Hayden said. “This is all coming from TikTok’s own Health Heroes relief fund, with the recent donation to VUU being a part of their commitment to supporting medical and healthcare education.”
VUU is expected to release more information on the award this week.