Higher education admissions and financial aid offices, while similar in appearance, differ in fundamental ways. Because of their key differences, the constitutional issues triggered by the offices' official use of race and ethnicity as a criterion in decisionmaking should be scrutinized differently. Courts and agencies that have considered race-based financial aid programs have, however, applied the same strict scrutiny test used in prior admissions cases. The author tracks the evolution of race-based financial aid and scholarships, and then explores the growing need for privately donated financial aid dollars. She then argues that given the pressures currently placed on the financial aid process, schools should be allowed to accept privately restricted donations for race-based scholarships.