Afrotech.com‘s feature story on Kayla Michele and Chisa Egbelu, Founders of PeduL, a college scholarship crowdfunding platform, is not to be missed. The disparities in this nation’s higher education system have been in the headlines nonstop as of late, so reading about people who have been working to create and expand equity and opportunity for middle and lower-income students is a joy. So is learning of a new way to possibly support struggling college kids.
To quote from Afrotech.com:
Those systemic barriers can’t be magically waved away, but sites like PeduL help to promote equality in education. From helping students raise money to expanding to provide scholarships and different opportunities, PeduL is a useful tool that all college students should be aware of.
“Our government has slowly enabled college to shift from accessible, yet dispensable, commodity to a necessary luxury,” Michele said. “We’re creating the one-stop shop for scholarships to ensure that all students have equal access to quality education — regardless of the resources and networks available to them.”
According to via jbhe.com, the state of Maryland approved a new scholarship program in memory of slain Bowie State University student, 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III. In May 2017, Collins was fatally stabbed on the University of Maryland, College Park campus just days before he was scheduled to graduate from Bowie State. Police classified the murder as a hate crime because the attacker was a White man who allegedly went after Collins because he was African American.
In an effort to honor Collins legacy, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan approved legislation to establish the 2nd Lt. Richard W. Collins III Leadership with Honor Scholarship, which will be funded by the state with $1 million annually. Recipients must be eligible for in-state tuition, a member of a Reserve Officer Training Corps, part of an underrepresented group in the ROTC, and must attend a historically black college or university.
The scholarship will be split between Bowie State and Maryland’s three other historically Black universities: Morgan State University, Coppin State University, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
Young Guru is looking to provide resources for the best of the best in the world of coding. On Wednesday (Aug. 22), the famed audio engineer for Jay Z and renowned beatsmith, announced the give away of one million dollars in scholarship funds for people of color interested in coding.
In partnership with Opportunity Hubs and Rodney Sampson, Guru will also team with the Flatiron School, which is dedicated to this field and serves as an incubator of knowledge for 10,000 people. The announcement was accompanied by a national Tech To Wealth tour, ending on Oct. 3 in Seattle.
In an interview with Highsnobiety, Guru discussed how music and technology go hand-in-hand and why creatives should take advantage of the tools that are at their disposal.
“The technologies we have, some of them are better than what we’ve imagined on Star Trek,” he said. “Those type of things, as an engineering feat, are amazing. Also, what these technologies do in terms of power, what they give to the user and to the artist in terms of creative power is just incredible.”
The Mauer School of Law at Indiana University in Bloomington has entered into a partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, to create the Julian Bond Law Scholars program. Bond, the noted civil rights leader, legislator, NAACP chair, and long-time faculty member at the University of Virginia who died in 2015, was the co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Each year the program will provide one Julian Bond Law Scholar with a scholarship equal to a minimum of 50 percent and up to a maximum of 100 percent of tuition. In addition, the scholarship recipients will be offered a summer externship upon completion of their first year of law school, with a $4,000 stipend to cover living expenses; and a research assistantship during their second or third year with a law school faculty member.
Tavis Smiley, author and television and radio broadcaster, has established a new scholarship at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University in Bloomington. The scholarships will be earmarked for African American students, with preference given to those who are the first in their family to attend college.
For students to be eligible, they must be accepted into the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, demonstrate financial need, and to have shown leadership in their schools and communities.
Smiley said that “my education at Indiana University and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs continues to contribute so much to what I’ve accomplished in life. I want to make sure students from backgrounds like mine can enjoy the same opportunities I did.”
Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, has announced the establishment of the Diversity, Excellence, and Inclusion Scholarships. The program will provide full-tuition scholarships for five students in master’s degree programs in the humanities, social sciences, and the arts. Recipients of the scholarships will also receive a $10,000 stipend.
Laurie Nichols, Director of Admissions, stated that “we are looking for any students who may be traditionally overlooked by graduate admissions processes.”
Eric Chasalow, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, added that “a commitment to diversity is one of Brandeis’ core values, and some that we take very seriously. We have seen similar program provide benefits to our undergraduate students, so it made absolute sense to bring those benefits to the graduate student population.”
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation has announced the selection of the 2015 Truman Scholars. Each Truman Scholar is awarded up to $30,000 for graduate study. They also receive priority admission to several top-tier graduate schools, have career and graduate school counseling opportunities, and are fast-tracked for internships within the federal government.
Truman Scholars must be U.S. citizens and be in the top 25 percent of their college class. They must express a commitment to government service or the nonprofit sector.
This year, 58 Truman scholars were selected from 688 candidates nominated by 297 colleges and universities. This year’s winners will assemble for a leadership development workshop at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, in late May.
Of this year’s 58 Truman Scholars, it appears that 11, or 19 percent, are African Americans.
Amanda Allen is a junior at the University of Louisville, where she is majoring in communication and political science. At the university, she is the executive director of the Engage, Lead, Serve Board which oversees student service projects on campus. She hopes to earn a master’s degree in education and then enroll in law school.
Darrius Atkins is the junior class president at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He is majoring in political science with a concentration in American government. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy and then attend law school. He has interned in the Illinois House of Representatives and at Goldman Sachs.
Rashaun Bennett is a political science major at Davidson College in North Carolina. He is also pursuing a minor in economics. He has worked with local public schools to increase enrollment in Advanced Placement programs. Bennett plans to earn a master’s degree in public policy.
Andre Evans is a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. A native of Chicago, he is majoring in naval architecture. He is the president of the Midshipmen Black Studies Club and is the bass section leader for the academy’s gospel choir. He hopes to earn a graduate degree in social and urban policy.
Qiddist Hammerly is a student at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She is majoring in social policy and her goal is to end racial disparities in education and the criminal justice system. She plans to study for a master of public policy degree.
The Walt Disney Company recently announced a $1 million commitment to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).
The UNCF, one of the leading minority scholarship organizations, will use the money to provide scholarships to outstanding African American students in underserved communities across the country, while expanding educational and career resources for them. The UNCF traditionally serves low-income youth who are the first in their families to go to college, with more than 50 percent coming from families whose incomes are less than $30,000 per year.
The Walt Disney Company UNCF Corporate Scholars will be selected based on a competitive application process administered by UNCF. To be considered, applicants must be enrolled full-time at a four-year college or university, demonstrate financial need, have a minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale, and have an interest in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry.
The application process opens March 16 and closes May 15. Preference will be given to students attending a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) to ensure 50% of each group are derived from these schools.
“UNCF works to ensure our future leaders have the opportunity to obtain the college degrees they need, and our nation needs them to have,” UNCF president and CEO Michael L. Lomax said. “The Walt Disney Company UNCF Corporate Scholars Program expands their academic training into practical experiences, to create a diverse pipeline of college educated professionals poised to assume fulfilling careers in the entertainment industry. The investment we are making in better futures for them now will pay dividends in years to come when they become our next generation of leaders.”
It’s been four years since a college student from Easton was shot to death by a New York police officer. Since then, Trayvon Martin was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer and Michael Brown was killed by a policeman. The controversial killings of these young black men have sparked community outrage and scrutiny of the behavior of law enforcement. For the family of Danroy “DJ” Henry Jr., they still wait for the legal process to play out — but they’re also finding ways to remember their son.
This Wednesday would have been DJ Henry’s 25th birthday. The Boston NAACP says that day they will send a letter to the organization’s national members asking them to press the Justice Department for a full and complete investigation into the Henry shooting.
For all the heartache, for all the lingering questions, this was a night to celebrate DJ Henry’s life, shaped by a love of sports.
“We just ask that you think about tonight, not as giving us money, but as helping children who would love to say yes say yes,” said DJ’s father, Dan Henry. “These young children, their biggest need is to remain children.”
Dan Henry told an audience of 400 at the fourth annual DJ Henry Dream Fund that he could not think of a better way to remember his son than by helping others succeed.
One of those helped is Quincy Omari Picket.
“My mom heard about it and she went and signed up, and I got a scholarship,” said the 10-year old from Brockton. “I was happy. I was surprised. I lost 30 pounds. I lost all that weight. I tried on my suit and didn’t have to buy a new one.”
As DJ’s life was remembered at the annual fundraiser, his death is still hard to reconcile. Henry played football for Pace University in New York. After a homecoming game on Oct. 16, 2010, he and several friends went to a bar to celebrate. DJ was the designated driver. So when the bar closed, he went to get the car.
Idling in a fire lane, he was told by a cop to move on, according to witnesses. He did. What happened next is as unsettling today as it was four years ago.
Arianna Trickey was opening a piece of mail in her bedroom during junior year of high school when a pamphlet fell out of the envelope. The pamphlet seemed to offer the impossible: the prospect of a full scholarship to several of her dream colleges.
She went running out to her father, a house painter, who was sitting on the family’s porch in Grass Valley, a California city in the Sierra Nevada foothills. “You have to see this,” she told him. “This is the scholarship that will get me to the best schools in the country.”
The pamphlet was from a nonprofit organization called QuestBridge, which has quietly become one of the biggest players in elite-college admissions. Almost 300 undergraduates at Stanford this year, or 4 percent of the student body, came through QuestBridge. The share at Amherst is 11 percent, and it’s 9 percent at Pomona. At Yale, the admissions office has changed its application to make it more like QuestBridge’s.
Founded by a married couple in Northern California — she an entrepreneur, he a doctor-turned-medical-investor — QuestBridge has figured out how to convince thousands of high-achieving, low-income students that they really can attend a top college. “It’s like a national admissions office,” said Catharine Bond Hill, the president of Vassar.
The growth of QuestBridge has broader lessons for higher education — and for closing the yawning achievement gap between rich and poor teenagers. That gap is one of the biggest reasons that moving up the economic ladder is so hard in the United States today. But QuestBridge’s efforts are innovative enough to deserve their own attention.
In addition to the hundreds of its students on college campuses today, hundreds more have graduated over the last decade. They’ve gone on to become professors, teachers, business people, doctors and many other things. Ms. Trickey, a senior at the University of Virginia who is also getting a master’s in education, plans to become an elementary-school teacher in a low-income area.
College admissions officers attribute the organization’s success to the simplicity of its approach to students. It avoids mind-numbingly complex talk of financial-aid forms and formulas that scare away so many low-income families (and frustrate so many middle-income families, like my own when I was applying to college). QuestBridge instead gives students a simple message: If you get in, you can go.
Yet the broader lessons of QuestBridge aren’t only about how to communicate with students. They’re also how our society spends the limited resource that is financial aid.
The group’s founders, Michael and Ana Rowena McCullough, are now turning their attention to the estimated $3 billion in outside scholarships, from local Rotary Clubs, corporations and other groups, that are awarded every year to high school seniors. The McCulloughs see this money as a wasted opportunity, saying it comes too late to affect whether and where students go to college. It doesn’t help the many high-achieving, low-income strivers who don’t apply to top colleges — and often don’t graduate from any college.
“Any private scholarship given at the end of senior year is intrinsically disconnected from the college application process,” Dr. McCullough said, “and it doesn’t have to be.”
They plan to offer prizes in some cases to high school juniors, like a summer program or a free laptop, to persuade them to apply. To win the prize, the junior would need to fill out a detailed application, which could become the basis for his or her college application. The idea draws on social science research, which has shown that people often respond better to tangible, short-term incentives (a free laptop) than to complicated, longer-term ones (a college degree, which will improve your life and which you can afford). Two pilot programs started with donors — one focused on New Yorkers, one on low-income Jewish students — have had encouraging results, the McCulloughs say.
QuestBridge has its roots in summer programs they started as Stanford students in the 1980s and 1990s. The initial one helped Dr. McCullough, who had paid his own way through Stanford, win a Rhodes scholarship.
The programs tried to lift the ambitions of talented teenagers from modest backgrounds, by introducing them to peers and to successful adults. “The combination of seeing what can be done and then having someone you respect telling you you can do it — I think that’s what most young people need,” said Nico Slate, who attended a program in 1996. A native of a small town in the Mojave Desert, he is now a history professor at Carnegie Mellon and studies social movements in India and the United States.
Eventually, the McCulloughs realized the growing applicant pool to their summer program consisted of exactly the students whom top colleges said they wanted to recruit. So the couple began approaching admissions officers with plans for a new program the colleges would help pay for. QuestBridge uses traditional databases, like those with SAT scores, as well as networks of high school teachers and others to recruit students. It has an early application deadline, in late September, and a long application form, designed to get students to tell the story of their lives.