From now until Jan. 28, 2019 the Point Foundation will be accepting scholarship applications. According to the foundation’s website, they are the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ scholarship provider.
The scholarship is awarded based on academic performance, need and involvement in the LGBTQ+ community.
The Foundation’s website says they aim to ease the debt accrued by LGBTQ+ community members while pursuing a higher education.
A survey conducted by Student Loan Hero found a prominent correlation between being a member of the LGBTQ+ community and student loan debt. The results showed LGBTQ+ students graduate with an average debt of $112,607, $16,000 more than the national average of $96,211.
“Student loan debt is a national crisis, but when it’s impacting a certain group at a higher rate than others, that’s something that we need to be paying attention to,” Julia Anderson, program coordinator at the Rainbow Center, said.
Anderson said she encourages all eligible students to apply for financial aid opportunities such as this.
“I think the Point Foundation Scholarship is a phenomenal scholarship that does a lot of good. There is a lot of leadership development components that come along with it as well,” Anderson said.
According to Anderson, the Rainbow Center recognizes the disparity as shown in the student debt between members that identify as LGBTQ+ and the rest of the population. In order to assist students, they offer the local Berdon Memorial Scholarship.
According to the the Rainbow Center’s website, any full-time UConn student who has attended programs focused on gender identity and enrolled in classes relevant to gender identity is eligible to apply. The application information for the 2019-2020 academic year willbe posted during the Spring 2019 term.
In addition to the Point Foundation Scholarship, Anderson said providing opportunities to receive financial aid is an important opportunity for students to take advantage of.
“Academic success can be impacted when you feel the pressing weight of debt as well,” said Anderson. “I believe that any opportunity we have to support our students being successful [overall] is something that we should be doing as a resource center”
Anderson has been in charge of educational programming since May 2018. She explained the goal of the Rainbow Center here at UConn.
“We do education and advocacy for LGBT students, faculty and staff all across campus,” Anderson said. “We want to improve the experience of LGBT folks here, and everywhere that our students go out into the world.”
Anderson said having a resource center available to promote a sense of community on campus is necessary to provide this resource to students and faculty.
“It is always important to be inclusive and accepting,” Anderson said. “I think it is something that we are talking about a lot on college campuses right now. There are many ways that LGBTQ folks face discrimination and oppression, and that can impact their success.”
In order to combat LGBTQ+ discrimination, Anderson said the programs she coordinates on behalf of Rainbow Center aims to be educational to all, regardless of anyone’s affiliation with the community.
“There is a lot of information that we, as an institution, want our students to know,” Anderson said. “So, when they are in the position to make policies and make hiring decisions, they will be the most inclusive and accepting practitioners that they can possibly be.”
Yingyi Wang, a Point Scholar, is a women, gender and sexuality studies major at University of Washington. ()
“As a scholar, I am fortunate to connect with others who enrich my understanding of being LGBTQ,” Wang said in the 2017 Annual Point Foundation Report.
Allison O’Donnell is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at allison.o’email@example.com.