By Maegan Mitchell
A new scholarship program, targeted at first generation, low-income students, was developed by the EKU Diversity Office.
Only in its second year, the program was the idea of Timothy Forde, Vice Provost Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer. The program is designed to expose low-income students to unique opportunities that hone leadership skills.
“The program is not just a scholarship,” said Paula Hansford, administrative assistant for the Diversity Office.
The program doesn’t just stop at financial aid; the goal is to create leaders from its recipients, Hansford said. Students are expected to maintain the correct number of study hours each week, submit various presentations, as well as attend group events and conferences with others in the program.
“I wanted the students to have more options for two things,” Forde said. “First, for financial support and second, I wanted to give them an opportunity to learn skills and become connected to the campus through activities and workshops.”
Even though the program is still in its beginnings, it promises additional benefits.
Forde said the program has a positive effect on the students’ GPAs. Also, the likelihood of the students returning the next semester goes up significantly when they’re enrolled in the program.
Hansford said the program began in September 2016, with the first round of applications being accepted in late October. Of the current 13 students in the program, many are second-time recipients from last year’s group. According to Hansford, while a student is allowed to go through the program again, all returning scholars must fill out another application and go through the scholarship committee.
“The program is gaining momentum,” Hansford said.
She went on to explain that this time around, the competition was also “much stiffer.”
“It’s a typical scholarship application,” Hansford said. “It includes demographic questions, three essays, as well as two letters of recommendation.”
According to Hansford, the application also includes a section to list past community service, awards, or activities one may wish to include.
The committee only goes over the essay portion, Hansford said. The rest of the application is anonymous.
“The program is not based on race and ethnicity,” Hansford said. “It’s first generation, low income. Dr. Forde’s passion is to take young people today and raise the next generation of leaders.”
As for the future of the program, Forde said he and his peers at the Diversity Office recognize the growth of what they’ve started and are looking for new ways in which to expand.
“For now, we’re continuing to find sources so that we can offer more scholarships,” Forde said.
Hansford said brochures containing information about the program can be found around campus or on the EKU Diversity website under Diversity Office Scholarship Program.
Hansford said the application is currently being updated and is not available at this time, but it will be available soon.