The Cheyney Foundation Seeks to Close the Opportunity Gap by Providing Scholarship Access to all Students at Cheyney University via Scholly

The Cheyney Foundation Seeks to Close the Opportunity Gap by Providing Scholarship Access to all Students at Cheyney University via Scholly

by Brandy Jones

According to the New York Federal Reserve, at the close of the year 2016, student debt had risen to $1.3 trillion with over 44 million borrowers in the U.S. Although college enrollment has increased, the student debt crisis has prompted many to question whether receiving a college degree is worth being shackled to life-long debt. In 2015, the National Center of Education Statistics reported that the average total cost a 4-year private college was $41,970 per student, per year. Public 4-year institutions averaged a total of $16,188 a year for a full time student. For many students the only way to enroll in college is to rack up various loans to finance everything from their tuition to housing to equipment. Putting oneself through college has become a challenge for many, even the most ambitious students.

Students that come from low income families are often deterred by the cost of a college education. For many, scholarships are the only means of acquiring additional funds to finance their education. It is still, however, a misconception that scholarships are only awarded to those with high GPAs and athletic prowess. Many organizations, startups and centers have sprouted with a mission of providing students with resources to support them in securing scholarships. There has also been a rise in the development of apps and websites that seek to close the opportunity gap. These apps utilize their user-friendly platform to broadcast scholarship opportunities to students right on their cellphones. These apps place millions of scholarship dollars right at the fingertips of its consumers.  

One app in particular that stands out is Scholly. Scholly was founded by Christopher Gray, a Drexel graduate, who won over $1.3 million in scholarships to fund his entire undergraduate career. The app acts as a easily accessible directory for tons of scholarships that students can easily match to their skills, interests and backgrounds. Scholly’s mission is “opportunity for all” and uses its app to achieve its vision of “helping all students achieve their potential”.

Scholly is in the process of partnering with major universities (NYU and others) around the country to offer this app free of charge to students so that they may be able to easily access scholarships. Thanks to the leadership of Senator Vincent Hughes and his colleague and Cheyney Foundation Board member, Tiffany Wilson, The Cheyney Foundation was able to obtain a $5,000 grant through the state, to buy the Scholly app for all of its students.  

“This is an incredible resource”, says Cheyney Foundation president Chantelle Fitzgerald. “As it gives our students additional access to funding that they might not have known existed. The Cheyney Foundation is very proud that we can offer a resource that provides additional access to funding for our students.”

The Cheyney Foundation has been supporting Cheyney University since 1971. As an organization, we have given over $2.4 million to support the advancement of the university over the past 46 years. As we move into our next fiscal year, we are interested in supporting more students and closing the opportunity gap by providing scholarships to students. Are you interested in joining us in support of Cheyney students? Feel free to contact us at info@cheyneyfoundation.org or feel free to donate to our Cheyney 180 Challenge https://www.cheyneyfoundation.org/about-us/cheyney180challenge/  today!

 

  

Cheyney Foundation / PECO Help To Fund More Students of Color in STEM

Blog By Brandy Jones

Students of color and women have historically been absent from the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) field. According to the 2013 Census Bureau report, Hispanic Americans make up 6.5% and African Americans only make up 6.4% of the people employed in the STEM field, in comparison to their white counterparts who make up 70% of those employed in the same field. In post-secondary institutions, very few students of color are choosing to major in these areas of study. The disparity is even more apparent when it comes to gender, in 2011 women made up only 26% of all the people employed in the STEM field, while men made up the remaining 76%. The Cheyney Foundation is making strides to further support students of color interested in pursuing careers in the STEM Field.

The Cheyney Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization that directly supports Cheyney University. Cheyney University (“Cheyney”) is the first historically black college or university (HBCU). The institution, which was established in 1837, has had a mission of educating students from African descent since its inception. More recently, Cheyney boasts a diverse population of people from all walks of life. In light of the national push to get more students of color interested in STEM, the institution has seen an increase in research participation by both students and faculty, an increase in STEM enrollment as well as an increase students attending graduate and health professional schools after graduation.

Cheyney University like many other HBCUs supports its students through a family oriented culture on campus. Students regard the institution as a safe place; a place where they feel welcome and a home away from home and for many, the only home they know. Although the institution is about 40 miles away from one of the nation’s poorest cities, Philadelphia, the institution serves a predominantly low income population. With 75% of the students who come from low income backgrounds. Tuition at the university is amongst the lowest in the state, but many students still struggle to pay their term bills or even afford books, on-campus housing or other supplies to have a well rounded college experience.

The Cheyney Foundation has been supporting Cheyney University since 1971. As an organization, we have given over $2.4 million to support the advancement of the university over the past 46 years. This year, the Cheyney Foundation received a $25,000 grant from PECO to support the advancement of STEM scholars at Cheyney. This grant provided financial relief to 8 brilliant students who were in dire need of funding to continue their education. Of those 8 students, 75% of those students were women of color. The testimonies from each student revealed that for many students the only barrier between them and pursuing a STEM degree was the funding. Many students who studied STEM found themselves working multiple jobs to finance their education and were often distracted from their commitment to their academic goals because they had other roles outside of school. Some of the students were parents, some had to take care of siblings and others simply worked to further finance their education. With the funding, these students received they are now able to focus more on their academics and participate in experiential education opportunities to supplement their studies. This was all made possible thanks to the generosity of PECO, a corporation that has supported Cheyney University for decades and believes in the dreams of Cheyney students.

On June 22, 2017, we honored the 8 students who were awarded the scholarship and acknowledged them for all of their hard work. We congratulated them for overcoming the obstacles that would normally bog someone down and celebrated their aspirations of becoming dentists, urban farmers, veterinarians, nutritionists and child care specialists.

As we move into our next fiscal year, we are interested in supporting more students of color and women who are interested in STEM. We are hoping to secure more funding for STEM students and to provide more opportunities for students to grow professionally without worrying about finding the funds to excel. Are you interested in joining us in support of Cheyney students? Feel free to contact us at info@cheyneyfoundation.org or feel free to donate to our Cheyney 180 Challenge https://www.cheyneyfoundation.org/about-us/cheyney180challenge/  today!