Cash for College

By Laura Latzko, Aug. 1, 2013

Like others heading off to college, LGBT students are faced with the bills that go along with getting an education. But several organizations and colleges offer scholarships with LGBT students in mind.

Phoenix Pride Scholarships

Phoenix Pride does more than just put on festivals. Every year since 2008, the organization has given away scholarships to graduating high school seniors and undergraduate and graduate students.

For the 2013-14 school year, the Phoenix Pride Scholarship Program, administered by the Arizona Community Foundation, gave out five scholarships of $5,000 each.

Phoenix Pride board members and contestants in the Miss and Mister Phoenix Gay Pride Pageant raise money for the scholarship program through donations and fundraisers. Part of the proceeds from the Phoenix Pride Festival go to the scholarship program, according to Kevin Godfrey, chair of Phoenix Pride’s scholarship committee.

To be eligible, applicants must have a grade point average of 2.5 or greater, live in Maricopa County and demonstrate financial need. Materials need to be in by a March deadline. Phoenix Pride names the winners before its annual gala in June.

QU Scholarship

Dr. Shel-Don Legarreta and Dr. Kevin Axx established the QU Scholarship last year to benefit young people who participate in the one n ten program. Legarreta said he and Axx saw the need for scholarships with the inception of the Q High online education program for LGBT students.

The scholarship provides $10,000 toward two years of schooling at any Arizona two-year, four-year or trade institution. Scholarship recipients also receive personal and professional mentoring. The first scholarship was awarded earlier this year.

Funds for the scholarship are raised through donations from community members and events, such as private pool parties.

Graduating seniors or current students attending an accredited Arizona college or university are eligible for the scholarship. Students usually have until January to apply for the scholarship, and recipients are announced in February during one n ten’s Fresh Brunch.

Mark Bowland Leadership Scholarship

For members of the LGBT community or straight allies who have taken on leadership roles, Arizona State University offers the Mark Bowland Leadership Scholarship.

The award was established in honor of Mark Bowland, an ASU alumni who graduated in 1996 from the College of Nursing and Health Innovation and died in 2010. The scholarship offers Arizona students up to $5,000 toward tuition.

Undergraduate students enrolled at ASU can apply for the scholarship if they have a 3.0 GPA, demonstrate financial need and have shown leadership, including in the LGBT student community. The deadline for the scholarship falls in February or March, and recipients are informed in April.

LGBT Devil’s Pride Scholarship

LGBT Devil’s Pride, the LGBT alumni chapter at ASU, gives back to LGBT students attending ASU through its recently established scholarship.

The organization raised money for the scholarship through a benefit dinner and donations, and awarded its first $2,000 scholarship this year to an ASU student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Asian studies.

Gabriel Escontrias Jr., president of the chapter, works with a committee of faculty members, ASU alumni and board members to decide scholarship recipients.

Sophomores or juniors have to have a minimum 3.0 GPA to apply for the scholarship. Applications are due in January or February, and the group announces scholarship recipients in March.

Bryon Wiley Memorial Scholarship Fund

Michael Gaffney, Emperor II of the Imperial Court of Arizona, established the Bryon Wiley Scholarship Fund, previously known as the Golden Sapphire Scorpion Scholarship Fund.

Named after the late Bryon Wiley, former owner of Kobalt, the scholarship was designed for students who have financial need and have been involved in the community.

Students with a GPA of at least 3.0 who have lived in Arizona at least a year and are attending or planning to go to a postsecondary school in the state can apply.

The scholarship is funded by money raised by the court through donations, an underwear auction and the annual Closet Ball. Deadline for applying is early April and recipients are notified in May.

PFLAG Phoenix Scholarships

For the 2013-14 school year, the Phoenix chapter of Parents, Families & Friends of Gays and Lesbians (PFLAG) awarded scholarships to four recipients attending ASU, Grand Canyon University and Pima Community College.

One or two students can receive the $1,000 Boots and Ray Reed Memorial Scholarship, named after two founding members of PFLAG Phoenix. Money for the scholarship comes from PFLAG Phoenix’s general funds.

The group also recently established the Legacy Scholarship for one or two students. The scholarship is funded by donations honoring people who have contributed to the Phoenix LGBT community.

The Legacy Scholarship, worth $750, honors Dean Jensen, a past treasurer of PFLAG Phoenix, and Mary Lou Hagen, an early member who helped with the organization’s newsletters and mailers.

John Rachau, a PFLAG board member for eight years, said committee members look at grades and community involvement.

The scholarships are open to Arizona students over the age of 16 who identify as LGBT or are straight allies who are graduating from high school or attending college. Applications are usually due in April, and recipients are notified in May.

Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation

The Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation manages systemwide and campus-specific scholarships available to students attending the community colleges.

Erica Outcalt, scholarship and fund administrator for the foundation, said the presence of multiple scholarships speaks to the community colleges’ commitment to providing assistance to diverse populations of students, including LGBT individuals.

LGBT students apply for the scholarships until around the end of April. Recipients are notified before the start of the fall semester.

• Out and Up Scholarship

Since 2010, the Out and Up Scholarship has provided funds to students who have faced estrangement from their families after coming out about their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The number of recipients each year varies depending upon the amount of money raised through donations. During the 2012-13 school year, a Scottsdale Community College student received a scholarship for $2,500. To be eligible, students have to be under the age of 25 and enrolled for a minimum of nine credit hours.

• Miller-Roberts Scholarship

The Miller-Roberts Scholarship was designed for LGBT students who have had issues with their families and who are attending any community college.

Money for the scholarship comes from interest from an endowment set up in honor of two community members. During the 2012-13 school year, one student received a scholarship of $500.

• Paradise Valley Community College Rainbow Scholarship

Dale Heuser, the faculty adviser for the Paradise Valley Community College PRIDE club and a professor of health and exercise science, founded the PVCC Rainbow Scholarship in 2009.

Funding for the award comes from ticket sales from the Desperado LGBT Film Festival, which is staged annually in January. For the 2012-13 school year, one student received a scholarship for $500. The recipient can be a member of the LGBT community or an ally. Applicants are required to have a minimum 2.0 GPA.

• Chandler-Gilbert Community College LGBT Scholarship

During the 2012-2013 school year, one student received the $600 Chandler-Gilbert Community College scholarship. The amount of money awarded each year depends on the amount of interest on an endowment. Students who receive this scholarship have to be enrolled in six credit hours, have a minimum 2.5 GPA and have a history of providing community service in the LGBT community.


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