With more than 1.2 million college students with disabilities attending U.S. colleges and universities, the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), with funding from AT&T, has started an initiative to provide scholarships to students with disabilities attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
The Inclusion Scholars Program (ISP) is a program designed to increase the recruitment, enrollment and graduation rates of students with disabilities at HBCUs and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs); support efforts by HBCUs and PBIs to increase graduation rates of traditionally underserved students; and assess HBCU campus readiness to receive students with disabilities.
The initial group of “Inclusion Institutions” are Bethune-Cookman University, Morgan State University, and Tennessee State University. Each institution will receive a $36,000 grant that will provide an incoming freshman a $9,000 award toward tuition and fees for each of four years.
“We are excited about this new initiative and look to the day when HBCUs and PBIs meet the criteria to become and maintain status as a NAFEO Inclusion Institution,” Lezli Baskerville, NAFEO president and CEO, said in a statement, adding that “HBCUs and PBIs must lead the higher education community in taking affirmative steps to recruit and enroll diverse students, including those protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
Students interested in participating in the Inclusion Scholars Program must apply and be accepted for admission in the fall 2011 class of one of the ISPs and apply directly to NAFEO to be designated an Inclusion Scholar, according to NAFEO.
“The ISP program will provide students with disabilities with valuable training and resources, particularly in the area of career preparation. Our goal in supporting this initiative is for the students receiving these scholarships to have rewarding experiences at an HBCU and graduate prepared to thrive in the workforce and compete in the global economy,” Laura Sanford, AT&T assistant vice president for corporate contributions, said in a statement.
ISP applications will become available January 2011 and will be posted on the NAFEO website: www.nafeo.org.