By PFund Foundation Grant Writer, Kate Mohn of Obvio Group
Commencement season now in full swing, many college students have either completed their classes for the year or have graduated. While it is still a time of celebration and recognition of the work completed to get a degree, in 2021 it’s impossible to ignore that students are graduating into an uncertain future and unforgiving economy. Many students are also considering whether they can afford to continue their studies, worried about their student debt loads, or just trying to deal with life in the ongoing pandemic.
A new study produced by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law found that GLBTQ+ students were hit particularly hard by the pandemic, with one-third of GLBTQ+ college students experiencing housing disruptions due to COVID-19, two-thirds of transgender college students reporting that their ability to pursue their studies was worse, and one in five college students nationwide area estimated to have had family members seriously ill or hospitalized with COVID-19.
Here are a few things that everyone can do to help support GLBTQ college students in the upcoming year as higher education slowly transitions from remote learning to hybrid or in-person teaching:
Encourage GLTBQ students in the upper midwest to apply for PFund’s 2021 Scholarships. PFund Foundation’s annual scholarship cycle is now open. PFund Foundation estimates that there are between 41,000 and 121,000 GLBTQ students currently enrolled in institutions of higher education in the Upper Midwest region. While Minnesota and the region have made great strides in the past several months in terms of vaccination rates and lowering caseloads, the economic impact of the pandemic is still very much impacting many college students. Research shows that once a student drops out of college, they have less than a 15% chance of re-enrolling and completing their degrees. Oftentimes, a relatively small amount of money (say, several thousand dollars) can make the difference between students being able to finish their degrees and need to drop out and delay or defer their educational and professional goals. Scholarships are available for GED programs, degree programs, apprenticeships, and trade schools. You can read more about PFund’s scholarships and how to apply here. The deadline for the 2021 scholarship applications is June 15.
Get vaccinated! Schools and colleges were and are a common way of the virus being transmitted since classrooms and student housing both are commonly crowded. Some colleges in Minnesota, including Carleton and Macalester Colleges, are requiring students to provide proof of immunization to enroll in fall classes. But even if your school doesn’t require vaccination, it’s a good idea to do so in order to protect yourself and others from getting COVID-19. All eligible Minnesotans can now * walk in* for a COVID-19 vaccine at the state’s Community Vaccination Program locations. 16 and 17-year-olds must receive consent from a parent or guardian, so the state encourages families to walk in and get vaccinated together. Find the location that’s right for you and your family here.