Two recipients of Chestnut Hill College’s innovative H.O.P.E. Scholarship Program have used their H.O.P.E. grants to complete their education and earn their Bachelor of Science degrees at the College’s virtual 94th Commencement ceremonies.
Kenyatta Burton and Gwendolyn Washington-Smith, who earned degrees in Human Services and Early Childhood Studies respectively, were members of the first cohort of H.O.P.E. scholars and are the first to graduate from the College’s Accelerated Adult Degree Program (AADP).
The “Helping Others by Providing Education” (H.O.P.E..) Scholarship Program, funded by a three-year, $300,000 grant from former CHC Board Chair Margaret McCaffery ’77 and her husband Michael, provides financial support for qualifying students to return to the College’s AADP to finish their college education. The scholarship program launched in March, in conjunction with the start of AADP’s spring II session.
“We are extremely proud of the hard-work and determination of our H.O.P.E. Scholars and we join them in celebrating this momentous occasion,” said April Fowlkes, Executive Director of the College’s AADP program. “The H.O.P.E. Scholarship provides a real pathway to success for our students who have faced financial hurdles in their academic journey. With this accomplishment, our students leave Chestnut Hill College with H.O.P.E. for their futures.”
Both Burton, who was last enrolled for the fall 2020 semester, and Washington-Smith, who was last enrolled for the fall 2015 semester, had exhausted their own funds and were unable to pay the outstanding balances on their account needed to continue their coursework and graduate. Between the two, the H.O.P.E. Scholarship provided $6300 to close their financial gaps.
“The H.O.P.E. Scholarship was a blessing for me,” said Burton, who returned to college to earn a bachelor’s degree to maintain a promotion at work as the Director of Basketball Operations at Belmont Academy Charter School. “With the pandemic, I found myself having a lot of problems financially, and started working another job to support myself. I get emotional talking about it, but the H.O.P.E. Scholarship lifted the financial stress that I was dealing with.”
In its first round, the H.O.P.E. Scholarship has 13 students enrolled. Students eligible for the scholarship must have completed 75 percent, or at least 90 credits, of their course work and must be enrolled in the College’s AADP program.
Additional requirements include a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better; qualify and apply for financial aid in accordance with the Department of Education FAFSA regulations; and the completion of an online application, which includes the submission of a letter of recommendation and a personal essay on “How a College Education Will Impact My Life.”
Applications for the second cohort of H.O.P.E. Scholars are currently under review at Chestnut Hill College.