2017 scholarship applications open for LGBT high schoolers, college students

College doesn’t come cheap, and it isn’t always easy to get financial aid.

Thankfully for Georgia’s LGBT high schoolers, there are a number of scholarships available just for them.

Both the LEAGUE Foundation and Point Foundation have nationwide scholarships available now. Up to seven scholarships are available through LEAGUE for graduating high school seniors who identify as LGBT and are accepted to accredited schools in the US or Canada. The number of Point scholars varies each year. Point scholars receive scholarship dollars each year they are in college, so the number of awards this year will depend on how many previous scholars are graduating.

“We fly finalists out to LA for interviews, which for a lot of people, especially if they’re coming from a more rural place, it’s the first time they’ve been with a group of LGBT students and with adults there to encourage them,” said Eugene Patron, communications and marketing director.

The Point Scholarship is unrestricted, meaning applicants can receive other scholarships as well and won’t be penalized.

In addition to scholarship money, Point scholars are paired with a mentor in their field to help them in their career goals, and to give advice on their service projects each semester.

“We’ve had [scholars] who organized conferences about LGBT people who are illegal immigrants … we even had a young man at Stanford who wants to be an astronaut. He organized NASA’s first participation in a Pride parade,” Patron said.

For LGBT students and allies a little closer to home, Emory University offers the GALA Leadership Award each year. Though applications are closed for the 2017 to 2018 school year, details will be available this fall for the following school year. The GALA award was created in 2005 by some of Emory’s gay and lesbian alumni — hence the acronym — as a way to give back to the school.

“There was no office of LGBT life or specific services when they were at Emory. Looking back, what would have been great for us at Emory?” said Danielle Bruce Steele, director of Emory’s Office of LGBT Life, Belonging & Community Justice.

The scholarship committee selects one to two outstanding students each year for the award. Students’ applications include essays, a résumé and reference letters in addition to the usual academic information.

“I think it’s a statement when there’s a scholarship that’s dedicated to students who are doing queer work,” Bruce Steele said. “It also makes a clear statement to current students about how we view LGBT issues and students, and their importance and role on campus. I think LGBT students see it as a way the institution is supportive of them.”

Point Foundation scholarships
Deadline: Jan. 30, 2017
Must be a graduating LGBT high school senior or older to apply.
Application details: www.pointfoundation.org/point-apply/apply-now/

LEAGUE Foundation scholarships
Deadline: April 30, 2017
Open to LGBT graduating high school seniors.
Application details: www.leaguefoundation.org/scholarships

Emory GALA award
Deadline: October 2017 (official deadline TBA)
Open to Emory undergraduate students, first through third years, who will be attending in fall 2018 and exhibit outstanding leadership in the LGBT community
Application details: www.lgbt.emory.edu/resources/leadership_funding/gala_award.html