College Offers Graduate Diversity Fellowships for Spring 2009
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (Sept. 9) -- SUNY Plattsburgh is offering up to six Graduate Diversity Fellowships. Recipients will receive full in-state tuition, worth $3,430, for spring 2009. The funds may be used at either the main campus or SUNY Plattsburgh's Branch Campus at Adirondack Community College.
The fellowships honor diversity in the broadest sense of the word, according to Marguerite Adelman, director of graduate admissions at the school. For instance, students who are non-traditional, have faced economic barriers, have been challenged by a disability, are first-generation college students and/or will be in a minority group in their chosen career field are all welcome to apply.
In order to do so, applicants must be also be applying for entrance into one of SUNY Plattsburgh's graduate degree programs this spring. The deadline for both is Wednesday, Oct. 15.
Applicants are asked to complete an essay explaining how they will contribute to the diversity of the student body in the graduate program and how they have overcome disadvantages to succeed in higher education.
Gabriel Alexandrou completed one such essay last year and received a fellowship. Alexandrou qualified for the program on a couple of different levels. First, he was going into Speech-Language Pathology, a field in which only 4.4 percent of the employees are male. Furthermore, Alexandrou was born in Greece and is a non-native speaker of English.
For Alexandrou, the award has meant that he can devote more time to his studies.
"It's helped immensely because I can focus more so on studying than making ends meet. It allows me to do more clinical work and study work as opposed to just paying my bills," said Alexandrou.
Margaret Felty also received the scholarship last year. She wasn't sure if she would
qualify, but, as a single parent and a non-traditional student in her 40s, she did.
"There may be broader definitions for diversity than most people think of," said Felty.Receiving the funding did mean reduction in her loan funding. However, according to Felty, it was still worth it.
"It did reduce my loan, but it still means that it was money that I don't have to repay. Even though it's not in addition to your loans, it's worthwhile," said Felty.
Fellowships of $3,450 will be awarded for the spring 2009 semester and may be renewed for the following fall, depending on the availability of funding and the fellowship winner's academic progress.
Recipients must be full-time students during the period of the award. In most cases, this means they must enroll in a minimum of 12 graduate credit hours, applicable toward their degree.
To be eligible, an applicant must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident; be newly applying for graduate school to a master's or Certificate of Advanced Study program; be able to contribute to diversity in the graduate program or field of study; have overcome a disadvantage or other impediment to success in higher education; have high intellectual and professional promise; be recommended by the department chair of the degree program to which the candidate has applied and been accepted; and have completed and submitted an application by the due date.
Selection will be based on meeting the eligibility requirements described above as well as on the quality of the applicants' prior academic record as reflected in transcripts, test scores and letters of recommendation, and their financial need as reflected in the FASFA or most recent income tax statement.
Announcements of awardees will take place after all graduate degree programs have made their decisions about whom to accept.
Applications for the fellowships are available online at www.plattsburgh.edu/financialaid , by clicking on "Forms" on the left menu bar. In addition, applications for both the fellowship and for entrance into graduate programs are available at the Graduate Admissions Office at SUNY Plattsburgh. The office is located 113 Kehoe, 101 Broad St. in Plattsburgh and may be reached by phone at 518-564-4723 or by e-mail at [email protected] .
"I think as long as you fall within the criteria of what's required, you should apply," said Alexandrou. "You'd be foolish not to take a chance. It frees up your time to approach your studies as opposed to trying to make a living. Therefore, it's one less headache."