SPRINGFIELD, Mass., April 14 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Alyssa Whitwell’s scholarship enabled her to continue studying math and economics at UCLA, despite a huge spike in tuition and fees. Ranieka Meadors’ scholarship helped her to return to California State University after dropping out for a year because of financial hardship. And Daniel De la Rosa, the son of Mexican immigrants, has used his scholarship to continue studying accounting at the University of Houston.
They are three of the 12 college students of color from across the country who last year won scholarships from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual)
Now, with the economy making it harder than ever for many Americans to realize the dream of a college education, MassMutual is expanding the scholarship program to more states, increasing the number of scholarships, and offering internships in the financial services field to winners.
MassMutual is making $135,000 in scholarships available in nine metropolitan areas as part of the program, which is open to students of African-American/Black, Asian/Pacific Islander or Hispanic descent.
Applicants for the 27 $5,000 scholarships must meet certain academic criteria, such as having concentrations in the fields of business, economics, finance, financial planning, management, marketing and sales.
“When students tell us that our scholarship program could mean the difference between achieving finishing college and dropping out, we are heartened to know that our efforts are paying off, for them and their families and, ultimately, for our industry and our country. Especially during these tough economic times, we’re immensely proud to be able to expand the program, so more students can benefit from it,” said John Chandler, Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, MassMutual.
Many of the students who have been awarded these scholarships count their impact in more than just dollars and cents.
For example, Karen Perez, the daughter of Mexican immigrants and the first member of her family to graduate from high school and attend college, credits being selected for the scholarship with giving her a greater sense of confidence in her mathematics classes at California State University, where she is often one of only four or five young women. She takes very seriously the example she is setting for her two younger siblings.
Loren Hinkson says her scholarship enabled her to live on campus at the University of Southern California and hold leadership positions on three student executive boards instead of undertaking a grueling daily commute that would have precluded her participation in on-campus activities.
The program is just one of MassMutual’s many multicultural efforts, including attracting talented professionals to the field of financial services and supporting people of diverse backgrounds, both as agents and as clients. The scholarship program’s internship opportunities will expose recipients to the world of financial services, while helping to enhance diversity in financial services and to support increasingly diverse communities.
“Our scholarship program is a very important part and symbol of our commitment to diversity and education, and because of it and our other efforts, we’re already making a big difference in the lives of the communities we serve,” said Nick Fyntrilakis, assistant vice president of Community Responsibility for MassMutual. “As an industry, we need to attract outstanding multicultural candidates to our field and to make our companies representative of the communities we work in, and our scholarship support can help make that happen.”
The scholarship program’s application deadline is May 30, and winners will be notified in late summer.
To be eligible, applicants must:
— Be of African-American/Black, Asian/Pacific Islander or Hispanic descent;
— Be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident with a permanent resident card or passport stamped I-551 (not expired);
— Have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale;
— Have plans to attend full-time a degree-seeking program at a U.S. accredited institution in the U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, or Guam during the 2010-2011 academic year;
— Be entering sophomore, junior, senior or fifth-year-senior at a four-year university or be a community college student;
— Reside or plan to attend an institution in one of the following metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Ga.; Denver, Colo.; Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, Calif.; San Francisco, Calif.; Central New Jersey; Chicago, Ill.; Miami, Fla. or San Antonio, Texas;
— Be majoring in business, economics, finance, financial planning, management, marketing or sales;
— Demonstrate leadership and extra-curricular activities; and
— Apply for federal financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
For more information on how to apply or to obtain an application, visit http://www.hsf.net/massmutual.aspx