Chestnut Hill College today announced the creation of the “Helping Others by Providing Education” (H.O.P.E.) Scholarship that will pave the way for adult learners to overcome the financial or other hardships that have prevented them from completing their college degrees.
The 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, will provide financial support for qualifying students to return to the College’s Accelerated Adult Degree Program (AADP) to finish their college education. The AADP program includes approximately 400 students whose average age is 37. More than 60% are students of color, and nearly 80% are women.
“We are deeply indebted to Margaret and Michael McCaffery for their commitment to help those adult students who are nearly finished to complete their college degree requirements as a means to building a better life for themselves and their families,” said Sister Carol Jean Vale, president of the College. “These students historically have faced considerable financial, academic, and personal difficulties related to their studies, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic, and the H.O.P.E. program will help them make it across the finish line.”
In anticipation of the new program, the College already has identified approximately 60 former AADP students who have completed at least 90 credits towards their degrees but have not returned to the College because they have an outstanding tuition balance and have exhausted their own funds. The College hopes to welcome the return of its first H.O.P.E. scholars to the start of AADP’s Accelerated Spring II session on March 8th.
“What makes this program so special is that it targets a student demographic that is often overlooked by other scholarships,” said April Fowlkes, director of admissions for the College’s AADP program. “These are individuals who are motivated and hard-working students, many of them very close to completion, yet they simply don’t have the money to return. This literally gives them hope to come back and finish their degree, which can change their lives.”
The H.O.P.E. Scholarship program will designate $100,000 a year for three years to adult students who meet its eligibility requirements, which include: students must have completed more than 75% of their course work, or at least 90 credits; they must qualify for and apply for financial aid in accordance with federal Department of Education FAFSA regulations; they must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better on a 4.0 scale; they must enroll or be enrolled in the College’s AADP program; and they must complete an online application, secure a letter of recommendation, and write a one-page essay on “How a College Education Will Impact My Life.”
“Education has always been extremely important to our family,” Margaret McCaffery said in joining the College’s announcement of the scholarship. “We applaud the commitment that CHC has made to help adults finish their college degrees. Our intention for this scholarship is to enable adult students to return to the College, complete their degree, and experience the confidence and success that comes with it.
“Our hope is that this opportunity will change not only the lives of the recipients, but also will positively impact their families and their community for years to come.”