Temple offers $1.5 million in scholarships for first-generation students

The Broad Street Finish Line scholarship will show preference to Philadelphians.

UPDATED: Feb. 19, 2019 at 11:44 p.m.

Temple University established a $1.5 million scholarship fund for first-generation college students on Monday.

Philadelphia residents will receive preference for the scholarship, named the Broad Street Finish Line, which is open to both new and current undergraduate students. The scholarship will be included in financial aid packages beginning in Fall 2019. 

The university identified two existing endowment funds, totaling $1.5 million, for individual awards of up to $5,000 until the fund is exhausted, said Shawn Abbott, the vice provost for admissions, financial aid and enrollment management. 

Recently admitted students were automatically considered for the award in their university application processes and began receiving the additional financial aid last week, Abbott said.

“We know we have students in financial need,” Abbott said. “And we also know we have students who are at risk of not getting to the finish line at graduation…meaning they just simply don’t have the financial resources to get to that last step of graduating from Temple.”

Current first-generation students can apply for the award by appealing their Fall 2019 financial aid packages to Student Financial Services if they have specific hardships like a death in the family or a parent’s job loss preventing them from reaching graduation, Abbott added.

Nationally, 27 percent of first-generation students reported household incomes of $20,000 or less, compared to 6 percent of students whose parents attended college, according to a 2017 Institute of Education Sciences report.

In 2017, more than 17 percent of incoming freshmen and transfer students had parents or guardians who never attended college, according to Temple’s 2017-18 fact book. 

Central High School, on Olney Avenue near Ogontz, is one of the biggest contributors to Temple’s incoming freshman class from the School District of Philadelphia each year, a university spokesperson told The Temple News.

Elana Chasan, a college counselor at Central, said she advises many first-generation college students. 

“Being the first in your family to go to college is an incredible milestone, but often it leaves a lot of uncertainty about the college admissions process and how to pay for college,” Chasan said. 

Scholarships like the Broad Street Finish Line make a college education from Temple more realistic for many first-generation students, Chasan said.

“First-generation students come from a family background that is not as familiar with college and all of the hoops you have to jump through to get financial aid, meet deadlines or register for classes,” said Stephanie Ives, the associate vice president and dean of students.

The Dean of Students’ office will assist current first-generation students in learning more about the scholarship. 

“As one of the many first-generation students from my high school, the struggle to both go to and afford college weighs heavily on our shoulders,” said Tim Bovitt, a junior biology with teaching major. “I’ve personally seen friends drop-out because they cannot afford college tuition.

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