$50,000 in scholarships for high school seniors

RI Latino News

Citizens and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) recently announced the establishment of the first-ever “Citizens Helping Citizens” Scholarship to build accessible pathways while providing opportunities for cultural awareness, understanding, and leadership nationally for high school students who are pursuing postsecondary education.

The program provides $50,000 in scholarships to 10 high school students entering a two or four-year accredited college, university, or trade school in the fall of 2024, ensuring students have the proper resources and knowledge to help them thrive and reach their full potential.

“Coming together with UNCF to launch the Citizens Helping Citizens Scholarship allows us to accelerate our commitment in building a more inclusive future to meet the ever-changing needs of our young people,” said Yvette Vargas, Executive Vice President, Head of Development at Citizens. “We are delighted to invest into the next generation of students by providing access to education, which fuels continuous learning, skills development, and professional aspirations.”

Given the vast socio-economic challenges Latino residents in Rhode Island face, a report by the Latino Policy Institute and Roger Williams University finds fewer economic resources contribute to achievement disparities.

Regarding educational attainment among adults, the findings show some modest differences: nationally, 13.2% of Latinos over the age of 25 have attained the equivalent of a 4-year college degree or higher, but for Latinos in Rhode Island, the figure is slightly lower, at 12.6%. Socio-economic status impacts student achievement in a variety of ways, ranging from the parents’ ability to provide the basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter to the child – needs that are typically prerequisites to high achievement – to determining the kinds of educational opportunities the child receives.

Yvette Vargas, Executive Vice President, Head of Development at Citizens

“The partnership between UNCF and Citizens to establish the Citizens Helping Citizens Scholarship is intended to incentivize young people from historically underserved communities to consider next steps post-high school graduation – whether that be a 2-year, 4-year, or trade school program – with a lessened financial burden,” said Vargas. “Latino and Hispanic students who meet the criteria are encouraged to apply to the scholarship, as are all eligible members from underrepresented communities.”  

The ongoing partnership between Citizens and UNCF has provided value beyond the scholarship, with key investments, mentorship, and workforce development initiatives for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) students.

“As UNCF embarks on its next 80 years of impact, partnerships like Citizens and UNCF to establish the Citizens Helping Citizens Scholarship are so vital to ensuring more deserving high school seniors have access to the necessary tools and resources needed to get to and through college,” said Arleaya Martin, Area Director, UNCF New England.

The scholarship application is now open, and all students are encouraged to apply by midnight ET on May 13, 2024.

Learn more about the Citizens Helping Citizens Scholarship, here.