New scholarship established for LGBTQA+ students


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Adrienne Oliva, Editor in Chief

LGBTQA+ students at Madison College will soon have a specific scholarship available to them.

The scholarship came as a donation from QBE, a national insurance company, to assist LGBTQA+ students in paying for their education at Madison College.

Julia Haseleu, committee chair of the Rainbow Scholarship, explains that the scholarship will help LGBTQA+ students have accessible financial resources to pay for school, something that can often be a struggle for that community.

“This is a population that not only experience discrimination in the broader community, but can also experience discrimination within their own families,” explains Haseleu.

According to the American Psychological Association, LGBT people are more likely to experience poverty, something that is most likely affected by LGBT youth being rejected by their families, leading to limited resources being available to them.

“This a community that has some needs financially,” explained Haseleu.

“I know way too many people who have had to drop out of college because they have come out to their families, and completely lost all of their funding for college,” said Shawn Padley, an LBGTQA+ student at Madison College.

“Queer people are at a much higher rate of having to drop out because of coming out to their families. We run the risk of completely being disowned from our families, not just emotionally and physically, but also financially,” said Padley.

Financial disownment is something Padley is personally familiar with.

“When I came out to my family back in 2011, they completely cut of my college fund, and I had to drop out of school.”

Padley recognizes that his experience is not an isolated event. LGBTQA+ students are continuously barred from college funding as a result of coming out to their families.

Padley is personally looking forward to the scholarship being available because it will help other LGBTQA+ gain accessibility to a college education.

“It means that students that find themselves in the same position that I was aren’t going to have the same outcome as me. They are not going to have to drop out because suddenly the college fund that their parents have been saving for them since they were born is no longer available to them; they’ll still have an option, and a cushion there, so they are not going to have to worry about dropping out.”

Haseleu believes the scholarship will benefit everyone in the Madison College community, beyond those who directly receive the scholarship. According to Haseleu, just by having a LGBTQA+ scholarship, both students that currently attend Madison College, and student who are thinking of attending will see the college as a more accepting and safe space.

“It sends a message about inclusivity at the college,” said Haseleu. “It tells the students, ‘You’re welcome here, you’re supported here’.”

Though the scholarship needs to build interest before it can be used in order to assure it is self-sustaining, a fundraiser is being organized to raise money in order for the money to be available sooner for LGBT student at Madison College.

The fundraiser will be held on May 19 at Bunky’s Café, and will feature students, including Padley, sharing their own stories about being in the LGBTQA+ community.