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Colleges Step Up to Help LGBT Students in Need

Colleges Step Up to Help LGBT Students in Need


Some schools have established funds to aid students who face a loss of family financial support after they come out.

While the Point Foundation is well known for granting scholarships to LGBT students who couldn't otherwise go to college, other institutions are also stepping up to help these young people, especially those who've been rejected by their parents.

Indiana University's GLBT Alumni Association, for instance, has an emergency scholarship designed to assist current undergraduates who have lost or expect to lose the financial support of their families because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The group created the scholarship because "students were forced to drop out of school after coming out," Doug Bauder, coordinator of GLBT Student Support Services at IU-Bloomington, told a website called The College Fix, which carries a summary of the subscribers-only Chronicle article.

Kent State University in Ohio also has a fund that provides emergency grants to LGBT students who are having difficulties with their families. Its grants are generally smaller than the IU scholarships and administered on a less formal basis; whereas the IU group has strict application guidelines, the Kent State fund administration takes students at their word that they're in need.

"The fund was created to be easily accessed for those that are in emergent need," Kenneth Ditlevson, director of the school's LGBTQ Student Center and administrator of the fund, told the Fix. Kent State also has an LGBT scholarship named for local businessman Harry Jackson.

The Fix further reports on a grant made recently not to LGBT students but to a group representing them: Crosswicks Foundation this month announced a $5,000 grant to OneWheaton, an organization working for greater LGBT acceptance at Wheaton College, an evangelical Christian school in Illinois. Wheaton College takes the position that homosexual activity is a sin, and students can be expelled for engaging in it -- or in straight sex outside of marriage, for that matter.

"Wheaton tells a very one-sided narrative about LGBT persons without making room for dialogue," Paul Canaday-Elliot, a OneWheaton board member, told Religion News Service. "So this will help us continue to supply something that the college isn't."

Crosswicks Foundation was endowed by the late Madeleine L'Engle, the author of such acclaimed science fiction works as A Wrinkle in Time. L'Engle was a devout Christian, and Wheaton College holds a collection of her papers.

Part of the grant will fund a public forum coinciding with Wheaton's homecoming this October, featuring among others Matthew Vines, an LGBT-supportive Christian author, and Wesley Hill, a gay seminary professor who advocates celibacy as a path to holiness.

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