The Los Angeles-based Point Foundation, which describes itself as the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students of merit, announced Tuesday the expansion of its community college scholarship program.

“Thanks to a new multi-year grant, Point will now offer the next generation of LGBTQ leaders two-years of financial support at community colleges,” according to a statement issued by teh foundation. “Applications are now open for the program, which also includes targeted one-on-one coaching and leadership development.”

Community college students represent 40% of the country’s undergraduate population, but due to overwhelming financial burdens, just over one third of those students are able to obtain a degree from a two- or four-year college within six years of enrollment, according to the foundation.

“Whether it is a lack of funds, obligations to employment or the care of a family member, we know of many situations that keep young LGBTQ students from reaching their academic goals,” said Point Foundation Executive Director and CEO Jorge Valencia. “When you include the increased adversity and isolation that often accompany being a member of the LGBTQ community, two-year financial support becomes a central component to ensuring all students can thrive.”

Point’s community college scholarship is awarded “to LGBTQ students who have a goal of completing a degree and demonstrated potential to grow into leaders in their communities.” Recipients receive a financial award and are paired with a coach who helps them work toward personal and academic goals.

More than 80 percent of Point’s community college scholarship recipients have gone on to be admitted to four-year colleges or universities throughout the country, including UCLA, Columbia University and the University of Mississippi, according to foundation officials.

“Since our 2016 launch, we learned that a longer financial commitment was a central pillar changing the outcome for LGBTQ students entering community college,” Valencia said. “Thanks to a generous gift, we are now able to expand our program and are confident that our new two-year community college program will empower and fuel the future for many talented LGBTQ students.”

To apply for a scholarship, visit pointfoundation.org/point-apply/community-college/ .

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