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UNCF, Gucci scholarships among options for $$$$

By Cheryl Daniel, editor-in-chief and Dejane Cowart
On November 1, 2019

NEW ORLEANS (October 31, 2019) – Fashion brand Gucci has announced a new $20,000-a-year scholarship for diverse students living or studying in major cities, including New Orleans, who are interested in the fashion industry, and the application deadline is Dec. 31.

Meanwhile, a UNCF ambassador visited campus recently to encourage DU students to apply for the $100 million scholarships it offers every year. National internships also are available. Many of the scholarships have deadlines of late October and early November, so now is the time to investigate and act.

Dr. Walter Kimbrough, university president, has said on more than one occasion that UNCF officials told him too many Dillard students start the application process but don’t complete it. He encouraged students to stop leaving money on the table.

Mangum reiterated this fact during her visit. She added that students should request recommendation letters early, take their time and write a good essay and be aware that the student’s annual FAFSA application must be completed to be eligible.

In an email interview, Kimbrough said, “Students have to look at financing their education as a side job. It means you have to spend time researching, applying, writing essays, etc. We call it ‘free money,’ but there’s a cost: your time and effort.”

He added, “Since the vast majority of students aren’t simply writing a check for school, this has to be more of a priority than it has been. And yet, thousands of dollars go unclaimed each year.”

Some 59 percent of DU students are eligible for UNCF scholarships or internships; that’s 725 students of 1,229 enrolled. The minimum GPA for eligibility is a 2.5. According to the Office of Admissions, only 36 students who are University Scholars are not eligible for UNCF scholarships because it would reduce their university scholarship, which pays full tuition and room and board.

UNCF ambassador Tanika Mangum, who visited campus Oct. 9, said a common misconception about UNCF scholarships is that the money must be used for tuition only. She advised students to read and research whether a particular scholarship can be used for additional expenses.

In addition to the vast array of opportunities through UNCF, millions are offered by companies and organizations such as Gucci. Its new Changemakers Scholarship is for diverse undergraduate students with unmet financial need and high school graduating seniors who are interested in the fashion industry. Students will be able to reapply each year they are eligible.

Gucci will give special consideration to students who live or study in one of 12 cities. In addition to New Orleans, the cities include Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto and Washington, D.C.

(A second Gucci scholarship, Changemaker X CFDA Scholars by Design, is for two graduating high school seniors who plan to study fashion design at the undergraduate level. And it also is offering $1 million impact awards to non-profits in the same cities, with a deadline of Nov. 7)

Miss Dillard Brianna Thomas, who recently won a first place for her designs at New Orleans Fashion Week, called news of the new Gucci scholarship “awesome.”

“Seeing a luxury brand commit to a new fresh wave of diversity and inclusion in the fashion industry really says a lot about the values of Gucci’s company leadership,” said Thomas.

UNCF’s Mangum, who recalled receiving $50,000 in scholarships by writing good essays, said the essay is key. She suggested four ways to start an essay:

  • Start with a quote or saying
  • Use a time-frame to set up a story
  • Introduce a fact or statistic
  • Give an opinion

Mangum also shared the “power of scholarships.”

“Scholarships help avoid and pay for student loans and can help pay for things outside of tuition.”

For more information about UNCF scholarships, visit UNCF.org or seek out a financial aid counselor in Rosenwald. For more information about the Gucci scholarships, search for Gucci Changemakers scholarship fund.

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