New Ellucian scholarships encourage university enrollment during the pandemic

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To ensure that students are able to continue their educations during the pandemic, the software company Ellucian on Monday announced a new initiative to provide financial assistance to students.

The Progress, Accomplishment, Thriving, Hope, or PATH, campaign aims to contribute $10 million to students experiencing economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic with scholarships to help them continue their educations, according to Ellucian.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created intense stress and uncertainty among students about their immediate future,” Brian Fitzgerald, CEO of the Business-Higher Education Forum and partner of the PATH campaign, said in a press release. “While there are many educational paths forward including online learning, community college, and returning to campus when it’s safe, we’re concerned that students may choose to pause their studies indefinitely, with devastating consequences.”

The new scholarships follow a recent study from the higher education research firm Art & Science Group showing flagging interest in higher education tied to the current health crisis. The survey found that about 16% of students who before the pandemic planned to enroll full-time at a 4-year institution no longer have plans to do so. The study also found those most at risk of missing out on education during the pandemic are primarily those from underserved communities — lower income families, first-generation college students and students of color.

Ellucian pledged an initial contribution of $1 million to the PATH scholarship fund and hopes to reach a goal of $10 million by April 2021.