In one of the first scholarships of its kind, Indiana University has announced a special fund: money to cover LGBT students whose parents have cut off their tuition money because they came out as gay.
The program isn't new — grants have been offered to LGBT students at the university since 2003 — but it's taken until now for the policy to gain official university approval and sponsorship. The program comes courtesy of Indiana University's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Alumni Association (GLBTAA,) which has given out 35 scholarships of this kind in the last decade. The university's vice-president told the Huffington Post:
IU's 1,500-member Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Alumni Association has launched what we believe to be the nation's first major university-based scholarship campaign designed to assist students who have lost the financial support of their parents and provide academic scholarships to students (regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity) who combine outstanding classroom achievement with campus or civic leadership on LGBT or other diversity issues.
The campaign's target is $1 million, and they've so far raised more than $200,000. A single anonymous donor is at the heart of the program, and has promised to match every donation less than $500,000. At present, students who are eligible for the "emergency" scholarship can receive up to $3,000. Other scholarships are available for up to $2,000.
One recipient of the scholarship points out in Indiana's student paper that Bloomington, the Indiana city that holds the university's flagship campus, is still a difficult place to identify as LGBT. Other recipients, who include graduate students across the board and those who had championed LGBT movements on campus, said that they'd be using the scholarships to further the cause on campus. Last year, perhaps thanks to these efforts, the university was voted one of the nation's top 25 most LGBT-friendly campuses.