Wheaton College President Dennis M. Hanno announced on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, that the private liberal arts college in Norton, Massachusetts, will offer a full scholarship to a refugee fleeing conflict in their country, and he called on other colleges and universities to join the effort.
“Wheaton is a global institution that is dedicated to improving the world by advancing knowledge and sharing it,” said President Hanno, in announcing the initiative. “The current executive order on immigration endangers our ability to deliver on that mission.
The Wheaton Refugee Scholarship will be awarded to a student escaping conflict in his or her home country, with a preference to award the scholarship to students from the seven nations outlined in the recent executive order on immigration—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
“We are establishing the Wheaton Refugee Scholarship as a way of adding our voice to the chorus of people across the country who are calling for the immigration ban to be lifted,” President Hanno said, “I encourage other colleges and universities to join us.
“This is a way for the higher education community to reach out beyond our campuses and let people in these countries and around the world know that, as Americans, we are interested in helping others,” Hanno said. “We can make an enormous difference by sharing our nation’s exceptional educational institutions.”
Wheaton already enrolls a highly diverse and international population. It’s 1,650 current students represent more than 70 countries and 35 U.S. states and territories. Some members of the college community have been affected by the executive order, barring their ability to return to their homes during breaks in the school year. In a message to the college community over the weekend, President Hanno pledged Wheaton’s support to those individuals and the community at large.
Grant M. Gosselin, vice president and dean of admission and student aid, said he is confident that Wheaton and other schools will find qualified applicants from these countries. Further, he said, the scholarships that Wheaton and other U.S. schools can offer will change the lives not only of the students who receive the awards but also of many others in their communities.
“These students have faced hardships unlike anything we could imagine and will need significant assistance to make acquiring an education possible,” said Gosselin. “We believe it is our responsibility as contributors to global education to make this commitment.”
Preference will be awarded to students seeking entrance to the U.S., should the recent ban be lifted. If not, the college will utilize its network to identify qualified refugee students from these countries or other war-torn nations, currently living in the U.S.
Wheaton will reopen its application deadline through March 1, 2017 and waive the application fee for all candidates seeking consideration. Applicants are requested to submit a 100- to 200-word personal statement outlining their background and what receiving this scholarship would mean to them.
For more information about applying for the Wheaton Refugee Scholarship, applicants should contact the Office of Admission.
Information on how to apply for the Wheaton College Refugee Scholarship is available online from the college’s Office of Admission.