Investing in students’ futures
With financial support from Wells Fargo, Scholarship America is backing veterans and people with disabilities as they pursue their college education.
For Mark Frank, it alleviated concerns about paying for college and allowed him to participate in extracurricular activities, where he gained skills and knowledge that he uses in his career today. For Gloria Li, it helped her to purchase textbooks and pay for living expenses during college, allowing her to focus on her academics and extracurricular commitments and graduate debt-free. And they are both now in their dream careers.
Frank and Li are previous recipients of scholarships through Scholarship America, a nonprofit organization that works with companies like Wells Fargo to help lower barriers for obtaining college education and provide support for students to succeed. Frank received the Wells Fargo Veterans Scholarship, which is now accepting applications through Feb. 28, 2020, and Li received the Wells Fargo Scholarship Program for People with Disabilities, which will begin accepting applications in October. Both programs are supported financially by Wells Fargo and administered by Scholarship America. Wells Fargo has committed more than $3 million to Scholarship America, benefiting more than 380 students since 2016.
“Scholarship America is proud to collaborate with Wells Fargo on its Veterans Scholarship and its People with Disabilities Scholarship Program. We believe in the power of scholarships. They bridge gaps and give all students the opportunity to achieve their dream for a higher education.” — Robert C. Ballard, president and CEO of Scholarship America
“Scholarship America is proud to collaborate with Wells Fargo on its Veterans Scholarship and its People with Disabilities Scholarship Program,” said Robert C. Ballard, president and CEO of Scholarship America. “We believe in the power of scholarships. They bridge gaps and give all students the opportunity to achieve their dream for a higher education. As a veteran myself, I am gratified to hear from recipients how these programs provide essential financial support and help them overcome obstacles on the way to completing their college education.”
‘A generous investment in my future’
Frank, who served in the U.S. Navy for six years, said the Wells Fargo Veterans Scholarship helped him transition from military to civilian life. The scholarship provides financial aid to honorably discharged veterans or spouses of disabled veterans who are high school or GED graduates. “I would advise any veteran starting their collegiate journey to apply to this scholarship,” Frank said. “The Wells Fargo Veterans Scholarship Program directly contributed to my success in and outside of the classroom.”
Frank served as a nuclear machinist mate, which involves operating and maintaining naval nuclear propulsion plants, and knew he wanted to stay close to the engineering field when he left the military in 2014. After assessing the industry, he decided to pursue a degree in petroleum engineering and minor in business administration at Louisiana State University, where he learned about the Wells Fargo Veterans Scholarship through the resources at the Veterans Student Center. He applied as a freshman, and because he remained eligible, the scholarship automatically renewed and increased each year.
“The Wells Fargo Veterans Scholarship significantly contributed to my ability to be so involved in university activities and organizations. The financial stress that I encountered starting school was quickly alleviated by receiving such a generous investment in my future.” — Mark Frank
While in college, Frank served as director of military and veterans affairs for student government, vice president of the American Association of Drilling Engineers, president of Student Veterans of LSU, and as a founding father of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. “All of these organizations, without a doubt, contributed to my overall success as a student and assimilating back into civilian life,” Frank said. “I learned to work with people from all different backgrounds and experiences and grew as an individual and leader. The Wells Fargo Veterans Scholarship significantly contributed to my ability to be so involved in university activities and organizations. The financial stress that I encountered starting school was quickly alleviated by receiving such a generous investment in my future.”
Frank said his participation in the American Association of Drilling Engineers especially helped him network with companies and students, as well as participate in programs and conferences. He graduated in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science degree and is now working internationally as a wells operations supervisor for ExxonMobil with people from all around the world. In his role, Frank represents the company for the drilling operations in Guyana.
“The scholarship set me up for success,” Frank said. “It definitely made things easier as I transitioned from the military.”
Applications are also currently being accepted on an ongoing basis for the Wells Fargo Veterans Emergency Grant Program, which is administered by Scholarship America. The program provides assistance for expenses like rent, utilities, day care, and medical payments to eligible veterans who are enrolled in postsecondary education and experience unexpected financial difficulties that might cause them to drop out of school.
“We have received countless letters from transitioning veterans and spouses of veterans with disabilities who said the Wells Fargo scholarship and Emergency Grant programs have provided the resources necessary to complete their education and ultimately help them achieve their career goals,” said Jerry Quinn, head of Military & Veteran Initiatives for Wells Fargo and an Army reservist. “We’re proud to work with Scholarship America to continually offer these programs for those who have bravely served our country and assist in their transition.”
‘I was able to pursue what I enjoy’
Wells Fargo and Scholarship America also have helped students like Li, who earned degrees in environmental science and philosophy from the University of Florida in 2019. She currently works as an energy policy associate at a national trade association and said she puts what she learned in the classroom into practice. Her job involves looking at trends and corporate procurement of renewable energy and reaching out to legislators or state agencies.
“Without scholarships like Wells Fargo's, I may not have had the ability to graduate debt-free and do what I love after college,” Li said.
Li, who has Tourette syndrome, received the scholarship for two years. She is one of the 111 people with disabilities who have received the scholarship since 2016, when Wells Fargo committed $1 million over four years to Scholarship America to develop and implement the program. The goal of the program is to help people with disabilities obtain the education or training they need to reach their career aspirations.
“Without scholarships like Wells Fargo's, I may not have had the ability to graduate debt-free and do what I love after college.” — Gloria Li
“It was really helpful to not have to work a job or second job while I was doing my studies,” Li said. “A lot of internships I did were unpaid or volunteer. Because of the scholarship, I was able to pursue what I enjoy: to serve my community and work toward a better energy future.”
Li said the scholarship also gave her the confidence to speak in public and advocate for people with Tourette syndrome. “I believe programs like this have pushed me to use my voice to represent myself and others,” she said. “I am truly grateful for scholarship programs like this one that seek to bring these experiences to light and show people with disabilities that their potential transcends the limitations they were born with and that they deserve this voice in our society.”