As LGBTQ residents nationwide face hate-filled legislation and rhetoric, Point Foundation, the nation’s largest LGBTQ scholarship fund, seeks to create a brighter future by providing financial and programmatic support to 574 LGBTQ students in higher education. Point is awarding more students scholarships and grants than ever in its 21-year history.
This year’s incoming class includes 34 new Point Flagship Scholars who will receive four-year college and graduate school scholarships, 86 new Community College Scholars, and 280 BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Scholars. Another 118 students will receive Opportunity Grants. These students will join 56 current scholars at Point.
Point Scholars come from 40 states in the US and four countries outside of the US. More than 51% of the students Point will support starting fall 2023 are the first in their families to attend a college or university. The Point student body will continue to represent the diverse rainbow of identities in the LGBTQ spectrum; asexual, bisexual, gay, lesbian, nonbinary, pansexual, transgender, two-spirit, and queer students all will join the Point community this fall. Point’s 2023-24 scholars are also a racially and ethnically diverse group: 1% American Indian/Alaska Native, 13% Asian/Asian American, 15% biracial, 27% Black/African American, 27% Hispanic/Latine/Spanish, 1% Middle Eastern/North African, 1% Native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander, and 12% white. Students will pursue associates degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s, and PhDs in subjects including agribusiness, education, engineering, film, law, medicine, mathematics, and politics.
“The size of this class shows our commitment to the LGBTQ community and gives Point the chance to continue to fight for much-needed change and equality in our country,” said Point Executive Director and CEO, Jorge Valencia. “Our students are already leaders creating change in their communities. By accessing higher education with our support, they can go on to compete for their dream jobs, live more fulfilling lives and create a more equitable world for LGBTQ people everywhere.”
Point’s scholarships provide needed support for LGBTQ students who face disproportionate debt, bullying, and abuses in higher education when compared to their straight, cisgender peers. The mentoring, coaching, and leadership development services that Point provides to scholars are essential for students as they face ongoing challenges in the current homophobic and transphobic political climate.
Point’s growth is thanks to the generosity of supporters, including lead partners (in alphabetical order): 1-800-FLOWERS.com, Inc., Amazon, Brandeis University, Bumble and bumble, CBRE, Coach Foundation, Comcast NBCUniversal, Dolce & Gabbana, EY, FedEx, JCPenney, Lord Abbett, MacKenzie Scott, PA Foundation, Synchrony, Toyota, Ulta Beauty, Victoria’s Secret & Co., The Walt Disney Company, Wells Fargo, and more.
This class of students includes Sabrina Jennen (she/her), one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging Arkansas' first-in-the-nation ban on gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth. Sabrina is a Barbey Family Scholar and was recognized in 2021 by LGBTQ Nation as a Hero Defending Children. Sabrina aims to continue to fight for trans health rights by earning a degree at Hendrix College and earning a degree in nursing. She hopes to use her skills to advocate for trans and gender non-conforming people.
Wilson Castellanos (he/him) grew up in Guatemala where he was bullied and harassed for being gay. In 2018, Wilson and his family moved to Arlington, Virginia as asylum applicants because of what he experienced in his home country. Wilson loves teaching his friends to speak Spanish and sharing Guatemalan food with them as much as he loves learning about their cultures and foods. Wilson will be attending Northern Virginia Community College in Fall of 2024 as the first person in his family to go to college in the US.
The newest Point program, with the largest enrollment, is the BIPOC Scholarship, which includes students like Camille Serrano (she/her), a queer Korean Filipina earning a Master’s Degree in Communication from John Hopkins University. Camille has partnered with higher education institutions in Washington and California to provide free abortion and educational access programming and fight for LGBTQ rights. Camille is passionate about leveraging media to generate social change and justice for communities of color.
Learn about all of the new scholars like Sabrina, Wilson and Camille.
With this record-breaking class, Point and its network of supporters are eager to continue to fight for equality for LGBTQ students in higher education across the US.