UNCF (United Negro College Fund), one of the nation’s leading minority scholarship organizations, announced a $1 million commitment from The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) to provide scholarships to outstanding African American students and give them the tools to realize their professional goals.
The Walt Disney Company UNCF Corporate Scholars Program, administered by UNCF, will offer financial assistance to high-achieving African American students in underserved communities across the country, while expanding educational and career resources for them.
“UNCF works to ensure our future leaders have the opportunity to obtain the college degrees they need, and our nation needs them to have,” UNCF President and CEO Michael L. Lomax said. “The Walt Disney Company UNCF Corporate Scholars Program expands their academic training into practical experiences, to create a diverse pipeline of college educated professionals poised to assume fulfilling careers in the entertainment industry. The investment we are making in better futures for them now will pay dividends in years to come when they become our next generation of leaders.”
“Higher education is the key to a successful future, especially in an increasingly knowledge-driven economy,” said Robert A. Iger, chairman and chief executive officer, The Walt Disney Company. “Our program with UNCF will provide tools and resources to make college more accessible for promising students in historically underserved communities, so they are prepared and empowered to achieve their career dreams.”
Paying for college is often the greatest hurdle to achieving a bachelor’s degree, especially for the students UNCF traditionally serves—low-income youth and the first in their families to go to college, with more than 50 percent coming from families whose incomes are less than $30,000 per year. The Walt Disney Company UNCF Corporate Scholars will be selected based on a competitive application process administered by UNCF. Recommended eligibility criteria include:
- Underrepresented African American freshmen, enrolled full-time at a four-year college or university;
- Preference will be given to students attending a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) to ensure 50% of each group are derived from these schools;
- Students must have a demonstrated financial need as verified by their college or university;
- Students must have a minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale; and
- Students must have an interest in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry (e.g. film, television, hospitality management, journalism, media production, digital media, etc.) as demonstrated by submission of an initial essay and participation in program components.
The Corporate Scholars program also includes the creation of a Career Navigator web-based platform that will provide both career information and tools to a broad network of African American students, as well as targeted support services to scholarship recipients. The platform, to be launched this fall, will help students develop requisite skills, and navigate the transition from college to early-stage careers. Web-based and facilitated learning modules will introduce students to the variety of careers at Disney, and Scholars will also have the opportunity to apply for Disney internships.
Students can find additional information at www.uncf.org/disneyscholars. The application process opens March 16, 2015 and closes May 15, 2015.