Penn State Lehigh Valley (PSU-LV) and Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC) are forging a new innovative partnership that will benefit students who want to attend college, but have limited means to afford it. The Collective Impact Scholarship Fund will be used to provide last dollar support to students who graduate from one of the high schools in the Lehigh Valley, and go on to attend LCCC or PSU-LV for their college education. The scholarship fund also aims to assist in the development and retention of talent, while supporting students graduating with a degree in fields needed to fill talent gaps in the Lehigh Valley workforce.
PSU-LV and LCCC will host a special fundraiser event to benefit the scholarship fund at 6 p.m. on Sept. 20, at the Flyers exhibition hockey game at the PPL Center in Allentown. To donate to the fund or to become a Title or Presenting Sponsor of the event, visit the Collective Impact Scholarship Fundraiser website.
“We have so many academically talented students at both of our institutions who are struggling to start and complete their degree due to financial challenges. As education leaders, we made a strategic decision to work across institutions to address the aspects of the affordability and academic progress problem. At PSU-LV, nearly 25 percent of our students live below 150 percent of the federal poverty level and 18 percent of our students work more than 30 hours per week. These students are capable of earning a degree, contributing significantly to the workforce and impacting the growth of the Lehigh Valley economy, but the cost of higher education is prohibitive,” said Tina Q. Richardson, chancellor of Penn State Lehigh Valley. “This partnership with LCCC builds on our long history of collaborating on transfer credit policies for specific academic degree programs, but it starts a new trend for institutions in the region to jointly prioritize student access and successful progress to degree completion.”
“This partnership and the Collective Impact Scholarship will open doors for students in the Lehigh Valley to not only earn their associate degree, but also to continue on to earn their bachelor’s degree and have the funds to fulfill their dreams,” said Ann D. Bieber, president of Lehigh Carbon Community College. “With this increased scholarship funding, we can continue to recruit and retain the area’s brightest students who require financial support to reach their potential. Collectively, we are advancing economic prosperity in the Lehigh Valley.”
“Collective impact is an approach to solving complex social issues through innovative and disciplined collaboration. Two institutions making such an incredible commitment to students here in the Lehigh Valley is an example of how working together on a common agenda can benefit us all. We support this new endeavor wholeheartedly,” said Marci Ronald, executive vice president of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley.
This collective impact approach to address higher education for Lehigh Valley high school graduates will enhance access and affordability for students. There is a documented financial need in the Lehigh Valley, for example:
- 57 percent of PSU-LV students and 42 percent of LCCC students receive financial aid; and,
- On average, a $2,000-$5,000 scholarship can make the difference for a first-time, full-time student entering college.