Calli Renovato-Anchor Staff
Dr. Ronald Erwin McNair was inspired to work hard and persevere in his studies by a teacher who recognized his extraordinary scientific aptitude. An expert in laser physics, a sixth-degree black belt and the second African American to fly in space, McNair achieved much in the short time he was given.
Following his death on the Challenger mission, members of Congress decided to create a grant for low-income, first-generation students to go for their doctorate. 161 institutions in America are awarded this scholarship, and Rhode Island College is one of the few and proud.
RIC has been awarded a $1.1 million federal grant to prepare students for graduate school who are the first in their families to earn a college degree. The money will be distributed over five years.
According to their website, Congress’ goal “was to encourage low-income and first-generation college students and students from historically underrepresented ethnic groups to expand their educational opportunities by enrolling in a Ph.D. program and ultimately pursue an academic career. This program is dedicated to the high standards of achievement inspired by Dr. McNair’s life.”
RIC has 35 nationally-recognized graduate programs and 13 graduate certificate programs. Graduate students do have different financial aid benefits which can help them, including scholarships, assistantships, traineeships, student loan programs and a need-based financial aid. Most of these options require being a full-time student, and some also include working for the school for a stipend.
Along with the RIC faculty, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, and U.S. Congressmen David Cicilline and RIC Alum Jim Langevin all expressed their happiness on Reed’s website earlier this month.
“As an RIC alum, I’m thrilled this $1.1 million grant will provide students from all backgrounds with preparation and guidance before they move on to earn an advanced degree. The students who will benefit from this program are bright, motivated and hard-working, and they deserve the chance to accomplish their academic goals. I’m proud that the McNair grant will help make this possible.”
To see if you qualify for the McNair scholarship, you can check at the Financial Aid office. To see what RIC has to offer for grad school, you can attend their annual open house on Jan. 9, 2018 from 3:30-6:30 p.m.