(Posted May 11, 2015)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College has received a $75,000 grant from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation to establish scholarships for first-generation college students interested in studying in the sciences.

Juniata will use the funding to award approximately four scholarships of $4,800 for the next four years. Hearst recognized that Juniata serves a higher percentage of first-generation college students (25 percent), compared to 20 percent nationally. In addition, Juniata's four year graduation rate for first-generation students is about 72 percent, compared to 27.4 percent for all colleges nationally.

"The Hearst Scholarships also provide our science students an increased chance to experience career development, research opportunities and community service."

James A. Troha, Juniata president

There is a pressing need for more first-generation students in the medical sciences and Juniata plans to leverage its record of success in health science education to give first-generation students better opportunities to enter college, pursue research and postgraduate education.

Juniata plans to build the Hearst Scholars program slowly, offering two scholarships of $4,800 in the first year and expanding to four total scholarships by the third year of the program.

"Hearst Scholars will not only benefit from the prestige associated with the Hearst Foundation, but they also will be able to enroll and remain in a full-time program, which which diminishes the need for employment during the school year," says James A. Troha, proesident of Juniata. "The Hearst Scholarships also provide our science students an increased chance to experience career development, research opportunities and community service."

About 18 percent of Juniata's total student body is enrolled in pre-health related majors. Within those 295 students, about 25 percent are first-generation students. Juniata believes the Hearst Scholaships will bring the college a distinct advantage in recruiting, retaining and placing rural, first-generation students into the medical sciences.

Contact Gabe Welsch at welschg@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.