BY Steve Lenox
August 27, 2021
PATERSON, NJ – Just by entering New Jersey Institute of Technology this fall Micah Demarest is already well on his way to achieve something no one else in his immediate family has yet, to obtain a college education.
He’s also got another goal, to graduate debt-free.
“I took time to watch YouTubers who had done the same, but I never truly expected that the same opportunity would happen to me,” Demarest admitted in an announcement that the Paterson native has been named as one of just 50 incoming first-year college students around the country to earn a scholarship from the Visa Black Scholars and Jobs Program.
The Visa Black Scholars and Jobs Program is designed for college-bound Black and African American students in the U.S. Eligible high school seniors who are pursuing an education in a business or technology field and intend to enroll as a full-time undergraduate in an accredited four-year college or university in the U.S. are eligible for this scholarship grant. Scholars who continue to meet the criteria, remain in good standing and maintain a minimum of 3.0 GPA at their university will be eligible for annual renewals.
Demarest added that he found the scholarship opportunity by accident, in fact, he said, “the card did not even lay where the mail is intended to be inside my house. It was in a separate room.”
Despite believing the odds were stacked against him, Demarest said he went to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which is partnering with Visa in the $10 million five year investment, and applied.
“Education provides access and opportunity, and Visa embraces a world where more students of all backgrounds can reach their full potential through education,” said Michelle Gethers-Clark, Visa Chief Diversity Officer and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and program mentor. “The Visa Black Scholars and Jobs Program eliminates financial hurdles in education and supports the development of income-earning skills through a program designed to have multi-generational impact for our scholars and their families. Visa is honored to support these students on their journeys.”
In addition to scholarship assistance, Demarest, as well as the other scholarship recipients, will be given Visa mentors to advise their aspirations and goals as they transition from high school to college and from college to the professional workforce. He will also participate in a paid internship with an invitation to join Visa full-time upon graduation for those who meet program requirements.
“Today’s college-bound students are facing incredible challenges, with students attending and leaving institutions with more debt than ever before,” said Dr. Harry L. Williams, President & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. “The Visa Black Scholars are current and future changemakers of our society, and our hope is that we can provide those incredible students with the financial assistance they need to focus on what matters most. This program is even more critical in our current climate as we strive to create a more just and equitable society.”
Original article can be found here.