Here’s another comment on Susan Kinzie’s article in the Washington Post:
Comment from a Trinity student:
“I feel that Trinity is an elite university for privileged women such as myself. There are a lot of people that wish to attend college, but they don’t have the money or the support that is needed…. When I read the following statement, it made me angry: “…nearly half of the students are from the District, almost all are black or Latino and many are poor…” I’m very happy to be here. The reason that I choose to attend this university is not because of the reasons that are listed in the article, but because I’ve always felt welcomed here. The faculty and staff here are great. My classes are small and because of this I feel that my professors are getting to know me as well as I am getting to know them. There are students that are attending Trinity on scholarship, which to me is a great accomplishment. It shows me that the women that attend this university are high achievers. So, my question about this article would be: who said that earning a scholarship to a privileged university [is] a hand-out to the ‘poor’?”
This comment triggered my own memories of the day I learned I could actually attend Trinity. (This was way, way back in 1970!) As one of seven siblings in a family of modest means in Philadelphia, I knew that my dream of coming to Washington to enroll at Trinity was far-fetched. We weren’t “poor” but money was surely tight. But my life changed entirely one late winter day in my senior year of high school when I opened a letter from Trinity and learned that I would receive a Trinity scholarship. The generosity of a benefactor whom I never met opened a world of opportunity that I never knew existed. After all these years I still feel profoundly grateful for that great act of kindness. I have tried to return that generosity by helping other women achieve their educational dreams as well.
Scholarships, grants and loans for college are the paving stones on the road to opportunity, economic security and the intellectual and spiritual fulfillment that comes with lifelong learning. Far from being a “handout” to the “poor,” this kind of financial assistance is an investment in human dignity. As the student who wrote the comment above stated so eloquently, Trinity students who have scholarships have every right to celebrate that achievement. And, I hope that each scholarship student will think about how to repay that generosity by paving the way for some future women to reach their goals as well.