The Providence Country Day School (PCD) has announced the creation of an academic scholarship for a student from Ukraine for the 2022-2023 school year. The scholarship recipient will be chosen this summer from all qualified applicants, and will cover tuition costs for one Ukrainian student entering (or repeating) 9th grade this fall.
“We have heard the desire to help in some way in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine from our students, faculty, and alumni,” said Kevin Folan, Head of School at PCD. “This scholarship is a small yet tangible way our school can help a student whose entire life has been disrupted. I am grateful for the generosity of our community which has made this possible.”
The scholarship was created as a result of conversations with students regarding the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces. An estimated 10 million people have fled their homes in Ukraine in the past month, many of whom have entered Poland and other neighboring countries as refugees, according to the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. The United Nations children’s agency UNICEF estimates those refugees include at least 2 million children.
“Our students recognize and appreciate how lucky they have been to attend school in person, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic these past two years. As both parent and educator, I have seen the negative impact on students from educational disruptions when classrooms are closed. For Ukrainians, their entire future is in limbo right now, not only their education,” explained Folan. “It is heartbreaking to think of the long-term implications for an entire generation of Ukrainian students.”
Accessing quality education is a challenge for many refugees: according to a report in 2019 from the UN High Commission for Refugees, more than half of the world’s school-age refugee children do not get an education. When applying for refugee status, individuals often go through a long and uncertain process to secure the appropriate visa in order to legally attend school in that country.
PCD has already had inquiries for Ukrainian students, according to the school’s international student coordinator Cate Massey. People are looking to find a way for their young relatives to continue their education while their families are stuck in limbo, waiting on bureaucratic red tape to rebuild their lives in a new country.
“Many of these students in Ukraine grow up multilingual and have excellent English proficiency,” explained Massey. “For many, we have recommended the PCD Online Academy, which is one way of ensuring educational continuity for students in grades 6-12 through a virtual learning platform, which allows flexibility as their families find a place to live and work. However, especially for students just starting high school, some families hope to find a welcoming community where their students can continue to learn in person. We would be delighted to see some of these students join our school, and this scholarship will ensure that tuition cost is not an additional burden for at least one student.”
PCD has enrolled international students for over two decades from countries including Austria, Ecuador, France, and China, and is a certified school in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) which allows the school to enroll students from other countries. Students interested in studying in the United States need to first secure acceptance to a certified school and receive an I-20 form in order to apply for an F-1 visa.
Enrolling in a school like PCD is one way that a student can legally come to the United States relatively quickly, explained Massey. “Students are allowed to enter the United States up to 30 days before their program start date, so we would be able to welcome them to our community as early as August.”
Students can learn more and apply at providencecountryday.org/admissions
. The scholarship will be offered on May 31st to one applicant to the incoming freshman class at PCD who has lived in Ukraine within the past six months. Students must be demonstrate adequate English language proficiency and meet the academic requirements for admission.