Northwest's Project Gateway grant will benefit women with financial need

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SENATOBIA, MS (08/15/2017) Beginning with the Spring 2018 semester, Northwest Mississippi Community College will initiate a new grant program called "Project Gateway: From Community College to Careers" that will help the college's female students who need financial help outside of what their traditional financial aid awards cover.

The $50,000 grant comes to Northwest from the Women's Foundation of Mississippi (WFM), the "only grant- making and advocacy organization in the state entirely dedicated to funding programs that improve the lives of women and girls statewide," as their website states.

According to WFM, the purpose of Project Gateway is to "alleviate financial burdens that hinder women by covering expenses outside of tuition that are not covered by other financial aid, but are associated with completing their degree. The program provides funds for books, supplies for technical programs, labs, scrubs and gas vouchers for student travel for practicum."

Tara Dunn, Northwest dean of students, is the administrator of Project Gateway. According to Dunn, students who want to apply for the grant will need to get a referral from a college employee. "They must have a reference from a faculty member, financial aid counselor or other employee who is aware of their financial hardship. Once the referral is submitted, they can begin the application process," Dunn said.

She explained that a committee made up of members of each Northwest campus has been formed to review the applications. "The committee will review the application, review the reference and then send it to the Financial Aid Office to make sure they have exhausted all of their awards and are eligible to receive grant funds," Dunn said.

The grant is available for women who are facing financial hardship. There is not a set amount, but is based on what is needed on a case-by-case basis. The grant funds are being administered by the Northwest Foundation, and the application will be similar to the one a student uses to apply for a Foundation scholarship.

"It was such a pleasure to work with Ms. Dunn in crafting this proposal, which was graciously accepted by the Women's Foundation. The Foundation Office looks forward to working with Ms. Dunn and her committee in disbursing these funds to our female students who need that extra bit of encouragement to complete their studies at Northwest which will prepare them for the next step. We are also excited to have a permanent endowment established with a portion of the grant. This will assure the continuation of this assistance for generations to come," said Sybil Canon, associate vice president of Development and Special Projects.

There is also another aspect to the grant, according to Dunn. Any Northwest employee can volunteer to mentor a grant recipient to make sure that they follow through with their educational goals for the semester.

Dunn said that she will be holding informational sessions on each campus to introduce the grant to Northwest employees, and explain the reference and mentoring processes to them. The grant will continue for two years, ending in the 2018-2019 school year.

For more information, contact Dunn at 662-562-3939 or email