Applications should be submitted as early as possible, as it can take up to 2 months to review a new application. With this in mind an applicant ought to submit her application at least 2 months before the start date of the program to be attended. WISP, Inc. cannot guarantee that applications received after that period will be reviewed in time for funds to be awarded by the desired date.
However, we have no cutoff date. We accept applications at any time. The fall semester is the busiest time of year. Applications are handled in the order in which they are received in complete form, and it will take up to two months to review a new application.
We have no set dollar amount. Each application is reviewed and evaluated on an individual basis. Our first priority awards are for tuition, books and fees for undergraduate degrees. Our next priority is to assist in reducing indirect financial barriers to education (for example, childcare, transportation, etc.).
Our smallest award has been about $250. The average award is around $2,000 per school term.
We consider programs at accredited institutions. Some examples of programs that have received funding include: Nursing, Teaching, Computer Technology, Computer Training, Law Enforcement, Theology, Equipment Handling, Physical Therapist, Social Work, Counseling, Hairdressing, Landscape Design, Journalism, Medical Billing, Massage Therapist.
Support is available for full or part-time students interested in attending accredited programs at educational institutions listed below.
- State supported community colleges
- State supported colleges or universities
- Technical/vocational schools
- Private colleges or universities
- For Profit colleges
A note about For Profit colleges. WISP considers higher education institutions that are owned and operated by profit-seeking businesses the lowest priority for funding, and discourages applicants from seeking an education at a for profit college if there are any other options. For profit colleges have been criticized for using high pressure sales tactics to enroll students, often have a high cost of tuition which dramatically increases student loan debt, and academics that do not always transfer to other educational programs. We strongly encourage all students to research for profit colleges and be aware of the drawbacks before enrolling.
Scholarship Awards for tuition, books and fees are paid directly to the educational institution. This is our first priority for funding.
Charitable Adjunct Assistance Awards, for education-related living expenses that would otherwise be financial barriers to education, are paid to the sponsoring agency on behalf of the recipient.
Categories for spending are rent, utilities, transportation, childcare, basic household expenses, medical expenses (copays, therapy), school. We cannot assist with old credit card debt, legal fees, relocation expenses, large or past due medical bills, entertainment or gifts.
We are prohibited from making any awards payable to individuals. Scholarships are paid on a by semester/term/quarter/session basis.
No. We have transitioned to an online application and no longer accept paper copies.
A sponsor is a contact person – an advocate, case manager, counselor – at a non-profit organization that provides services to survivors of intimate partner abuse that has worked with the applicant for at least 6 consecutive months. This person agrees to partner with the scholarship applicant and WISP during the application process and throughout the applicant’s time in school.
First, we ask all sponsors to help us in the selection of suitable candidates.
Second, we ask that the sponsor make a commitment to assist you by providing ongoing support in the form of monthly in person meetings, referrals to community resources, help in navigating obstacles that come up, and checking on academic progress. We believe that the unique needs of a woman recovering from domestic violence are often best met by an agency with experience in that field.
Third, most of our financial assistance comes in the form of what we call Charitable Adjunct Assistance. These awards are for education-related living expenses that would otherwise be a barrier to your ability to attend school. We ask the sponsoring agency to act as a payee for these awards by accepting and tracking the spending of funds as they would any other grant. When we provide funds through a sponsor, we ask that they tell us, at the end of each academic term, how the funds were disbursed.
From time to time we may ask sponsors to help us evaluate the Women’s Independence Scholarship Program, so that we may constantly improve the way we serve and respond to survivors of intimate partner abuse.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to identify a nonprofit, domestic violence victim services provider willing to sponsor her for this program. You must have worked with the sponsor for at least 6 months. You may use this link to locate a domestic violence organization near you.
We have found that many of our most successful scholarship recipients have a strong relationship with their sponsor. The sponsor can provide the necessary ongoing support, encouragement and advocacy to help you meet your educational and economic goals. We also rely on the sponsor for support in selecting candidates and administering funds.
Generally, we cannot assist with moving expenses. Keep in mind, this is a scholarship program primarily intended to assist with tuition, books and fees. Secondarily, funds are made available to assist in reducing financial barriers to education.
This scholarship was founded and funded to help survivors achieve independence and self-sufficiency. Because WISP looks to help applicants who demonstrate critical financial need we expect that with another adult wage-earner in a household, or by entering into marriage or domestic partnership, critical financial need is reduced. This can result in a change in an applicant’s eligibility for funding.
If you have been accepted into WISP and are participating on our program, our expectation is that you will demonstrate your commitment to making new life choices by keeping the focus on yourself. We are looking to support women who are working on reducing distractions that could derail their education, and financial assistance from WISP is intended to further assist in reducing or removing these barriers. Newborns, on the other hand, create additional barriers and expenses. Having a baby or engaging in any other activity that creates further barriers to successfully completing school will result in the loss of funding.
- The applicant is not a direct survivor of intimate partner abuse.
- The applicant does not have a sponsor.
- The chosen course of study is not accredited, or is not job-training related.
- The applicant has not demonstrated critical financial need.
- The applicant is outside the United States.
- The application is incomplete.
You may submit your portion, but until your sponsor submits her/his and both references are completed your state coordinator will not be able to begin the review process. Any tasks marked “incomplete” or “pending” will prevent your application from moving on to the next step.
Every applicant is required to supply two references. These references help us to get a clearer picture of each applicant; her goals, strengths and abilities. We recommend that you carefully select those individuals you ask to provide your references. Only one of these letters may be from a personal friend or family member. Others you might consider asking for a letter of reference include: an employer, a counselor or case manager you have worked with, a teacher, or anyone who knows you well and can comment on your abilities, desire and determination to complete your training or educational goals. It is important to know that our reference form does not reveal information regarding domestic violence or intimate partner abuse, so you do not need to be concerned about revealing confidential information on this subject. It is also important to know that your sponsor cannot also be a reference.
No. Our renewal application is shorter and takes less time to review and approve.