Frat Honored, Pushes Scholarships and Financial Aid
By Dianne Anderson
Dr. Jamal Myrick is thinking ahead, trying to beat financial aid deadlines to get more Black students into higher education, which usually starts with paying the biggest bill.
Probably the worst part of being a low-income student in California is that they usually aren’t aware there’s a good chance they qualify to attend universities for free.
Dr. Myrick, director of African Student Programs at the University of California, Riverside, said their program is gearing up to roll out fall scholarships in partnership with their Black alumni chapter.
Other scholarships are also available through the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Mu Xi Lambda Chapter. On December 31, their fraternity gala plans to ring in the New Year by raising more money to support local Black high school students.
But through the worst of times, he is still encouraged to see UCR Black student population increasing. The campus has reported an uptick in enrollment. Many of the incoming students are stopping by ASP to attend events, seeking the community support that UCR often talks about.
“We’ve been making sure that we’re celebrating our scholars, that they feel connected and welcome, especially folks that have never set foot on a campus before. Or, those that might have had their campus [experience] cut short due to the pandemic,” said Myrick, Ed.D.
Right now, students are navigating hybrid situations, with about 80% attending in-person classes, and 20% online, but he said access to funding is always the major hurdle. For undergrad students, the money is out there, for now.
Applications to attend college in the fall of 2022 started October 1. As for FAFSA financial aid, he said the deadline to apply is June 30, 2022, but if students wait that long, they run the risk that the money won’t last.
“The longer you wait, the less money you’re going to get back. As soon as FAFSA opens, get your information in now. The earlier the better,” he said.
Even those that think they may not qualify should apply because most students qualify for financial aid.
On average, 71% of California undergrads receive grants and scholarships, 56% of state undergrads pay no tuition and 46% of students graduate with no student loan debt, according to the University of California website. Students that qualify with family income from $0-80,000 a year will not pay any systemwide tuition and fees.
March 2 is the priority deadline for applicants to submit FAFSA.
ASP and their Mu Xi Lamba chapter are now calling on the community to pay attention to timing, and spread the word. They are promoting financial aid information as much as possible, but he said someone may know someone that needs it.
This week, their chapter also received honors for their outstanding contributions to community from the San Bernardino League of Women Voters at its Citizens of Achievement event.
The Brothers of the Mu Xi Lambda Chapter held about 15 various events from skill-building, partnering with the local NAACP on a week of action and advocacy. They’ve worked on voter registration, they featured a banker panelist on a first time homebuyer preparation session, and they brought in guest speakers to talk about mental health impact of the pandemic.
More service events are coming up. On December 11, the community is invited to participate and give gifts big and small at a toy drive with St. Anthony’s church in San Bernardino. Mu Xi Lambda is also partnering with the Riverside Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. with their Thanksgiving event, another opportunity to donate goodies and deserts to the community.
Their Alpha future leaders mentoring program starts up soon, as well as Project Alpha, a national program focused on helping guide young men on how to take good personal care of themselves. In the coming weeks, Mu Xi Lamba chapter is also in partnership with the San Bernardino and Riverside Deltas and will be going around to speak at school board meetings.
“We’ll talk about the impact that different schools are having on Black students, as well as writing Op/Eds about the impact of [unfair ] disciplinary actions and how it’s impacting Black scholars in our K-12 system,” he said.
As always, he said their Alpha chapters are focused on education and advocating on behalf of Black students, and want to work with local nonprofits to help step up support.
“We are looking to partner with other organizations that have the creed of service for our Black community in the Inland Empire, and those interested in connecting with us with a helping hand, let us know”
For more information, see UCR African Student Programs, see https://asp.ucr.edu/
To find out about financial aid, see https://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/tuition-financial-aid/
To learn more about Alpha Phi Alpha Mu Xi Lambda Chapter, see https://muxilambda.com/index.html