US uni offers US$1,000 scholarship to help pregnant women


College shouldn’t be hard for anyone — and that includes pregnant women. Baylor University’s Bears for Life, a pro-life organisation on campus has created a scholarship with this in mind. The need-based “Pregnant and Parenting Scholarship” will provide up to US$1,000 as of now, but may increase if funding does. It is open to men and women in need of help.

“I’m really passionate about women actually having a choice when it comes to this, so anytime when society or a group or the way things work tells a woman that she has to make one certain choice and doesn’t have options, that seems like a disparity,” says sophomore Joy Moore, Bears for Life director of operations, as reported by Baylor Lariat, the school’s newspaper.

“One of the ways that happens in our society is that pregnant women are told they have a choice, but really abortion is a lot of times their only substantial choice to stay in school — or at least they think it is, when it’s really not. Many students in the past have had a pregnancy and been able to stay in school, even maintain a GPA they want, and so you can do both and you can have both. This scholarship is meant to provide more insight into those options for women.”

Baylor is a private Christian university located along the banks of the Brazos River in Waco, Texas. It is home to more than 20,000 students from all 50 US states, the District of Columbia, and 90 countries. There are 12 nationally recognised academic divisions, offering 126 undergraduate and 80 master’s degree programmes. Baylor is ranked 76th in US News and World Report’s annual review of colleges and universities, 48th in the Best Colleges for Veterans ranking, and 75th among Best Value Schools among national universities.

The new scholarship aims to support Baylor students — men and women — who are parenting as either undergraduate or graduate students. “Our goal with this scholarship is to provide the support needed in helping women in crisis pregnancies choose life for her baby,” says Caroline Carney, Bears for Life public relations officer. “Of course, the scholarship is also there to continuously support parenting men and women who have already chosen life for their children.”

Baylor is not the first to offer a scholarship for pregnant women and parents. A scholarship by Texas A&M University’s Aggie Pregnant and Parenting Student Organisation (APPSO) is provided every major semester (Fall and Spring) to be used for tuition, childcare, or a professional conference.

Such scholarships allow pregnant women to skip the ultimatum when they see two blue lines on their pregnancy test: keep the baby or keep studying. While it’s not impossible to stay at school, and others have done so successfully, it is challenging. A 2014 review by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that most pregnant women in college end up dropping up, for a while or for good. Many felt discriminated against; most universities show a lack of awareness of pregnant women’s rights through Title IX as well.

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