$136,500 in foundation grants support Penn State Abington scholarships

Abington Charlotte Newcombe scholarship

Jessica Passarella, Class of 2019, received a Charlotte W. Newcombe scholarship, an award for mature students in need of financial assistance to complete their degrees.

Credit: Jessica Passarella

Penn State Abington has recently received a total of $136,500 in grants from three foundations to support student scholarships. 

The Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation awarded $35,000 to the Abington campus, which will match the grant 1:1 for a total impact of $70,000 in scholarships.  

The Newcombe grant will benefit mature students who are pursuing their first undergraduate degrees and have unmet financial need. The goal is to support some of Penn State Abington’s most vulnerable learners, adults who comprise about 25% of the student population. Many adult students work to support themselves and their families and struggle to balance the demands of family, school and employment. 

A student who received a Newcombe scholarship stated, “You have lightened my financial burden. The Charlotte W. Newcombe scholarship has allowed me to shift my focus to one of the most important aspects of school, learning. Words can’t express the gratitude I feel and how thankful I am.”  

Gianna Durso-Finley, executive director of the foundation, said they are honored to support Penn State Abington adult students. 

“For the last four years, the foundation has been very proud of our partnership with Penn State Abington to serve mature students who are seeking a degree to jump-start their careers. The Newcombe scholars at Abington are passionate and committed, and many seek to go into fields in which they can give back to their communities,” she said. 

Founded in 1979, the foundation is the embodiment of Newcombe’s passion for supporting college students through philanthropy.  

The foundation has been very proud of our partnership with Penn State Abington to serve mature students who are seeking a degree to jump-start their careers.

—Gianna Durso-Finley , Executive Director, Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation

W.W. Smith Charitable Trust 

The W.W. Smith Charitable Trust awarded $56,000 to support full-time Penn State Abington students. The individual scholarships range from $2,000 to $5,200. 

One Smith recipient stated, “This scholarship eases the burdens of the constant financial stress that I am under. I felt extremely blessed upon receiving this because I was worried about my expenses during the fall. But with this funding I will be able to complete my final semester and earn my bachelor's degree.”  

Founded in 1977 by William Wikoff Smith, the trust is a private foundation that supports communities in Philadelphia and the region. Providing grants for students with unmet financial need is among its four giving priorities.  

Independence Blue Cross Foundation 

The Independence Blue Cross Foundation awarded Penn State Abington $10,502 through its Nurses for Tomorrow initiative, which assists nursing students in the Philadelphia region.  

It is intended to support one year of study for students enrolled in Penn State Abington’s RN to B.S.N. program. In the last decade, the commonwealth of Pennsylvania has updated its regulations to require that all nurses earn a bachelor of science in nursing.  

“This award supports the continuing education of nurses completing their bachelor’s degrees in nursing at Penn State Abington. Penn State Abington and the University’s Nese College of Nursing are committed to student success,” Brenda Holtzer, program chair of the RN to B.S.N. program at the Abington campus, said. 

Gifts to Penn State Abington will advance “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hard-working students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more, visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.  

About Penn State Abington  

Penn State Abington provides an affordable, accessible and high-impact education resulting in the success of a diverse student body. It is committed to student success through innovative approaches to 21st-century public higher education within a world-class research university. With about 3,700 students, Penn State Abington is a residential campus that offers baccalaureate degrees in 23 majors, undergraduate research, the Schreyer honors program, NCAA Division III athletics and more.

The author of this article, Naomi Oziel, is a Penn State Abington student.