New Initiative to Help Women in Need Complete Their Bachelor’s Degrees in Tech Fields

Rewriting the Code, a nonprofit organization that aims to empower women to become the next generation of engineers and tech leaders, has joined with the Last Mile Education Fund, an organization that offers scholarships to students from underrepresented groups who need help to complete their degrees, has announced the establishment of the RTC Women in Tech Fund. The collaborative fund will invest in degree completion for undergraduate women in computing who are facing financial obstacles to graduation.

Though enrollment in computing degree programs is growing, many students don’t make it over the finish line to graduation. Nationally, less than 20 percent of students from the bottom two income quartiles earn a degree within six years of starting college, and financial obstacles are often the cause. The RTC Women in Tech Fund will award scholarships to female-identifying college undergraduates in need within four semesters of completing a computing-related degree.

“It’s a critical period where traditional financial aid and scholarships dwindle or run out alongside growing costs associated with adult independence,” said Sue Harnett, founder and president of Rewriting the Code. “What many consider minor trip-ups — a dying computer or broken-down car — can completely pull low-income, often marginalized students out of a degree program.”

In addition to unforeseen crises and basic living expenses like bills, groceries, housing, and transportation, low-income students in computing often can’t afford to participate in critical resume- and skill-building activities like clubs, conferences, hack-a-thons, and even paid internships that require an upfront investment in relocation.

The fund will provide rapid-turnaround mini-grants to address urgent needs, and larger grants to cover catastrophic events, access to opportunities, and tuition shortfalls.

Filed Under: STEM Fields

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