Helios Education Foundation Grants FIU $900,000 to Support Completion Scholarships for Seniors

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Helios Education Foundation has granted Florida International University $900,000 to support students in their final year of university.

The grant established the Helios Last Mile Scholarship program, which bolsters seniors by providing gap grants and access to financial wellness coaching. The program is expected to benefit more than 700 FIU students, the first of whom will be awarded scholarships in September.

According to the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), nearly 15 percent of students with three-quarters of their required credits fulfilled leave college without degrees. For many low-income students, by the time they are in their final year of college, they have depleted their savings and traditional need-based financial aid is not enough to cover expenses. A preliminary study by APLU of completion grants awarded by nine universities found that 93 percent of recipients were retained or completed their degrees.

“FIU recognizes that we have a responsibility to support the whole student,” said Elizabeth Bejar, senior vice president for Academic & Student Affairs. “If a student is struggling, either academically or financially, they will carry those struggles as they transition to their first career. The Helios Last Mile Scholarship program will help ensure our students have the financial resources and coaching they need to realize their higher education goals and enter Florida’s workforce. We are grateful for the Foundation's longstanding support.”

Helios Education Foundation has supported student success initiatives at FIU for more than a decade. This past summer, FIU was among the beneficiaries of a partnership between the organization and the Florida Consortium of Metropolitan Research Universities to provide emergency completion grants to Florida students in need of financial assistance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Student success is not only about access to college, but also completion of a degree. Helios Education Foundation is proud to support students during that Last Mile toward graduation, because education is an investment and not an expense,” said Paul J. Luna, President and CEO of Helios Education Foundation.