PSA scholarship open to former OU charter students

Katie Valley, Content Editor

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Incoming freshmen and currently enrolled students who graduated from a school chartered by Oakland University can now apply for a $3,000 renewable competitive scholarship through the Office of Public School Academies (PSA) for the 2020-2021 school year.

The academic scholarship aims to give additional support to students from one of OU’s seven K-12 public school academies: the Caniff Liberty Academy, Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences, Detroit Edison Public School Academy, Dove Academy of Detroit, Four Corners Montessori Academy, Universal Academy and the Weston Preparatory Academy. Students who attended an OU authorized K-8 academy may also be eligible, but must contact the office for details.

Former scholarship recipient Leslie Cunningham, who heard about the scholarship from her high school counselor, said there are a few requirements incoming OU freshmen must meet to be eligible: they must be current students at a school authorized by OU’s PSA office, have a GPA of 3.0 or above, be involved in extracurricular activities or be employed, list school-related involvement or community service, along with obtaining two letters of recommendation. Students also may be asked to participate in an interview with the selection committee.

“Since [receiving the scholarship], it has really helped me financially to complete my education at Oakland University, and even afterward, I was the first person that they created a graduate scholarship for, since I continued my education beyond my bachelor’s degree,” Cunningham said. “So, that was really helpful, too. Public School Academies is very supportive.”

Freshman Myla Dickerson, last year’s recipient, learned of the scholarship from her school counselor at the Detroit Edison Public School Academy. She said receiving the scholarship has helped ease the financial burden on her family, which helped make OU feel like home to her.

“It really humbled me to know that I could be able to get [a scholarship],” Dickerson said, “because my parents have to pay for me and my brother to go to school … so it is really humbling to work harder to get more scholarships.”

The office holds luncheons every semester for recipients to get to know each other and build relationships with the PSA staff, according to Cunningham.

Cunningham said the office has been supportive of her and her brother, who also received the scholarship, from attending their K-12 schools to helping them become successful college students.

“The application is very straightforward, and while it is a competitive scholarship, I think that PSA is looking for people that they want to help and want to offer financial services to and a supportive environment to help students in their education,” she said. “I would just encourage people to still apply and I think the application is very straightforward and quite manageable to fill out, and you’d be surprised that, even in terms of getting letters of recommendation, people are very willing to support you and want to help you.”

The PSA scholarship is applied to fall and winter semesters and disbursed through Student Financial Services. For incoming freshman,  it’s a three-year renewable scholarship. Non-freshmen recipients can renew the scholarship if they have not exceeded four years of full-time undergraduate enrollment, though education majors and students seeking secondary education certifications can be eligible for an additional year.

Applications and supporting documentation must be submitted to the PSA office by March 1 for freshmen and April 15 for returning students. Forms and additional information can be found on the PSA office’s website.