ECPI University announces $4M in scholarships for black students
University also issues statement on racial injustice
Virginia Beach-headquartered ECPI University will offer $4 million in scholarships for African American students in science, technology, engineering, math and health care programs, it announced Thursday.
The new LIFT scholarship (Lead, Instruct, Foster, Transform) will pay for tuition, computers and Wi-Fi access for black students, and ECPI is raising further funding with the nonprofit Beacon Education Foundation, which assists students at ECPI and Advanced Technology Institute. Faculty will also conduct sessions for minority K-12 students interested in STEM and health care careers, and scholarship recipients will participate in community service projects helping underserved communities.
ECPI, which has 20 locations in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Texas, is a private, for-profit university that offers bachelor’s, associate’s and master’s degrees in health sciences, technology, business, criminal justice and culinary disciplines. With Thursday’s announcement, the university made a statement in support of its African American students in the wake of widespread protests against racial injustice.
“The senseless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and subsequent events has opened a dialogue surrounding racial inequality that takes many of us out of our comfort zones,” the statement said. “Many Americans often feel like they can’t say or do the right thing when in a discussion about race and so they avoid the dialogue. Today, we can no longer look the other way and hope the dialogue will disappear.”
ECPI, it continues, “never will support excessive police force or racism. ECPI University continues to be part of the solution by educating future law enforcement officers in our Criminal Justice program, which emphasizes diversity training across our curriculum, addressing the multiracial communities in which law enforcement serves. Courses address diverse cultures, responding to emergency situations involving individuals with mental health needs and supporting victims of complex traumatic crimes.”
Simulated scenarios in ECPI’s criminal justice courses teach students “to de-escalate situations and select appropriate options that are less likely to result in the use of unnecessary force. Educating law enforcement and accountability is one of the keys to eliminating future incidents,” the statement says.
Many protesters have called for defunding police departments, including in Virginia, and elected officials across the nation are considering reducing law enforcement budgets and removing officers from public schools, among other options.