Young LGBTIQ+ Australians can now apply for scholarships to assist with full-time tertiary study for next year.
The Pinnacle Foundation is a national charity that provides educational scholarships and opportunities for LGBTIQ+ people aged 17 and 26 to realise their full potential and overcome challenges arising from their identity.
As well as financial assistance, the scholarships involve mentoring from LGBTIQ+ professionals and other development opportunities.
The Pinnacle Foundation’s vision is “a more diverse and inclusive society with visible LGBTIQ+ role models”.
CEO and Managing Director Andrew Staite said that his own experiences as a student had influenced his passion for helping young people achieve their best.
“I was bullied at school for being gay, even before I knew I was,” Staite told Pink Advocate.
“I always studied hard, seeing education as a chance to break free.
“I gained admission to study law at The University of Melbourne and was shocked to realise that only a small percentage of my law year cohort came from state schools, despite state schools then educating a significant majority of all students.”
Staite said that The Pinnacle Foundation scholarships help to support LGBTIQ+ students who may not have had the same family supports that he did.
“Many of the young LGBTIQ+ scholars Pinnacle supports are not so fortunate, having been rejected by their families, faiths, and communities,” he said.
“For this reason, the support of the ‘Pinnacle family’, including funds to complete a university education or TAFE course, and the support and counsel of a mentor who has trod the scholar’s path, is especially important.”
Staite said that the foundation was proud that 19 in 20 of its scholars felt academically supported and more confident, with almost nine in ten achieving their academic goals.
The Pinnacle Foundation scholarships are for up to four years for undergraduate and two years for postgraduate courses, and may also be awarded for TAFE study.
Most scholars receive $7,000 to assist with their first year of study and $5,000 for subsequent years.
Scholarship applications are open now and close on 15 September.