ULUC’s annual Black History Month College Fair has much to offer

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RAHWAY, NJ — Dozens of colleges and organizations were in attendance at the annual Black History Month College Fair. The event was hosted by the Urban League of Union County Inc. on Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Rahway Recreation Center.

DJ Savage entertained by playing rhythm and blues, hip-hop, Top 100 and reggae. Union County Commissioner Rebecca L. Williams was in attendance.

Simeria Dewalt, outreach coordinator and peer recovery specialist for the Urban League of Union County, said, “Showing up is the first step to a better future. Youth is our future. We empower communities and change lives.”

Erin Murgittroyd, admissions counselor for Bloomfield College of Montclair State University, stressed that it’s important to get to know the students. With only 1,000 children in attendance, she said she feels it’s “better for students who need personalized attention.”

Caldwell University is also a small university with only 2,000 students. “We’re very welcoming,” said admissions counselor Rosalina Laterza. “There are clubs on campus. Everyone is very respectful. You see the same faces. You bond with the students, watch them grow in education and in their personal lives.”

Devon Walton is an assistant director of admissions at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, which offers small class sizes and free laptops for students. Cost is reasonable, with tuition at $30,762. There are also many scholarships. “If a student keeps a grade-point average of 3.3 or higher, we’ll pay for their master’s,” Walton said.

On Feb. 25, 1837, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania became the nation’s first Historically Black College and University.

Shakyrys Charles, a representative from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, said that $6 million is given in scholarships annually. UMES offers 90 academic programs and concentrations, leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate level. Its unique programs include a four-year professional pilot program and fashion merchandising.

The Rahway High School African American Alumni Inc. is a New Jersey non-profit that awards scholarships to Rahway High School black seniors, not only to those who are going to college but also to trade and technical schools. To date, RHSAAA Inc. has awarded 90 scholarships in the amount of more than $80,000.

“We go to high schools and meet with seniors,” said Steven Brister, treasurer of the organization.

Carla Donegan, outreach officer of NJ Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, said, “In New Jersey, there’s ‘college promise.’ Anyone in a family that makes under $65K a year can go tuition-free. If they live in New Jersey and go to school in New Jersey, they can graduate with little or no debt.”

To learn more about Urban League of Union County Inc., visit http://www.uloucnj.org/home.aspx.

Photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta