J’can students urged to apply for US-based News Season Youth Programme Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Academically-gifted students from low-income Jamaican families are encouraged to apply for the New Seasons Youth Program (NSYP), which places undergraduates at predominantly Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in the US.

New Seasons collaborates with HBCUs, and they, in turn, provide these financially challenged but brilliant students with “full-ride scholarships”.

The NSYP was founded in 2008 by Ray Jackson and his late wife, De’Adrianne Jackson.

Since its inception, NSYP has secured more than US$4.5 million in scholarships on behalf of participants. Many of them have gone on to work with Fortune 500 companies in the US.

Adrian Rhoden, 20, a former student of Cornwall College in St James, is a current recipient of an NSYP scholarship. He studies Biology at Alabama A&M University in the southeastern region.

Rhoden completed 6th form at Cornwall College in 2021 with 24 subjects from the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) in both CAPE and CSEC.

Rhoden achieved the highest grade possible (Grade One) in 22 of those subjects.

The native of Flower Hill in the parish was raised by a single mother, Claudia Jarrett, since his father, Oscar Rhoden, passed in 2017.

He hopes to become a doctor. Rhoden shared that the NSYP has allowed him to achieve his college goals without financial worry.

“I’ll be forever grateful to the New Seasons Youth Program for connecting me with the AAMU Presidential Scholarship, which pays for everything regarding my studies. This includes tuition, books, housing, and a meal plan,” said Rhoden from his dorm room.

Currently, there are four Jamaican students on the programme studying at HBCU schools in Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee. Meanwhile, two Jamaicans have completed the programme and are now gainfully employed in the US.

Board Director with NSYP, Elaine Palmer, said that although it is good that they have improved the lives of these Jamaican students, they want to expand the offer to more students locally.

“NSYP is eager to assist as many Jamaicans as possible. It is exhilarating to know we can impact a generation with this opportunity. Jamaica has some brilliant students who are just yearning for an opportunity to attend college,” Palmer stated.

The NSYP initiative is a non-profit Christian organisation designed to provide quality post-secondary (college) education in the US to academically gifted youth and young adults from Africa and the Caribbean.

Palmer said the organisation aims to help African and Caribbean youth build and sustain a better life through education. She noted that, aside from Jamaica, scholarship recipients have come from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and other African countries.

Sianna Christian is from the central Jamaica parish of Clarendon and completed her undergraduate studies at Lemoyne Owens in 2021.

Christian graduated with the distinction of being valedictorian and is now pursuing her Master’s Degree in Financial Management.

Prospective students for the NSYP should be high-school graduate and have attained academic excellence, leadership, and preferably an SAT international test minimum combined score of 1150.

Applicants also go through a rigorous interview before being selected. They should not be above 23 years old.

If recruited through New Seasons by an American college or university, the recipient is awarded a full-ride scholarship which may include airfare and ground transportation to the city of their college or university.

All fees associated with visa, passport, and college applications will be covered by New Seasons.

Additionally, each student will be provided with clothing and an incidental stipend to assist with purchasing the appropriate clothing for the climate in which they will be living and to provide them with the necessities they will need for dormitory life.

The application period for some US colleges commences between November and February, hence those interested to garner an NSYP scholarship are advised to start the application process now.

“The application process is very competitive so students need to be prepared,” said Palmer.