Study urges working students to keep it up!

JRF | Mar 10 2011 |

A recent study from the University of Phoenix Research Institute found that, “Americans who postpone college, then earn their degree while working, are estimated to make an average 22% return on their investment in education over the course of their lifetime." The return on investment for traditional college students is about 12%.

Dr. Ruby A. Rouse, executive director of research, clarifies that the contrast “may partly be due to the fact that nontraditional students work while attending school, providing them with an extra four years of income and work experience.” Either way, it is clear that over a lifetime, a college degree is a valuable endeavor with a definite payoff.

Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund recognizes the importance of striving for a degree at any time in life. We award scholarships to low-income women, 35 and older, who are working hard to change their lives through higher education. Unfortunately, more women apply than can receive support. This year, more than 850 applications were submitted, but we will only be able to award 80 scholarships.

People like you are making a difference in lives across the country. Click here to read about some of the amazing men and women who are providing scholarships through JRF.

To read more about the study, click here.


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UN knows education is key

JRF | Mar 03 2011 |

The United Nations is  winding up its 55th annual session, which this year focused on the status of women. The Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said, “Investing in women and girls is a force multiplier.” What she means, is that increasing access to education for women, even primary education in many parts of the globe, will empower women, help fight poverty and stop human trafficking.  The priority theme of the Commission’s session this year is “Access and participation of women and girls in education, training and, science and technology.”

The commission recognizes the achievements of the past 55 years by noting the improvements in enrollment and retention rates of girls.  Now, they are committed to closing the gap between the quality of education girls and boys receive, and participation in the workforce, especially in science and technology fields.  The UN Economic and Social Council president Lazarous Kapambwe “pointed out that women’s participation in the labor force in 2008 was estimated at 52.6%, compared to 77.5% for men.” The commission is working towards better training, leadership and entrepreneurial opportunities for women.

Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund is a part of this movement to empower women. We are dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty by increasing access to education for low-income women across the United States. JRF scholars are showing their friends, families and communities the importance of higher education.

To read more about the UN commission on the Status of Women click here.


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From ‘No Girls Allowed’ to ‘Girls Rule’

JRF | Feb 17 2011 |

The ‘no girls allowed’ policy on college campuses seems like a school-yard myth to anyone born in the last few decades. This was not the case for women in the 1970’s who fought hard for their right to equal education,  including the first class of women to attend St. Mary’s College of California.

“The Skirts,” as they were affectionately nicknamed, have been invited to tell their stories in a class called “The First 40-Years of Women on Campus.” They’re showing  current students at St. Mary’s, like junior Kristina Russell, that a lot has changed in 40 years. Kristina said, “Being a woman and going to college is thought of as a given to my entire generation… These girls fought tooth and nail and it’s made me appreciate my education more.” Now, more than 60% of students at St. Mary’s are women.

One of the first generation female graduates remembers her goal of marrying a doctor, until she realized that she could be one. Monica Fitzgerald, an associate professor at St. Mary’s, recognizes the power this message of empowerment has, and is working to build an archive so that every student on campus can learn about these strong women.

While there are still barriers to college today, Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund works to increase access to higher education for women nationwide. JRF supporters carry on the legacy of Jeannette Rankin, who fought for women’s rights throughout her life and left money to help “unemployed, mature women workers” go to school.

Thank you to all of those who fought tirelessly to get us where we are today, and to all of those who continue to fight.

To read the full article click here.


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Disparity in College Enrollment and Graduation

JRF | Feb 08 2011 |

Disparity in College Enrollment and Graduation

The United States federal government spends $32 billion a year towards Pell grants and scholarships for students attending four-year colleges. There is another $12 billion allocated for subsidized student loans and matching funds. Yet, “only about a half of teenagers who enroll in college end up graduating” reports David Leonhardt of The New York Times. So, what are colleges doing about the disparity in enrollment and graduation rates? There are a few states with college systems, such as Indiana and West Virginia, which are reformulating to award monies proportionately with four-year graduation rates. So far, graduation completion rates are up to individual colleges. Education secretary Arne Duncan compares colleges to high schools, “Some do a phenomenal job in building college-completion cultures and helping first- generation, low-income and minority students graduate, and some do a horrendous job.” 

The graduation rate is the amount of students receiving a first college degree in relation to the total population. The graduation rate in the US has risen in the past ten years but that rate is significantly less that other industrialized countries. Data from shows the ‘Top 10 OECD Countries by Tertiary Education Graduation Rates’ in 2007 and the US doesn’t even break top the ten. We come in 15th place with about 36% of our population graduating behind the highest ranked country, Iceland, with 63%. Students that are not graduating with a four-year degree are more likely to be low-income. Low-income students are dropping out at disproportionately higher rates than their higher income classmates. The Jeanette Rankin Foundation aims to help close that gap by awarding scholarships to low-income women. Visit our website for more scholarship information or to read the full New York Times story visit


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Women Changing the World

JRF | Feb 03 2011 |

In a series titled Funding Serious Change, Women’s eNews ( is sharing the stories of successful women that are giving back.

These women are part of an extraordinary movement in which women are donating millions of dollars to support organizations that help other women. Many discuss their own battles with sexual discrimination and how it inspired them to give to help women overcome barriers to equality.

Deborah Slaner Larkin said, “’A seat at the table’ isn’t enough unless we also help run the meetings and have the votes to make our voices count.” She believes that it’s vital for women to enact political change, so she helps organizations that work to get more women elected.

Women’s eNews reported that women hold 51% of all assets in the United States. But, even if you can’t write a check for $1 million or volunteer 20 hours a week, you can make a difference by joining with others across the country, and the world! Besides, it’s not all selfless. Lynne Rosenthal said, “My gift goes out to others but the truth is, it also comes back to me. I realized that giving enlarges the heart and brings satisfaction that cannot be described.”

One important part of JRF’s scholarship program is that each woman who is selected has to have a plan for giving back to her community. Whether she’s working to be a nurse or teacher or lawyer or accountant or geologist, helping others must be a part of her educational goals.

So, go read about some of the amazing women who are enacting change, and be inspired to be a catalyst yourself. Click here for Funding Serious Change.


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