Looking Beyond establishes scholarship for Price students with disabilities

June 30, 2014

By Megan Goulding

Financing tuition costs is a struggle that most every student understands. But for students with learning disabilities, meeting the financial demands of higher education can be especially difficult. Depending on the severity and complexity of the disability, a student may not be competitive for part-time work or traditional merit-based scholarships, leaving students struggling to find the resources needed to support tuition expenses.

Looking Beyond, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit foundation, has spent years helping individuals overcome such obstacles. Recognizing the need to expand financial aid opportunities for university students with learning disabilities, Looking Beyond recently established a special scholarship fund to provide tuition assistance to undergraduate USC Price School of Public Policy students with learning disabilities, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, or auditory or visual processing problems. The USC Price Undergraduate Scholarship for Students with Disabilities is the first of its kind at the Price School, and demonstrates the school’s commitment to expanding opportunity for each and every one of its undergraduate students.

Looking Beyond is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to promoting awareness and enriching the lives of children and young adults with disabilities. Founded in 2001, the foundation supports a variety of organizations, programs and services that promote opportunity for children and families with a wide range of special needs.

Maggie Soleimani, President of Looking Beyond and a USC Price School parent, was introduced to the school in 2013, and recognized the need for additional financial aid resources to support students with learning disabilities.

“Looking Beyond hopes to create opportunities for special needs students to have access to the dynamic Price undergraduate programs to realize their own amazing potential, “said Soleimani. “Our goal is to impact as many students with a range of special needs as possible.”

The USC Price Undergraduate Scholarship for Students with Disabilities is the newest component of the Price School’s LEAP (Learning to Excel Academically and Professionally) initiative, a $10 million initiative to enhance the school’s undergraduate program. In addition to raising scholarship funds for a wide range of student populations, the LEAP Initiative works to increase mentorship and enrichment opportunities, develop unique professional learning labs across the globe, and establish individualized student assessments for all first year students.

Mike Lederer, Chair of the LEAP Steering Committee, noted the significant impact that investments like the USC Price Undergraduate Scholarship for Students with Disabilities have on undergraduate education at the Price School.

“The purpose of the LEAP Initiative is to expand educational opportunities for every undergraduate student at the Price School, regardless of their background or personal circumstances,” said Lederer. “Scholarship funds, such as the recent investment from Looking Beyond, enable Price students to pursue their educational goals and personal ambitions for a better world. We are grateful for the support of Looking Beyond, and we look forward to future collaborations.”