Jessica White’s hopes of graduating were fading fast. As a young single mother, she was struggling to make ends meet and stay on top of her studies. Then she received the news that changed everything.
“I chose to study my law degree at UTS because I want to make a difference to the lives of others,” says Jessica.
“But being a single parent to a young child, I didn’t have a lot of financial backing. I didn’t have somebody else at home bringing in a second income.”
Jessica found it increasingly difficult to balance her study commitments with earning an income. She had left her relationship after experiencing domestic violence, and now needed to support herself and her baby daughter. She was also caring for her 86-year-old grandmother.
“Being a sole parent takes up vast amounts of time and emotional energy. There was also the financial struggle to adequately provide for my family while studying. I was having to get food from charities to make sure my daughter was eating, and there often wasn’t enough left for me.”
Realising the only way she could continue her studies was with support, Jessica reached out for help from UTS. To her relief, she was awarded a Diversity Access Scholarship.
The scholarship provided Jessica with the vital financial support she needed to continue her law degree and achieve her goal of helping others in need.
She says the financial assistance lifted a weight off her shoulders and “made a huge difference” to her study experience.
“My grades improved and I managed to hold a distinction average, and I feel this was largely due to the higher level of financial security that I had going into each semester,” she says.
The scholarship allowed Jessica to feel less financially vulnerable and alleviate the pressures at home. It also qualified her to borrow equity loan textbooks from the Law Students’ Society, and to have the funds to purchase texts when these weren’t available for loan.
“I heard someone say that if a student wants to finish their degree, it comes down to how much they want it. That’s powerful, but I know from experience that no matter how much I wanted it, no matter how much it meant to me, and no matter how resourceful or resilient I was, without money in my bank account, I couldn’t do it.”
Since graduating from the Juris Doctor program in May 2019, Jessica has been working at one of the largest and most prestigious law firms in Australia, Ashurst.
She also received a Top 100 Future Leader Award in 2018 and has recently joined the UTS Young Alumni Committee, which aims to provide engagement opportunities for new UTS graduates or those early in their career.
Jessica is deeply grateful for the opportunities the Diversity Access scholarship afforded her.
“I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish a degree, take care of my child, and give back to my family. To think that people have donated this money means so much to me,” she says.
"I’d really like to say thank you to everyone who donates money to scholarships at UTS. It made such a difference in my life. And I’m sure it’s made a difference in countless other lives as well. I hope that one day I can also donate to students who need that little bit of help."
Through the Diversity Access Scholarship, UTS is able to help students like Jessica by providing financial assistance for textbooks, academic support, accommodation and the cost of commuting.
These scholarships are only made possible with the support of UTS alumni and donors who are passionate about empowering students in need.
You can remove barriers to education and empower disadvantaged students to realise their potential.
By donating to the Diversity Access Scholarship, you will be inspiring students to overcome their setbacks and achieve their dreams.
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