Eastern Michigan University introduces “New Future Fund” scholarship to connect refugees with higher education opportunities

Lada Protcheva stands on a staircase, smiling with her arms crossed.
Lada Protecheva, a refugee student forced to evacuate from Ukraine due to the Russian invasion, is currently a junior studying applied computer science.

YPSILANTI – Eastern Michigan University in collaboration with Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County (JFS), has created a scholarship called the New Future Fund to help refugee students continue their studies at the University due to an interruption by war or other transformative events. 

The concept behind the New Future Fund grew out of a relationship between JFS and EMU that began in December 2021, when 12 Afghan families whom JFS had resettled were housed on EMU’s campus after being forced to evacuate their country. The fund is intended to help refugee students with tuition and housing at Eastern, while JFS provides wrap-around services such as clothing and support resources. Both organizations are actively seeking additional refugees to support through this effort. 

“The New Future Fund is designed to help students like Lada Protecheva, a refugee student forced to evacuate from Ukraine due to the Russian invasion,” said Bill Shepard, vice president of EMU Advancement and executive director of the EMU Foundation. “We hope to secure more donors so the New Future Fund can become a permanent scholarship to allow other students with circumstances similar to Lada’s to attend Eastern.”

Protcheva traveled many miles to start a new life in Michigan thanks to her sister, a graduate of Eastern Michigan University, who helped coordinate travel plans and connect her with EMU administrators. Protcheva is currently a junior studying applied computer science. Though she misses her family, she is thankful for the scholarship support she’s received thus far at Eastern.

“EMU helped me in all areas of my life because I came here with nothing,” said Protcheva. “Without education, you have fewer opportunities. My family couldn’t afford to send me here, and EMU helped me with my future.” Her long-term plan is to obtain an internship and then work and live in the U.S.

“The New Future Fund scholarship offers a new beginning and opportunity to complete their education,” said EMU President James Smith. “ We’re optimistic we’ll find additional donors and funding to continue our efforts to help students achieve a promising future.”

The University and JFS have provided on-campus housing, English as a second language classes, and other wrap-around services for refugees.

Applicants with a GPA of 3.0 or above will initially be considered for the New Future Fund Scholarship. To maintain the scholarship, the student must complete a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester or six credits in the summer and maintain a 2.0 GPA for each semester enrolled. To donate to the New Future Fund, visit the EMU Foundation website at EMUGiveRise.com, click on make a gift and enter New Future Fund.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 14,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

November 30, 2022

Written by:
Melissa Thrasher

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher