Each semester, the Friday Center awards three scholarships to part-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students age 24 or older studying at UNC-Chapel Hill. The Friday Adult Learner Scholarship is named for former UNC President Bill Friday, who strove to make a University education available to all citizens of North Carolina.

Funding for the scholarship comes directly from donor contributions. Read the story below from one of the recipients of the spring scholarship, and consider a donation to the Friday Adult Learner Scholarship to help students like Owen achieve their goal of getting back in the classroom and working toward their degree.

“My name is Owen. I’ve been a University employee for nine years (it will be 10 years in August 2017).

I’m nearly 50 years old, but back when I was a teenager and fresh out of high school, I attended what is now UNC-Pembroke on a degree track for a B.A. in English. My parents took out a personal loan to pay the tuition. At the end of that first year, my mother sat me down and sorrowfully told me that she and my father couldn’t afford to take out any further loans for my education. They would not be able to help me financially any further.

I was downhearted, but I didn’t give up. I got a job (well, a series of them) and paid my way through a few quarters at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, where I was living at the time. Eventually, however, I became disillusioned with the process and gave up. I tried once more and went to the Art Institute in Atlanta, but money issues again caused me to have to quit when the company I worked for laid a bunch of people off, myself included. I was only able to finish one year of the two-year associate’s degree program, and returned home to Charlotte. 

Recently, I decided to try to finish that long-languishing English degree and began work on attending UNC-Chapel Hill at the end of summer, just in time to enroll for the fall semester. While some of my ancient history followed me and garnered me some credits, I would love to be able to take two classes in the spring semester to begin knocking out some of the General Education requirements. Otherwise, it will take me much longer to complete my degree.

My hope is to take both German 102 and English 105 in the spring. The schedule works out and I can do it, except I can’t afford to pay the tuition for the second class. Unfortunately, I barely make ends meet. I live alone, and have no significant other, and my family can’t help me financially. Every dime I make is accounted for. Large or unexpected expenses can be catastrophic.

I wasn’t sure if I would even be able to handle school again after so long, but I’m excited and surprised to find that yes, I can. My grades in German 101 are excellent and I know I can keep carrying this forward. I love school now and really wish I’d done this years ago. I’m extremely engaged and committed to finishing this degree.

A Friday Adult Learner Scholarship would make a huge impact on my education goals and would allow me to take that second course.”

Interested in our other Spring 2017 Friday Adult Learner Scholarship winners? Learn more about Allison and Brett, and how their scholarship helps them reach their educational goals.