Solidarity with its students and their families while looking for ways to make studies available to all students – this has been the philosophy of LCC International University in Klaipėda, a university with students from over 50 countries. Each year this higher-education institution allocates half a million euros to various support initiatives and scholarships. In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, LCC has not only refused to reduce this fund, but has also significantly increased it. More than 600,000 EUR of support have already been distributed to students. In addition, over 100,000 EUR have been allocated toward new scholarships and deferred payment programs, and all students, without exception, will pay 10% less for their tuition fees in the upcoming academic year, bringing this year’s total funding for student support to approximately one million EUR.
Having successfully adopted the traditional North American model of education, study organization and management, LCC International University, which will soon celebrate its thirtieth anniversary in Lithuania, uses the same model of merit based scholarships and financial aid as any university in North America. Merit-based scholarships are awarded to students with outstanding academic achievements while need based aid is awarded while taking into account both the students' academic achievements and the financial situation in the family. "In this way, the doors of our university are wide open to all who meet our high admission criteria, regardless of the financial capacity of their families," says Dr. Marlene Wall, LCC’s president.
"The university has always distributed and continues to do so with significant funds to support academically outstanding students and students who have financial need. We believe that a lack of funds should never become an obstacle to achieving their dreams and goals."
In order to provide at least 500,000 EUR in financial support each year, LCC has a special fund set up which is contributed to by sponsors from around the world. Personal scholarships are awarded not only by individual donors, graduates or members of the LCC Board of Directors, but also from various international organizations. This allows LCC to cover from 10 to 100 percent of tuition fees for students who are in need financially.
This year, as soon as the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus began, it became clear that these circumstances would probably impact the financial abilities of students and their families. Furthermore, over a hundred students who had planned to work abroad under the Work & Travel program during the summer holidays lost the opportunity to earn money to pay for their studies.
"Therefore, it was decided to take measures without delay. New initiatives have been introduced immediately to help the students and families who have experienced financial difficulties or are still experiencing the economic consequences of the pandemic. The annual financial support fund alone was immediately increased by 100,000 EUR. In addition, this spring a special 100,000 Euro fund was established by the chair of the LCC Board of Directors, entrepreneur John McQuaig who dedicated the initiative to his father Douglas J. McQuaig. An additional 10% discount on tuition fees for the 2020-21 academic year is being offered for all university students - both returning and new. This initiative alone will cost over 200,000 euros,” states Dr. Marlene Wall regarding the new initiatives.
"In this difficult period – for the world and Lithuania – we must not only ensure the smooth work of the university, but also make sure that all students have the opportunity to return to study in the fall, and increase – not decrease – the number of new students. The number of accepted students has been rising consistently for several years now. We need to make sure that we have done everything we can to protect and assist our students and their families from the side effects of COVID-19,” Dr. Marlene Wall emphasizes.
Aside from the unique financial support programs, LCC International University has been offering a number of merit based scholarships for years as well as grants for LCC’s own “Moose” basketball players who are student athletes at the university.
The effectiveness of LCC International University’s financial aid system is best illustrated by specific examples of students who have received these opportunities. One example is the story of a student who came to Klaipeda from Ukraine to study International Business, which she shares with young people who are applying to LCC.
Right when she was accepted to the university, Yuliia Rusianovska received the Ukraine Scholar Award, which guaranteed a 90% tuition discount. Aside from this award, she also was the recipient of the President’s Leadership Scholarship, which gave her a full tuition discount for the following 3 years of study. “These generous grants have given me the opportunity to work towards my dreams and goals without stressing about financing my studies. They have also motivated me to be an active part of LCC community by giving back to it in the ways that I could," explains Rusianovska, the Ukrainian student who was awarded two of LCC International University’s scholarships during her study years and has just recently been accepted for the MA studies at Fordham University in New York City for the fall.