Did you know that HELP of Door County acts as a sponsoring agency for the Women’s Independent Scholarship Program?

What is WISP?

WISP is a national scholarship program, available to victims of domestic violence, begun as a program of The Sunshine Lady Foundation (SLF). In December 2007, SLF Founder and President, Doris Buffett announced that WISP would be endowed as its own entity. WISP, Inc.emerged as a “sister” organization with the purpose of enhancing efforts to stop the cycle of domestic violence by offering financial empowerment through access to higher education. Since its inception, the Women’s Independence Scholarship Program has awarded more than $36.5 million in scholarships to some 4,000 women across the United States.

WISP is available nationally to women who have left an abusive domestic situation and who are pursuing an education designed to provide economic independence for themselves and their children. They can pay for a variety of educational expenses. Scholarship Awards are for tuition, books and fees and paid directly to the educational institution. This is their first priority for funding.

Charitable Adjunct Assistance Awards are for education-related living expenses that would otherwise be financial barriers to education, and are paid to the sponsoring agency on behalf of the recipient. Categories for this spending include: rent, utilities, transportation, childcare, basic household expenses, medical expenses (copays, therapy). Scholarships are paid on a by semester/term/quarter/session basis.

All recipients need a “sponsor” who is a contact person – an advocate, case manager, counselor – at a non-profit organization that provides services to survivors of intimate partner abuse that has worked with the applicant for at least 6 consecutive months. This person agrees to partner with the scholarship applicant and WISP during the application process and throughout the applicant’s time in school. A sponsor makes a commitment to assist victims by providing ongoing support in the form of monthly in person meetings, referrals to community resources, help in navigating obstacles that come up, and checking on academic progress. WISP believe that the unique needs of a woman recovering from domestic violence are often best met by an agency with experience in that field.

Most of WISP’s financial assistance comes in the form of what is called “Charitable Adjunct Assistance”. These awards are for education-related living expenses that would otherwise be a barrier to one’s ability to attend school.

Some examples of programs that have received funding include: Nursing, Teaching, Computer Technology, Computer Training, Law Enforcement, Theology, Equipment Handling, Physical Therapist, Social Work, Counseling, Hairdressing, Landscape Design, Journalism, Medical Billing, Massage Therapist.
Support is available for full or part-time students interested in attending accredited programs at educational institutions listed below.
o State supported community colleges
o State supported colleges or universities
o Technical/vocational schools
o Private colleges or universities
o For Profit colleges

HELP of Door County is thrilled to be able to help women who have been victims of domestic violence with this amazing program! For more information, call our advocates at 920-743-8785.