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Women's Empowerment Scholarship Program.  Ending Violence Against Women One Diploma at a Time
image of a woman holding books and graduation cap

The Fall 2013 scholarship
has been awarded.
Please check back in January
for next year's application process.

Need for the Women’s Empowerment Scholarship

Studies now make clear the benefits of a college degree:

  • On the average, college graduates earn more than high school graduates. According to the Census Bureau, over an adult's working life, high school graduates earn an average of $1.2 million; while those holding a bachelor's degree earn about $2.1 million (Day and Newburger, 2002).
  • For women specifically, the same holds true.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2011), women over 25 years old with an associate's degree or some college earn about 17% more than women with only a high school diploma,  and women with a bachelor's degree or higher earn 82% more.

Studies also show that battered women have unique needs when it comes to accessing college.

  • As noted above, college degrees have a direct economic benefit to women. Significantly, that benefit can be a protective factor for women against the experience of intimate partner violence as women living in poverty may be at increase risk of victimization. For example, research using data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) found an intimate partner violence rate 5 times lower for top-earning households compared to the lowest-earning households (Greenfield et al., 1998); and the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH) found that economically disadvantaged neighborhoods have higher rates of intimate partner violence (Benson, Fox, DeMaris, & Van Wyk, 2003).
  • Research also shows that experiences of intimate partner violence were associated with lower levels of employment during periods of abuse, and also with decreased employment stability six years later (Crowne, et al., 2011).
  • When women earn higher incomes, they have more financial resources available if they need to leave an abusive relationship. A longitudinal study following 264 women for 3 years after leaving a domestic violence shelter found that women with the least financial resources are the most likely to be re-abused (Bybee & Sullivan, 2005).

Key Elements and Eligibility

  • To be eligible for a Women’s Empowerment Scholarship, women must have been served through one of the member programs of the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association (KDVA) OR has an experience of intimate partner violence, rape, or stalking as a teen, college student, or in the family of origin; and
  • To be eligible, women must apply and have been admitted to the University of Kentucky, and plan to secure a bachelor’s degree in a field of their choosing.
  • The core of the Women’s Empowerment Scholarship Program is a stipend provided by the Center for Research on Violence Against Women.  The Scholarship stipend may be up to $4,000 a year, adjusted based on the level of other grant and scholarship funds available, the need presented by the applicant, and the number of credit hours being taken by the student. The Scholarship is renewable.
  • The Office of Student Financial Aid will coordinate access to state and federal financial aid to which the applicant may be eligible, including academic scholarships, Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarships, other private scholarships, and need-based financial aid programs. 
  • Women holding a Women’s Empowerment Scholarship will be assigned a UK Academic Advisor to help ensure their academic success;
  • Women holding a Women’s Empowerment Scholarship will also be provided an advocate from the local Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program to assist them with any advocacy or protection needs.

Attending the University of Kentucky


Students should apply to the University of Kentucky through the online process. Please visit to apply.

Questions about the admission/registration process may be directed to:
Michelle Nordin
Associate Director of Undergraduate Admission and Associate Registrar
University of Kentucky
100 Funkhouser Building
Lexington KY 40506

Office of Undergraduate Admissions

Office of the Registrar

UK Office of Financial Aid (Click here)


  • Federal Pell Grant is a federal gift assistance that does not need to be repaid by the recipient. The Federal Pell Grant is based upon the student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by the analysis of information submitted on the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and enrollment status.  Currently the maximum amount awarded is $5,550 per year. 
  • College Access Program (CAP) Grant helps Kentucky's financially needy undergraduate students attend eligible public and private colleges and universities, proprietary schools, and technical colleges.   To qualify for a CAP Grant, the total expected family contribution toward the student's educational expenses cannot exceed $4,995.  Currently the maximum award for an academic year is $1,900.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is federal gift assistance normally awarded to full-time students with the greatest levels of financial need and who are Pell Grant recipients. The average award is $600 per year.


  • Federal Perkins Loan is federal assistance based on need and must be repaid by the recipient. The average award is $1,400 per year. 
  • Federal Direct Loan is federal loan assistance which must be repaid. The maximum annual loan amounts for dependent undergraduate students range from $ $5,500 a year for freshman to $7,500 a year for seniors; maximum annual loan amounts for independent undergraduates range from $9,500 for freshmen to $12,500 for seniors.


  • Need Based scholarships are awarded based on financial need as determined from information submitted on the FASFA; award amounts range from $500 to full tuition.  There are specific requirements for incoming students, returning students and transfer students.      
  • Academic scholarships are offered by the University of Kentucky to incoming, returning and transferring students.  The requirements and award amounts vary by the specific scholarship; the bulk of scholarships are awarded to incoming freshman.   Many academic departments also offer scholarships; like academic scholarships the requirements and award amounts vary by department.
  • Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarships (KEES) is a monetary assistance to Kentucky students based on high school academic performance.  The better students do in high school, the more they will earn toward college or technical school. Graduates of Kentucky high schools are eligible for yearly scholarships if they meet GPA requirements.  Home schooled students or those with a GED are eligible for onetime bonus awards.

Federal Work Study (FWS):

  • FWS provides students the opportunity to work part time to help cover the costs of college and, if possible, to provide work experience in a field of interest.   Employment is based on financial need and can be located on campus or in Community Service agencies.   The pay range for FWS is $7.25 - $10.85 depending on the student year in school and placement. 

Individual Development Account (IDA) through the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association:

  • KDVA operates an Individual Development Account (IDA) program for victims of intimate partner violence. Participants in the program are referred by KDVA's fifteen member programs and several partner agencies (KDVA handles the financial management and member/partner agencies provide support and case management for participants.)  Participants must meet federal income guidelines (must have some form of "earned income" to participate) and agree to attend financial literacy classes.  They have three years to save up to $2,000 which KDVA will match with $4,000.

Other Support Services for Women

Domestic Violence &
Sexual Assault Support

Kentucky Domestic Violence Association

Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program

Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs

Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center


Lexington-Fayette Urban County Housing Authority
Information on public housing, housing choice vouchers and homeownership programs.

Family & Children

The Nest – Center for Women & Families
Offers parenting program, domestic violence counseling, crisis case management, child care and other related services.

One Parent Scholar House
(formerly Virginia Place) Comprehensive program for single parents who are full-time students in a post-secondary educational institution, which includes housing, child care, counseling, workshops, support from neighbors and staff, and special activities.

Child Care Council of Kentucky
Centralized resources, referral to quality child care, information on child care assistance program.

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Human Services
Information on services and programs for children and families.


UK HealthCare

Lexington Fayette County Health Department

Kentucky Children's Health Insurance Program (KCHIP)
Free of low-cost children’s health insurance.

About Lexington

Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government

Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau

Verizon Wireless: Commitment to Women

Verizon Wireless is a recognized corporate leader for its commitment to preventing domestic violence and raising awareness of the issue.  The company’s commitment to women started in 1995, with the launch of the HopeLine Program.  Verizon Wireless chose this name as it embodied the positive difference the company intended to make in the areas of domestic violence awareness, prevention and victim recovery. 

HopeLine from Verizon collects no-longer-used wireless phones, batteries and accessories that will be recycled or refurbished and sold for re-use to support domestic violence survivors and nonprofit organizations focused on domestic violence awareness and prevention.  Since October 2001, when Verizon Wireless launched its national recycling program, HopeLine has collected more than 9 million phones.  This translates to over $14.2 million in cash grants for domestic violence organization across the country and nearly 123,000 HopeLine phones distributed for use by victims, survivors and organizations[1].

Since the day of the Center’s creation, Verizon Wireless, Verizon, and the Verizon Foundation have been extraordinary supporters of efforts to end violence against women. The Center-Verizon Wireless partnership has been one of “firsts.”  In 2005, Verizon Wireless expanded the normal focus of their funding support in an innovative direction to support the Center’s very first endowed chair.  The Verizon Wireless Endowed Chair of Study on Violence Against Women is currently based in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology in the UK College of Medicine.

With the Women’s Empowerment Scholarship, Verizon Wireless is again partnering with the Center on a unique and ground-breaking project.  All at the Center are grateful for Verizon Wireless’ financial generosity and for their enduring commitment to creating a safer world for women and girls. 

image of $100,000 worth of phones - courtesy of verizon wireless

[1] Donations of wireless phones, batteries and accessories, in any condition and from any wireless provider, are accepted at Verizon Wireless Communications stores nationwide and through special drives.  Individuals may also donate old phones by downloading a postage-paid shipping label from the HopeLine website.    

Contact Us
108 Bowman Hall
Lexington, KY 40506-0059
(859) 257-2737