DEI Scholarships | Kent State University

Student Persistence Award 

(Lester A. Lefton Student Persistence Award)

Student Persistence Award 

Multiple $500 scholarships are awarded to Kent State University students. The Student Persistence Award is awarded in August each year. Scholarship recipients will receive a revised award letter prior to the start of the fall term (or at the end of the awarding process).

Eligibility Criteria 

1. Junior or senior class standing as of spring 2018 (not graduating in the spring or summer 2018).

2. Complete the 2018-2019 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after October 1, 2017. Complete the FAFSA online at Be sure to designate Kent State University to receive your FAFSA results (Federal School Code: 003051). Failure to complete the FAFSA will eliminate you from consideration for need-based scholarships.

3. Open to all campuses.

4. In order to be considered for the scholarship included on this application, you must:

  • Fully admitted student or are a continuing student in good standing at Kent State University.
  • Submit application in its entirety with the correct KSU Student Banner ID number.
  • Complete the personal statement and any additional scholarship requirements and/or questions.

2018 -19 Student Persistence Award Application

Please contact Shana Lee, Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Leadership, for an application at or (330) 672-8582. Completed applications must be submitted by Friday, May 11, 2018


Student Persistence Award Success Stories

Nicholas Kamis - 2017 Recipient
Class Standing 2017-18

Senior at the Kent campus.

Thank You 

I want to thank you for your kindness and willingness to invest in me. It is through your passion to help students that will allow me to be successful in achieving my dreams of nursing and beyond. I know these are only words, and words can only show so much expressed in appreciation but I am studying hard and pressing to obtain excellence as well. All I can do is once again say thank you! 

Goals and Future Plans

Being a nursing student, my goal is the common one of passing nursing school and becoming a registered nurse. Long term my goal is to use my nursing skills I obtained through Kent State to help children who have been through a tough start as I did. I want to work in pediatric psychology, and encourage the children to know they are loved and safe.

Isis Thornton - 2017 Recipient
Class Standing 2017-18

Senior at the Kent campus.

Thank You 

I want to thank you so much for helping me continue my education this year. Receiving this scholarship means so much to me because it means that you saw something in me worth investing in, even as a senior. That is important I did not know if I would even be able to finish my education, and I have come so far. Thanks to you, I intend to graduate this spring. 

Goals and Future Plans

My current goals are making Dean's List both semesters of my senior year, winning this year's step show performance, and building bonds with professors. My long-term goals are to pass the graduate record examinations, apply to all the graduate schools I want to attend, be accepted, and graduate undergraduate on time.


Natalia Román Alicea - 2016 Recipient

NataliaFor Natalia Román Alicea, this scholarship meant the world to her as it went a long way to boost her morale and ease her financial constraints as she pursued her academics here at Kent State University. Someday, she says, “with the blessing of my education and this scholarship, I will give back generously to my community and become one of those benevolent donors who invests in the education and future of young people”.

“Were it not for this Tee-Up Scholarship and other scholarships offered through the university, someone like myself, living so far away from home and loved ones, wouldn’t have been able to attend college as a full-time student, graduate in four years, conduct undergraduate research, study abroad, be a highly involved student leader, and maintain a 4.0 GPA. Now, I’m looking forward to a promising future, proudly finishing my bachelor’s degree as a competitive candidate in the field of Communication Studies for a top graduate school in the country.”

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Sandra Murray - 2016 Recipient

"My husband and I both work, and we are both in school, I am obtaining my bachelor degree, and he is working on his Masters degree. We have debt from when we were younger we are still paying on, as well as car and student loans. We are making it work and keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table, but it doesn’t leave much to apply to tuition, books and fees. It is for these reasons that this scholarship means so much. I feel incredibly privileged to have received this scholarship to aid in the cost of my education, as it allows me to continue my calling to dedicate myself to helping others."

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Linda Mensah - 2016 Recipient

“It is fair to conclude that this Lester Lefton scholarship has meant so much to me and my young family, it is the  transforming power of this and other  scholarship that are  propelling me to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse practitioner.  Every bit of financial assistance she can get will get me a step closer to attaining my dream.”

Please consider supporting other students like Linda by donating