upakar

The 2021 Upakar Scholars will receive up to $8,000 each in tuition scholarship throughout their four years of undergraduate studies. (Upakar logo)

Six high-achieving Indian American students have been awarded Upakar Scholarships for the year 2021, who will receive up to $8,000 each in tuition scholarship throughout their four years of undergraduate studies.

This year Upakar announced partnerships with four generous donors to create memorial scholarships, according to a press release.  Upakar awarded three students the Khuba Watumull Scholarship; one student the Surendra and Kusum Goel Education Scholarship; one student the Shri Tulsi Ram and Mrs. Shanti Gupta Memorial Scholarship; and one student the Pamecha Family Scholarship.

This year’s recipients of the Upakar Khuba Watumull Scholarship are Aditya Karthik of Plano, Texas, attending the University of Texas, Austin; Ruhi Patel of Stockbridge, Georgia, attending the Georgia Institute of Technology; and Kanya Shah of East Patchogue, New York, attending Syracuse University.

Neetu Watumull established the Khuba Watumull Scholarship in honor of her late father, a successful businessman who generously supported educational organizations through his philanthropy.

This year’s recipient of the Upakar Surendra and Kusum Goel Scholarship is Nikhil Repalle of Roswell, New Mexico, attending San Jose State University.  The Goel family is passionate about the value of an education and established this scholarship to help a deserving student achieve their higher education goals, noted the release.

This year’s recipient of the Upakar Shri Tulsi Ram and Mrs. Shanti Gupta Memorial Scholarship is Sanjna Tailor of Henderson, Nevada, attending the University of California Los Angeles.  This scholarship is sponsored by Adarsh and Dr. Suresh C. Gupta of Potomac, Maryland, in memory of Dr. Gupta’s parents.

This year’s recipient of the Upakar Pamecha Family Scholarship is Nayanthara Thampan of Richmond, Texas, attending the University of Houston.  The Pamecha family created their scholarship to advance vocational or technical study at a four-year undergraduate program. 

This year’s six Upakar Scholars join the 18 existing Upakar Scholars who have been renewed for the 2021-2022 academic year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for students as they return for a new academic year, said the release.  Upakar president Jyotsna Gupta Jalil expressed the organization’s support for the Scholars, saying: “Upakar is committed to helping our Scholars complete their undergraduate degrees and pursue their career goals.  We will support our Scholars by extending the 4-year time limit of their scholarships if they need to take time away from their studies due to the coronavirus pandemic.”

Upakar was founded in 1997 in the Washington, DC metropolitan area to provide highly qualified college-bound Indian American students with need-based tuition assistance so that they could graduate without a crushing burden of college debt.  According to 2015 data collected by the Pew Research Center, approximately 7.5% of Indians in the U.S. live in poverty.  The Census Bureau data for 2018 set the poverty threshold for a family of four at $25,465. 

Upakar has awarded 179 scholarships of more than $700,000 to students who meet the criteria of being born in India or who have at least one India-born parent. The scholar must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Financial need is determined by the family’s adjusted gross income. Scholars must have attained a raw high school GPA above 3.6. Finally, as long as a scholar’s GPA exceeds 3.3 in college, Upakar will renew the $2,000 annual scholarship for up to four years, the release added.

Upakar Community College Scholarships provide $500 per year for up to two years; and if the Scholar transfers to a 4-year program, Upakar will increase its commitment to $2,000 annually until the Scholar has received a total of four years of scholarship support.  Upakar Textbook Scholarships are one-time awards of $250.

Upakar scholarship applications for 2022-23 will be available in February 2022. The submission deadline will be April 30, 2022.

For more information and to support Upakar, please visit www.upakar.org.

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