WASHINGTON, D.C. - The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF), the charitable giving arm of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), announced that it is awarding $1.3 million in scholarships to 344 students in 33 states and Washington, D.C. This year more than 45 percent of the total recipients are minority students and nearly 75 percent of the total recipients are female.
Each year, AHLEF administers nine scholarship programs, which award scholarships valued up to $7,500, for students enrolled in hospitality-related bachelor or graduate degree programs at colleges and universities across the country. AHLEF received and evaluated over 1,200 applications based on academics, financial need, relevant work experience, extracurricular activities, personal attributes and a passion to pursue a career in the hotel and lodging industry. Since its founding, AHLEF has distributed more than $15 million in scholarship funds to promising hospitality management students across the nation.
“As students navigate a highly competitive job market, we’re honored to provide pathways to a lifelong career in hospitality. There’s enormous opportunity for people to excel in our industry, and it’s our job to open those doors,” said Rosanna Maietta, AHLEF President. “Providing scholarships for interested and deserving students, particularly those who might not otherwise have access to a necessary education, is a core part of our mission as we develop the next generation of hospitality leaders.”
Every student receiving an AHLEF scholarship for the 2019/2020 year is on a unique journey, and AHLEF is proud to play a small part in their stories. A few of their stories are highlighted below:
- Hong Pham, Age 31 (Wesley Chapel, FL): Pham’s father passed away when she was a child, and her mother is undergoing cancer treatment. As a result, Pham worked full-time to self-fund her college education while attending Florida International University part-time. She is now entering her senior year of college with an AHLEF scholarship and plans to complete her education within the next two years to become a hotel revenue manger.
- Evan Nitroy, Age 18 (Rydal, PA): Coming from a family with three generations of individuals who worked in the hospitality industry, Nitroy developed a passion for serving people. After his father became ill while he was in grade school, Nitroy began working at the age of 14 to start saving to finance his college education. This year, he will enter Temple University with the help of an AHLEF scholarship.
- Grace Schuler, Age 18 (Gaithersburg, MD): With the dream of pursuing a career in hospitality since she was seven years old, Schuler has leaped at every opportunity to gain experience in this industry. Her family’s finances have been greatly diminished in order to pay for her brother’s medical bills after he suffered a traumatic brain injury. Schuler will attend Drexel University with the assistance of an AHLEF scholarship.
- Peyton Scharinger, Age 20 (Tallahassee, FL): Currently working three jobs to support his education at the University of Central Florida, Scharinger is receiving two AHLEF scholarships to support his lifelong career aspiration to become a general manager at a resort hotel.
AHLEF’s scholarships are funded due to generous support from individual donors and corporations. The AHLEF Annual Scholarship Grant Program, the Foundation’s largest scholarship program, includes funds provided by the AHLEF General Campaign, AHLEF Hospitality 2000 Campaign, Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS), AHLEF New Century Fund, the National Restaurant Association, Melinda Bush Mentors, John Clifford Memorial, Cecil B. Day Memorial, Handlery Hotels, Conrad N. Hilton Memorial, Creighton Holden Memorial, Hospitality Asset Managers Association, Steve Hymans Extended Stay Scholarship, Richard Kessler, J. Willard Marriott Memorial, Joseph McInerney Scholarship, Curtis C. Nelson and AHLEF's Annual Giving Program.
Additional scholarship programs include: The Hyatt Hotels Fund for Minority Lodging Management Students; the Rama Scholarship for the American Dream Program; the American Express Scholarship Program; the Ecolab Scholarship Program; the Karl Mehlmann Scholarship; the Graduate Scholarship Program; the Arthur J. Packard Memorial Scholarship Program; the Stephen P. Holmes Scholarship; the Incoming Freshman Scholarship, which awards PepsiCo Foundation and ALIS Scholarships; and the Opening Doors to Opportunity Scholarship, which awards the Minaz Abji Scholarships.