FAR Awards Mathevosian Scholarships to 12 New University Students

Fund for Armenian Relief
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Edina N. Bobelian
Tel: (212) 889-5150; Fax: (212) 889-4849
E-mail: [email protected]

October 20, 2004

University Students Look to the Future With Hope and Promise

On September 10, 2004, in joy and in disbelief, 12 university students
arrived at the FAR offices in Yerevan to be awarded Mathevosian
Scholarships. Selected out of 49 applicants from Yerevan and the
provinces of Shirak, Ararat, Armavir, Gegharkunik, Kotayk Tavush, Vayots
Dzor and Syunik, they signed their contracts and hugged each other when
they realized their 10-day ordeal had been resolved!

For two weeks, these 12 youngsters from low-income families in Yerevan,
Gyumri and the village of Chambarak stressed over whether they would be
able to matriculate and attend classes in the university program to
which they had been admitted. In Armenia, students must pass an
entrance exam to be admitted to university. Those with the highest
entrance exam scores qualify to attend for free. All others must pay
tuition fees (approximately $2000 annually). In a country where the
average monthly income is about $75, university tuition for many
families is prohibitive.

These 12 Mathevosian Scholars earned high grades in school and on their
university entrance exams, but just missed the cut for tuition-free
education. Ani Antonyan, 17, from Yerevan said, “when I learned I was
admitted to the economics department at Yerevan State University but
that I scored 57 instead of 58 [the target score to waive tuition fees],
I was extremely disappointed. My mother cannot afford to pay for my
studies.” Barely six months old when her father deserted their family
and disappeared, Ani was raised by her mother who is currently
unemployed. “I saw hope when I read the FAR announcement about the
Mathevosian Scholarship Program posted on the university bulletin board.
I applied immediately, passed the competition, and I feel happy now.”

This 2004-2005 academic year, the Mathevosian Scholarship Program will
provide financial aid for 57 students from different provinces of
Armenia to pursue their higher studies. The 12 newest Mathevosian
Scholars will be studying economics, linguistics, international
relations, journalism, and computer programming at Yerevan State
University, Yerevan State Institute of Economics and Yerevan State
Engineering University. Computer programming is the latest addition to
the list of qualifying majors for a Mathevosian Scholarship.

“I believe in miracles now,” said Armen Avetisyan, 17. The Gyumri
native, who studied at Lansing High School in Michigan last year thanks
to a scholarship from the American Councils FLEX Program, had hoped to
score high enough on the entrance exam be admitted to university
tuition-free. “When I failed, I lost all hope and was preparing to
return to Gyumri. I planned on retaking the entrance exams again next
year. Then I heard about FAR’s decision to include computer programming
in the Mathevosian Scholarship Program on TV. It sounded like a
miracle, and I have now started to believe in them! With the
Mathevosian Scholarship, I am ready to do my best to meet everyone’s

Established in 1997 by New York philanthropist Anoosh Mathevosian, FAR’s
Mathevosian Scholarship Program covers tuition costs for outstanding
students who are admitted to university but cannot afford to attend.
The need-based financial aid program has a rigorous three-phase
selection process: (1) an essay application, (2) an at-home assessment
of the family’s financial situation, and (3) an interview. Provided
they maintain their academic excellence throughout the five-year
university curriculum and remain in financial need, scholarship
recipients can focus purely on their studies. The aid program is
designed to eliminate worries about the next tuition bill and requires
students to work in Armenia for at least five years after graduation.

Of the 49 applications submitted this year for FAR’s university
scholarships, 22 stood out. The Mathevosian Scholarship Program
committee, comprised of five FAR staff members, faced the difficult task
of paring down from 22 hopefuls to 12 scholars. They read every essay
application and traveled to each applicant’s house to assess the
applicant’s family and socio-economic conditions. Applicants were also
interviewed about their socio-economic condition, hobbies and the
specialization they had chosen.

“I am so very grateful for this opportunity,” said Yerevan-born Artyom
Levonyan, 17, who will study journalism at Yerevan State University
thanks to the Mathevosian Scholarship Program. Artyom’s parents are
divorced and he lives with his mother, a concert master at the Yerevan
State Conservatory. A long-time poet, Artyom has published his works in
Armenian newspapers. Currently, he is writing articles and would like
to shift their topics to patriotism.

FAR is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in New York,
with offices in Yerevan, Gyumri, and Stepanakert. For 15 years, FAR has
implemented various relief, development, social, educational, and
cultural projects valued at more than $250 million.

For more information or to send donations, contact the Fund for Armenian
Relief at 630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016; telephone (212)
889-5150, fax (212) 889-4849; , [email protected]

— 10/20/04

E-mail photos available upon request.

CAPTION1: FAR’s Mathevosian Scholarship Program allows these first-year
university students with outstanding grades who cannot afford tuition,
pictured here with FAR’s Simon Balian (fourth from left) and Krikor
Tatoulian, Country Director (fifth from left), to pursue a career in
their field of study in Armenia.

CAPTION2: Armen Avetisyan, 17, will study computer programming at the
Yerevan State Engineering University thanks to the Mathevosian
Scholarship Program.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress