College News

JFEW partners with Macaulay Honors College, CUNY and the Cohen Center at Brandeis University to Support Research on Jewish Students with Financial Need

The Jewish Foundation for Education of Women (JFEW) announces two grants totaling more than $180,000 to support research on the college experiences of Jewish students with financial need.  The grants will support research projects to be conducted over the next eighteen months on college access, persistence, and completion among Jewish students from low-income and “squeezed” middle-income backgrounds, with particular attention paid to the experiences of women and students in New York State.

Macaulay Honors College (CUNY) will launch a project centered around the college’s Jewish student community. Evaluating Achievement and Inclusivity among Jewish Students will pioneer a comprehensive, data-based investigation into the social, cultural, and financial needs of this student population. Macaulay Dean Dara N. Byrne, PhD, said: “Our aim is to not only provide an exceptional education to students, but to provide a safe and welcoming space for the next generation of leaders to develop and thrive. We are thrilled to partner with JFEW in this inaugural effort.” In studying the experiences of Jewish students and how they experience college policies, Macaulay will gain valuable insights to inform strategies that enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion across all eight of Macaulay’s partner colleges: Hunter College, City College of New York, Baruch College, Brooklyn College, John Jay College, Queens College, Lehman College, and the College of Staten Island.

The Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, a leading research center on the American Jewish community, will conduct a study on The Impact of Financial Need on College Success among American Jewish Young Adults. Associate research scientist Graham Wright, PhD, who will direct the study, said: “This is a unique opportunity to build on our existing research about campus life and Jewish young adults, and to use our multi-method approach to better understand these important issues.” Through focus groups of current Jewish undergraduates and a survey of around 2,000 Jewish young adults aged 23-24, this will be the first study to focus on the financial challenges of Jewish college students in the United States. The study will help identify the most important financial barriers to college success for Jewish young adults and examine the ways in which these barriers relate to a student’s gender, background, and religious identity.

“JFEW is proud to support Macaulay Honors College (CUNY) and the Cohen Center of Brandeis University in conducting research on Jewish students with financial need. These students can feel invisible on their campuses and within the Jewish community.  We hope the research will help stakeholders, from colleges and universities to philanthropies and Jewish social service organizations, better understand and support this population,” states JFEW Executive Director, Rona Sheramy.

Findings from both studies should be available in early 2025.

About JFEW

Based in New York City, the Jewish Foundation for Education of Women (JFEW) is a private foundation that supports higher education for women with financial need. We work with nonprofit and school-based partners, especially public universities in New York State, to create cohort-based programs for JFEW Scholars. These programs are designed to help women complete their degrees, reduce their financial burdens, and provide the foundation for economic mobility. Learn more here.