Scholarship opportunities available for area college hopefuls

Around Campus

Posted: Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Believe it or not, there often is unclaimed cash that the financial aid office at Kenai Peninsula College has available in scholarships that don't get awarded. Too many times, there are valuable scholarships that are not granted because of a lack of applicants, and many of the scholarships take very little effort to apply for.

Do students and their parents realize these scholarships exist? If not, KPC wants that to change. With the high costs associated with post-secondary education in this day and age, every little bit helps. In some cases, entire semester tuition waivers, a type of scholarship that covers the entire cost of tuition, go unclaimed. This represents a sizable amount of money that could be used for books, living expenses, and even fuel to get to school.

Carrie Burford, KPC's financial aid coordinator, works hard to get information about financial aid opportunities out to students in our local high schools. She routinely has "Financial Aid Nights" at the local high schools throughout the borough explaining the sometimes intricate and complex application procedures for a variety of financial aid options. She encourages parents to attend with their students to help absorb the plethora of details that surround the process. She also wants parents to know she delivers both KPC specific, as well as general college financial aid information at these informational meetings. The one take-home message she hopes everyone hears is this: Apply early and apply for every scholarship one can qualify for.

Many of the scholarships KPC can offer students come from the local community from various service organizations, such as the Lions, Rotary and other clubs in the area, as well as from nonprofit groups. Others come from industry sources, many of which are directed toward students who may be preparing for careers in the industry granting the scholarships.

Scholarships also are made available to KPC students through benevolent donations from individuals or their estates. Many of the original settlers here on the peninsula were instrumental in making the college what it is today. It is a natural extension of their original dedication that they see fit to remember KPC, whether as a part of a living endowment or as a part of their estate.

The newest scholarship in this category is the Hays Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship was created in memory of Mrs. Catherine A. Hays and her love of literature. Mrs. Hays was an avid reader, and it was important to her family to pass on her love of literature. Hays believed that literature provides an understanding of social history, explores cultural values and provides insight into the human experience. To that end, her family arranged the scholarship.

As with most scholarships, there are guidelines and conditions that students must meet to be considered for the award. For the Hayes Memorial Scholarship, the minimum scholastic requirements are that students must currently have a 2.5 cumulative grade point average or higher. They must provide a copy of their high school or college transcripts with the application (which is available in the KPC financial aid office.) It also is required that applicants be limited to first-time, college freshmen who are officially admitted into the associate of arts degree program and enrolled full-time with 12 credits at the Kenai Peninsula College Kenai River Campus. In addition to applying, applicants must submit a personal essay of not less than two pages and not more than four, double-spaced typewritten pages. The essay must detail the applicant's belief and philosophy on the importance of literature in modern day society. Applicants should pay careful attention to the quality of the essay.

The selection committee will place primary emphasis on the content and the skill with which the applicant communicates his or her ideas in writing. Although it is the intent of the college to award the scholarship, the committee, in its sole discretion, reserves the right not to award the scholarship in the event that they determine that no sufficiently qualifying applicant has applied.

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the scholarships that are readily available to students and potential students. Many of these scholarships have deadlines in the spring time, but it behooves all students (and their parents) to do the research and preparation for them now.

For more information, contact the KPC Financial Aid Office at 262-0332.

Speaking of scholarships

As mentioned above, a number of nonprofit groups in our area raise money and award students scholarships. One such organization is the Peninsula Art Guild.

According to Marcia Beauchamp, a member of the guild, a total of $9,200 was awarded to high school and post-high school students in the community who chose to continue their arts educations. This ongoing scholarship program is funded from proceeds from the Kenai Art Guild arts and crafts fair held at Kenai Central High School during Thanksgiving weekend. This event has grown over the years into a much anticipated early Christmas shopping opportunity and is a great place for local artists to sell their wares.

According to KPC Art Professor Celia Anderson, six students (or former students) from KPC qualified for their guild scholarships on the strength of the portfolios accumulated in the drawing and painting classes they took at KPC. Laurie Marta, Louis Lagoutaris, John Lagoutaris, Ivy Weeks, Ryan Wicker and Sherry Sather all were awarded $500 toward their future art educations.

KPC congratulates these students for their achievements and thanks the Peninsula Art Guild for recognizing that an investment in these students' futures ensures art will be alive and well on the peninsula for many years to come.

This column is provided by Suzie Kendrick, community relations coordinator at Kenai Peninsula College.

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