During the 2016-17 academic year, Waubonsee Community College celebrated its 50th anniversary. For decades, Waubonsee has been an integral part of the local community. Many don’t realize that the Waubonsee Community College Foundation has been in existence for nearly as long, providing support to Waubonsee students. This year, in 2018, the Waubonsee Community College Foundation will celebrate its 40th anniversary.
The Waubonsee Community College Foundation was chartered in 1978 as a nonprofit organization that raises funds with a priority on providing scholarships to Waubonsee students. The foundation administers 150 scholarships with award amounts that range from $250 to $3,000 annually. For the 2018-19 academic year, the Waubonsee Community College Foundation Scholarship Program stands poised to give out almost $350,000 in scholarship awards to Waubonsee students.
Each year, the foundation raises money to support the scholarship program. Community members, local businesses, civic organizations, alumni, and Waubonsee faculty and staff give of their time, talent and treasure to ensure a brighter future for Waubonsee students. Many students in Waubonsee’s district are not able to afford college, even with Waubonsee’s very reasonable cost. Without scholarship assistance, these students are not able to begin their journey toward success. Receiving a foundation scholarship provides these students with an opportunity to begin that journey and further their education at Waubonsee.
Ultimately, the mission of the Waubonsee Community College Foundation is to help as many Waubonsee students as possible reach their educational goals. When speaking with current and prospective Waubonsee students about the foundation scholarship program, it is surprising how many almost talk themselves out of applying because they assume that they won’t qualify for anything. However, when it comes to applying for scholarships, the old adage “nothing ventured, nothing gained” couldn’t be more true.
The 150 scholarships that the foundation administers have varying requirements that cover a wide range of criteria. There are even scholarships where the only requirement is that the recipient be a Waubonsee student, which means that every student that completes the online scholarship application is eligible to be considered for these scholarships. There are opportunities out there for those that are willing to take the time to apply.
Applying for scholarships, any scholarships, is a worthwhile investment of a student’s time, and the return on that investment of time can be huge. At the current minimum wage, it would take approximately 30 hours of working to earn the same amount as the foundation’s smallest scholarship … before taxes. To think of it another way, if it takes a student two hours to complete the scholarship application and they are awarded a $250 scholarship, to earn the same $250 in two hours of working, they would have to have a job that paid $125 an hour. Receiving a scholarship to offset the cost of tuition can mean not having to borrow as much in loans, not having to work as many hours or being able to use money that would otherwise have had to go toward tuition for books and supplies.
Applicants to the Waubonsee Community College Foundation scholarship program come from all walks of life – from a grandmother in her 70s wanting to show her grandchildren that it’s never too late to a graduating high school senior who’s the first in his family to go to college. However, they all have something in common: Receiving a scholarship will make a difference in their lives. It will provide them with not only the financial support to pursue their dreams but also the confidence that comes from knowing that someone believes in their potential to succeed.
• Stephanie Carreno is an advancement associate for the Waubonsee Community College.