While the college foundation was able to fund 25 percent of scholarship applications, that still “doesn’t meet the need,” according to Jim Weaver. Weaver, executive director of the Central Oregon Community College foundation said in total $1.3 million in need-based aid was awarded to students through the foundation. The maximum amount awarded from the foundation to each full-time student was $3,400 per term.
“This past year, we were able to fund one out of every four scholarship applications. So, while we are doing really well, there is still a great deal of unmet need. This is why we are so enthusiastic about fundraising,” Weaver said.
The COCC Foundation, started in 1955 and composed of a 15-member volunteer board of trustees, is primarily funded from donations and fundraising events, according to Weaver. The foundation receives it funds from three sources: annuals dollars that come from donations from individuals in the community and fundraising events, interest-generating assets and endowments totaling about $300,000, and funds carried over from previous years.
The goal of the foundation is enable students’ education, regardless of their academic standing, meaning the scholarships are not based on academic merit, according to Weaver.
There are only four requirements for maintaining the scholarship: maintain a 2.5 GPA, take at least six credits per term, pass all courses and volunteer at one foundation event. After a student has done this for one year, they may then receive the scholarship for two additional years.
“Very relaxed requirements for what you get out of the process,” said Christopher Hansen, a first-year scholarship award winner and nursing student. “Almost all of my expenses for this year were covered by the foundation. It has taken a large financial burden off of my back.”
Students are first required to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid to determine their financial need. Then, they are required to answer three questions that are concentrated around past leadership roles, difficulties that the student has had to overcome, their academic and professional goals, and how their unmet financial needs would make those goals more difficult to achieve.
The scholarships are awarded in August after being reviewed by a team of 90 volunteers. Each application is read by three volunteers then scored based on merit. Those scores are combined with the FAFSA scores for financial need. From that list of scores, scholarships are awarded from the top down.
The scholarships are not based on academic merit. The only requirements are that the student have a 2.0 GPA at the time of application and that there be unmet financial need. The goal of the foundation is enable students’ education, regardless of their academic standing.
Beginning on Dec. 15 through July 15, Central Oregon Community College students can apply for need-based scholarships through the COCC Foundation. All COCC students are encouraged apply online at www.cocc.edu/foundation.
Kelli Pangle | The Broadside