Traditional And Non Traditional Aid Offered

June 5, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids Community Foundation reports that it is assisting a growing new market for scholarships — namely, older people who may have graduated from high school years ago and now need to “tool up” for work in the new economy.

April 2 is the deadline to apply for all foundation-administered scholarships.

Ruth Bishop, an associate in the foundation’s education program and its scholarship administrator, says such men and women usually don’t qualify for traditional scholarships.

But she said older students’ need for financial assistance often is just as great because changes in the economy may have displaced them from positions in which they previously had careers.

“In the past two years,” Bishop said, “the number of applicants stating they are returning to school because of job placement or a change in marital status which requires them to enter the job market has increased significantly.

“Last year,” she added, “without soliciting any applications from non-traditional students, we received over 35 that would possibly qualify for such a scholarship.”

The stipends that the foundation is offering such students come from the Altrusa International of Grand Rapids Michigan Scholarship Fund. She said the fund will award approximately $2,000 for the 2000-2001 academic year. Grants will range from $500 to $2,000.

According to Bishop, the fund’s guidelines state that students are eligible if they did not pursue any form of post-secondary education after graduation from high school for a minimum of 24 months.

“Other candidates are those who have received a general equivalency diploma but have not continued their education.”

She advised that students who did enter college after high school but never completed their degree may also qualify. They may apply after a minimum of two years has passed since they attended college. All applicants must have been residents of Allegan, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm or Muskegon counties for at least six months prior to applying and must demonstrate financial need.

Also available for the first time this year will be grants to students of string instruments and students of foreign languages.

The instrumental music grants will come from the Llewellyn L. Cayvan String Instrument Fund, and the foreign language grants will come from the Audrey L. Wright Scholarship.

Wright, a Grand Rapids native who has returned home after years of scholarship and teaching in Italy, Mexico and Colombia established the scholarship in March.

The purpose of the scholarship is to support Kent County students seeking undergraduate degrees in foreign language or education at any accredited U.S. college or university.

The Cayvan Fund was established by a bequest from Llewellyn and Winona Cayvan. He was a chemist and MIT graduate who was the principal violist of the Grand Rapids Symphony for 11 years. He also performed for years with the Boston and Kansas City Symphonies.

“Uncle Leo” and his first wife, Alice, often tutored young musicians locally by holding chamber practices in their home on Saturday evenings. In the years after her death, he and his second wife, Winona Arrick, continued the tradition. 

The fund provides scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students of violin, viola, violoncello or bass viol at any U.S. college or university.

All told last year in these and other academic areas, the foundation awarded 400 scholarships worth almost $360,000.

Application forms are available by calling the foundation at 454-1751.

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