Foundation Funds 531 Scholarships

June 30, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids Community Foundation has awarded $507,100 in scholarships to students pursuing a broad range of majors, including 158 scholarships for students majoring in aeronautics, computer/IT, engineering, health care and science.

The 531 scholarships, endowed to the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, range from very specific criteria such as the school a student attends or the subject being studied, to a broad eligibility.

Applications were sent to area high schools, colleges, select human service organizations and community groups. More than 1,000 students responded with 2,188 applications.

According to Education Program Officer Ruth Bishop, the number of applications had grown annually.

“The unduplicated count of scholarship applications continues to rise slightly every year,” Bishop said, “mainly due to increased efforts to get the information out to the community about our scholarships and our online application process that was introduced five years ago. Students really have reacted positively to this process, and the Internet allows us to reach more people.”

Female students account for 66 percent of the scholarship winners, which Bishop said closely matches the national norm of 33 percent more women than men enrolled in college.

Students attending Michigan schools are receiving 88 percent of the funding, Bishop said.

The private, locally awarded scholarships may be able to target those students who don’t fit the criteria of other programs, Bishop said.

“It can help students who face complex family and life circumstances that cannot be measured through typical aid program methodologies,” she said.

Bishop said the scholarships can also provide students a sense of personal encouragement, because the funds are provided by local donors and the students are often able to meet the donors.    

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