Scholarships are more than Money

The Foundation awarded nearly $125,000 in scholarships during this year’s fall cycle. The Foundation works with the community to raise scholarship funds and award those funds to students at South Puget Sound Community College. Several times each academic year, students can apply for a multitude of scholarship opportunities available through the Foundation. There is one application and hundreds of scholarships. Anne Larson, from the Foundation, encourages students to pay attention. Watch for deadlines on the college website, complete the required application and essay, complete your FAFSA or WASFA if it is required, starting early and getting letters of recommendation from teachers or the Writing Center. Scholarships are more than Money assistance with your essay can take extra time, but can improve a student’s chances of receiving funding.

After the applications are complete, the process of matching the money to the students begins. Scholarships often have specific selection criteria so reviewers use a score-based rubric for each application. It is important to include specific information about personal history, hobbies, academic goals, and community service to increase the number of possible scholarships that can be matched to each student.

Ryan Patterson, the recipient of the David E. Rhodes Endowed scholarship in business studies, simply said,
“Apply, you never know.” Patterson spoke to a room full of students, faculty and community donors during a reception hosted by the Foundation on Nov 14. Patterson’s speech described his personal journey towards a college education and some of the struggles that he faced during his life. The decision to pursue higher education is often impacted by its costs. Patterson decided to apply for a scholarship because, “Money. I need money.” What surprised Patterson about his scholarship award was how his feelings changed after being chosen. Patterson felt supported, encouraged and responsible to the donors, his family and the teachers who believed in him. He felt refreshed with motivation and confidence. A scholarship is “Not just money. It was more than that.” For Ryan Patterson, the scholarship provides another chance to make his mother proud, to repay her for the sacrifices she has made for him. Ryan’s mother says, “He is a whole, changed person…very proud of him”.

Donors have contributed $415,000 for Foundation scholarships this academic year. Anne Larson says, “There is always room for more.” They are continuously working with donors to connect them with students. The common goal each year is to increase the opportunity for education and eliminate financial obstacles for as many as possible. Students can help by studying hard, working hard and learning. The reward for so many donors is to “see the value of what they are providing” so they have a reason continue to contribute.