The Clark State Community College Foundation Scholars program expanded from the Springfield City School District into Champaign County last year with the addition of Graham Local School District and Urbana City Schools. This year, the program has expanded even further and has recruited its first class of scholars from the Clark-Shawnee Local School District and Tecumseh Local School District.
The Clark State Foundation Scholars program offers three years of college at Clark State at no cost to the students upon graduation. The Scholars program is working to offer students additional tools to help them be more successful in college, including more hands-on learning and how to navigate the FAFSA.
“The Foundation is proud to work with the communities we serve to prepare students for success,” said Toni Overholser, director of the Clark State Foundation. “We’re particularly proud of our Scholars program; this program not only provides scholarships to these first generation students, but we also work with them throughout their high school career to provide mentorship and assure they have the skills necessary to be successful in college.”
Overholser said donors within each scholar community have contributed funds to provide scholarships for these students. “They have chosen to invest in the young people in their own community; by doing so they have invested in their community as a whole,” she said.
Paula Crew, superintendent of Tecumseh Local Schools, said she is pleased with the recent full-ride scholarships awarded to 11 eighth grade students through the Clark State Scholars program.
“This provides our student recipients the opportunity to attend Clark State free of tuition and cost of books for up to three years following high school graduation,” she said. “Personnel from the Clark State Scholars program will routinely work with the students through high school to help prepare them for college. We are excited to partner with Clark State Community College and appreciate the wonderful opportunity these students have received."
To qualify for the Scholars program, student must be in eighth grade, have maintained a 2.0 GPA through their seventh grade year or the first quarter of their eighth grade year, family meets the income eligibility for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program and neither parent has a bachelor’s degree at the time of the application.
Overholser said education changes lives and builds a stronger community, “We are grateful to the donors who make this life changing program possible.”
Nine Clark-Shawnee students have been selected for the Clark County Scholars program.
Clark-Shawnee Superintendent Brian Kuhn said the Clark County Scholars program offers their students incredible opportunities, both in the form of a scholarship after graduation and also on the path to get to graduation in the form of mentorship, college preparation and support. “We are committed to supporting our students on their individual paths to success and grateful for partners like Clark State Community College who want to be part of that commitment,” he said.
Kuhn said Clark State has been a proven and effective partner for the Clark-Shawnee district for many years. “Clark-Shawnee Local Schools has a long-standing and effective partnership with Clark State,” he said. “Partnering with Clark State and the Clark State Foundation in the Scholars program is a natural fit to our collective philosophies and visions for student development.”