• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

Dollars for Scholars there for students all four years of college

Continuing to fund education

SOLON– High school students may not set their minds on college scholarships until their last semester, but Solon Dollars for Scholars partners with the community year ‘round to provide financial assistance to those who seek it.
On Solon’s annual Senior Awards Night held each May, Dollars for Scholars has figured prominently in the program. Since 1992, the non-profit organization has been giving scholarships to all Solon high school seniors who complete an application for the purpose of attending secondary education, in addition to offering named scholarships for seniors who apply and best meet scholarship-criteria specific.
In summer months, though, when class is over and textbooks become little more than drink coasters, Dollars for Scholars board members spend time interviewing applicants for the group’s Continuing Education Scholarships (CES).
Each summer, a total of around $25,000 is granted to second-, third- and fourth-year college students to help them continue covering the costs of higher education.
Solon Dollars for Scholars initiated the CES effort in 2004 to provide ongoing support to current college students beyond high school graduation in the face of continually rising tuition costs and related fees. The Dollars for Scholars board was motivated to initiate a Capital Campaign drive to seed an endowment for the CES awards by the high expense of secondary education, said Dollars for Scholars board president Linda Lee.
“Also, research has demonstrated that as students move past the first year of undergraduate work, the higher likelihood that they will graduate with a college degree,” said Lee. “Weighting awards more heavily toward the later years of college work better insures that the endowment dollars will be wisely used to secure a college degree.”
Since 2004, Solon Dollars for Scholars has awarded a total of $181,050 in CES funding to college sophomores, juniors and seniors, through one-year, two-year and three-year scholarships, including those named for local education supporters Jack Neuzil, Paul Saupe, the Gross-Lee Family Foundation and the Andreas Foundation.
In 2014, Solon Dollars for Scholars assisted 101 students attending college. In the organization’s 22-year history, nearly $901,000 has been disbursed to Solon graduates.
There are several factors contributing to this accomplishment, Lee said.
“First, it is rooted in dedicated volunteer board members committed to the success of Solon students,” she said. “Second, (we have) a community that recognizes the importance of higher education and supports its students in a variety of activities; and third, (Solon has) a passionate group of educators that nurture our students’ natural curiosity and enthusiastically encourage our students to attain their greatest potential.”
CES applications include a statement of future intent and an interview with a panel of Dollars for Scholars representatives. Awards are based on need, focus and drive, grade point average and character, with an emphasis on need. The scholarships are open to Solon graduates who have completed their freshman year and are registered for a minimum of 10 semester hours.
Students must access the application through the Solon Dollars for Scholars website, solondollarsforscholars.com. The Solon Dollars for Scholars chapter is part of Scholarship America, which directs the chapter website, Lee noted.
“Although the application process is somewhat more burdensome than it has been in the past, our connection with Scholarship America allows for access to national scholarships that students might not otherwise recognize were available. Solon Dollars For Scholars board members are always available to help students with the application process. Our twitter feed (@SdfsSolon) is a helpful place to contact us or check for helpful tips on the application process, filling out FAFSA forms or understanding the college loan process,” Lee added.
For anyone interested in contributing to the organization and help fund scholarships, there are many ways to donate. The organization holds a family carnival each spring– this year on Sunday, March 1– and a fundraising gala each October. There are three levels of support for a named endowment, and smaller contributions are accepted at any time.
“In addition one can designate donations to be placed in the CES endowment,” said Lee. “This endowment is held in the Community Foundation of Johnson County and is eligible for an Iowa Tax Credit.”
Corri Goldsmith was a 2013 Solon graduate and this year’s recipient of a three-year CES award. Goldsmith is in her sophomore year– with a junior class status– at St. Ambrose University. She recently applied and interviewed for the Masters of Occupational Therapy program there.
“Freshman year is the one everyone plans for; we get scholarships throughout high school, save up from our weekend jobs, and never think about sophomore year,” Goldsmith said. “As I neared my second year, I realized how scarce my funds had gotten. Solon Dollars for Scholars made it possible for me to continue my education at Ambrose and I could not be more grateful.”
Goldsmith started a year-long internship with the Quad Cities Interfaith and planned a trip to Haiti with a college friend.
“Before college, I would have never had the courage to take on a 15-hour per week internship during the hardest year of my academic career, or to organize a trip out of the country for the first time– to Haiti. I thank Dollars for Scholars for supporting students like me, who strive to make themselves better and make a difference in the world.”
Lee said donors should be assured that contributions made to Solon Dollars for Scholars are sound investments in the future of Solon students like Goldsmith.
“The Dollars for Scholars board of directors is comprised of a serious group individuals who take their role as stewards of the organization’s trust fund very seriously,” said Lee. “The donations are conservatively and professionally managed. Our administrative costs are nominal. We are focused on the success of our Solon students.”
As is the entire community, Lee concluded.
“Dollars for Scholars is a collective effort: the organization’s success is directly the result of an engaged and supportive community.”
This year’s CES application deadline is June 15. Visit solondollarsforscholars.com for more information.