Daily News: NDSCS offers scholarships to Twin Town high schoolers

By Frank Stanko

As part of its effort to keep college affordable, North Dakota State College of Science is announcing the tuition enhancement scholarship, which will be available starting with the fall 2017 semester.

The scholarship, available only to Wahpeton and Breckenridge, Minnesota, high school seniors, will provide up to $4,000 per year (up to $2,000 per semester) to cover unmet tuition needs after all grants, waivers and other scholarships have been applied. It’s being provided through support from the NDSCS Alumni/Foundation.

“(We want to) assist students from Wahpeton and Breckenridge with the opportunity to help cover some of their college expenses,” said Justin Grams, assistant director of admissions and records with NDSCS’ Enrollment Services office.

High school seniors in the Twin Towns Area will soon receive an explanatory letter and information about the scholarship. NDSCS does not have the mailing addresses of all seniors in the two cities, so interested parents and students who do not receive a letter are advised to contact Grams.

To qualify, students must have attended either Wahpeton Senior High School or Breckenridge High School, be admitted to NDSCS in a degree program, have a 2.0 or better minimum cumulative high school grade point average and maintain a grade level in the A-C range for both semesters, explained Grams and Barbara Spaeth-Baum, executive director of college relations and marketing at NDSCS.

“What we want to do is make sure the students in our own backyards have an opportunity to look at NDSCS first and possibly come to school here,” said Kim Nelson, executive director of the Alumni/Foundation. “Endowment money comes from donors. Many are alumni, from years and years before. Some are local businesses and industries that have helped us in starting endowments to give as scholarships to students.”

According to NDSCS’ website for the scholarship, funds will be distributed on availability. Preference will be given to students with a family adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less.

“The student must complete the FAFSA (and) the NDSCS scholarship application,” the website continues. “The priority deadline will be Saturday, April 15, 2017. Scholarships will be awarded after April 15 on a funds-available basis.”

Nelson said the hope is to raise enough money in endowments over time so the tuition enhancement scholarship can be extended to all seniors in Richland County, North Dakota, and Wilkin County, Minnesota.

“A lot of the states around us offer different tuition reimbursements. This was a good way for us to look at another way we can help out with tuition for students who are in our local area,” Nelson continued.

College affordability remains a hot topic nationwide, Grams added.

“That $4,000, for your average student, if they qualify for all of it, would cover pretty much all of their tuition. It doesn’t cover fees — and there’s an important distinction between those two — but for a student who’s taking an average credit load of 16 credits per semester, it would cover that tuition. If they’re in a program that requires 19-20 credits per semester, then it probably wouldn’t cover the cost. But it’d still be really, really close,” he said.

Graves said he’s visited with high school counselors in Wahpeton and Breckenridge. As of Thursday, Dec. 15, at least a dozen students had already learned of the tuition enhancement scholarship. While the letter and information will most likely be mailed after the holidays, students and parents can visit www.ndscs.edu/tuitionscholarship, Nelson added, to learn more.

“Word will spread, we think,” Graves said. “We know in our work in admissions that families, guardians, whomever is important to a student, has just as much say or involvement as a student does in some instances of selecting colleges. That’s the other hopeful intention of the letter — that whomever that influential person is will see it and the student will see NDSCS and will reinforce that ‘This might be an opportunity we should look into.’ At the end of the day, we don’t want someone to say, ‘Well, I didn’t hear about that.’”

For more information, Grams can be reached at 701-671-2189 or by emailing justin.grams@ndscs.edu.

Read the full story online at wahpetondailynews.com.

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