Grand Valley Magazine - (Page 10)

DON O R I M PAC T Kierra Washington, an athletic training major, said receiving a Pathway Scholarship would ease the burden of paying for her education. photo by Amanda Pitts Scholarship would fill the gap for students CAUGHT IN MIDDLE Kierra Washington is an athletic training major from Southfield who, like many other Grand Valley students, is paying for her education with a combination of loans and scholarships. A new scholarship initiative was created to help Washington and others like her who are caught in the middle: students from working families with incomes higher than federal financial aid limits but who need help paying for their education. When fully funded, the Pathway Scholarships would fill the gap between savings and financial aid for families sending students to Grand Valley. If she received a Pathway Scholarship, Washington said she would be able to take out fewer loans. "It would mean I wouldn't have to stress about my education and where my money is coming from," she said. "Receiving another scholarship would help me further my education." She is among the recipients of the Thompson 10 Spring '14 Working Family Scholarship. Michelle Rhodes, director of Financial Aid, said Pathway Scholarships spurred from a conversation with a hypothetical question. "I was asked, 'If we were to get a really large donation right now, where would you choose to use it?'" Rhodes said. "In other words, where did I see the most need?" Immediately, Rhodes thought of students who are grouped in the middle class and from families who struggle to pay for a college education in addition to regular household bills. The gap between a Pathway-eligible household and Need-based household is illustrated in the graphic on page 11. Washington hopes to eventually earn a doctorate in physical therapy. She said she pushes herself academically to make her mother proud. Washington was raised in a single-parent household and said her mother didn't get a chance to attend college until later in life. "My grandparents, uncle and aunt also helped raise me and, along with my mother, were very positive role models in my life," she said. Washington added that the cost of an advanced degree worries her. "I just hope to continue to get more scholarships and will probably have to take out more loans," she said. Rhodes said today's economy makes paying for college a struggle for many families. She added that Washington's story is a familiar one. When students begin receiving tuition bills in July and August, the phones in the Financial Aid office begin ringing. "We get a lot of calls in the summer," Rhodes said. "Students are wondering why their financial aid is not as much as they thought. They're wondering how they are going to pay the bill. "The Pathway Scholarship could be the difference in making or breaking a student's plan to continue attending classes, or drop out to work."

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Grand Valley Magazine

Table of Contents
Campus News
Donor Impact
Art of the Possible
One Book Carries Discussions Beyond Classroom
One Million Hours
Power Trio Turns Ideas Into Companies
Q&A Renee Freeman
Off the Path
Focal Point
Alumni News

Grand Valley Magazine