MUSCATINE, Iowa–In the second semester of their senior year, students have a lot of to do as they prepare for their next steps, completing final applications to colleges, universities, and technical programs; comparing offers to different schools; and thinking about what to study. As part of these decisions and preparations, students must think about how they will pay for their continuing education and what scholarships they should apply for. The Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine has made it simpler for students in Muscatine County and the surrounding area to apply for local scholarships through their scholarship application portal. Open through noon on March 10, students may apply for a plethora of scholarships in a single place.
Over the years, the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine has brought together numerous local scholarships, currently overseeing 90 for Muscatine High School, 11 for Wilton Junior-Senior High School, nine for Louisa-Muscatine Junior-Senior High School, five for Wapello Junior-Senior High School, five for West Liberty High School, and three for Columbus Secondary School. All together, the scholarships offer more than $900,000, with awards ranging from $250 one time awards to renewable awards with a lifetime value of $20,000.
To make all of these scholarships more accessible, the Community Foundation created one application that would allow students to apply to every scholarship they meet the criteria for. “The inspiration for creating a single scholarship application was to streamline the process for area students,” explained Program Manager for the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine Niki Moore Nienhaus. “Students can now fill out one scholarship application online and be eligible for many scholarship opportunities based on the eligibility requirements established by donors.”
Until noon on March 10, students at any of the six high schools that have scholarships available may complete an application. After students have created accounts for themselves, they can enter information about their academic achievements, extracurriculars, volunteering, and work experiences; indicate their interests for majors and careers that may make them eligible for scholarships intended for students in certain fields; and complete an essay. After the March 10 deadline, committees for each of the scholarships will determine who will receive each award. Typically, schools host a senior awards night near the end of the school year where they announce the recipients.
With the scholarship portal giving students access to all sorts of scholarships for community colleges, four year colleges and universities, and technical and vocational programs, Nienhaus, encourages all students thinking about any kind of postsecondary education to take advantage of this opportunity. “Due to the generosity of donors in our community, over $900,000 thousand is available in scholarships locally for a variety of post-secondary education options,” she emphasized. “We encourage all students to complete an application to help reduce the cost of obtaining bachelor or associate degrees, certificate programs, and trade training.”
As students make preparations to continue their educations even after graduating high school, Nienhaus expressed gratitude that people in the community have done so much to help students finance their postsecondary educations: “It is an amazing feeling to see donors and business in our community come together to offer so many opportunities for the young people in our area. Their generosity truly helps with financial burdens that students face while trying to further their life goals.”