While receiving a college scholarship can be a big help to students financially, sometimes it's the emotional boost that does more to bolster a fledgling student.
"Obviously a scholarship is a financial benefit to everyone: the student, the parents, the school," said Lynne Heerema, Calvin assistant director of scholarships and financial aid, "and students are thrilled to get a scholarship. But they also think about it as 'I'm being recognized for who I am and what I do.' Sometimes that speaks as loud as the financial support."
In the last 10 years, named scholarships at Calvin have grown from just over 250 to 550, both endowed and currently funded.
"What makes them so appealing is the flexibility," said Lois Konyndyk, facilitator of the named scholarship program. "Donors can set them up to encourage a student in a particular department or discipline, or from a particular high school, or with a particular interest or to honor a loved one."
And they do. Current Calvin scholarships offer support to students in fields from biology to computer science to music, students with various disabilities, ethnic minority students, older-than-average students and even students who like to fish.
Vanessa Acosta Abreu '06 was the recipient of two of these scholarships-the Diekema Family Scholarship and the DeVries-Post Teacher Education Scholarship-both dedicated to providing aid to ethnic minority students.
"It was a great honor to receive these scholarships," Abreu said. "To receive them from people who are passionate about ensuring that minority students are able to afford Calvin made me feel welcome."
Last year scholarship aid amounted to 1,198 awards from 505 scholarships (some scholarships provide more than one award) for a total of $2,293,655 in aid to students.
"I'm thrilled to read the essays that students write for scholarship applications," Heerema said. "The goals and dreams that our students have are amazing. I wish we had more scholarships to give; we have so many great students and not nearly enough scholarships."
Successfully reaching the campaign goal would allow the financial aid office to expand its offerings.
"By offering scholarships to students in all ranges, we are saying that we really want students of all levels and capabilities," Konyndyk said. "That's what we have the opportunity to do with named scholarships. We tell a student that we believe in his or her ability, and we're really glad that he or she is here."
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