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Marion Community Foundation’s 2016 Scholarship Program Open

Marion Community Foundation’s 2016 Scholarship Program is now underway for area high school seniors and graduates. The Foundation’s scholarship program, which has grown exponentially since its first award in 2000, now includes more than 75 funds.

In 2015, scholarship funds generated 185 awards to 134 Marion area students – exceeding $339,000. “In just the last 5 years, the number of scholarship funds has nearly doubled – from 40 to 75 – and the amount of awards quadrupled,” said Marion Community Foundation President and CEO Dean Jacob. “Our donors care about the future of Marion and generously support its students.”
The application process is entirely online and starts with a visit to Visitors will find two application links on the homepage, one for high school students and one for graduates.

“As Marion Community Foundation’s scholarship program has become better known,” said Jacob, “the percentage of applications from high school graduates continues to increase.”
According to Scholarship Committee chair Larry Geissler, a typical scholarship program focuses primarily on awards for new college freshman. Marion Community Foundation’s program is unique in that it includes a large number of awards available to second- and subsequent year college students, he said. Some of the Foundation’s scholarships are even targeted for beyond the bachelor’s degree, such as the Judge Thomas K. Jenkins Scholarship Fund for law school students, or for older, nontraditional students, such as the Harper-Stuckey Marion Technical College Scholarship Fund.
The premier award in Marion Community Foundation’s program is the Wopat Scholar award. Thanks to a major gift from the late Robert and Dorothy Wopat of Marion, this award provides students with up to $10,000 toward college tuition and is renewable for three years. This marks the sixth year of the Wopat Scholars program.

New this year to the program are the Caledonia Alumni Association Scholarship for family members of alumni of the former Caledonia School and Charles E. Orcena Scholarship for students attending Marion Technical College. An existing scholarship fund, started in 2008, was renamed this year, the Harper-Stuckey Marion Technical College Scholarship to honor Marion teacher, the late Lois Stuckey, as well as former MTC administrator Andy Harper. This year will be the first award under the new name.
Scholarships in the program are available in a wide variety of academic specialties and general scholarships as well. Detailed information is available on the Foundation’s website.
“Each scholarship has its own selection criteria,” said Geissler, “based on the donor’s preferences.” The one application allows students to be considered for all of the scholarships for which they are eligible.

The online application requires documentation such as personal recommendations, financial details, and essays to be attached. According to Program Manager, Julie Prettyman, students can save the application in progress while they gather the supporting documentation and return to finish the application, including making updates and corrections, before filing.
Applications are available now through March 10, 2016, at 5pm. The review process continues for several weeks, culminating in the Board’s final decisions in late April. The Marion Community Foundation Scholarship Committee consists of Larry Geissler, Kathy Goodman, Nancy Hafer, Sue Jacob, Megan Queen, and Nikki Workman.

Additional information and access to the online scholarship application is available at Students may click on either the scholarship banner at the top of the page or the “Scholarships” tab on the left navigation bar to start the process. Marion Community Foundation can also be reached by calling 740-387-9704.