• 39°

New scholarship available for IHS students

Ironton City Schools students have a new scholarship to shoot for this school year.

Tuesday, September 18, 2001

Ironton City Schools students have a new scholarship to shoot for this school year.

A college access scholarship fund, "It Might As Well Be You," has about $55,000 in assets to invest in city students’ higher education.

The scholarship idea began in last September with a meeting between the local GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) and the Ohio College Access Network (OCAN), said Jeffe Handley, GEAR UP director.

GEAR UP is a multi-million dollar federal grant program of Ironton Schools and Ohio University Southern Campus. OCAN, headed by executive director Joy Kaser, was founded in 1999 by KnowledgeWorks Foundation in partnership with the Ohio Board of Regents, Ohio Department of Education and others.

Participants focused on the critical need for a college access scholarship, whcih resulted in the founding of "It Might As Well Be You," Handley said.

"The immediate goal of the ‘It Might As Well Be You’ access program will provide scholarships for Ironton seniors who qualify for financial assistance," he said.

GEAR UP hopes to award the first scholarships in the upcoming spring.

What educators hope happens is not only opening the doors to college for some students who thought they couldn’t go, but also motivating students to work hard in school for such a scholarship opportunity – two things the entire GEAR UP program targets in city schools, Handley said.

"Long-term goals include the establishment of programs and services to motivate and encourage elementary, middle and high school students to stay in school and eventually attend college," he said.

Financial aid workshops also will be available for graduating seniors and their parents through the "It Might As Well Be You" program.

The Ironton City School Foundation donated $25,000 to the new scholarship, with an additional $30,000 coming from OCAN and KnowledgeWorks Foundation.

"KnowledgeWorks Foundation is dedicated to working closely with Ohio’s leaders, through OCAN, to increase the number of students who pursue education beyond high school," said Chad Wick, president and CEO of KnowledgeWorks and chairman of OCAN’s board.

Community-based college access programs like the Ironton scholarship open doors to post-secondary education to students who otherwise lack the resources, Wick said.

"We are pleased to help the work of ‘It Might As Well Be You’ to increase access to higher education opportunities for Ironton area students."

Any individuals wishing to contribute to the scholarship program can contact the Ironton Foundation at 740-533-4556.