It should come as no surprise that student scholarships are first priority in TCC Foundation's Campaign for Completion. Financial challenges make some of the most daunting barriers to student success. At first glance, the need seems straight forward enough, but we've come to realize that student tuition and scholarships represent so much more than dollars and cents. Of course, a scholarship can mean another credit hour, another year conquered, or degree earned, but something truly special happens on an interpersonal level as well.
First and foremost, we see that when a student receives a scholarship, it bestows an invaluable sense of security and peace of mind. We recently spoke with TCC graduate Madison Bremer, who confirmed that "college is stressful enough without the financial aspect … I was a full time student. I was very involved in my classes and a few organizations." Today, because of her hard work and generous scholarship donors, she's joined the work force and is also pursuing a bachelor’s degree at OSU Tulsa in fall 2018. "Because of the financial aid I received, I currently have no debt, and that feels amazing."
For many students, this financial security also means the ability to attend school full-time, without having to divide their attention between work and education. Data continues to show that completion rates jump substantially when students can afford to attend TCC full-time.
For Madison and many others, a scholarship is more than just a financial transaction; trust is also exchanged. She shared that "having some financial aid was very encouraging. It felt like [my donors] cared that I graduated." This kind of encouragement can play a significant role in students’ lives for years to come.
Even today, Lauren Brookey, vice president of external affairs and president of the TCC Foundation, vividly recalls the impact of receiving a scholarship of her own years ago. It was provided by an accomplished female role model in her field, and that made a big difference. "I really felt she was my own personal champion to becoming a journalist. It made me want to achieve on her behalf."
Lauren explained that it’s a critical factor for students to feel that others believe in their opportunities for success, particularly people who have had their own success. It's a powerful encouragement to know that someone “has confidence in you and is holding you accountable.”
In this season of new beginnings, we look back on our own personal champions and look forward to a new endowed scholarship funded by individuals and organizations who are willing to stand up and say “I care.” Already, the generous response to the TCC Foundation’s Campaign for Completion is inspiring, to say the least! This is the kind of attitude that will clear the pathway and help eliminate financial barriers.
In the end, our first campaign sub-goal is about much more than money. Together we’re encouraging and empowering a new generation of students to take full advantage of their education.