WSCC sees greater demand for scholarships

Fundraising for the Washington State Community College Foundation is about to launch, and the public institution is also doing away with drop fees for the coming academic year.

Advancement Vice President Amanda Herb reported to the WSCC board of trustees Monday that the foundation recently awarded $73,450 in scholarships to 91 students for this school year, but that those scholarships still fell short of the application need.

“We had more than 300 students apply,” noted President Vicky Wood. “We’re working on more partnerships and will hopefully be able to announce a recent one soon… As we get more funding in, we’ll look to continue awarding throughout this year though instead of waiting until next year’s ceremony.”

Wood said the applications grew by 119 percent between 2018 and 2019 for need-based scholarships and scholarships for specific populations.

“Those niche scholarships like for single mothers and for those who were previously adopted or in the foster care system saw significant increases in applications,” she noted.

In 2018, she said, only four single mothers applied for the scholarship, but this year that number grew to 19.

Likewise, for the foster/adoption scholarship, the number rose from two to 12 applicants this year.

“Our students are showing us that they have such a significant need,” Herb explained. “That’s what we’re hoping to communicate to our donors, our alumni and increase our employee and foundation board participation… right now the alumni giving is very, very low, typically with alumni where we’ve provided them with a good two-year foundation if they’ve gone on to a four-year institution their loyalty is to that institution.”

The board also approved a change in policy formerly used to discourage students from dropping out of classes where they may be struggling.

Herb explained that the current fee for dropping a class previously registered for is $25 per class.

But Wood said the fee has instead created a more significant burden on students’ ability to pay for their education rather than serve as an incentive to seek help early on in a course.

The board approved a change in language in the school policy to note it “may” institute a fee though next academic year there will not be a fee assessed.

The board also approved a letter of intent to sell 49 acres of the college property for $294,000 to the Marietta City Schools District contingent upon the school’s fall levy passage.

That letter was then taken by Wood to the Marietta City Schools board meeting Monday for approval and signing.

Washington State Community College Board of Trustees will next meet on June 17 at 4 p.m.