The bill for a college education can be a major burden for families in the Verde Valley, but there are ways to reduce costs.
On Dec. 6, more than 150 high school students, returning college students, parents and school staff gathered at Yavapai College Verde Valley Campus for a scholarship awareness night hosted by the Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona in partnership with the Arizona Community Foundation of Yavapai County.
According to Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona Regional Philanthropic Advisor Tracey McConnell, the intent of the Cash for College event was to increase awareness of the more than 150 scholarships available to traditional and non-traditional college students. The ACF general application process makes the process of applying for a specific scholarship — and seeing what other scholarships one may be eligible for — simple.
“There’s not much we can do to reduce the cost of higher education,” McConnell said. “But we can show students how to make higher education more accessible through financial aid. That’s why we introduced Cash for College this year in Clarkdale, thus expanding outreach to students throughout Yavapai County.”
Much like the Nov. 15 open house-styled event at the Yavapai College Verde Valley Campus, Cash for College was organized like an activity fair, encouraging students and families to walk from table to table — to explore the funding options offered, meet the 12 in-person scholarship providers and representatives of colleges and universities and learn about application procedures.
Organizations that presented at Cash for College included Yavapai College, Northern Arizona Women in Business [members of Curves and Body Dialog Massage of Sedona], Dorrance Scholarships, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott College, Sedona Arts Festival, University of Arizona, Yavapai Symphony, Northern Arizona University and the Rotary Club of the Verde Valley.
According to McConnell, each of these organizations has pledged to attend the second Cash for College event in 2017.
“There is an unmistakable need for scholarship assistance in the Verde Valley,” Bill Cammock, chairman of the Board of Advisors of the Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona, said. “Many people think you either have to have straight As or a compelling financial need, but students’ interests and community involvement can be just as valuable in making them eligible for scholarship opportunities.”
ACF itself was well represented, McConnell added.
“ACF is the largest private provider of scholarships in the state and the application portal will open on Jan. 1,” McConnell said. “Many of the scholarship opaportunities presented at Cash for College have their application deadlines in the early spring.”
To receive a digital copy of the local scholarship directory provided at Cash for College, contact McConnell at firstname.lastname@example.org and include “Scholarship Directory” in the subject line.