College can be a financial burden… Paducah Bank can help!

Michael-Ellen Walden and Noah Wilkins are both eligible for the Community Scholarship Program.

Michael-Ellen Walden and Noah Wilkins are both eligible for the Community Scholarship Program.

Paducah Bank is proud to be among the first business partners committing funds to the new Community Scholarship Program. The program was developed by the Paducah Rotary Club with funding assistance from the City of Paducah, McCracken County, and area businesses. A scholarship to West Kentucky Community and Technical College will be funded for all students of Paducah and McCracken County Schools who meet set criteria.

Designed to provide “gap funding,” meaning it will make up the difference between the amount a student receives in other scholarships and grants and the remaining tuition costs at WKCTC, the program is modeled after community scholarships which have been successful in other towns.

Hopkinsville has had such a program in place since the 1950s, and there are approximately 33 similar community scholarship programs in place nationwide. Students must normally enroll in the Community Scholarship Program during their 8th grade year of school, although 9th graders will also be eligible to enroll in the coming year since the program is brand new. Currently, 120 rising 9th graders have already enrolled. “The Rotary Club saw an opportunity to lead an effort to fundamentally change our community,” said Edward Hely, Rotary’s Scholarship Programs Chair. “We see it as a way to improve quality of life.” He says the scholarship program will impact all residents, not just those who receive funding, citing education as a key to lower crime, improved health, and a tool to attract industry.

Lisa Stephenson, WKCTC’s Director of K-12 partnerships, is working with local middle and high schools to communicate information about the program. Students who wish to enroll must attend an initial orientation session with a parent. A grade point average of 2.5 must be maintained throughout high school, along with a 95 percent cumulative attendance record and a lack of major discipline problems. “This scholarship program would eliminate the number one barrier to students going to college or staying in college,” said WKCTC President, Dr. Barbara Veazey.

More information about the Community Scholarship Program is available from Lisa Stephenson at 534.3282 or lisa.stephenson@kctcs.edu.