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WKCTC Launches $5 Million Fundraising Campaign for the Community Scholarship Program

PADUCAH, KY (March 4, 2016) - West Kentucky Community and Technical College has launched a $5 million campaign to provide continued support for the Community Scholarship Program (CSP), college officials announced Thursday.

WKCTC President Barbara Veazey said many students simply dont have the resources to attend college. The Community Scholarship Program is helping to take away those financial barriers, she said. I can say to students, if you will go to college, you will be successful; you will be able to support your family, Veazey told the audience at the Power in Partnership Breakfast March 3. But I can never once give them the hope that they really can. This scholarship will.

The Community Scholarship Program was launched in 2010 with one simple goal to increase the number of high school students who transition to college by providing a scholarship to all Paducah/ McCracken County graduates. CSP was spearheaded by the Rotary Club of Paducah as a public-private partnership with initial investments from city and county government, as well as local businesses and organizations. The intent was to provide a scholarship to help students attain a two-year degree or industry certification from WKCTC. No state or federal funding is associated with this program.

The scholarship provides funding for up to 60 credit hours toward a technical certification and/or an associate degree at WKCTC. The scholarship pays the balance of tuition not paid by federal or state aid and other scholarships received. Students from all Paducah and McCracken County public and private high schools and home-schooled students are eligible to receive funding. Candidates must enroll in the CSP by October 1st of their high school freshman year and meet the established high school performance guidelines.

WKCTC has invested heavily in several services to support the CSP, including mentoring programs, college coaching and first year experience courses.

Scott Darnell, president/CEO of Paducah Economic Development, said the Community Scholarship Program makes Paducah unique in the eyes of businesses looking to locate here. The types of companies that we want to attract into McCracken County are the companies who are going to look at this program as not an immediate need of how we fill local jobs but for generations to come.

The scholarship it is an investment into Paducahs future, said Paducah Public School Principal Donald Shivley. As superintendent of Paducah Public Schools, I see first hand our students focus on their future, how to plug into the local economy and their gratitude for the scholarship opportunity that they otherwise would not have.

The first group of CSP students arrived on the WKCTC campus in August 2014. Their arrival on campus meant the community kept their commitment to these students so they could graduate or transfer without tuition debt.

The scholarship has meant a great deal to recipient Courtney Ford. The 19-year-old West Paducah resident is studying business administration at WKCTC. She said it would have been hard for her mother as a single parent to send her to college without the Community Scholarship Program. I have a younger brother and sister who are going to be right after me with college, Ford said. This (scholarship) has really helped me in my journey to take the first steps to my college life. And I just hope the program is there for them when it comes their time and they have the same opportunities.

Though it is early, initial reports of the progress of CSP students at WKCTC has been encouraging:
More CSP students returning from one fall semester to the next as compared to all other freshmen students from through region.
CSP students are earning more college credit hours on average than their non-CSP peers at WKCTC.
The average grade point average of CSP students is higher than the average cumulative grade point average of WKCTC students who did not receive the CSP scholarship.

This is a very good start and we want to build on this success, Veazey said. The future of our community depends on a education workforce. We have taken on that challenge with the support of the Community Scholarship Program and we want it to continue.

Anyone who would like to support the Community Scholarship Program can contact Ashley Wright at 270-534-3084 or ashley.wright@kctcs.edu.