With rising tuition costs, high school students from all over Madison County are utilizing ways to earn scholarships that will lessen the financial blow of obtaining a college education.
Two programs — the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) and the National Merit Scholarship — issue awards based on entrants’ scores on the ACTs and PSATs as well as GPAs and other markers of academic achievement.
Sen. Jeff Green Scholars
Eleven students from the county’s high schools have been named Sen. Jeff Green Scholars by the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority for their “outstanding academic performance in high school,” according to a press release from the KHEAA.
These students earned the designation by achieving a 4.0 grade point average each year of high school and scoring at least a 28 composite score on the ACT, the release said.
The 11 students each earned $2,500 a year in KEES awards, which can be renewed each year of college if the students continue high scholastic achievement. The total value of their KEES awards is $10,000.
The scholars are Benjamin Miller from Berea Independent; Tara Bray, Madison Campbell and Roman May from Madison Central; Chelsey Morgeson from Madison Southern; and Kurry Gasser, Matthew Robbins, Jenna Sehmann, Megan Short, Shannon Thomas and Allia Vaez from Model Laboratory.
“Model teachers, parents and students are proud of both the success and the work associated with these students' strong ACT performance,” said James Dantic, Model director.
According to the KHEAA website, students who achieve a 4.0 GPA are eligible for $500 of scholarship funds for each year of college, with an opportunity to receive an additional $500 a year with an ACT score of 28 and above.
However, the 11 Madison County students were able to maintain a 4.0 GPA throughout high school, as well as earn a 28 on the ACT, maxing out their total benefits at $2,500 for those two categories.
There are additional scholarship opportunities for students who earn a qualifying score on an Advanced Placement Test (and are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch).
The scholarship honors the late state Sen. Jeff Green of Mayfield, who served in the Kentucky General Assembly from 1992 to 1997.
The first students to achieve this designation came from the Class of 2002, with a total of 758 graduates across the state, according to a 2003 KHEAA newsletter.
This year, 1,268 Kentucky students earned the Scholar designation out of the 44,565 graduates on record, said Tim Ballard, publication supervisor for KHEAA.
Students who maintain a 3.0 GPA or better during college are guaranteed their full scholarship reward, according to the KHEAA website.
National Merit Scholars
Three juniors from the county’s high schools were among the 16,000 semifinalists for the 2013 National Merit Scholarship (NMSC) program.
Around 1.5 million juniors from more than 22,000 high schools entered the program by taking the 2011 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of entrants, according to an NMSC report released Wednesday.
The semifinalists are Natalie Warren from Berea Independent, and Jeremiah Hudson and MacKenzie Humphrey from Madison Central.
Merit finalists have a chance to earn one of three types of scholarships:
• Every finalist will compete for one of the 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships awarded on a state representational basis.
• About 1,000 corporate-sponsored scholarships will be provided by around 240 corporations and business organizations to finalists who meet specified criteria.
• About 200 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,800 college-sponsored awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.
The three Madison County students have the opportunity to become finalists by partnering with their high school to submit a detailed scholarship application including the students’ academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities and honors and awards received, according to a NMSC press release.
A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test, the release said.
Scholarship winners will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July.
More than 291,000 students have earned the Merit Scholar title since the programs inception in 1955.
Crystal Wylie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 623-1669, ext. 6696.