Scholarships are plentiful for students in Nevada County |

Scholarships are plentiful for students in Nevada County

As the cost of college continues to skyrocket, many families are scrambling to find ways to fund their children’s college education. Federal and state scholarships and grants can be of tremendous help, but usually don’t fund the total cost, and not everyone qualifies. This is when families look for outside scholarships to help with college costs.

Students in Nevada County are extremely fortunate to be part of a generous community who donate hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for students to attend college. And the wonderful news is if you are in the Nevada Joint Union High School District, there is one universal application to apply for scholarships. Having a universal application greatly reduces the time and effort of applying for individual scholarships. Last year 185 local organizations donated over $800K in scholarship money.

The Nevada Joint Union High School District has made it a priority to shine new light on this scholarship support by hiring new staff and making the application user friendly. District Scholarship/Fund Coordinators Linda Melugin and Donna Nies have automated the application by adopting an online platform called GoMerry, which allows students to download their application, request letters of recommendation and apply for additional scholarships all on one site.

Melugin and Nies emphasized that their goal is to have everyone in the district fill out the application. There are scholarships for students who demonstrate need, and also for students who don’t. There are scholarships for students attending a 4-year and 2-year college or going into career technical education.

Last year 185 local organizations donated over $800K in scholarship money.

Scholarships are varied and some have specific criteria for eligibility. Included are scholarships for students pursuing an agriculture degree, majoring in drama or theater, planning a career as a teacher or working in a health-related field. Some require a student’s participation in athletics, music or dance.

The staff of many middle schools annually give out scholarship money to an alumnus. There are also memorial scholarships, honoring a loved one’s passing. A generous donor last year helped out 50 students by giving them $1,000 each.

A community highlight in scholarship giving is the William and Marian Ghidotti Foundation which offers college scholarships to residents of Nevada County who have a 3.5 or above GPA. In addition, it funds scholarships for students involved in agriculture in high school.

Frank Francis, chairman of the Ghidotti Foundation Board of Trustees explains how the foundation was created “The foundation was originally set up by the Ghidottis as a scholarship fund because they really liked teenagers and they didn’t have any of their own.” The trust has given out 14.6 million dollars to Nevada County students.

The Ghidotti scholarship awards $4,000 a year if attending a 4-year college and $1,500 if attending a 2 year college (that amount increases to $4,000 if the student transfers to a 4-year institution). Each recipient has a potential of receiving this scholarship for four years.

The Ghidotti Scholarship is part of the District Scholarship Application, which is due on January 10th, 2020. Students are encouraged to apply early. It can be accessed at

Jill Haley is a retired high school counselor who now works as an independent college counselor. She can be reached at or

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