Nevada County Women’s organization taking scholarship applications
Many women who have managed to escape from domestic violence or who are struggling to attend school at night as single parents, or older women who have put aspirations on hold, are denied the financial help they need in order to succeed academically. This is where Business & Professional Women of Nevada County’s (BPWNC) Dolores “Dee” Eldridge Scholarship steps in. Nineteen years ago, members of BPWNC observed there were many scholarships available for young women graduating from high school, but few, if any, for mature women who needed further education to improve their lives and that of their children. And so, in 1997, the scholarship program began. A total of $42,650 in awards later, the program is still going strong.
According to the Shriver Report, more than one in three women lives in poverty or on the brink of it, and just over four out of every 10 children living in poverty are in families headed by women. Nearly one million community college students don’t have access to federal student loans. Many public two-year colleges choose not to participate in the federal loan program for fear the students will default and the schools will be cut out of student aid completely, including Pell Grants. More than 60 percent of community college students are enrolled part time because they have to work to make ends meet. Students in rural areas and small towns such as ours are more than twice as likely to lack access to federal loans as students in urban areas.
An example of past awardees include single mother Elizabeth, who received a scholarship in 2007 to attend Sierra College. She ultimately went on to Chico State, completed her Bachelor’s Degree, completed a Masters in Statistics and is now an adjunct professor at Sierra College; or Shannon who received her scholarship in 2015, has completed a degree in Accounting at Chico State and is about to embark on a career with a large CPA firm; or Heather, who received a “Vocational Grant” in 2016 to complete paying for a 27-week Certification Program with The California Association of Addiction Recovery Resources (CAARR) and who now practices as a Certified Addiction Professional Counselor at our local Community Recovery Resources (CoRR) agency.
The Eldridge Scholarship aids with tuition, books, childcare and any other needed services or supplies that support schooling. Candidates must be 25 or older, residents of Nevada County, include three letters of recommendation and transcripts from current enrollment in their application. Each must write an essay on “A Woman’s Issue That Concerns Me Most.” If an application is accepted, the applicant is called for a personal interview. Financial need is taken into account. Scholarships are awarded in February (application deadline Jan. 5) and at an August gala (application deadline June 30).
Scholarship awardees over the past 19 years have often overcome tremendous odds to go to school. Those interested in applying for a scholarship worth $500 to $1,500 or more, can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.bpwnevadacounty.org and click on “Scholarships.” Application, rules and worksheet may all be downloaded there. There is still time to apply for an August award.
BPWNC was founded in Grass Valley in 1932 and advocates for women in all aspects of their lives, including personal and professional development, legislative support, equality in economics, employment, reproductive health, housing, and civil rights. For more information, or to join, visit http://www.bpwnevadacounty.org or Facebook under Business & Professional Women of Nevada County.
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