Provider Scholarship Program

Provider Scholarship Program


Many families and students know they need
to attend college, but simply aren’t sure they can afford it. So it’s really sort of
a value proposition question, “Should I take out student loans? Should I go into debt?
How am I going to afford to pay for college?” So we really sort of sat down and said, “How
can we be a solution? How can College of St. Joseph given it’s history, given it’s goal
as being an accessible, affordable institution, how can we address that larger question?” We
found that we could do that by providing a very aggressive scholarship and in return
for that scholarship students would provide service both to the community and the campus.
So students who are in the program who come to campus have to do several things. One,
they have to be intellectually curious. We want to have good students in the classroom
and interested students in terms of the intellectual life of this community. Secondly, we’re asking
them to participate in a campus activity of their choosing. Whether that’s a student club,
whether it’s a sports organization on campus, or an academic honorary society, we’re asking
students to be involved. And when students are involved on campus it just creates a far
more robust life that we can all participate in as well. So I enjoy attending student events
and student activities. And here we’re sort of saying to students, you know what would
you like to do, what would you like to be on this campus and see on this campus and
let’s get after it. We’re also asking the students to participate in community engagement
and service hours. So they have to select an agency in the community and/or come up
some ideas in terms of how do we better the community at large and how can they be a part
of that. And build those relational skills with the larger community. So they have to
do 15 hours of community engagement work each semester. A total of 30 during the year. And
then finally we’re asking them right from the start to be involved in career workshop.
So they’re not waiting until Junior or Senior year to sort of say,”What do I do next?” But
they start to imagine that future right from the start when they enter. So that’s really
the educational component of the program. Any other themes that we’ve had from the story
so far? Or something you keep noticing? What makes our scholarship unique is that it has
a declining cost structure throughout the four years that the student is here on campus.
Unlike other scholarships where they get a one time scholarship, this one stays with
them throughout the four years and their cost goes down. Usually, if you look nationally
at scholarship programs at other colleges and universities, it is often a set amount
that you get in the first year. And sometimes that scholarship can decrease depending on
funding of each college and university. In our case it is a guarantee that you will receive
an increase each year as long as you are successfully meeting the requirements. Statistically we
know that most students coming out, if they’re going to enter work place in the next decade
or more and even now, are going to need some level of post secondary credentialing. Whether
that’s a two-year, certificate, or a four-year program. So part of the Provider was intended to do that.
It’s really an incentive-based model for students to be able to control cost to make a private
education affordable. Alongside that we wanted to make sure we had a robust educational program
that went along with it. So we really looked at best practices in education in terms of
campus commitment, community engagement, academic coursework, and career preparedness. And put
all those together in a unique program that students participate in along the four years.
And as they do that program successfully their scholarship increases. So we really tried
to put both halves together in a very unique model. I personally believe so wholeheartedly
in this program. And I’m so jealous of these students because it’s a program that if it
had been around when I was a college student I easily would have applied for. I mean, no
questions asked, you know. I mean like, sign me up, you know. For the student it’s incredible. I mean,
they are making a difference in somebody’s life. I mean, it’s as simple as that. This
program allows them the opportunity to go out there, make a difference in the community,
and change the world. It’s an excellent opportunity for the student to realize that they have
more of a commitment to the community at large than just to themselves. That they have to
be involved in the total process of education. Which means getting out into the community
and recognizing how they can bring some of their talents and skills to meet the needs
certain elements within the community itself. Oftentimes when students go to college and
declare a major and progress through that major, sometimes they leave out getting ready
to graduate and what they’re actually going to do with that major out in the real world.
With the Provider Scholarship model they’re receiving regular career preparedness through
all four years. And so they’re going to be better positioned to get their job once they
graduate. And that’ll have fantastic long term benefits for the student. The career
preparedness program is made up of four major components. The first one is called, Focus
where the student is allowed to interact with the program. Where it has certain assessments
measuring their work interests, their skills, etcetera. It gives them some idea as to what
type of career they should be looking at. And it also provides them with the opportunity
to choose what major would be best to take to accomplish getting that career. The other
components are made up of resume construction, letter writing, letters of introduction, etcetera.
And finally interviewing skills. I think the long term benefits are that we are going
to be graduating students from the college that don’t just walk away with a degree, they’re
walking away with experience, with new friendships, and new relationships within the community
and the surrounding areas. From the college’s standpoint we’re providing better access to
higher education. A lot of families are finding it hard to afford higher education for their
children and this is a way in which some of those families can have their students attend
college and not graduate with a lot of indebtedness. I think the program allows students the opportunity
to interact with one another on a level that may never have happened before. It’s so, I
think, beautiful to me to see students who may not have a class together; may not share
the same friend group; don’t travel in the same circles, and so would maybe never, you
know, engage with one another, come together for a collective reason. And I think the Provider
Program offers that. The entire campus is a learning community. It’s not that I go to
class and then I go back to a dorm. Or I go to class and then I go to work. But to see
sort of a connection between all of that. That really I’m in this space and in this
environment to learn at every level and that every component fits together that way. And
so I really think that those are some key elements to it. I think for the students as
well what they’re going to see is that, you know beyond going to class and doing well;
succeeding academically, they start to see themselves in a different way as well. They
see that it’s important to give back to others just as they have been provided for. They
in turn are providing for others that have needs in our community. But they also begin
to see themselves as professionals in that way too. That they can design programs on
campus that they can take a leadership role. And they can start to sort of imagine what
their future looks like as they go through career workshop. And put all those things
together and have time to reflect on it, to discern what all that means. And to give things
a try. They won’t be just doing the same community engagement piece each year. They can alternate
and see what else might fit. So I really think it sort of gives a path for students to see
themselves after they graduate from the school. And what we also hope of course is that will
distinguish our alumni. And they’ll reflect back on that and want to continue to support
the institution that supported them.

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