By Lorie Ham
Paying for college can be a challenge these days. While many students may qualify for financial aid, it doesn’t always cover everything, and some students don’t qualify even if they aren’t able to pay for college themselves. There are always school loans, but those can take a lifetime to pay off. Thankfully, there are scholarships out there to help.
One such scholarship is offered by Mennonite Insurance Services and was started in 2011. As to what inspired the creation of this scholarship, Mennonite Insurance Services General Manager Jerry Linscheid shared this, “Well before the scholarship program, we supported institutions that did work we agreed with. By its nature, there is not a personal connection between us and the people we helped. The scholarships allow a more personal connection. We see the applicants’ goals and dreams. In the early days, we even saw their handwriting on the applications. Sometimes a board or staff member will know them or their family. And it is entirely possible to see them several years down the road when their schooling is over and they are starting their careers.”
It is widely believed that a college education can make a difference in your quality of life. According to EducationCorner.com, studies show that college graduates earn significantly more throughout their lifetime than those with only a high school education. In an article in early 2020 in The Edge, Georgetown University Center on Education predicted that by 2027 seventy percent of all jobs will require some education beyond high school, with only thirty percent of jobs still available to those without it.
“A college education is important,” states Linscheid. “A well-educated person is prone to critical thinking. A well-educated person is likely to find a job that pays a living wage. An education is expensive. If we can help a few students along in that process, I think society will be better for it.”
The deadline to apply for the scholarship from Mennonite Insurance is July 1, 2021. To be eligible to apply you must meet the following criteria:
- A member or regular attender of a Mennonite, Mennonite Brethren, Brethren in Christ or Missionary church in AZ, CA, OR or WA (West Coast)
- Enrolled in a 4-year college, university or graduate school on the West Coast
- At least a college junior with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
Scholarships of $1,000 will be awarded to up to five applicants each year. Applicants may apply multiple years. Preference will be given to applicants who have not previously received the scholarship. To obtain more information, and to apply, go to mennoniteinsurance.com/scholarships.
If you have received one of these scholarships in the past, Mennonite Insurance would love to hear how your college education helped you in your life. Please consider sharing on their Facebook page. “I think it would be great to hear the success in their careers after college,” says Claudia Fletes, who is in charge of the scholarships for Mennonite Insurance. “I sometimes wonder where their paths will lead them after reading their essays.”