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franklin county times

Scholarship program like no other

By Staff
Kim West
This Sunday is the seventh annual Salute to Scholars, which honors Franklin County seniors who have been awarded "There's A Way" scholarships.
There are several local civic groups and organizations that sponsor annual scholarships but There's A Way, Inc., a nonprofit foundation founded by retired judge John Jolly, is the biggest scholarship provider in this county thanks to private and corporate donations and the effort made by the TAW board to assist as many qualified students as possible from all six high schools in Franklin County.
To my knowledge, there is no program that rivals TAW in northwest Alabama, and it's encouraging to see these scholarships given out to so many students – this year 57 seniors and one GED graduate will receive $1,000 each to attend the school of his or her choice – because many of them could not afford college without having to turn to other types of financial aid, such as Pell grants, subsidized or unsubsidized Stafford student loans or private loans.
I think scholarships are the best kind of financial aid because they are merit-based and require students to maintain full-time status and good grades, which makes it much easier to finish college within four or five years. Pell grants and student loans usually require a student to take at least six hours per semester and keep a passing GPA but I don't think they can motivate someone as much as a scholarship does.
The cost of tuition continues to rise along with everything else but I also think opportunities for students to pay for college through scholarships has increased, especially if a student is willing to work hard in the classroom, become involved in school activities and community service and apply for all available aid.
I realize that college isn't for everyone but a degree can give students marketability in a very competitive work market and also a much broader worldview. It's not even necessary to love school