Saturday, November 24, 2012

Edison Brings Donors, Scholarship Recipients Together

The longstanding benefits of a college education can sometimes be a goal that seems unattainable to some due to the financial strain that getting a degree can bring. As student loan debt continues to grow, more students are reaching out for assistance through scholarship programs.

Through the generosity of donors from throughout the region, many students at Edison State College have found the resources necessary to take their dreams and make them a reality. At the annual Scholarship Recognition Dinner held in Edison’s Robinson Theater on Nov. 8, students and their families were given the opportunity to connect with the donors who have helped shape their futures.

Edison student Natasha Flaugher, recipient of two scholarships and currently pursuing her degree in nursing, addressed the audience following the opening reception and dinner.

“Without these scholarships, a lot of the students here would have a great burden on their shoulders,” said Flaugher, who received scholarships from the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce and Miami County Safety Council. “Getting a scholarship has been a great motivator for me personally, because I know someone has put a lot of faith in me and I don’t want to let them down.”

Donors like Linda Long and Carol Wood believe in those students, and see the opportunity in providing a scholarship to a deserving student as a way of honoring the memory of a loved one. The Holly Hahn Memorial Scholarship is set up to provide financial assistance to a student for whom English is a second language, a cause that was very close to the former Edison professor’s heart when she passed away in 2005.

“She had a passion and love for teaching,” said Long, who started the scholarship seven years ago with Wood. “She worked with students in the Czech Republic, Russia and this area teaching English as a second language and serving as a language tutor.”

Edison President Dr. Cris Valdez spoke to the audience on the importance of recognizing the many individual donors and organizations that work through the college’s foundation to help students succeed.

“We’re building and creating a culture of philanthropy here that starts with our donors,” said Valdez. “Not everyone has the financial means to contribute and we are very appreciative of those that do. We know that higher education opens up so many opportunities to students.”

As an institution, Edison strives to provide those opportunities, all the while understanding that many of its students are working while going to school and taking care of family members. Statistically, the average number of students receiving some form of financial aid at Edison is just around 70 percent, compared to other major schools in Ohio where the number is more than 90 percent.

Offering resources such as the Post-Secondary Enrollment Option Program (PSEOP), which allows qualifying students to take college credit courses while still in high school tuition-free, helps students and families reduce future costs while easing the transition into a higher education institution.

“We have more than 600 students attending Edison now as PSEOP students,” said Chris Norman, Vice President of Institutional Advancement. “Annually, that’s helping to save more than one million dollars in tuition costs for students.”

Parents like Kim Maniaci, whose two daughters Brittany and Gabrielle both attend Edison and were recipients of scholarships, expressed her gratitude to the donors and institution that have provided a strong foundation for their academic success.

“Edison has been very helpful in finding scholarships to continue their education,” she said. “As a single parent, it has benefitted all of us financially. We are very fortunate to have Edison here in the community.”

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