Clark College Foundation to give $1 million in scholarships

Students may spend more than $18,000 per year for school and expenses

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For the first time in its 43-year history, the Clark College Foundation will distribute more than $1 million in scholarship awards during the 2016-17 academic year.

“It has taken a great effort to get to this monumental achievement,” said Lisa Gibert, president and CEO of the foundation. “For 83 years, the college has attracted students with rich and diverse interests and backgrounds, while hundreds of volunteers and concerned citizens have assisted in expanding the role of education as a fundamental solution to some of society’s ailments.”

She continued, “Meanwhile, thousands of donors have stepped up and boldly said, ‘Yes, I want to invest in Clark College to make a difference.'”

Clark College Foundation’s endowment portfolio has grown 13 percent in the past decade from $51 million to $58 million. This increase allows the foundation to distribute more funds for scholarships.

Clark students who live on their own in Washington can expect to spend $18,000 annually, according to a press release from the foundation, for tuition, fees, books, supplies, living expenses and transportation, and carry more than $5,100 in debt.

Those living with parents or relatives and attending full time pay $11,000 for those same items, according to Clark’s Financial Aid department.

Because students are incurring higher debt, more community members, businesses and foundations are partnering with educational institutions like Clark College to assist students with the cost of their education, according to Joel B. Munson, foundation senior vice president.

“The need for more scholarship opportunities continues to be a focal point for the Clark College Foundation,” Munson said.

Half of Clark students receive financial aid, but far fewer get scholarships. During the 2015-16 academic year, less than half of Clark’s students received either scholarships or other funding that was not a loan.

The foundation provides partial and full scholarships that pay for tuition, books and fees. The funds are provided by private donations.

The amount distributed to students over the past decade has increased 190 percent, from $345,000 in 2007 to $1 million that is expected to be awarded through 2017.

Additionally, state and community scholarships awarded by the college’s financial aid office totaled $1.6 million in 2015-16, according to Anna Peros, Clark’s financial aid specialist.

“Scholarships are a lifesaver,” Gibert said. “They can be the difference between attending and not attending Clark for many students. And they are made possible from donors who believe in the power of education.”