Faculty Federation donates 20K for scholarships

The commitment of the Blackhawk Technical College faculty to its students moved beyond the classroom this past graduation weekend when the Blackhawk Technical Faculty Federation announced a new scholarship program aimed at qualified students who are struggling to stay in school because of a lack of funds.

The BTFF unveiled a $20,000 scholarship pool that will begin for the spring semester of 2014 for full- and part-time students carrying a minimum 2.5 grade point average. The scholarships are expected to run between $500 and $750 each depending on the financial need of the recipient. At least two scholarships per semester are expected to be available.

The fund provided by BTFF received an additional contribution of $500 from Douglas Tabbutt, a computer information system instructor at BTC, during last Friday night’s graduation rehearsal program. BTC faculty and staff will be able to make additional contributions to the fund through payroll deductions.

BTFF members saw the need for this scholarship when instructors noticed too many degree- and certification-track students withdrawing from school because of a lack of funds. BTFF felt it was significant to make the announcement during graduation ceremonies to highlight the financial sacrifices many students make to earn a degree or certification in a BTC program.

“We see too many students drop out, especially before their last semester, simply because financial aid is not there for them,’’ said Beth Chambers, a BTFF trustee who is an instructor in the Human Resources program and member of the committee that developed the scholarship plan. “That bothers everybody. We are trying to pinpoint those students and provide the financial help they need.

“Here we are at graduation time, and there are a number of people who should be here but they aren’t because of their financial situation.’’

Joe Boss, a mechanical design instructor and president of the BTFF local, described the scholarship as an example of the faculty’s overall commitment to students, calling it a “profound belief that we hold in high regard.

“Seeing this need, the Faculty Federation actively sought ways to develop an avenue to help students who need that last little boost. These scholarship opportunities are the product of collaboration between the faculty and administration here at BTC. It embodies the spirit of our mission at Blackhawk Technical College.”

The scholarship will be administered by the BTC Foundation. The Foundation committee reviews all applications and scores them on six criteria:

* Unmet financial need: Applicant income and occupational status. (A completed FAFSA application must be on file in the Financial Aid Office.)

* Family circumstance: Applicant support of a spouse, dependents, family under medical care, etc.
* Grades: Minimum of 2.5 G.P.A in prior educational settings.
* Neatness and completeness: Application is legible, and all questions are answered with necessary detail.
* Future potential: Application essay outlines realistic and obtainable student goals and plans.
* Two letters of recommendation (from non-relatives), to support candidate's character/commitment to education.

Applications for the first scholarship award are due Oct. 1. Scholarship recipients will be notified in November and the funds will be applied to the semester beginning in January 2014.

For more information regarding the BTC scholarship application process, please contact http://www.blackhawk.edu/Alumni/BTCFoundation/ApplicationProcess.aspx.