The newest recipients in a college scholarship program that awards more than $1 million annually to Greater Hartford students were honored June 3 at the eleventh annual Scholarship Recipient Reception held by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
The reception, held at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, honored more than 160 students who received new scholarships to attend two-year and four-year schools across the nation. Many of the scholarships are renewable, enabling students to receive significant support (many are for $3,000 per year) for each of their years in college as long as they maintain a good academic record. Students may use the grants for tuition, fees, room and board, and textbooks. This year’s event focused on scholarships for students attending one of the state’s community colleges.
Overall, more than 600 students will receive new and renewed scholarships in 2015 through the Hartford Foundation program, which last year totaled almost $1.3 million, according to Jennyfer Holmes, who directs the scholarship program at the Hartford Foundation.
The scholarships are awarded through more than 100 funds created at the Hartford Foundation by individuals, families and organizations. Many of these donors create scholarship funds at the Foundation for personal reasons and the Foundation matches recipients with the donor’s criteria. Many donors also support the General Scholarship Endowment Fund at the Hartford Foundation.
The Hartford Foundation’s scholarship program also includes $140,000 in block grants to local two-year colleges for scholarships to needy students and $100,000 in block grants to local four-year schools for awards to students transferring from community colleges.
The Hartford Foundation’s investment in the scholarship program is a major component of the vision of its strategic plan to enhance educational equity and opportunity for all students in Greater Hartford. Last year the Foundation invested over $9.2 million in programs to support education, including new and renewed college scholarships.
Over the past ten years, the costs of receiving a college education at Connecticut’s state colleges and universities have risen significantly. Tuition and fees at Connecticut’s community colleges were $2305 in 2004-2005 averaged. In 2014-2015 Connecticut community college tuition and fees averaged $4032. At Connecticut’s state universities, tuition and fees in 2014-2015 averaged $9,608 compared to $5611 in 2004-2005. Tuition and fees at the University of Connecticut was $13,366 during the 2014-2015 academic year compared to $7,490 in 2004-2005.
While the costs of a college education have been steadily increasing, obtaining a college degree has never been more valuable. According to an analysis of Labor Department statistics by the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, Americans with four-year college degrees made 98 percent more an hour on average in 2013 than people without a degree. That’s up from 89 percent five years earlier, 85 percent a decade earlier and 64 percent in the early 1980s.
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. In 2015, the Foundation celebrates 90 years of grantmaking in the Greater Hartford region, made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations. It has awarded grants of more than $600 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation and the scholarship program, visit www.hfpg.org/scholarships or call 860-548-1888.