Help Support our Scholarship Fund!
How Does it Work?
Candidates for the scholarships are solicited by reaching out to a list of qualified students residing in the geographic region of the Potomac Valley Chapter, an area that spans Frederick and Washington Counties in Maryland, portions of West Virginia and portions of Northern Virginia over to Winchester. The student list is provided by Penn State Admissions Office. Incoming students are requested to provide a resume of their scholastic achievements and activities, to include any volunteer and job experiences, as well as a short essay addressing their career ambitions and goals. The basis for scholarship awards is a combination of financial need and academic and personal achievement. Academic and personal achievement are judged by a panel of Chapter members, by reviewing the resume and essay submitted by each applicant.
The consideration of relative need is provided by the Student Aid personnel who have specific knowledge of other financial aid and need.
The Chapter panel develops a short list of those deemed finalists for the scholarships. Finalists are interviewed by the panel to determine their relative rank for scholarship awards. Interviews involve a face to face meeting with the individual finalists to get to know them better and to judge their poise and ability to communicate their ambitions and goals. A final list of candidates ranked in their perceived order of merit for the scholarships is provided to the Penn State Office of Student Aid for consideration. They evaluate the list of finalists submitted and determine which candidates best meet the criteria of need and achievement. The Chapter sends a check to Penn State for the total value of all scholarships to be given. The students selected are each awarded an equal portion of the total funds provided by the Chapter.
How is it Working?
Candidates: Over the past five years (2014-2018) the Chapter has received lists ranging from 43 to 80 students from our geographical area, deemed qualified for scholarship awards. The Chapter reaches out to them via email and regular mail to make them aware of the opportunity to receive scholarship support and how to apply. Because of the relatively short time from when we receive the list (typically first week in June) and when the Chapter must submit its’ list of finalists to the Financial Aid Office (15 July) it is imperative to reach the students as quickly as possible to allow them time to prepare their applications and for the Chapter to evaluate the applications and make selections. The Chapter typically receives from 10 to 20 applications each year.
Funds: Funds for the scholarship awards are raised by the Chapter during the year prior to awards. A significant amount is collected through Chapter membership fees.
Additional funds are collected through special events during the year. The events include restaurant programs that give a percentage rebate for meals purchased by Penn State Alumni and supporters. An annual picnic and new student send-off event is held each July at a Frederick Keys baseball game, and at least one football watch party each fall is dedicated to the scholarship fund. For the past five years the available funds collected range from $2000 to $2700 each year. Hence, in a good year we can give up to three scholarships with a value of over $800 each. Our goal is to increase the value of the scholarship awards and eventually the number of scholarships. Obviously, achieving this goal will require increasing the funds available. This can be achieved through increased memberships to the Chapter and greater participation in the special events that are the sources of funding for the awards.
Assessment: Over the past five years, the Chapter has given over $11,000 in scholarship support. The scholarship program is one of the most rewarding of all Chapter activities, sharing the spotlight with support of THON. The students entering Penn State from our area are amazing young adults, with very impressive achievements and admirable ambitions. Meeting them and supporting them is a delightful experience and a highlight of Chapter activities. The sole frustration is the limited awards that the Chapter can provide. They are certainly helpful but by no means a match for the hard work and dedication and needs of these exceptional students.