MCC Foundation scholarship program keeps students on learning path

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published August 29, 2019

MACOMB COUNTY — Macomb Community College student Cody Wall wanted to attend school full time this semester in an effort to graduate with an associate degree this December.

However, because of financial reasons, she wasn’t sure she could afford all the classes in which she wanted to enroll.

But when Wall, 27, learned that she was the recipient of the Macomb Community College Foundation’s First State Bank Scholarship for Foster Students, she was able to register for her desired classes.

“I’m very relieved right now. It did help me greatly,” said the St. Clair Shores resident, who is using the scholarship money toward her tuition while paying for the remainder of her schooling out of pocket. She is taking 14 credit hours this semester; 12 credit hours is considered full time.

Wall began attending MCC in 2012, but at times had to stop attending or only take one class per semester. She is the mother of two children, a 3-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son, and also was working full time. She left her job this fall to concentrate on her studies.

Wall received a $1,000 First State Bank Scholarship for Foster Students, with $500 of it to be used during the 2019 fall semester and the other $500 for the 2020 winter semester. Because she is due to graduate in December, she may not use the winter scholarship money. If so, the money would be dispersed back into the scholarship program for another student.

Once Wall graduates from MCC with a general studies degree, she plans to transfer to the University of Detroit Mercy to eventually become a dental hygienist. She is pleased with the education she has received at MCC.

“The majority of the professors are super knowledgeable,” Wall said. “I’ve learned a great deal from them. The class sizes are a lot smaller. That really made a difference.”

Wall has invested a lot of time in her education “for my future,” and has a 3.41 grade-point average.

The First State Bank Scholarship for Foster Students is given to students who at one time lived in the foster care system. When applying, students must show documentation that they lived in foster care at one time.

Foster care is a temporary service provided for children who cannot live with their families. Children in foster care may live with relatives or with unrelated foster parents. Foster care can also refer to placement settings including group homes, residential care facilities, emergency shelters and supervised independent living.

Wall first entered into foster care at age 14 after her grandmother died. Because of problems at home, arrangements were made for Wall to live with relatives and a family friend, but neither were “a good fit.”  

“I ended up being moved around a lot,” she said. “It was a huge adjustment. I went to five different high schools.”

At one time, Wall lived in the Let’s Talk About It Girls Home in Kalamazoo. Wall, who still keeps in touch with some of the home’s former residents, underwent counseling while in Kalamazoo. While she wasn’t sure how she felt about the counseling at the time, she appreciates the experience now.

    
‘We’re just so grateful to our generous donors’
More than 200 private MCC scholarships are available each year through the Macomb Community College Foundation. Established in 1999, the foundation is a nonprofit organization that manages contributions from private donors, foundations and corporate donors for the benefit of MCC. Last year, the foundation distributed 450 scholarships totaling over $500,000.

Scholarships are available to students who just graduated from high school and also to those returning to college after being out of the classroom for several years. Christina Ayar, director of the Macomb Community College Foundation, said students can apply for as many scholarships for which they qualify and also can apply in multiple years. Sometimes a student might not be able to afford to return or attend school or take more classes, and that’s why the scholarship program is vital.

“It’s very impactful,” Ayar said. “We’re just so grateful to our generous donors. It’s a great opportunity for our students.”

The scholarships are available in different amounts, including $25, $50, $250, $500 and $1,000. Such scholarships include the Veterans of the United States Scholarship for Children or Spouses of Deceased Veterans and the Returning Adult Student Endowed Scholarship.

Scholarship money can be used toward tuition, books or other supplies a student may need, such as laboratory equipment. Also granted are full-tuition scholarships that will cover a student’s tuition costs for two years.

Some scholarships come with certain criteria. Some scholarship donors want the student to have at least a 2.5 grade-point average or higher. Some donors will look at financial need, while others won’t. Some scholarships require students to be a U.S. citizen.

Sometimes the scholarship application will ask for references, such as a coach, teacher or principal. Some donors require the student to write an essay about himself or herself, including future goals.

“I think that’s when the essays completely come into play,” Ayar said. “The essays always help. They learn a little bit more about the student.”

To apply for a scholarship, Ayar recommends visiting macomb.academicworks.com.

For assistance, call (586) 445-7302. Some of the scholarship applications have deadlines.