After being derailed by the abortive attempt of the McHenry County Board’s efforts to force taxpayers to finance a minor league baseball stadium, free tuition of all college district high school grads is back on the track.
Based on the Kalamazoo, Michigan, Promise, locally it is called the McHenry County College Promise.
Christina Haggerty, MCC’s Director of Marketing and Public Relations reports,
“We have already raised more than $3,000,000 for the Program. To ensure the continued success of the Scholarship, an ongoing fund raising effort will be conducted.
“In order to sustain the Promise Program for an initial period of 5-7 years, an annual amount of $300,000 will need to be raised. Our goal, however, is to make the Promise Scholarship ongoing so it continues to be available for our youth in perpetuity.”
MCC’s press release follows:
MCC LAUNCHES NEW COMMUNITY- FUNDED SCHOLARSHIP, OPEN TO ALL HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS
In an economy with education, food and fuel costs on the rise, the MCC Promise will take the financial burden off of high school seniors who choose to attend MCC. The Promise initiative is funded solely by private donations from generous individuals and/or businesses in the greater McHenry County community.
Beginning in Fall 2009, the Promise Scholarship will provide tuition for high school seniors who graduate from a McHenry County College District 528 high school, live in the district, and who choose to attend MCC full-time and work toward the completion of a two-year associate’s degree or certificate.
The Promise Scholarship will provide students with tuition for two years (fall and spring semesters) provided that the students maintain a 2.0 GPA and complete a minimum of 32 volunteer hours per year. The first Promise Scholarship students will walk through MCC’s doors in September 2009.
All graduating high school seniors in MCC College District 528 are eligible.
The MCC Promise Scholarship will cover tuition, which is currently $77 per credit hour. Students will be responsible for books and fees, because fees are determined by a student’s major and can vary in amounts. A tuition-only scholarship helps promote equality among students and allows the Promise to remain available for a longer period of time.
The MCC Promise could provide nearly 4,000 students the opportunity to earn a college degree. The program also offers students the unique opportunity to become an integral part of volunteer service to the community. In addition to positively affecting the lives of the youth in McHenry County, the community comes together with pride and a sense of purpose.
- More students will receive a college education.
- The scholarships will provide a nearly debt-free education, which allows students to either continue toward a bachelor’s degree or begin their careers with financial peace of mind.
- Scholarships will be provided to students from all socio-economic and educational backgrounds, elevating the quality and diversity in the classrooms.
- Parents will begin to think about education in a different way and begin to discuss college with their children at an early age.
- The area economy will be improved if students choose to work or start businesses in the county where they receive their education.
- The community will benefit from having an influx of young volunteers who will gain an understanding of community service and its important life role.
As MCC educates a diverse group of youth, many of them will move on to positively impact other lives and communities across the nation leaving a legacy of opportunity started by McHenry County.
“The community of McHenry County has rallied behind the premise of providing its youth with the opportunity for a better future,” said Ron Parrish, MCC Foundation Board and Promise Committee Chairperson.
“Realizing that an education helps achieve this goal, several lead gifts have been secured to launch the Promise Program,” he said.
In the months ahead, the Friends of McHenry County College Foundation will work to secure other major contributions and an annual gift program to maintain the Promise for an estimated five years. During that time, Foundation officials intend to approach inaugural donors and a wider giving base to secure sufficient funds for the Promise Scholarship in perpetuity.
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MCC Promise MCC Foundation Board and Chairperson Ron Parish can be seen presenting the idea of emulating Kalamazoo’s program at a March, 2007, McHenry County College Board meeting.