The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Nonprofit foundation offers support for needy TCC students

By Hector Luna/reporter
Many students who encounter obstacles on their educational journeys have overcome them thanks to scholarships provided by the TCC Foundation.

Deborah Bishop-Penn is one of them.

The NE Campus student was working three jobs at one point to support her two daughters, one of whom was at the University of North Texas. After her daughter graduated, Bishop-Penn decided to finish her own education.

“I applied and received a wonderful scholarship through the TCC Foundation from the Tarrant County Medical Society that allowed me to fulfill my dream and passion of becoming a nurse,” she said.

The foundation, said donor relations officer Liz Sisk, is a not-for-profit organization separate from the college that provides financial support for students and critical needs of TCC.

“It’s set up to help individuals, families and organizations to secure their funds and set up scholarships to provide students with financial aid so they may continue on their path to achieving their educational goals,” Sisk said.

Hundreds of scholarships are given out each year, and the number continues to grow as the foundation flourishes and gets more people interested in giving. The awards vary in amounts with the averages ranging from $500 to $750 a scholarship. In some cases, students have received awards, followed the guidelines and criteria and renewed them year after year.

This year, Sisk said, the foundation projects to administer 770 scholarships totaling more than $808,000.

“It’ll go a very long way for many, many students,” Sisk said. “The scholarships are valuable, and we are privileged to award every single one of them.”

The foundation accepts donations of any size from anyone interested in helping students. It works closely with donors ranging from past educators, alumni and business owners — all people who want to help students succeed and achieve their goals.

Some donors remembered when they were students and know how much help it can be to get financial assistance.

Mike Matthews, who established the Mike Matthews Endowed Fine Arts Scholarship, said a reason he donates is because he loves the facilities in which students are taught.

“Tarrant County College offers outstanding faculty and facilities to educate students, and this scholarship helps faculty recruit talented students,” said Matthews, a former NW Campus dean.

Donors Cindy Boyd and her husband Jim, both TCC alumni, were impressed by the quality of instruction and named their scholarship after their mothers, who were both educators.

“This is the best gift we’ve ever made,” Cindy Boyd said.

Students seeking scholarships must complete an application that can be found at Foundation personnel match scholarship criteria to student profiles. Panels select recipients.

The applications are generally open the semester before the target term and have a deadline toward the end of the semester.

Many scholarships are grouped together and share common guidelines such as that a student must have a certain GPA to receive it.
Depending on the scholarship, the GPA requirement may be 2.5 to 3.5.

Some scholarships have specific guidelines that state the recipient must be taking fine arts classes, seeking a career in nursing or perhaps serving in or having served as a veteran of the military.

“That’s set up so the student knows exactly going in what is required of them,” Sisk said.

The criteria depend on donors and their preference as to what type of students receive the scholarships. For many of the scholarships, more than one student can be selected to receive the aid.

Sisk said many students have told her the scholarships have been “game changers” and that without the funds they couldn’t enroll.

“Being a recipient of such an award makes you feel like your efforts are recognized by the school,” said Glen Dedman, a NE Campus student and recipient of a foundation scholarship.

The foundation has made efforts to help all types of students, all aiming toward the same goal of building their futures, Sisk said.

“Educated individuals, I don’t care how you cut the pie, are valuable — valuable to themselves, their immediate family and to society,” she said.

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