Many of them have the desire, and probably have the intellect. They just don’t have the greenbacks.
Future Finders, a new incentive award program at LSU Eunice, will change that, beginning with three students in the Fall 2013 class and, it is envisioned, expanding from there.
And there most likely will be plenty of takers in St. Landry, Acadia and Evangeline Parishes on the offer of $2,000 to get started on their higher education. The program is restricted to just students from those three parishes.
Future Finders is the brainchild of chemistry professor Dr. Chad Huval’s honors class of last year.
“As honor students, we are fortunate to have many more opportunities available to us for funding our college education. We understand how difficult it is for those students who were not so academically ambitious in the past to receive scholarships that could help them excel in the future,” the students noted in the narrative of a grant application.
There you have it -- exceptional students who recognize that there are capable young men and women out there who, for one reason or another, didn’t apply themselves early on.
Now, they can seek assistance to change that.
They have to have an ACT composite score of 18 or 19, nothing lower, nothing higher.
Their high school cumulative GPA has to be equal to or greater than 2.0 (“C”) and less than 3.0 (“B’).
They can’t be eligible for any federal or state grants/aid, other scholarships/awards, or the state’s TOPS program.
Huval; Madelaine Landry, executive director of the LSUE Foundation; and Chad Jones, Institutional Liaison Officer at the university, are understandably enthusiastic a bout the program.
“We want the student who really wants to get into the university but doesn’t think there’s anything to help him or her with costs,” Huval said, noting there’s no income aspect to the program, other than that the student cannot be receiving any aid.
Jones pointed out the ease of applying for a FutureFinders grant -- everything is on-line, accessible by clicking on a special button the university web site home page.
“It’s all on-line. You don’t have to come here to get started, you don’t have to fill out a bunch of forms, you don’t have to talk to a lot of people. Just click and go,” Jones said.
Applicants also have to convey their desire for a higher education through an essay (250 words or less), accompanied by a letter of recommendation from one of their high school teachers.
Recipients will get $1,000 for their first semester. If they maintain a 2.5 or higher GPA that first semester, they will get $1,000 for the second semester.
Landry noted that many programs work with the high or low ends of the achievement/economic scale, while middle of the road students often get left out.
“Future Finders can help change that,” she noted. She said initial funding for the program comes from the Community Foundation of Acadiana.
The honors class that put the proposal together will serve as tutors/mentors for the three this fall, and will work with Huval, Jones and Landry to select the first Future Finders.
What can Future Finders find in their future? For one thing, studies show that every semester of college completed yields a 7 percent increase in a student’s lifetime earnings.
And that’s what the program is really about -- helping young men and women get the education that will improve their future, and that of their families, and by association, their communities.