Lydia Marcus- Staff Writer
It’s time to apply for scholarships again. Here are some things to mull over while working on those applications:
Two hundred and fifty-four scholarships were available to Dordt College students in the 2016-17 school year—twenty more than the previous year. Dordt depends a great deal on donor support, and Dordt students enjoy the benefits of generous alumni and other Dordt-supporters. As any Dordt student knows, community is important here. In fact, without a supportive community, Dordt probably wouldn’t be possible.
“Scholarships at Dordt started small—maybe 20, including the academic scholarships,” says Financial Aid Assistant Andrea Westerbeek. “The basic format of scholarships hasn’t really changed much since then, but the number available has.”
Scholarships are set up by donors to Dordt who wish to help students who are interested in a field or activity about which the donors care strongly. There are scholarships for specific majors, instruments, sports, arts and even hometowns. People wishing to set up a scholarship for Dordt students commit to donating $2,000 for 4 to 5 years.
“Scholarships are near and dear to donors because they get to know the student,” says Dordt Director of Annual Giving, Karen Van Schouwen. “They feel as though they have a direct impact on a student. Scholarships are relational.”
All students who receive donor scholarships write a thank-you note to their donor and attend the scholarship banquet in the fall. Donors undoubtedly appreciate connecting with the student they’ve helped to support, and students benefit from the relational nature of scholarships. Interest- or experience-specific scholarships helps students see that there are people in the Dordt community who care about them, and who understand their hopes and needs.
“There are so many scholarships, especially upperclassmen scholarships—I’d really encourage students to just apply. Every penny helps,” says Westerbeek. “I’d also encourage students to be appreciative. Many donors have committed to helping Dordt students, and that’s pretty neat.”