WILMINGTON — Wilmington College is offering graduates from Clinton County high schools a loan-to-grant award of up to $10,000, in addition to all other scholarships and financial aid for which they may qualify.
Effective for fall 2018, this community partnership program, known as Clinton County Succeeds, is designed to enroll local residents by giving these high school graduates or Southern State Community College transfer students an opportunity to get a local college education.
To receive this program’s benefits, those students must be admitted and enrolled at Wilmington College, graduate and agree to reside in Clinton County for at least two years after earning their bachelor’s degree.
Wilmington College officials introduced the program at recent meetings with local schools’ boards of education and at a financial aid information program held Tuesday at WC.
Dennis Kelly, vice president/chief enrollment officer, stated the Clinton County Succeeds program is “all about community helping local students” earn a college degree while making contributions locally throughout their college experience.
“The college understands how important it is for students to receive both an affordable education and a memorable, meaningful experience that leads to good jobs and successful career paths,” he said.
Indeed, Clinton County Succeeds comes on the heels, in recent years, of WC’s popular tuition reset, the establishment of new academic programs, expanding opportunities in athletics and the opening of several major campus facilities, which include the Center for Sport Sciences in 2015, the Center for the Sciences & Agriculture in 2016 and, this fall, the Quaker Recreation Center.
Those eligible to participate in Clinton County Succeeds are 2018 graduates of Blanchester, Clinton-Massie, East Clinton and Wilmington high schools, and Wilmington Christian Academy. It’s also open to Clinton County residents — May 2018 graduates — who are home-schooled or attend schools outside the county, and non-residents who attend Clinton County schools.
This windfall includes $2,000 in annual loans for students’ freshmen and sophomore years, and $3,000 in annual loans for their junior and senior years. Upon their graduation from WC, the loan amount will be reduced by 75 percent and, if the graduates fulfill their commitment by living or working in Clinton County for at least the following two years, the remaining 25 percent will be forgiven, too.
Kelly added that local students might save up to $40,000 over four years in room and board charges by commuting from home. Some of that savings could fund such “educational extras” as an overseas travel opportunity or even the experience of residing on campus at some point in their college career. He suggested some students could simply commute to WC and eat lunch on campus.
“Wilmington College feels we can bring the world to you,” he said, reminding that students also have the chance to participate in NCAA D-3 intercollegiate athletics, a myriad of campus organizations, part-time work and in such hands-on learning opportunities as internships, laboratories and other outside-the-classroom experiences.
Kelly said attending Southern State Community College can be an appealing option for students looking to leverage limited resources in the first two years, as tuition can be offset through such means as participation in Ohio’s College Credit Plus option and federal grants when qualified. The college has approved funding up to $6,000 in forgivable loan support to Clinton County Southern State graduates who complete their junior and senior years at WC.
“That $10,000 or $6,000 loan can literally translate into a $10,000 or $6,000 grant,” Kelly added.
Clinton County Succeeds is an expansion of the popular Wilmington Succeeds program the college implemented in 2014 for Wilmington High School graduates. Kelly lauded its success, noting that once WHS students started their junior years at WC, they achieved a 100 percent retention rate.
Any questions about Clinton County Succeeds can be directed to WC’s student financial services representative, Sonia Thompson, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information is available online at www.wilmington.edu/succeed.