Costs of attending college continue to increase, and the Kiwanis Club of Longboat Key is working to help local students cope with rising expenses.
At its April 10 weekly breakfast meeting, Kiwanis Club President Richard Crawford asked for a motion to increase the amount of total scholarships the club awards from $75,000 to $100,000. The club also plans to increase the $35,000 it gives out in grants for next year.
Last year, the Longboat Key Kiwanis Club Foundation awarded 15 academic scholarships of $2,000 each and 10 scholarships for technical students of $1,250 each.
The Kiwanis Club Foundation has approximately $373,000 in its account for grant and scholarship purposes. Combined with the club’s checking account used to pay bills, the club has approximately $420,000 cash on hand, according to Kiwanis Club Treasurer Jim Larson.
Members agreed last year to never let the foundation’s account balance fall below $300,000.
That decision was meant to help buffer the account, which is managed by an investment firm, during downturns in the economy.
Not all Kiwanis Club members were on board with the decision at last week’s meeting.
Kiwanis Club member Dr. Jim Whitman, a scholarship committee member for years, worries the increase is too much.
“This kind of increase in the endowment in one year concerns me,” said Whitman, who explained it has been a challenge for the scholarship committee to find qualified scholarship candidates in years past.
Crawford, though, said he isn’t worried about the increase.
“It is a lot of money, and we have a lot of money,” Crawford said.
Crawford and Kiwanis Club Scholarship Chairwoman Susan Phillips noted that the $2,000 scholarships the club currently issues don’t keep up with the rising cost of tuition for Florida residents attending college with in-state tuition.
The most recent pool of recipients were selected from a pool of 94 applicants.
The club uses a grading system to determine which students receive scholarships and also requires an essay of approximately 300 words from applicants.
“Some of these essays bring tears to your eyes,” said former scholarship chair Weldon Frost in November.
The Kiwanis Club of Longboat Key Foundation scholarship submittal period is from May 1 through May 31. Applications must be postmarked by May 31 for consideration.
Application materials are available at lbkkiwanisscholarship.com.
GPA is important but not paramount. Work history, financial need and evidence of interest are given priority.
The foundation will notify successful applicants by July 11, and honor recipients at the Kiwanis Club’s Aug. 7 meeting.
For information, contact the foundation’s scholarship committee at 374-5819.
Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected]