At Scholarship America, we hear time and again from students who receive scholarships through our programs that they benefit from both the financial assistance and the knowledge that their community believes in them enough to subsidize their education. Some students have shared that earning a scholarship was the catalyst for going to college, and to persisting in their studies to earn their degree. Some tell us that if it weren't for scholarships, they wouldn't have attended college at all.
[Read 5 reasons why scholarships are essential.]
A new study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, The Undereducated American, confirms the importance of helping more students get into and complete an education beyond high school. The study's authors, Anthony P. Carnevale and Stephen J. Rose, found that over the past 30 years, the demand for college-educated workers has outpaced supply—and we will need to add 20 million postsecondary-educated workers to the economy by 2025 if we are to regain our No. 1 global position in college graduates.
In addition, while the economy as a whole continues to recover, the recession's effects on college enrollment are still considerable. The just-released report National Postsecondary Enrollment Trends: Before, During, and After the Great Recession indicates that more traditional-age students are choosing community colleges over a more expensive four-year school. The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education discovered that for every $1,000 in tuition increase, enrollment among low-income students drops 5 percent. And, this year, student loan debt will skyrocket to $1 trillion as tuition and the prices of everyday goods have risen significantly in the past decade.
[Get advice on how to pay for college.]
"We are hurtling into a future dominated by college-level jobs, unprepared," said Georgetown's Carnevale. If we take no action in changing the number of students with college degrees, income disparity between college-educated workers and those with high-school diplomas will rise significantly. However, if we can help more of today's students become tomorrow's educated workforce, the Georgetown University report claims we'll boost America's GDP by $500 billion, add more than $100 billion in tax revenues and begin to reverse the growth of income inequity.
Think you need political clout or be a member of the super-rich to help students attain their educational goals—and help our national economy? Think again! Scholarship America was founded in 1958 with the idea that small donations by many can make a big difference to many students. In fact, nearly two million students have benefitted from our programs in that timeframe through more than $2.5 billion in scholarship assistance.
[Read more about scholarships for college.]
There are literally thousands of scholarship organizations to which you can donate amounts both large and small. Of course, Scholarship America and our 1,100 community-based Dollars for Scholars programs are high on that list, but you can also donate to your alma mater, community foundations, special-interest groups, and more in support of students. Any size gift to any reputable scholarship organization will pay dividends now and well into the future. To read first-hand accounts by students about their scholarships and what that support has meant to them, visit MyScholarshipStory.org.
Janine Fugate joined Scholarship America in 2002. She is an alumna of the College of Saint Benedict, Saint Joseph, Minn., and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Affairs at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Fugate is the recipient of numerous scholarships at both the undergraduate and graduate level.