GARDNER -- Applications for the wide array of scholarship opportunities from the Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation have opened to current and future MWCC students, providing students with access to thousands of dollars to help fund their education.
"There's a lot of help available," said Foundation Executive Director Carla Zottoli. "We want people to graduate."
The application process ends in March for transfer scholarships and in May for continuing student scholarships, with scholarships usually awarded in June. The foundation distributes over $350,000 in scholarships annually to help meet the needs of students that remain after financial aid has been awarded. For community college students, said Zottoli, this can mean covering not only books but the gas to get to class or food for themselves or their families.
The process for applying to the scholarships is carried out through the college's Iconnect system, which any currently enrolled or future student will have access to. By inputting information such as town and degree, students will be automatically shown the scholarships they are eligible for. But Zotolli also encourages students to stop by her office to discuss their specific situation and need.
"Come talk to financial aid, student accounts or me. Usually there is a way to figure it out. There is money to help you," said Zottoli.
The foundation has numerous different scholarship opportunities for students, said Zottoli. These range from more than 50 named scholarships with specific parameters, to a book fund and those designed specifically for MWCC students preparing to transfer to a four-year school.
The new DCU "Last Mile Scholarship" is designed for students who have just one semester to complete in order to graduate, but who have financial barriers that prevent them from covering that final hurdle. This scholarship allows for up to $2,500 per student.
Those who would like to help a student can learn about donating to the MWCC Foundation at mwcc.edu/giving. The MWCC Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) charity and all gifts are tax deductible.