Reverse Scholarship Program
Many communities in Michigan are struggling to retain college graduates and lose out on their talents toward economic growth and prosperity. In late 2013, during HCCF's strategic priorities process, discussion began among the donors and constituents of the Foundation about what, if anything, could be done to attract young people back to the Thumb Region. The result was a simple brainstorm that might transform the world of traditional scholarships.
From the start the Huron County Community Foundation, Community Foundation of St. Clair County, and Sanilac County Community Foundation have all worked together to address the talent drain and the Reverse Scholarship program was born.
Traditional scholarships are awarded and paid on the “front end” of a student’s career. At that time, there are no guarantees the student will complete studies in their chosen field, graduate from college or return back to their communities to help contribute to growth and prosperity.
A “reverse scholarship” is essentially a talent retention program and would pay students on the back-end of their college career, after they have completed a degree in a STEAM related field, but only if they agree to move back home and work in Huron County.
We are in the process of engaging donors eager to support this new talent retention initiative along with community foundations serving St. Clair and Sanilac counties. We have obtained a legal opinion on this new program and plan to launch this Reverse Scholarship program and begin accepting applications in early 2016.
We anticipate this reverse scholarship award will appeal to young college graduates in their late twenties, who still have some student debt, and are weighing the options for returning home versus relocating.
If you are interested in supporting this initiative, please contact Mackenzie Price Sundblad, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org or 989-269-2850.
Process, Criteria & Governance
1. Scholarship selections would be a competitive application process, much like the many existing scholarship programs already managed and administered by community foundations throughout America.
2. Eligible applicants would be limited to recent graduates with the following criteria:
• Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math (STEAM) graduates
• Graduated with an appropriate 2 or 4 year degree within the last seven years and still has student debt
• Applicants may not be already living within the county at the time of their application
3. Award Size: The initial awards will be at least $10,000 and will be paid out on a quarterly basis.
4. Length of Stay: There is no mandatory length of stay. However, if an award recipient moves out of the county during the award program cycle, they would forfeit all future award monies not yet paid.
5. Use of Funds: Award funds must be used to pay off student debt.
6. Expectations: Award recipients will be expected to live and work in their communities in order to be eligible for this funding. They must secure a job or create their own business within 120 days of receiving the award. The specific terms and expectations, along with the process for monitoring and evaluating the program’s impact will be up to the entity that is managing the program.
Applications will not be accepted until a later date.