By Savannah Brewer
Mrs. Karen Mitchell is the Vice President of The Foundation at Volunteer State Community College. She has worked for both Vol State and the Foundation for 15 years. The Vol State Foundation, located at 106 Gibson Hall, offers scholarships to numerous students that apply. Students are encouraged to apply, regardless of grades and ACT scores. However, you must have a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA.
The Foundation offers over 300 scholarships each year. These scholarships may be full scholarships, like the President’s Ambassadors scholarships, or smaller amounts, such as book stipends.
There is only 1 scholarship application labeled the General Application Scholarship. This scholarship asks less than 45 questions and is simple to complete. This includes basic questions such as your name, when/where you graduated, if you play sports for Vol State, and if you are receiving scholarship via the Tennessee Promise or the Tennessee Reconnect.
There is one crucial essay question needed for completion of the application. Karen stated, “Students need to pour their hearts out in this question. This scholarship is based on need. If the student is experiencing more hardships than they are stating, there is no way for the Foundation to know that. Our goal is to help.”
To access the general application scholarship, go to the Vol State website, click about in the top bar, scroll to and click foundation, and lastly, click scholarships.
The Tennessee Promise scholarship is perfect for students right out of high school. The Tennessee Reconnect program is aimed towards individuals coming back to school. However, to be eligible for the Reconnect Program, you have to be at least 23 years old. Despite the two programs’ differences, TN Promise and TN Reconnect both allocate their money and resources to the school to better help students achieve their goals. Because these two programs are available, the Vol State Foundation is able to use their resources and funds in different areas and further help those in need of extra scholarships.
Karen stated, “If students want to come back to school, we want to help them. The average age of Vol State students are between 22-23 years old. We want to catch the middle ground students that don’t have aid for financial help.”
When asked what her favorite part of working at Vol State is, Karen responded with “Being able to help students. Specifically when a student thinks that they will have to leave because they do not have the funds and being able to tell that student that they are taken care of. They don’t have to worry about the money.”
Karen also stated, “I love to get the word out about the Foundation. A big part of our program is fundraising.”
According to the Vol State Foundation website, “Our donors make it possible to invest in the future of our community. Each year we award more than 200 student scholarships totaling nearly $300,000. In the last 20 years the College Foundation has awarded more than 3,700 scholarships and raised more than $10 million.”
I would recommend any Vol State student to apply for scholarships. The process has been made extremely easy by Vol State faculty, as it doesn’t take long and there are not many questions. When completing the essay question, make sure that you complete it to the best of your ability and share your story. While you may not know it, there are many people here at Vol State that not only want to help you, but also want you to succeed!