Tuition Grants Allow Dream of College to Be Realized

Tuition Grants Allow Dream of College to Be Realized

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College is a ticket to job security and a comfortable lifestyle. But for many, that ticket is hard to punch. Dreams of going to vocational school, a two year community college, or a four-year university are often denied by the financial realization of a costly college tuition. That is when the Staples Tuition Grants (STG) organization steps in. In 1943, a group of seven Staples parents formed the STG as an offshoot of the PTA, with just a single donation of $100 but the goal of “providing college tuition assistance to Staples High School graduates.” 67 years later, the organization still assists Staples graduates who need help to pay for college.

“The overall mission is really that no child should be denied a college education,” Peggy Kamins said, the chairperson of the STG. To meet this goal, the STG usually raises over $150,000 for tuition grants, which have helped hundreds of Staples graduates afford college. According to Kamins, anyone can apply for a tuition grant.

“It is strictly need based, not on grades,” she said.

In 2009 alone, around 80 Staples graduates received tuition grants, which can total up to $5,000. In fact, according to Lisa Krosse, a lead person on the STG student committee, the number of applications in 2009 rose 34 percent to more than 100. This year, demand for tuition grants is unlikely to slow.

“We’re expecting more requests this year in light of the economy,” Kamins said.

Lee Bollert, the lead person on the STG donor committee, agreed with Kamins.

“I think families have found themselves in situations they wouldn’t have imagined.
she said.

And with higher demand comes the need for more donations, which, in the aftermath of a major recession, are harder to come by.

“We are about halfway to our goal,” Kamins said. “We have a big push to hit that $200,000 mark.”

To fund the many tuition grants, the organization sends two to three mailings to households each year. Mainly, though, the organization receives donations from individuals and foundations connected to Staples.

Kamins explained that some people set up endowments with the STG, so that when they pass away they will have created a perpetual donation.

One Staples parent, Kamins said, established a grant after her son died to donate each year to the STG. Although the STG has only raised around $100,000 of the $200,000, Kamins is optimistic that they will reach their goal.

“What helps are the endowments we have that are invested.” she said.

To donate to the STG, one can visit the STG website at www.staplestuitiongrants.org or mail in donations to the Staples High School Tuition Grants Committee, at P.O. Box 5159, Westport, CT, 06880.