Council Bluffs’ Lewis Central and Avoca-Hancock-Shelby-Tenant-Walnut (AHST-W) to join
(Council Bluffs, Iowa) An Iowa West Foundation education initiative that addresses barriers to college access and success in higher education will expand to two additional high schools in Pottawattamie County this year. Council Bluffs’ Lewis Central and AHST-W school boards recently voted to join the Pottawattamie Promise program, which offers full-ride scholarships to Iowa Western Community College and wraparound support services both in high school and college.
More than 100 students from Council Bluffs and Riverside Community School Districts have been awarded scholarships thus far. With the addition of Lewis Central and AHST-W, a total of nearly 150 students per year will pursue their post-secondary educational opportunity of choice beginning with the Class of 2020. Approximately 35 of those students will be from Lewis Central and 15 will be from AHST-W. Council Bluffs Community and Riverside School Districts will remain partner schools in the program as well.
“We intentionally selected one urban and one rural school for the pilot portion of the program and expanding was always the goal,” said Pete Tulipana, President, and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation. “Now that we’ve established an effective model, we’re pleased to be able to successfully scale the Pottawattamie Promise program to two more area high schools.”
Based on a national model, Pottawattamie Promise is geared toward first-generation, Pell-eligible students with GPAs of 2.5 or higher whom –if it weren’t for these scholarships and services –might not have considered college a possibility. Superintendent Jesse Ulrich is honored AHST-W was selected.
“Pottawattamie Promise will ensure our students have an opportunity to continue on with their post-secondary education that may not otherwise have,” he said. “This program will provide hope for families who want to provide a better life for the children’s future.”
Each scholarship valued at up to $15,000 per year depending on the program chosen by the student. Tuition funding and housing are two components of the initiative. Support services for students also include specialized math instruction in high school and advising services both in high school and college.
The Iowa West Foundation partners with the three local foundations to fund the program including the AKSARBEN Foundation, the Peter Kiewit Foundation, and the Iowa Western Community College Foundation.
“By preparing high school students for college beginning in their sophomore years, and eliminating barriers to access a higher education while offering support along the way, it creates a pipeline for the future workforce to earn competitive wages in their careers,” said Kathleen Rapp, Vice President of Grants and Initiatives for the Iowa West Foundation. “Therefore, our Promise scholarship recipients will not only be able to support themselves and their families but will also contribute to the growth and strengthening of our region overall.”
About the Iowa West Foundation
The Iowa West Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the Midwest. It has distributed more than $400 million in grants and initiatives to nonprofits and governmental agencies through southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska since the inception of its grant program in 1996. Funding for the grants comes from investment earnings and the Iowa West Racing Association, which receives contractual fees from casino operators, Ameristar and Harrah’s. IWRA is the license sponsor for Ameristar and Harrah’s and the license holder for Horseshoe-Bluffs Run.
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