(Council Bluffs, Iowa) An Iowa West Foundation education initiative that addresses barriers to college access and success is expanding to another Pottawattamie County high school. The Tri-Center School Board 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 400 students from Council Bluffs, Lewis Central, Riverside, and AHST-W Community School Districts have been awarded scholarships thus far. With the addition of Tri-Center High School located in Neola, a total of nearly 200 students per year will be attending Iowa Western as part of the Pottawattamie Promise program beginning with the Class of 2020.
“Now that we’ve established an effective model, we’re pleased to be able to successfully scale the Pottawattamie Promise program to another rural area high school,” said Pete Tulipana, President, and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation. “We hope to incorporate all Pottawattamie County high schools into the program by 2020.”
Based on a national model, Pottawattamie Promise is geared toward first-generation, Pell-eligible students with GPAs of 2.0 or higher whom – if it weren’t for these scholarships and services –might not have considered college a possibility. Tri-Center Superintendent Angie Huseman, Ph.D., is ready to implement the initiative at her school.
“We are very excited to be able to offer such a life-changing opportunity for our Tri-Center families,” Dr. Huseman said. “The support, both financial and personal, affords qualifying students the opportunity to earn a degree, license or certificate, which is a priceless investment in their futures.”
Each scholarship is valued at up to $15,000 per year depending on the program chosen by the student. Tuition funding is just one component of the initiative. Rural high school students also receive funding for room and board. Support services for all students 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.
“Preparing high school students for college and eliminating barriers to access a higher education while offering support along the way creates a pipeline for the future workforce to earn competitive salaries in their future 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 $420 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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