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Central Scholarship Wins Scholarship Provider of the Year Award

Central Scholarship Wins Scholarship Provider of the Year Award

Posted: 10.14.20

Central Scholarship is proud to announce we have been selected as the 2020 winner of the National Scholarship Providers Association (NSPA) Scholarship Provider of the Year Award in the large category!

The Scholarship Provider of the Year Award showcases scholarship providers that leverage their unique resources to strengthen college access and success, advance industry or professional performance, kick-start innovation, and improve conditions in their community and beyond.

NSPA is a nonprofit membership association with 500+ member organizations who together award more than $4 billion in scholarships annually. Thank you to NSPA for this incredible honor.

Piggy Bank surrounded by coins

Thinking About College Financial Aid

Posted: 10.01.20

It’s that time of year where many students are beginning to think about financing their future college education. Central Scholarship offers a College Cash workshop every year that focuses on teaching students and their families about college affordability. Stay tuned for upcoming College Cash dates in 20201, but in the meantime here are some of our top questions attendees typically ask

Q: What is a financial aid package?

A: A financial aid package is generated by your college or university to illustrate how the cost of school will be paid for, including things like tuition, room and board, and books. Financial aid comes from four sources: the federal government, the state government, your school, and private organizations like Central Scholarship.

Q: Is financial aid “free money,” or do I need to pay it back?

A: Often it is both. Colleges do not have to list loans separately in your financial aid package, so it can be very confusing. If you are confused about what is a loan (money you do have to pay back) and what is a scholarship or grant (money you don’t have to pay back), you should contact your school’s financial aid office and ask them to walk you through it and explain in detail what is and isn’t a loan.

Q: What’s the deal with loans? Should I use them to help pay for school?

A: If possible, you should avoid loaning money to help pay for school. In addition to the initial amount of money you loan, you will have to pay back something called “interest,” which is a percentage of the initial amount of money that is added on over the years it will take you to re-pay. Basically, you will have to pay back more than what you borrowed, and it adds up! That being said, many students do not have a choice but to borrow money to help pay for school.

Luckily, Central Scholarship has an interest-free loan program to help you pay! What you borrow is exactly what you pay back – there is 0% interest on our student loans. You can read more about that program here.

Q: How do I access financial aid for college?

A: First thing’s first: you need to complete your FAFSA to access almost all forms of financial aid. If you are applying with Central Scholarship, you can apply with us between January 1st and the first Monday in April every year via our website. If you are interested in Maryland state financial aid, you can browse through their different scholarships and their corresponding requirements and deadlines on their website. Central Scholarship also encourages you to call your school directly and ask them if there is a separate process for applying for scholarships with them.

 

Move Maryland logo over image of athlete doing a situp

Join MOVE Maryland in Support of Central Scholarship!

Posted: 09.15.20

Help Out While You Workout During MOVE Maryland

What will make you feel better than a great workout? Participating in MOVE Maryland! The event is the perfect opportunity to raise money in support of Central Scholarship while participating in energizing fitness classes with some of Baltimore’s best instructors!

Central Scholarship is honored to partner with MOVE Maryland, a virtual day of wellness to get participants moving and move Maryland’s nonprofits forward. As one of more than two dozen MOVE Maryland partners, Central Scholarship is exited to increase support for our mission while joining other Maryland nonprofits to create one powerful voice for change. MOVE Maryland makes you stronger while making Central Scholarship stronger!

Participants sign up to raise $200 for their chosen nonprofit, and if they meet their goal, they will receive an access code to participate in inspirational online fitness classes. The event presents a wonderful opportunity for groups of employees to foster team building and enjoy a virtual day of fitness and fun while giving back to the community.

How to Participate and Support Central Scholarship

  1. Register and choose Central Scholarship as your favorite nonprofit.
  2. Create a team and give back to the community together!
  3. Rally your network to fundraise.
  4. Join us on November 7th as instructors lead spin, barre, Tae Bo, and family bootcamp sessions, accompanied by the tunes of the legendary DJ Kopec.

Support Central Scholarship’s Critical Mission

Our organization offers generous, crucial support to students, empowering them to consider all types of education, including undergraduate, graduate, and career training studies. The program provides students with more than $1 million per year in interest free student loans and scholarships. Removing financial barriers to education offers these students a lifetime of economic opportunity and mobility.

Sign up for MOVE Maryland today and join us on November 7th for an inspiring day of fitness and support for Central Scholarship!

Portrait of Christopher Robinson

Student Spotlight: Chris Robinson

Posted: 08.03.20

Chris is a rising sophomore at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), majoring in Environmental Science. We were able to snag him for an interview before going back to campus for resident assistant training.

Like so many others, Chris’ freshman year on campus was cut short, due to COVID-19. “Besides disrupting the routine that I had become accustomed to, switching to an online format was not as easy as it would seem,” Chris explained. Some struggles came from having professors who had never taught in a digital format, while other challenges came from being isolated at home with siblings. “In the end, we figured out how to make it work, and I was able to end the year with a 3.8 GPA.” (Impressive work, Chris!)

Part of the reason Chris chose UMES was because he could be involved with the American Fisheries Society (AFS) on campus. “[My school has] a 5-year M.S./B. S program in my field with a focus on Marine and Estuarine Science. I decided right away that was the track I wanted to follow.”

The AFS is a national professional organization “focused on strengthening the fisheries, advancing fisheries science and conserving fisheries resources,” according to its website. UMES has a sub-unit that is a conglomerate of students (both grad and undergrad) with a major connected to environmental and fisheries sciences. “We are an outreach program, focusing on community events such as open houses, beach clean-ups, and campus-wide education. It is a way for us to share knowledge and resources with other students and community members,” Robinson said.

Chris first learned about Central Scholarship from Harford County Public Schools scholarship page. “As a first-generation college student, one of my biggest concerns was how I was going to afford school. Being a scholarship recipient has helped take some of that pressure off and allowed me to focus on my education,” Robinson said.

While graduation still seems far away, Chris hopes to continue his education, possibly to the Doctorate level. “My ultimate end goal is to be able to have a job in environmental research that can have a lasting impact on our natural environment.”

We look forward to Chris’ future accomplishments and wish him well as he returns to campus this fall!

Kyarah Mair

Education and Advocacy

Posted: 07.21.20

Kyarah Mair is a Central Scholar and senior at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she is studying Public Policy & Racial Economic Inequality, a major she created. “In my junior year, I discovered that I could combine [all my interests] Economics, African American Studies, Sociology, and Public Policy into one area of study,” Mair explains.

Kyarah discovered Central Scholarship when she was figuring out how she was going to fund her education, as she was applying to colleges. “My mom’s colleague suggested we look into Central Scholarship.” It worked out! “Without [Central Scholarship’s] generous support, I would owe thousands in student loan debt.”

With more financial freedom, Kyarah has been able to hone in on what her future has in store. She landed an internship in her sophomore year with Prosperity Now, an organization working to ensure that everyone in the U.S. has a clear path to financial stability, which influenced her decision to create her major. She worked on the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative at the nonprofit. She supported their work with the Northwest Area Foundation on the African American Financial Capability Initiative: a $4.35 million investment aimed to develop and implement innovative solutions to racial, economic inequality in the U.S.

“This experience inspired me to dedicate my career to creating solutions that address racial, economic inequality, and other social and economic issues more broadly,” says Mair. “I was also inspired to find other think tanks and nonprofits doing this work. These experiences have kickstarted my career in being a racial justice advocate and scholar.”

Mair will graduate in August of this year. After graduation, she plans to take time off from school to gain work experience before pursuing a Ph.D. in Social Policy/Public Policy Analysis, Economics, or Sociology. “After I complete my Ph.D., I want to continue collaborating with think tanks, nonprofits, and government agencies centered around people of color and creating solutions that address racial inequities.” Eventually, she plans to create a public sector consulting firm that will help local, state, and federal governments address the racial equity issues their constituents are experiencing and use the profits to give back to the community.

We are so excited to see what the future has in store for you, Kyarah. Thanks for the inspirational work you are doing!

The Impact of COVID-19 - How Have Students Been Affected?

Virtual Voices

Posted: 06.30.20

This week, we chatted with Savoy Adams, a stellar Central Scholar who just finished up his Freshman year at Loyola University. We discussed the impacts of COVID-19 and race relations in the US.

How has COVID-19 impacted you and other students?

Transitioning to online classes was tough – probably just as much for the professors as it was for the students. There are many distractions at home, so it made it harder to concentrate than if we were in the classroom. Also, I was involved in a lot – like the podcast I run at the radio station, and my internship. Everything came to a halt, and we had to adjust.

What do students need right now?

From a practical sense, they need stable technology and internet access because everything is online and hinges on those things. Functioning laptops, Chromebooks, and Wi-Fi are essential for getting through this time.

How has all this affected your summer?

It has changed everything. I was supposed to take a volunteer trip to Israel to teach students how to play squash through a nonprofit. I was looking forward to it, but the organization postponed it until next summer. So now, I think I’m going to focus on career planning. I’m not sure about what I want to pursue, so I plan on emailing and interviewing people who work in fields that I’m interested in, so when I go back to school, I’ll have a better idea of what I want to study.

What do you think the impact of racial inequality is right now?

I have been deeply affected by everything, particularly because I am a Black male. It’s discouraging because Black communities were suffering from COVID-19 in addition to job insecurities, disparities regarding injustice in poverty, education, and police violence. That’s why I want to focus on my career this summer because I want to find a profession that allows me to help others.

Savoy, we know that you are destined to change the world for the better. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and we are so excited to see you continue your collegiate journey!

Screenshot of Abby Case and Amber

College, COVID, and Career Paths

Posted: 06.18.20

This week, Abby Case, our Annual Fund and Stewardship Manager, sat down (virtually) with Amber Quinlan, a Central Scholarship recipient and recent graduate of Bucknell University.

College Milestones

When it came time to choosing her dream school, Amber Quinlan said it was difficult. She knew that she wanted to attend an out-of-state school, but that it would cost more money than in-state. She had to figure out how she and her parents would balance the tuition cost with scholarships and other funding. “I stayed motivated to overcome these challenges because I knew I wanted and needed a degree to pursue a career in psychology. I had a great support system of friends, family, and teachers encouraging me.”

Once she got to campus her freshman year, Amber’s biggest challenge was figuring out how to gain independence because she was 2.5 hours away from home. Like so many other first-year students, she found it intimidating to make new friends. It helped a little that she was a Bauer Scholar, a scholarship program for students from Baltimore City highschools, so she had met up with a few of them before going to Bucknell for the first time.

While Amber knew from early on in her academic career, that she wanted to pursue Psychology, a pivotal class for her was Multicultural Psychology, which she took during her second semester, freshman year. “It set everything in place for what I did with the rest of my college career. I plan on going back to school next year and pursuing a Ph.D. in Psychology and working with diverse and underserved communities.”

The Impact of COVID-19

As we all look back (or forward) to our college graduation, it’s almost impossible to imagine not living out those last few weeks at our academic home, but rather, our literal homes. “We were all in denial first. When we realized we weren’t going back to finish out our senior year on campus, many students said, ‘If I had known that was my last week on campus, I would have done things differently.’ It was hard. We didn’t get a graduation ceremony, and we’re not sure if we’re going to. I still have a feeling that we’re going back, even though we aren’t.”

Luckily, the outbreak hasn’t altered Amber’s immediate plans for the future too much. She plans on taking this year off to study for the GREs and apply to graduate school. Amber hoped to get a job in a lab at a local university this year, but she’s not sure if or when that’s going to happen.

Students’ Needs

When Abby asked Amber, “What do you think students need right now?” she thought about it. “It depends on the student, but many need financial support. Bucknell, for example, has lots of international students who had to relocate. Some couldn’t fly home. Also, I know many students are struggling with depression. Bucknell offered virtual career and counseling sessions online, which helped. But, I think having someone to talk to, right now, is probably the most important for students.”

Thanks, Amber, for taking the time to chat with us! We’re proud of you and wish you the best of luck. We’re excited to see what you accomplish!

New Student Resources During COVID-19

Posted: 05.29.20

Central Scholarship continues to compile resources that students may find helpful throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. We are here to help as much as we can and if you are a student experiencing an emergency related to COVID-19 please reach out to us and we will work with you the best we can to resolve it.
 

Mental Health Services

The National Alliance on Mental Health is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization. They have prepared an informational guide to help people navigate the COVID-19 outbreak.

Learn More


Job Searching tips

Job searching can be a stressful task during normal circumstances, so if you are struggling with how to go about it check out tips from Harvard Business School online.

Learn More


Professional Development

If you are looking to develop new professional skills check out free online courses from Harvard and Coursera.

Harvard Online Coursera Online


Student Loan Information

To stay up to date on your federal student loans visit the US Department of Education to find out more.

Learn More


2-1-1 Maryland

The mission of 2-1-1 Maryland is to be a statewide resource always available by telephone and internet to connect citizens to health and human resources at any time. Specially trained call specialists answer calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Simply dial 2-1-1 to access their services.

Learn More


Central Scholarship Emergency Funding Program for Current Recipients

Central Scholarship’s Emergency Funding Program is available to help current Central Scholarship recipients with any medical, transportation, housing, or food emergencies associated with COVID-19 or otherwise. Current Central Scholarship recipients are eligible for up to $1,000 in emergency funds per request. Current Central Scholarship recipients can email Kayla Bettenhauser at [email protected] for more information.

Sydney

College Cash Winner – Sydney

Posted:

Central Scholarship met Sydney at a February College Cash event held on the University of Baltimore campus. This program was developed to provide free informational seminars that cover strategies for financing a college education. Students and their families can learn about maximizing federal financial aid, standing out from the crowd through a scholarship essay, reading financial aid award letters, and understanding student loans.

At this College Cash event, we offered one lucky student in attendance a $1,000 scholarship for their Fall 2020 semester. Sydney was our lucky winner! She is immensely grateful for receiving this award and is thankful she can further her education.

Sydney has lived in the neighborhood of Hamilton in Baltimore City all her life. She had a wonderful childhood with parents who worked hard to give her everything she needed to be successful. Growing up she was always passionate about art with interests in sculpting, dancing, and drawing.

Until recently, Sydney could never give a sensible answer to the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” As an artistic person, her responses were “robot princess fairy” or “queen of Atlantis”. However, she can now confidently say she aspires to be an artist. Her dream is to either be an art therapist or an illustrator.

As a current senior in high school, she has still not made up her mind about where to go to college. She is choosing between two amazing options, Virginia Commonwealth University and Notre Dame of Maryland University: however, she’s leaning towards VC!

Congratulations, Sydney, on winning a $1,000 scholarship! Good luck in choosing a college.

Erick-Sowell

Army Career to College Cheer

Posted:

Erick grew up near Los Angeles, California and enjoyed the casual beach atmosphere and mild weather. He wanted to be many things when he grew up like becoming a broadcast journalist, political campaign manager, and even a high school social studies teacher.

It wasn’t until applying to colleges that he took a completely different path. Erick ended up signing a 5-year contract to serve in the United States Army, which guaranteed linguistics and military intelligence training. The 5-year contract turned into a 20-year career that had Erick traveling the world. He retired from the Army at Fort Meade in 2018.

He was made aware of Central Scholarship while he was a member of the School of Social Work’s Latinx student group where a former scholarship recipient encouraged him to apply.

Erick is so thankful that we could help ease the burden that came with financing his higher education goals. His scholarship also helped increase his motivation to excel after he had the privilege of meeting some donors.

Erick is currently studying at the University of Maryland’s School of Social Work and is maintaining a 4.1 GPA. Upon graduation, his focus will be on caring for clients within the veteran and the LGBTQ+ communities. He plans to explore serving in both an integrated care setting and private practice, so he can build diverse experience over the next 3 years of the clinical social work licensing process.

We are very proud to have Erick as one of our scholarship recipients. We wish him the best as he finishes school and moves into a promising career!