College Assistance Program Gives Out 31 Scholarships

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- With a little over a month before college freshman take to their new campuses, the Mahoning Valley College Assistance Program Thursday awarded $1,000 scholarships to 31 students.

Each of the students, graduates of eight schools in Mahoning and Trumbull counties, was given a Last Dollar Scholarship. MVCAP has awarded such scholarships annually the last 12 years.

“We're probably the last ones to provide them with a scholarship before they begin attendance in August or September," said Paul Dutton, president of MVCAP. “This is $1,000 that will aid them, so if there is a shortfall or gap, this will assist them.”

The criteria MVCAP uses to determine the recipients, he added, are “purely objective. We look at their FAFSA [Free Application for Federal Student Aid] form, parent contributions, their ACT or SAT scores and their grade point average. Whoever comes out on top receives $1,000,” he says.

The scholarships are funded by 10 local organizations, which include The Youngstown Foundation, the Hynes Family Trust and the Trumbull County Scholarship Fund.

“We're very proud of our scholarship recipients and we're proud of what we've been able to since 2002,” Dutton says, noting that to date more than 500 students have benefited.

Among the recipients was recent Warren G. Harding High School graduate William Anastasiadis, who will attend Baldwin Wallace University. He will major in neuroscience with a concentration in chemistry, he said, his decision prompted by his mother being diagnosed with schizophrenia.

“I thought it was good to see the future of the medical field and the brain,” he said. “I just drew a lot of my passion from that and what we've been through.”

Applicants for the scholarship were required to write an essay, which Anastasiadis described as ”eye-opening.”

“I just had to do an essay about my critical skills in general. Things like what I want to get into in the future and what passions I have. That was probably as influential as [getting] the scholarship,” he says.

Chaney High School graduate Angalyna Hayden said her essay focused on growing up in a single-parent home. When she learned she had won a Last Dollar Scholarship, it was a huge moment for her and her family.

“There were a lot of things we went through just to get to where we are right now,” she says. “It was the same time I got my final report card back. Just both things combining, I was so happy and being able to share it with family and friends, I was really proud of myself.”

While Hayden said that she'll use the scholarship to cover the cost of books and other supplies, Anastasiadis said his  award will go toward paying his tuition.

“With Baldwin Wallace being  $38,000 in tuition, it's just a really good feeling,” he began. I have four siblings, so being able to pay for college is just a great feeling with  scholarships I'll be getting. My dad was really proud. It's a great feeling to win a scholarship, especially with my siblings all being younger than me. They have to look up to a positive role model and that's what I want to be for them.”

Pictured: Scholarship recipients at Thursday's award ceremony.

Copyright 2014 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
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