Looking back at many significant achievements since its founding in 2008, the Scioto Foundation celebrates the 10th anniversary of its UCAN Program this fall, highlighted by the growth and development of scholarship endowment funds established by 12 school systems in Scioto County and 3 from neighboring counties.
Over the ten-year period, UCAN schools raised $919,474 and the Scioto Foundation matched that amount with grants of $727,114 for a total of $1,646,588. As of December 31, 2017, UCAN (University/College Access Network) funds invested at the Scioto Foundation totaled a market value of $2,030,003.
In addition, UCAN scholarship awards for the ten-year period have reached a total of $429,489 for the 15 UCAN school systems, and the foundation has furnished $104,484 in mini-grants to the schools to help cover expenses of student test fees, teacher training for Advanced Placement courses and ACT teacher boot camps. The number of students who have enrolled in AP classes has grown to 3,254 in 2018 and 4,518 have taken AP tests in the last decade. To date, 142 teachers from Scioto County schools have participated in AP course training.
“The UCAN program of the Scioto Foundation has helped our students tremendously in the past 10 years,” said New Boston School District Superintendent Melinda Burnside. “We started the program in 2009 giving one scholarship worth a total of $500. New Boston Schools are able to provide more money every year to go toward high level institutions. To date, we have awarded UCAN scholarships totaling $30,862. This takes away some of the burden our students and families have to go through in consideration of their child’s future education. We appreciate all of the input, updates and hard work from the Scioto Foundation. UCAN go to College!”
For the 2017-2018 school year, all schools together raised $58,877 which was matched by $39,978 from the Scioto Foundation for a total of $98,856. The Washington-Nile School System topped all schools for the past year, raising $22,666.50
This spring the UCAN Program announced a valuable new asset: the addition of part-time staff member Barbara Bradbury as UCAN College Advisor. As UCAN College Advisor, Bradbury will help students plan, prepare and find resources to pay for post-secondary education. Based upon school specific requests, these objectives will be accomplished through individual or group student meetings, presentations and possibly parent meetings. The advisor will work with students in grades 9 through 12, with a focus on grades 11-12.
The Foundation’s original goals for UCAN were to increase the number of students from Scioto County attending and completing college, raise the educational attainment levels of the community and improve the quality of life for the residents of this area, according to Kim Cutlip, Scioto Foundation Executive Director. The innovative UCAN initiative created a network of partners dedicated to providing financial assistance to every Scioto County student who wants to go to college. The initial program participants in the area-wide effort were all 12 Scioto County school districts, the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center, local businesses, committed volunteers and individual donors.
Four major UCAN strategies were outlined in the original program objectives. They included endowing school scholarship funds and helping students prepare for college by supporting local school districts in establishing and expanding their Advanced Placement class offerings and college access testing. The plan also called for the creation of a centralized
scholarship database for youth from Scioto County and the surrounding area and an annual awareness campaign about UCAN to encourage the growth of a “college-going community.” All four strategies were put into action and have been ongoing with steady progress through the past 10 years.
After offering maximum $10,000 challenge grants to school systems, building their UCAN scholarship endowments for the first five years, the Scioto Foundation has continued the matching funds program with slight variations. Most recently for UCAN 3.0, the Foundation has set aside a match of $25,000 per year for a total of $125,000 beginning with the 2018-2019 school year and ending after the 2022-2023 school year. Each school’s match ratio depends on the amount of donations received.
The Foundation also continues to offer access for UCAN teachers to attend ACT and College Board ACT English boot camps and extends full tuition to teachers wishing to attend APSI training at Ohio University Chillicothe. SF offers $1,000 mini-grants to participating schools for college preparedness activities, and beginning in 2018, an additional $1,000 per district to defray expenses for students to make college visits.
“The Scioto Foundation UCAN program has allowed our staff and community members to invest in the future of our students. Over the past 9 years, 77 Wheelersburg High School graduates have received a UCAN Wheelersburg Excellence Scholarship. The UCAN program has helped these students to make their academic dreams a reality,” Wheelersburg High School Guidance Counselor Rebecca Davis said.
To make it easy for students and parents to find scholarship information, the Foundation’s ucanfindascholarship.org site features comprehensive information about available scholarships on a local, state and national basis. Students and parents can also find a wealth of information about planning, preparing and paying for college at the Scioto Foundation’s annual UCAN Go to College Night, set this year for October 24, from 5:30 – 7:00 pm at the Southern Ohio Medical Center Friends Center. College Night attendance figures for the seven years it has been presented now totals 1,156.
A UCAN Neighbors Program, established in 2017 has brought in the Wellston, Jackson, and Manchester schools as active members who have established scholarship endowment funds and received UCAN benefits.
A new UCAN internship program which began in 2017 has placed college students in 5-week summer job assignments at local nonprofit organizations in the area. The program is designed to give students meaningful work experience and an understanding of the role of local nonprofit and public sectors with the possibility of attracting them to careers in those areas.
Last winter, Clay School District Superintendent Todd Warnock summed up what 10 years of UCAN have meant to his school system when he said “The UCAN program couldn’t have worked out better for alumni, students and graduates. It’s a blessing for the whole school community.” Clay Schools, which actually created a scholarship endowment at the Scioto Foundation in 2004, top all other school systems in the amount of invested scholarship funds with $280,917.
Further information about the UCAN Program may be obtained by contacting Scioto Foundation Executive Director Kim Cutlip or other staff members at (740) 354-4612.