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Combating rising higher education costs

Ann’s Choice Scholars’ Fund awards 24 additional scholarships

Created date

September 24th, 2013

As students, parents, and citizens, in general, bemoan higher education costs and rising student-loan debt, Ann s Choice residents are doing their part to make post-high school education more affordable for deserving scholars. In a ceremony this June, the Erickson Living community in Bucks County, Pa., awarded $285,000 in scholarships to 38 graduating high school seniors who worked in the community s campus restaurants. The graduates each received a $4,000 scholarship $1,000 per year for four years of post-secondary education. The generosity of residents combined with a bequest of more than $360,000 from the late Jane Buzby Bennett, who lived at Ann s Choice until January 2012, bolstered the Scholars Fund so much that the community awarded 20 additional one-time Ann s Choice special scholarships of $5,000 each. Four memorial and named scholarships were also awarded. Students must meet certain eligibility requirements to receive a scholarship. Special and named scholarships are more competitive and have additional requirements.

Reaching dreams and goals

Stacia Simons and Luke Habib each received a special scholarship. Simons also received a $3,000 one-time named scholarship established by the resident-run Ann s Choice Lifelong Learning Academy. I m so grateful for the scholarships, she says. I can t really put into words how much it means to me and my family. Simons studies fashion merchandising and management at Philadelphia University and will graduate with a business degree. The scholarships won t entirely fund her education, but without them, she might have had to lower her sights. I looked at lots of different schools, she says. I think this is the best program, but it is the most expensive. It s the same for Habib, who studies chemical engineering at Worchester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. He s always known he d be putting himself through college, but he didn t want money to dictate which school he attended. I got a lot of scholarships from Worchester Plytechnic Institute, but the scholarships from Ann s Choice will help me move on with my goals and dreams, says Habib. This is money I ll never have to pay back.

Great appreciation

He says that receiving such largesse is humbling. It s incredible that residents have this program they re funding constantly to help kids like me whose parents can t afford to give them the best education possible. Attitudes like Habib s and Simons are common among the student servers, and residents love them for it. They endear themselves to many of us by their service and personalities, says resident Jo Farina. We really care about them and want to help them however we can. A former middle school teacher, Jo sits on the 32-member Scholars Fund committee. She also serves on the scholarship selection subcommittee that reviews students essays and school records and interviews those who apply for the special and named scholarships. It s a very time-consuming, tiring, but exciting process, she says. We have faith in the students futures, and their education is important to us.

Millions raised

Contributions to the Ann s Choice Scholars Fund come from individual residents, campus organizations, and special fundraisers. This year, 982 contributors made a total of 1,465 donations. Since the fund was established ten years ago, residents have raised $2 million for scholarship awards.