Scholarships help Mac students cross the finish line

By Nick Kovatch on November 15 at 7:30am

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A scholarship program is helping several MacMurray College students finish their senior year.

MacMurray was one of two colleges selected to pilot a scholarship program from the Illinois Institute of Independent Colleges and Universities aimed at making it possible for students with one year or less remaining to return to college and finish their degree.

With funding from AT&T, the pilot program, called “Crossing the Finish Line”, awarded eight students with as much as $3,000 for tuition. The goal is to assist students who need only one more year of study to complete their degrees but have been prevented from doing so primarily by financial burdens.

MacMurray senior Kyle Marshall of Columbus, Ohio is a psychology major. He says he works two jobs during the summer to be able to afford college.

“I just try to work to try to finish,” says Marshall. “This is eight hours from home. Eight hours is either a pretty hefty plant ticket or a lot of gas. When AT&T stepped in and said they would offer me this money it helped a whole lot. I didn’t have to work as much. $3,000 is a lot of money. Really, any type of free money is good money in today’s economy.”

Senior Jodi Anderson is a mother of two who decided to go after a nursing degree at the age of 28.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity and a tremendous load off my financial aspect of everything trying to come up with tuition expenses, graduation expenses and the expenses to do my nursing NCLEX test when I’m done with graduation,” says Anderson. “It is a wonderful opportunity and I’m honored to be a recipient.”

Dennis Pauley is Director of External Affairs at AT&T.

“At AT&T we have a $350 million Aspire Program that we’re focusing on education,” says Pauley. “We want to keep kids in high school and now we’re focusing some in college, too. In this world you have to have a college degree and we need to help everyone that we can get through that.”

The pilot program is also being offered at Loyola University Chicago.

The other seniors who were chosen for the scholarship were Robert Johnson of Seville, Florida, Jessica Fox of Festus, Missouri, Raymond Smith of Champaign, and Tracey Hart, Kathy Jones and Jessica Mullens, all of Jacksonville.

The students were recognized at a ceremony at the Putnam/Springer Center on the campus of MacMurray yesterday afternoon.