After helping thousands of students access college, we like to think that we’ve learned a thing or two about what it takes to get there.
Over the past 60 years, CollegeReady (previously Scholarships, Inc.) has been laser-focused on our mission of encouraging and investing in area students to succeed in higher education. We are proud that our funding and programming has made a positive impact on thousands of youth from all backgrounds in our community.
We’ve seen a lot of change throughout the years.
One of the biggest has centered around our workforce, and a phenomenon called ‘degree inflation’ – a rising demand for college degrees in jobs that didn’t always require one – which essentially makes a college degree the new high school diploma. With more employers requiring a post-secondary degree for basic, entry-level jobs, students with only a high school diploma are finding fewer and fewer jobs that they qualify for when entering the workforce, or after taking a job, they get stuck in an entry-level position with the entry-level wages to match.
So we’ve seen more need for a college degree throughout the years, but we’ve also seen the cost of earning one skyrocket.
Back in 1962 when CollegeReady became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, students attending UW-Madison paid less than $300 per semester for in-state tuition. That first year, we sent 16 students off to college and awarded them a total of $7,550 in scholarships – enough to cover all of their financial need for the whole year.
Now, in 2022, tuition clocks in at over $5,000 per semester.
And we’re not just picking on UW-Madison. Between 1980 and 2020, the average price of tuition, fees, and room and board for an undergraduate degree increased an astonishing 169%. And although experts can’t point to one primary reason WHY the cost has increased so dramatically over time, they’ve identified some trends that contribute to it, like more services and resources being offered to students, the continual need for better technology, and changes in state and local funding, to name a few.
While many parents started saving while their kids were very young, few families can afford (or come up with the extra money) to fully fund their child’s education.
And yes, student loans are available, but borrowing comes with its own risks, especially for the large sums that are typically needed to foot the bill of a college education.
For the kids who’ve put in the work in at school, gotten a job to save up for college, and are getting ready to apply, the sky-high cost of college can be a deal-breaker. We see many of them weigh their options… Enter the workforce immediately after high school and begin earning a paycheck right away (albeit in a basic, entry-level job with a basic, entry-level wage), or trust that pursuing a post-secondary degree will turn into a larger paycheck and better earning power in the future, even though it will delay that paycheck for two to four years.
That can be a tough decision to make.
Without help and encouragement, these factors often create a barrier that’s big enough to keep students from pursuing higher education altogether.
So that’s where we – and other college access and scholarship granting organizations – come in.
One constant among all the changes over the past six decades has been our continual drive to help students access a college education. Because our community is so generous and committed to youth and education, we support and encourage hardworking, deserving students as they strive for a brighter future that’s full of the options, opportunities, and possibilities that a college degree brings.
CollegeReady has awarded nearly $13 million in scholarships to thousands of college-bound students in Northeast Wisconsin. Our funding takes a bite out of their tuition bill, thereby reducing their need for student loans. Along with alleviating money-related stress, this financial support provides a boost of confidence, allowing them to feel great about pursuing what may be out of reach without scholarships and other financial aid. In fact, many of our past recipients say that without our scholarship funding, it would have been difficult or impossible to pursue a degree and make their college and career dreams a reality.
And now that we’ve successfully graduated two classes of high school seniors in our NEW Scholars college readiness program, we’ve also shared in the excitement and accomplishments of our students as they learn and grow throughout middle and high school. We are so proud to help them move toward their goal of becoming the first in their family to attend college.
Sorry for bragging. We’re just happy to have helped a lot of students achieve their goals, and we want to make that support available to everyone.
So – we’re launching a blog!
We hope to educate, enlighten, and engage students, parents and supporters about school success, college access and affordability, majors and careers, and community commitment.
We want to become your go-to source for college and scholarship information.
We can’t wait to start, and we’ll be back with our first post soon! Please subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to be notified when a new post is available, and get all the news and updates from CollegeReady delivered right to your inbox.
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