Since 1991, University of Arizona alumni have had a helping hand in sending hundreds of students on to higher education.
This year, the Yuma UA Alumni Club was able to distribute $45,000 among over 40 students who are planning to attend the university in Tucson or to participate in the programs offered by the school at the local level.
The group held its annual Yuma UA Club Scholarship BBQ this past Thursday and was happy to announce that over the past 20 years, they have awarded a total of $770,000 in scholarships to 445 students in the Yuma area.
Programs that students have received scholarships for at UA-Yuma include Agriculture, Systems Engineering, and Family Studies and Human Development.
Gay Thrower, scholarship chairwoman, explained that the group is able to raise funds through donations and their annual golf tournament in addition to other alumni fundraisers including license plate sales.
Due to the economic down turn, the amount of funds they have been able to present to students over the years has fluctuated up and down, but Thrower said the group works hard to make sure students have some type of scholarship for continuing their education.
She also noted that in the past, they usually distributed scholarships to future UA Wildcats as they were about to graduate from high school. Now they are awarding them at varying ages for other students who are returning back to school.
Jeff Byrd, Yuma UA Alumni Club chapter president, explained that students from all over the local area are eligible for the scholarships, including Antelope and San Pasqual districts.
“We're really proud of what's going on with this group to help get Yuma kids started,” he said. “The benefit of this is a lot of times these kids end up coming back to town and being productive professionals in Yuma County and helping to make the city a better place.”
Eligibility requirements for the scholarships are either a 2011 graduate of a Yuma-area high school with cumulative grade-point average of 3.50 or higher or Yuma-area resident who has attended Arizona Western College after graduating from a Yuma-area high school and has earned a cumulative grade-point average of 3.00 or better after a minimum of 12 credit hours at AWC.
“Applications will be judged on merit, not financial need,” stated the application. “These scholarships range in value from $500-$3000, some for one year and some renewable.”
Sarah Womer can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6858.