Austin – Recognized for Scholarship Program

The Austin Community College Board of Trustees honored Assistance League of Austin at their December board meeting, recognizing our scholarship program for providing the most scholarships of any non-profit organization this year, as well as our long history of funding education. We contributed $186,000 to the Austin Community College Foundation, enabling us to fund 97 scholarships this year.  It was a wonderful opportunity for others to learn of our organization and our efforts to change lives.

One of Assistance League of Austin’s premier programs is its Scholarship Program. Now in its 24th year, it supports students pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree, a teaching degree, or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Austin Community College (ACC). Once students are selected as our scholars, the scholarship program will support them through their graduation at ACC.

A unique aspect of the program is the involvement of our chapter members who serve, one-on-one as advocates for Assistance League scholars. It is the advocate component that is vitally important to the success of the student. When our scholarship recipients are selected by ACC, students who need a support system are given priority. This type of student may have no one to turn to or ask questions of should he or she encounter difficulties academically or personally. This is where the advocate component of the program fits in. Advocates can direct the scholar to college resources for academic concerns, send encouraging texts, or just lend an ear.

Another unique aspect of our scholarship program is the availability of discretionary funds, which provide another level of support for scholars. Sometimes, a financial emergency can arise that the students cannot cover. Without additional funding, their education would be derailed, which is where discretionary funds come into play. These funds have paid for such things as computers, car repairs, medical bills, eyeglasses, and certification tests that are vital to keeping students in school.

To support the program, our Austin chapter relies on private donors – foundations and individuals – and funding from the proceeds of our Thrift House. Donors have continuously provided yearly support for over 20 years and consistently renew their commitment each year as they see the vital role the program plays in our community and the success of our scholars. This year, financial support enabled Assistance League to award 97 scholarships for the 2022-23 academic year – over a 50% increase from the previous year. Since the program began in 1998, 493 students have been awarded over $1.7 million in Assistance League scholarships. Of those, 62% have received their degree or certificate. Of those who have not yet graduated, 19% are currently enrolled. By any measure, this graduation rate is remarkable.

There are so many student success stories – single moms, single dads, students who dropped out of high school many years ago, students who have lost their job, students who are caring for their parents, or students who are just trying to further their education and set an example for their family and their children. Assistance League of Austin is proud to support these students and to play a part in transforming their lives.