KC Scholars Helps Build a College-Educated Workforce

KC Scholars graduates 2017

KC Scholars graduates Joslyn Brockman and Teeka Hodge.

There are more than 300,000 adults in the Kansas City area with some college credits but no degree. KC Scholars, a scholarship program established in 2016, set out to solve this problem by helping low- and modest-income students, as well as adult learners, finance and complete a college education.

The inaugural class of scholarship recipients was announced just last May, but the program is already celebrating its first two college graduates. Joslyn Brockman and Teeka Hodge are two of the 90 recipients of adult learner scholarships, which have changed their lives and future careers in the past seven months.

Brockman, a 33-year-old Olathe resident, lost eligibility for financial aid one semester shy of completing her degree. Now she will earn her associate degree in nursing from Donnelly College this month, allowing her to pursue her dream of becoming a registered nurse.

Hodge, a 26-year-old-resident of Kansas City, Missouri, also left college one semester shy of a degree when she learned she was pregnant. Because she withdrew from classes early in the semester she incurred a balance with the institution and was unable to secure financial aid to continue her education. KC Scholars provided the financial support that will allow her to graduate with a general associate degree this month. A first-generation college graduate, her goal is to become a social work/child life specialist and to serve as a strong role model for her daughter.

When you consider that a person with a bachelor’s degree can expect to make 66 percent more than a high school graduate during his or her lifetime, it makes sense to encourage and support as many adults as possible in their efforts to finish their degree. Additionally, when adults earn a degree, youth in their household are three times more likely to finish high school, go to college and earn a degree themselves.

With the goal of creating college graduates, KC Scholars also provides scholarships to ninth- and 11th-grade students. With 685 scholarship recipients from the initial class and the next application cycle opening January 1, 2018, we are looking forward to many more success stories just like these two.

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