Kansas City Community Backs KC Scholars, New Scholarship and College Savings Program

Kauffman Foundation Announces $79 Million Investment in KC Scholars Program

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Sept. 28, 2016)—The Kauffman Foundation, along with 70 community partners, is rolling out a new scholarship and college savings program, KC Scholars, to help low- and modest-income students, as well as adult learners, finance and complete a college education. KC Scholars is a three-tiered scholarship program developed by people throughout the Kansas City community who have worked together for more than a year to make the program a reality. To ensure KC Scholars' success, the Kauffman Foundation will invest $79 million in the program over the next 10 years. 

"KC Scholars is a true community collaboration, driven by the belief that all students – regardless of income, age or ethnicity – deserve an opportunity to earn a college education, a core value of the Kauffman Foundation," says Wendy Guillies, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. "We are honored to work with so many passionate groups to help launch KC Scholars, and to be able to announce this significant investment in the program."

The mission of KC Scholars is to increase postsecondary education attainment in the greater Kansas City area. KC Scholars offers three college scholarship opportunities: 

  • Traditional: 250 awards to be given to students currently enrolled in 11th grade. Awardees will receive up to $10,000 per year, paid directly to the college, renewable up to five years. 
  • Adult Learner: 200 awards to be given to adults age 24 and older who have previously earned at least 12 college credits but did not receive a postsecondary degree. Awardees will receive up to $5,000 per year, paid directly to the college, renewable up to five years.
  • College Savings Match: up to 1,000 one-time awards to be given annually to students in 9th grade, who will receive $25 in a 529 College Savings Plan. Of those, 50 will be selected to receive a four-to-one match, not to exceed $5,000, with the potential for an additional $2,000 for students who achieve college-ready milestones during high school. 

"By 2020, two out of three jobs will require more than a high school diploma. In Kansas City, we know there are not enough high school graduates entering college and completing their higher degree," says Michael Roane, senior vice president and chief human resources officer for JE Dunn Construction and co-chair of the KC Scholars Implementation Committee. "KC Scholars will help to close that gap, by ensuring more young students and adults receive a postsecondary education." 

KC Scholars serves a six-county area of the Kansas City region: Wyandotte and Johnson Counties in Kansas and Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte in Missouri. The program is designed to serve low- and modest-income high school students who are in public, charter and private schools and home-schooled; and adults with some college and no degree. KC Scholars' scholarships and savings programs can be used at 17 regional higher education institutions.

Anyone can donate to KC Scholars, and named scholarship opportunities are available for a commitment of $2,500 a year for five consecutive years. 

For more information about KC Scholars, including additional eligibility requirements, visit www.kcscholars.org. Applications open Jan. 2, 2017, and are due by March 3, 2017. Awardees will be notified in May 2017.