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KC Scholars welcomes its newest scholarship awardees

A group of high school students stand outside holding signs which read (from left to right): "I am bold", "Be KC Scholars", "Boldly changing the world", "I am boldly powerful", and "Be bold".
KC Scholars’ awardees, freshmen and juniors from North Kansas City High School in Kansas City, Missouri, pose for photos as they celebrate college-savings matches and scholarships on awards day June 28.

Community-engaged scholarship and support program awards 575 scholarships across the six-county Kansas City metro.

While hundreds of thousands of people showed up for the National Football League’s NFL Draft hosted in Kansas City, KC Scholars showed up to “draft” its newest scholarship and college savings match awardees. KC Scholars is a community-engaged, large-scale scholarship and support program that creates a strong college-going culture across the Kansas City region. 

At the Kauffman Foundation, one of our goals is to see that all young people in our region are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and real-world experience to excel in the careers they choose. In order to build that prepared workforce, we work with organizations to support a diverse talent pipeline of thousands of individuals during the next 10 years as they earn degrees, certifications, and other credentials positioning them for the lives and careers they want and deserve. That’s why our investments in KC Scholars include $232 million in grants through 2032.

“Our investment in the program is really an investment in people,” said Aaron North, Kauffman vice president of Education. “We love seeing the excitement in new scholars as that investment starts on awards day.”

Since 2016, KC Scholars has provided 6,000 scholarship awards as well as coaching support and wrap-around services for its traditional and adult learners in pursuit of degrees and other workforce credentials. It has seen more than 150 scholars graduate – a current persistence rate of 90%, which supports the organization’s goal that 75% of participants complete an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or earn a credit-bearing credential.

This year’s 575 scholarships were presented April 28 to recipients across the six-county Kansas City metro. Three hundred scholarships of $50,000 ($10,000 per year for up to five years) were awarded to Kansas City-area 11th graders. High school freshmen were awarded the KC Scholars Match and Incentive program, which provides eligible students with a 1:1 match and incentives up to $1,400 to use toward college. Adult Learner scholarships of up to $10,000 (per year for up to five years) were also awarded to adults with a high school diploma or equivalent, or to adults with associate degrees looking to complete a bachelors.

“KC Scholars believes in scholars first and hope, which are represented as our core values,” said Earl Martin Phalen, KC Scholars president and CEO. “It is so gratifying to show our scholars that, because of their hard work, they can attend college and secure careers that will forever change their lives and that of their loved ones.”