Next semester, non-traditional CSU students who apply and meet certain eligibility criteria will feel their tuition burden lighten by $4,300.
The scholarship is made possible by the Bernard Osher Foundation, and aims at “defraying much of the tuition cost for . re-entry students.”
The San Francisco-based foundation is dedicated to furthering education in the non-traditional arena, as well as promoting the arts.
To ensure the aid is going to the target group, the foundation requires that applicants be between the ages of 25 and 50 and be returning to school after a cumulative gap of attendance of five years or more.
In addition, recipients of the scholarship must meet with their scholarship coordinator at the beginning, middle and end of each semester, attend a focus group comprised of other award recipients, meet with a career specialist during the first term they receive the scholarship and finally plan to enter the workforce after graduation for a minimum of ten years.
The award is potentially available to applicants for four semesters while funds are available. Funding depends on whether the university meets the yearly application qualifications.
CSU began its relationship with the Osher Foundation in July 2006 when the university was given a $100,000 grant to establish a learning center specifically for people over the age of 50.
The result was the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, which has instructed more than 200 members in over 40 short courses in a variety of subjects ranging from natural science to history.
Because of the success of the institute, the foundation encouraged CSU to submit a request to receive scholarship funding.
The foundation granted the university $50,000 for the establishment of the scholarship fund that students will receive for the first time in the fall.
CSU plans to give 11 to 12 awards in the fall, said Jan Rastall, the assistant director of Off-Campus Student Resources and Resources for Adult Learners.
Rastall hopes to continue to be able to offer this many awards, but says it is a possibility they may have to decrease the number of awards if the cost of tuition continues to rise.
CSU must reapply for the $50,000 each year for the next three years, Rastall said.
“The exciting thing about this award is that if they feel we are administering it well, they will endow us with $1 million and we will no longer need to reapply,” she said.
The scholarship is essential to CSU, Rastall said, because it provides adult learners with another chance to immerse themselves in the collegiate atmosphere and get a degree that financial hurdles can keep them from receiving.
“[Non-traditional students] are usually putting themselves through school, dealing with childcare issues and everything else that comes with day to day life,” she said. “It’s really an honor to be able to help them.”
For more information regarding the scholarship and application process, visit http://www.natsci.colostate.edu/Osher/index.cfm.
Staff writer Jacob Whitsitt can be reached at email@example.com.