LiftUp scholarship program offers aspiring students hope for the future
March 12, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Lauren Carpenter always wanted to go back to college and earn her master’s degree, and now, thanks to a scholarship from LiftUp of Routt County, she’ll have that opportunity.
The Hayden resident earned a Hope for the Future Scholarship in 2017 and, in September, headed to The Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver's campus in Glenwood Springs.
"Mentally, it made it possible for me to be able to pursue it," Carpenter said of the scholarship. "Someone else believed that I can get this done; therefore, I think that I can do this."
Carpenter already holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota. She moved to Steamboat Springs after her college graduation in 2014 and went to work for MindSprings Health. She currently lives in Hayden, works with the Moffat County Human Resources Department and is completing an internship with MindSprings. She hopes to earn her master’s in May 2019.
"It (the scholarship) really helps especially with the cost of books and driving, and sometimes, when I have to stay in a motel for the night," Carpenter said. "Without this scholarship and having to pay for those things, I don't know if I could mentally wrap my head around it. It just relieved a lot of that pressure of the unforeseen expenses with school.”
The scholarship also helps Carpenter pay tuition.
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Jeff Modesitt, LiftUp’s community support manager, said Carpenter's story is one of the reasons the Hope for the Future Scholarship was created.
"The scholarship is for conventional and non-conventional higher education," said Modesitt. "It’s available to anybody in need of assistance to reach their higher education goals."
The program is supported by grants from donors and proceeds from the LiftUp thrift store. The scholarships are earmarked for low-income individuals who are working hard to cover tuition costs, and the funds can be used at four-year universities, junior colleges and trade and vocational schools.
"It is wide open," Modesitt said. "We look at the need, we look at the student, and we look at the plan and make a decision accordingly."
Scholarships range from $500 to $2,000 depending on the student’s need. Last year, the organization had 13 applicants and awarded eight scholarships totaling $7,000.
"We really look long term," Modesitt said. "Once they receive a scholarship, we are there for them until they are done with their studies. As long as they maintain their grades, it is a short application, and it is pretty much automatic (renewal)."
In Carpenter's case, the scholarship, along with support from her boyfriend and her dog, has allowed her to pursue her dreams.
"When I got into my master's degree, I really wanted to do clinical work and to be a therapist," Carpenter said. "I want to be able to give back to people with the skills that I can only learn in a master's degree program. Being able to give back to the community in that way is really huge for me."
LiftUp accepts applications for the Hope for the Future Scholarship twice a year. The next deadline is April 15.
The program is open to high school seniors, students currently enrolled in college, trade or vocational schools and adults interested in increasing their self-sufficiency. Priority consideration will be givem to applicants whose family incomes meet the guidelines outlined on the application, and scholarships are renewable if a student maintains a 3.0 grade point average.