New need-based tuition grants available for Routt and Moffat grads thanks to a Steamboat couple
A new grant program that provides needs-based scholarships to high school graduates in Routt and Moffat counties — regardless of their graduation year — has launched.
Applications began on Wednesday, Feb. 1, and will be accepted through May 1. The grants are also applicable to anyone who has lived in either county for five or more years.
Yampa Tuition Grants, a Yampa Valley Community Fund, aims to help fill a gap in funding often needed to attend and finish college and trade schools. Grants range from $1,000 to $7,500, based on need. The program has a $100,000 fund available. Applications and more information can be found at YampaTuitionGrants.org.
Originally from Westport, Connecticut, Steamboat residents Peggy and Harold Kamin based the fund on a program known as Staples Tuition Grants in Westport, which provides money for students who need financial support to get through college.
Armed with the knowledge from their time working with Staples Tuition Grants — including Peggy serving as president for a period — the Kamins teamed up with the Yampa Valley Community Foundation to create a similar program here.
“Last spring, the Steamboat Pilot & Today wrote an article featuring a local woman that had been in college, left, wanted to go back but did not have enough money,” said Harold Kamin, one of the creators of Yampa Tuition Grants. “My wife and I thought about how much this woman could benefit from something like the Staples Tuition Grants, so we decided to start checking out what the scene looked like here for college scholarship to see if we could create something similar.”
With 70% of students from Routt and Moffat counties applying for financial aid via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, the couple saw a need for more scholarships in the community beyond the ones Yampa Valley Community Fund already has.
According to the Kamins, the community foundation has 33 scholarships that it manages, and the foundation doled out around $300,000 last year.
“None of these funds are collected from the general public to put into a general fund that just fills the gaps in college funding needs; these scholarships have been created for specific people by specific organizations for a specific reason,” Harold Kamin said.
The difference with Yampa Tuition Grants is that it will consider prospective students’ FASFA applications and other scholarships they receive in the granting process. The price of the school or college will impact allocated grants based on need. Depending on the criteria, the individual could get anywhere from $1,000 to $7,500. The grants will last a year and can be reapplied for.
The Kamins anticipate that the $100,000 Yampa Tuition Grants could bump up to $150,000 with some fundraising contributions by the time the spring comes.
Yampa Tuition Grants will need more than donations, as the new program will need some bodies as well.
“We are also still in the process of filling out the committees for anyone interested in that,” Peggy said.
Kit Geary is the county, public safety and education reporter. To reach her, call 970-871-4229 or email her at kgeary@SteamboatPilot.com.
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