Nearly $500,000 Donated to Support Washington Students

Kirkwood’s Washington County Regional Center

Washington area donors have already pledged close to $500,000 in support for students at the Kirkwood Washington County Regional Center, slated to open for classes Aug. 25.

“We are so grateful this regional center was soundly embraced by the communities it serves,” said Tera Pickens, Washington County Regional Center director. “The generosity we’ve seen has been almost overwhelming. From the land the building sits on to equipment and scholarships, every component is important in the lives of students.”

Jim and Margaret Dunn and family, longtime Kirkwood supporters and residents of Washington, donated the land for the regional center; the Washington County Riverboat Foundation gave thousands to cover part of the equipment cost for the highly technical, state-of-the-art Career Academies; and local donors have made lasting financial commitments for student scholarships.

“Kirkwood made a long-term commitment to the Washington region by building this center. It’s amazing to see our community mirror this commitment by pledging scholarship support of our students,” Pickens said. And, as college debt soars to unprecedented heights and students struggle to pay loans after graduation, Pickens pointed out that scholarships can cut those debts significantly. “Every dollar a student earns in a scholarship is a dollar he or she didn’t have to borrow. Unfortunately, Iowa ranks sixth in the nation for student debt. We would really like to see these figures diminish in the future. Scholarships are one way of doing just that.”

Scholarships are key to academic success as well. “Kirkwood researched its graduates and learned that scholarship recipients were more than twice as likely to graduate on time than non-recipients,” Pickens added. “Not only do scholarships help students financially, they help students feel like someone believes in them and their power to succeed.”

For more information about the Washington County Regional Center, specific scholarships or to donate, contact 319-653-4655 or go to www.kirkwood.edu/washingtonregional.

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