Helping Stephen Salisbury Earn His College Degree
Like many potential students, Stephen Salisbury wanted to go back to college. Like many, he needed a bit of help. He had tried college right after high school and was pulled away by work and the demand of raising a family.
“When I turned 40, I sat down with my wife and said how do we make this happen,” he said of going back to school.
He applied for scholarships, including one of the adult scholarships managed by the Community Foundation of Elkhart County.
In the fall of 2013, he showed up at the Indiana University of South Bend with a number of scholarships including one managed by the Community Foundation of Elkhart County and declared a major in economics with the goal of doing analysis and research.
Early in his college career, he added a sociology major and became acquainted with Professor Betsy Lucall. When the school started a mentor program Salisbury was paired with Lucall.
Lucall helped connect Salisbury with the Research Experience for Undergraduates at the University of Notre Dame and he was one of 10 students accepted to the 2016 research program. He spent last summer building a data set to determine if the season you are born will affect academic performance.
He has since become fascinated with student retention and the economics of higher education. Because scholarships from the university and from the Community Foundation have helped him focus on his higher education, he wants to see if he can create a guides to help others navigate the college enrollment and scholarship application process.
“I love this. I love this atmosphere. And I would like to do this for a living,” he said of working in academia.
The scholarship from the Community Foundation was $1,500 a year and Salisbury, based on his academic performance and involvement, was able to get it renewed for all four years. “It’s made it so I can graduate debt-free,” he said. “The money I’ve gotten from the Community Foundation has had a significant impact on my ability to be able to focus on school.”
The IUSB Scholarship is one of three scholarships for adult students available from the Community Foundation.
“Balancing family, work, and school to pursue educational opportunities is a challenge,” said Gordon Moore, chairman of the Community Foundation’s scholarship committee.
“By providing adult scholarship opportunities we hope to alleviate the financial burden of education so that students can focus on their studies. We want people to work, grow, and prosper in Elkhart County.”
Scholarships have been a mainstay of the Community Foundation of Elkhart County since it started in the 1980s. In fiscal year 2016, the Community Foundation awarded more than $1.7 million in scholarships and has given $12.2 million in the last 26 years.
Starting in 2018, a new adult scholarship will be offered to students in Elkhart County. We anticipate awarding ten to 15 Community Impact Scholarships of $1,000 to $3,000 each year, according to Moore. This scholarship is being designed for those adults, post-high school, who wish to go back to school — either to an accredited college, university or vocational education institution.
All graduating high school seniors and adults seeking financial assistance with college are encouraged to apply for the Community Foundation’s numerous scholarship opportunities through the universal scholarship application. The application is available through March 1st.
Marshall V. King wrote this story on behalf of the Community Foundation of Elkhart County.