Single Parent Scholarship Applications Being Accepted
The single parent scholarship application cycle is now open for the fall in Southwest Arkansas and Northeast Texas.Application deadline is August 15 for qualified residents in Bowie and Miller Counties. The deadline is September 15th in both Little River and Nevada Counties. To apply go to www.aspsf.org, click on apply now, and next click on your county of residence on the state map.
To help severe, impoverished single-parent families in Arkansas, the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund was established in 1990. Modeled on successful incentive scholarship funds in two northwest Arkansas counties, the goal of the ASPSF is to assist low-income single parents to complete their post-secondary education in preparation for skilled employment.
The group is a private, nonprofit corporation with 501(c)3 status granted by the Internal Revenue Service. Governed by a 31-member board of directors representing Arkansas' racial, economic, and geographic diversity, the ASPSF headquarters in Springdale has a four-member staff in Northwest Arkansas and four staff members living and working in four regions of Arkansas.
Currently, affiliate organizations representing every county in Arkansas administer Single Parent Scholarships to deserving single parents. As of July 1, 2015, these affiliates awarded a combined total of 38,445 scholarships worth $22,077,353 since 1990. A comprehensive recipient follow-up study completed in 2014 revealed an 88 percent retention and graduation rate and a 67 percent employment rate at above poverty-level income among working graduates. The report also found that 33 percent of students who graduated from post-secondary programs were continuing in school to further their education.
A Delta Scholarship Project was initiated in 2000 to spur an increase in scholarship awards available in eastern Arkansas. As of July 1, 2015, Delta-region affiliates awarded a combined total of 8,475 scholarships worth $3,848,678 since 1990. Funding of this initiative has been provided by private foundations, businesses, individuals, and the Arkansas Office of Community Services.
The concept of a community-based scholarship fund aimed at encouraging and supporting the educational and training aspirations of impoverished single parents has been well accepted. Local leaders have so enthusiastically supported this opportunity to help these single mothers and fathers attain self-sufficiency that they have brought hundreds of volunteers into service on governing boards of directors.
Volunteers administer the local scholarship program, recruit applicants and select awardees, raise awareness and support of the program, and raised money in match of ASPSF grants.
In recognition of the need to create a permanent source of financial support for the organization, the Harvey and Bernice Jones Charitable Trust, through a challenge grant program, enabled the ASPSF to establish a permanent endowment in 2002 that has since reached nearly $2 million.
Nearly one in five Arkansas families are led by single parents, of which 76% are single mothers. An estimated 55 percent of single-parent families are officially below the poverty line (2013 American Community Survey). The group believes single-parent families that are led by skilled and educated mothers and fathers have a much greater opportunity to achieve self sufficiency and a better quality of life, generation after generation. A skilled workforce also helps the economic condition of our communities and boosts our state's ability to compete in the global market.