Closing the Gap

Scholarships help seniors graduate

KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec 5, 2019) — Human Services major LaBrittany Koger registered this fall for her final semester, inching closer to her ultimate goal at Kennesaw State: a hard-earned bachelor’s degree.

LaBrittany Koger
LaBrittany Koger
But holding her back from starting classes was $250 – the amount she still owed and the deciding factor in whether she would have to delay her education once again. Koger’s financial aid and loan options were maxed out, and she was grappling with how to afford her final courses.

That financial support came to Koger in the form of a gap scholarship, a resource specifically designated for KSU students who are struggling financially in their final semester.

“That $250 scholarship was a make or break amount for me to finish school,” Koger said, who is among the 130 students selected for the scholarship this fall. “Without those funds, I would not be able to graduate in December.”

Gap scholarships were established through foundation funding and the generosity of donors, and are a collaborative effort between the University’s Financial Aid and Advancement offices. They are designed to help students in their final semester who have exhausted all student loan and financial aid options, and essentially help students fill the gap needed to graduate.

“Our idea for these scholarships is about putting students first by helping them fill the financial gap so that they can graduate,” said James P. Dunn, chair of the Kennesaw State University Foundation. “Our students work hard and we want to do whatever we can to make their dream of a college education possible.”

According to Ron Day, director of Financial Aid, the University identified a subset of students who were registered for their last semester before graduation but were in danger of not being able to complete their courses because of outstanding balances on their account.

Students are selected based on their academic achievement as well as the amount of help they need, which typically range from $200 to $1,000, Day said. To benefit the most students each semester, those with the lowest balances are helped first, he added.

Since the campaign launched in 2018, the University has allocated funds that have helped nearly 400 students complete their degrees, in addition to the 130 students awarded GAP scholarships this fall.

The University also provides other resources to help students in need. Recently, it launched a new website – financialhardship.kennesaw.edu – to provide support to any KSU undergraduate or graduate student who is struggling financially and needs emergency assistance.

The website provides a direct portal for students to submit their information securely online, and they are matched with a KSU case manager who can direct them to financial and other KSU and community resources.

—Tiffany Capuano

Photography by Jason Getz


Related Stories


 

A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu

©