STARS Scholarship program, established in 1997, is an Iowa West Foundation initiative designed to assist low-income parents in obtaining post-secondary education. If the Stars Scholarship is your interest, then you should read this article.
The STARS Scholarship Program assists parents who wish to return to school to obtain an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree, license, or certification. It also offers emotional and academic support through a peer group.
About STARS Scholarship
STARS Scholars receive $2,000 per year to help with post-secondary education expenses such as tuition, books, fees, supplies, equipment, technology, childcare, and transportation.
In 2008, the program graduated 90 students. At the time, the Iowa West Foundation funded a pilot expansion of the STARS program with the goal of increasing scholarship distribution to 200 students over the course of two years.
In addition to scholarship expansion, IWF funded a new program director position as well as a short-term consulting position.
As a result of the STARS program, over 300 Pottawattamie County residents now hold an Associate’s and/or Bachelor’s degree.
The STARS Mission
The STARS program is intended to remove financial barriers by providing a scholarship that can be used for direct and indirect expenses such as tuition, fees, books, childcare, and living expenses.
STARS also offers programming that encourages self-advocacy and personal and professional development, and in turn, scholars become more self-sufficient, positively impacting the Pottawattamie County higher education attainment rate, pursuing a second credential, and improving the quality of life for those families for generations.
The STARS Scholarship Outcomes
Scholars have traditionally performed well academically, with many making the Dean’s List, President’s Honor Roll, or Director’s Honor Roll.
Several scholars have also been inducted into their respective honor societies at their schools. Three students have been recognized as Non-Traditional Students of the Year.
The Iowa West Foundation anticipates long-term outcomes from this initiative. They are as follows:
1. Increase the earning potential of low-income parents in Pottawattamie County
2. Improve postsecondary outcomes of low-income parents in Pottawattamie County
While the program’s goal is to improve the educational level of non-traditional, low-income, first-generation college students who are parents or custodial grandparents in Pottawattamie County, participation in STARS will ideally help them obtain higher-paying jobs to better support their families.
They will also serve as role models for their children by demonstrating the value of education.
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Requirements for the STARS Scholarship Program
1. Must Be a U.S. citizen
2. Must Be a parent of a child under the age of 18 or have a child who can be claimed as a dependent on income taxes.
3. Must Be a resident of Pottawattamie County
4. Must Be a high school graduate or have achieved a high school diploma through completing a GED or HiSET program
5. Must Be a full-time student
6. Must Be Pell Grant eligible and/or qualify for public assistance, free/reduced school lunch, or another income-based program
How to Apply
In the other to apply, you will have to visit the Stars Website to fill in the form and apply.
Deadline for the STARS Scholarship Program
Scholarship deadlines are set on a quarterly basis (January, April, July, and September). For more information, go to the STARS website.
STARS Program Director
712-322-8800 ext. 5
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