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DR. BETTY REYNARD — Plenty of scholarship money available for Lamar State College Port Arthur tuition

When a person decides to pursue a college degree or certificate, the motivating factor in most cases is to better prepare for a career opportunity that brings more financial security.

In an ironic twist, students can find themselves saddled with crippling student loan debt unless they are afforded other financial aid opportunities. The total amount of U.S. student debt has reached $1.53 trillion, which makes student loans the second-largest source of consumer debt, behind only mortgage debt.

That’s why Lamar State College Port Arthur works so diligently to provide grants and scholarships for its students.

It is amazing the amount of money available to our students through scholarships. The number of organizations and individuals who have established financial gifts to support students is incredible.

These scholarships help propel students through a successful educational experience, students who might not otherwise be able to experience higher education and the resulting success that comes with a degree or certificate.

For the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 semesters, Lamar State College Port Arthur presented more than $471,000 in scholarships to its students.

We find that students who receive scholarships tend to perform better in their studies. When someone is supported in their endeavors, they inherently work harder to “deserve” that support.

This financial pat on the back supports the idea that their future is important and worthwhile.

Also, students who struggle to financially support their goal of attaining a college degree are much more likely to drop out rather than reach completion.

The No. 1 reason students cite for having to quit?

The need to work while attending school. Long hours make it harder and harder to devote time to class and activities.

That’s why our work in facilitating scholarships is so important. While many of these scholarships are for general use, there are several that target specific areas of interest such as nursing, accounting, drama, law, petrochemical industry work and education.

And, there are several scholarships offered through LSCPA that would provide enough money to fund a full-time education, including tuition, fees, books and housing.

One is the Eber Ephlin Scholarship.

Ephlin was a longtime resident of Port Arthur who passed away nearly 30 years ago. As part of his estate, he left money to support students’ efforts to earn a college degree or certificate.

Over the past three decades, that fund has built nearly $2 million in interest alone. The scholarship is set aside for students of Port Neches-Groves High School or residents of the Griffin Park area in the Port Arthur ISD.

The Port Arthur Industry and Community Advisory Group (PAIG), which represents the many petrochemical industry businesses in the region, provides for an academic scholarship to graduating high school seniors from Port Arthur ISD, as well as a general scholarship for students pursuing technical degrees.

The Strauser Seales Scholarship awards $4,000 per academic year for full-time students or $2,000 for part-time students, including dual enrollment students.

This scholarship targets first-generation college students who demonstrate financial need. It is renewable until the student graduates as long as they maintain a 2.8 grade point average.

The Captain William Sanders Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution Scholarship provides $1,000 to be used the summer or fall right after high school graduation for those students living in the Greater Port Arthur area, including South and Mid-Jefferson County.

The list goes on, and so does the money.

Now, more than ever, it is critical to expand your education or technical skillset as we work to get past the COVID-19 pandemic and the future economic impact it brings.

We are registering now for the Spring 2021 semester. Deadline to submit an application for scholarships is Jan. 1, 2021.

Please, don’t miss out on school because you think you can’t afford it!

All of these scholarships can be applied for through our website at lamarpa.edu/scholarships where you can find specific information about each funding opportunity.

Carla Santos is our Scholarship Coordinator and you can email her at scholarships@lamarpa.edu.

Dr. Betty Reynard is president of Lamar State College Port Arthur. She can be contacted at reynardbj@lamarpa.edu.