Come Home Reverse Scholarship Fund
Many communities in Michigan are struggling to retain college graduates and lose out on their talents toward economic growth and prosperity. In late 2013, when Randy Maiers was serving as the interim director of the Huron County Community Foundation, discussion began among the donors and constituents of the Huron County Community Foundation about what, if anything, could be done to attract young people back to the Thumb Region. The result was a simple brainstorm that might transform the world of traditional scholarships.
From the start the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, Huron County Community Foundation and Sanilac County Community Foundation have all worked together to address the talent drain and the Come Home Reverse Scholarship program was born.
Traditional scholarships are awarded and paid on the “front end” of a student’s career. At that time, there are no guarantees the student will complete studies in their chosen field, graduate from college or return back to their communities to help contribute to growth and prosperity.
A “reverse scholarship” is essentially a talent retention program and would pay students on the back-end of their college career, after they have completed a degree in a STEAM related field, but only if they agree to move back home and work within the St. Clair County.
We are in the process of engaging donors eager to support this new talent retention initiative along with community foundations serving Huron and Sanilac counties. We will accept Come Home Reverse Scholarship applications year-round.
We anticipate this reverse scholarship award will appeal to young college graduates in their late twenties, who still have some student debt, and are weighing the options for returning home to start a family. If you currently live in St. Clair County you are not eligible to apply.
Process, Criteria & Governance
1. Scholarship selections would be a competitive application process, much like the many existing scholarship programs already managed and administered by community foundations throughout America.
2. Eligible applicants cannot already live within St. Clair County and would be limited to recent graduates with the following criteria:
- Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math (STEAM) graduates
- Graduated with an appropriate 2, 4 or graduate degree within the last seven years and still has student debt
- Applicants may not be already living within the county at the time of their application
3. Award Size: The initial awards will be $10,000 and will be paid out on a quarterly basis.
4. Length of Stay: There is no mandatory length of stay. However, if an award recipient moves out of the county during the award program cycle, they would forfeit all future award monies not yet paid.
5. Use of Funds: Award funds must be used to pay off student debt.
6. Expectations: Award recipients will be expected to live and work in their communities in order to be eligible for this funding. They must secure a job or create their own business within 120 days of receiving the award. The specific terms and expectations, along with the process for monitoring and evaluating the program’s impact will be up to the entity that is managing the program.
- Tim Biewer
- Bob Funk
- Frank Guastella
- Lezlynne Moore
- Jennifer Posey
- Donna Russell-Kuhr
- Hale Waker*