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30 October 2017 - Scholarship Money is Available

This is a topic I normally discuss in March or April each year when parents of college freshmen are trying to get over the ‘sticker shock’ of the cost of a college education.

There is financial aid for many students enrolled in agricultural career courses. I was reminded of that this past week when I attended the 90th National FFA Convention and saw the amount of dollars awarded to FFA members through various programs. When all was said and done, 1,888 scholarships, valued at $2,745,546.00 were awarded to qualified students.

Statistics on the 2017 applicants:
- Average GPA: 3.76 on a 4.0 scale
- Average class rank/size: 22/152
- Number of Valedictorians: 212
- Eighty-seven percent were 4-year college students with 9.6% enrolled in a 2-year college and 2.66% in a vocational school.

The money for these scholarships and FFA programs came from more than 3,000 sponsors and individual donors who provided $18.5-million through the National FFA Foundation and $7.3- million from State FFA Associations, for a total of $25.8-million in 2017. This is a record amount, an all-time record year of income for the FFA Foundation.

In addition to the FFA scholarship programs, in the week before I left for the convention, I received news releases from the Irrigation Foundation naming 28 outstanding students as winners in their program, and from the American Angus Foundation who annually raise about $300,000.00 for agricultural programs in their National Junior Angus Association Leaders Engaged in Angus Development.

I do this as a reminder to parents and agricultural students that there is money out there for college, but you have to go and look for it. It doesn’t come knocking on your door. It is never too early to ask your college counselor in your High School for assistance in finding the organizations and how to obtain the applications for these scholarships. Go for it . . . and do it now!

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.