Deadline nears for available HCECF scholarships

Deadline nears for available HCECF scholarships

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Each year many Holmes County students who are focused on taking the next step in their lives and heading toward higher education are faced with growing expenses connected to college or trade school.

While those expenses exist, the Holmes County Education & Community Foundation has been sharing the financial burden facing students by providing scholarships.

Through the generous support of local families and businesses, HCECF is in the midst of its spring plans to award more than $600,000 in scholarships to residents pursuing higher education.

According to Shasta Mast, HCECF executive director, this option exists solely through the generosity of the people of Holmes County who share the vision of the HCECF’s purpose to aid those seeking to further their education.

“That we have these kinds of funds available to students speaks volumes to the heart of our community,” Mast said. “Folks here are so generous and think so often of the people who have needs. All these scholarships are donated by people who care about others.”

Mast said while providing scholarships is always enjoyable, what she is really excited about is watching students who utilize these scholarships graduate, come back into the community and give back. She said many of them want to give back to the next generation of students because they have witnessed firsthand the impact the scholarships can make in a person’s life.

Students are encouraged to cash in on this opportunity. Renewing students must submit their renewal application by March 25. Newly applying students’ applications are due April 1. The online application is available at

For more than 30 years, the foundation has supported further education for residents, awarding more than $10 million in scholarships. With more than 70 named, endowed scholarships, most of them renewable, there is financial help available through the foundation.

“The foundation provides need- and merit-based financial,” Mast said. “Our online application process helps match students with the scholarships that meet their eligibility qualifications. Donors created the scholarships with specific criteria in different areas of interest.”

That means there are scholarships for specific schools, areas of study and other diverse qualifications.

In addition, Mast said while those funds seem like a lot, there is still plenty of room for more.

She said the giving process in creating a new scholarship is simple. Anyone wishing to create a scholarship, many of which are made in honor or in memorial of a loved one or someone who gave richly to the community, is a phone call away. The scholarships are started with a $25,000 donation and are permanent scholarships that continue to grow through investments.

Anyone interesting in creating an HCECF scholarship may do so by calling the HCECF at 330-674-7303.

“It’s a simple process, and we will help people walk through the process step by step,” Mast said.

While many don’t have the disposable income to create a $25,000 scholarship, there are other options, according to Mast.

She said scholarship money for students who have renewable scholarships comes out of the general education foundation endowment. That is where any type of giving is made possible regardless of the amount, and donations may be made with specific scholarship funds in mind.

“A lot of people donate one time or even on a monthly basis in honor or memory of any of our scholarships,” Mast said. “Giving in that manner is a very flexible way for any size donation to make an impact.”

Many of the named scholarships have different criteria that must be met, and all those scholarships can be found on the HCECF website at

Whether donating for the general foundation or creating a new scholarship, Mast said the chance to give and make a positive impact on someone’s life is available.

“Generosity begets generosity, and we have a lot of very generous people in our county,” Mast said.

The Holmes County Education & Community Foundation strives to inspire generosity by connecting philanthropic resources with essential needs, providing leadership to help resolve community challenges and creating valuable assets for the future.

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