Lynchburg Beacon of Hope, a local nonprofit that helps remove barriers to higher education, has started a program that will help graduates of the City of Lynchburg’s public high schools attend six area colleges, including the University of Lynchburg.
Plans for the Stay Close, Go Far Promise Scholarship Program were announced on Wednesday, September 12, to an audience of seniors from the city’s two public high schools — the first who will directly benefit from the program.
“We have converged around a shared vision, a way to make it easier for talented students to stay in Lynchburg for college,” Dr. Sally Selden, Lynchburg’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, said during the announcement ceremony. “The scholarships created through the Stay Close, Go Far program will change lives for the better for years to come.”
According to a press release, Beacon of Hope will invest up to $8,000 per student and the program will run through 2024.
Students who attend University of Lynchburg on Stay Close, Go Far scholarships will receive an additional $2,000 per year in matching funds. This is in addition to the academic-based scholarships awarded to 100 percent of Lynchburg’s freshmen, grants, federal loans, work-study, and other scholarship opportunities.
“One hundred percent of our entering freshmen will receive some sort of scholarship based on their academic profile,” Michelle Davis, associate director of financial aid, said. “These scholarships, for 2019 to 2020, range from $12,000 to $22,000.
“If a local, Beacon of Hope student joins us at Lynchburg, then we’ve agreed to match their Beacon of Hope funds. For example, an $8,000 award, or $2,000 per year over four years, would be matched by Lynchburg. In my opinion, it’s all about securing a four-year plan on how to pay for college.”
Dara Logan, senior associate director of admission at Lynchburg, visits E.C. Glass and Heritage high schools on a regular basis. She participates in annual workshops aimed at guiding students and parents through the admissions application process and meets with local high school students when they visit campus.
Beacon of Hope’s new scholarship initiative strengthens that commitment. “The relationship that we have with Beacon of Hope is very important to us as it gives a way for us to show our commitment and investment in students in our local community,” Sharon Walters-Bower, director of admissions, said.
“Beacon of Hope provides guidance and is a resource for students to pursue education beyond high school as they prepare for life after high school and to pursue a profession. The scholarships and aid that we offer often make Lynchburg an affordable choice for students. We love our local students!”