Webb School Scholarship Program

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Background :  Webb School is a Title 1, K-6 school in Arlington, Texas.  Over 94% of the students have families or guardians at or below poverty level.  Many of the family members or guardians have been homeless, and/or are currently incarcerated or other problems.  Currently, about 90% of the students are Hispanic.  Yearly, about 100 of the students finish Webb Elementary School.  About half this number (50) will graduate from high school.  Those starting college will number approximately 40.  Currently, probably two or three of these 40 students will graduate from college.  Nationally, the figure for all Hispanics finishing college is around 11%.   The Webb students finishing college will be below the national average because Webb students are poorer than average Hispanics, and more are first generation US citizens.


Current Scholarship Program :  The Rotary/Webb School Scholarship Program is designed to provide a large part of college education costs for every student that graduates from Webb Elementary School and then graduates from high school.  This $750 per semester scholarship is for tuition and books, and it is available for a total of 8 semesters of college or in some cases an approved vocational school.  This scholarship program was started in 1995, and the first student to attend college on a Webb/Rotary scholarship was in the Fall of 2002.  


When students graduate from Webb Elementary School, a Rotary scholarship certificate is given to the student during the graduation ceremony.  Upon graduation from a high school, a student that wishes to attend college contacts the scholarship chairman, the student provides a letter of acceptance to the college, and a list of planned courses the student will take.  After approval of the college and course load, a $750 check is issued from the Arlington Rotary Foundation to the college for the students' books and tuition.


Currently, the next contact with the Webb students is during the month of November of the students' senior year.  At this time, the scholarship chairman addresses the Webb students at each high school within Arlington, Texas.  The purpose of this contact is to remind the students of the scholarship opportunities for them, and the importance of attending college.  Questions about the scholarship process are answered at this time.


There were 35 students currently receiving a Rotary/Webb scholarship during the Fall 2006, and 30 students funded for the Fall 2007 semester.  To date, there have been seven students graduate either from college or technical school since the inception of the program.   Two more students will graduate from college in the next three months.


Members of the Rotary Club help students apply for Federal and State aid through the FAFSA form.  The filing of this financial aid will be done by Rotarians for approximately 40 students in the months of February, March, April and May of the students' senior year.  As a result of this new effort, probably 80% of the students will qualify for federal aid in the form of a Pel grant that is not paid back to the government, and it can benefit most incoming college students as much as $4,050 per year.


The philosophy of this scholarship program is to teach the students to better their lives through education.  Most of these students will be living in the Arlington are after graduation from high school.  We feel it is better to have these students making money that will enable them to be successful, and to feel successful.  A college degree will not only help these students pay there way in life, but it will help these students be a positive role model to others around them such as family members, friends, and acquaintances.