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Buchanan Promise Scholarship allows more students to consider going to college

Robert N. Habicht, president and CEO of the Michigan Gateway Community Foundation.

As a result of a $7 million estate gift made to the Michigan Gateway Community Foundation, the Buchanan Promise Scholarship was established, offering students a place-based alternative to the usual merit-based scholarships.  

The large sum is a direct investment into the community that will bring more opportunities to students graduating from Buchanan Community Schools.  
With the high demand from employers for candidates with a college degree and the increasing cost of tuition, graduating students today face two options -- go into debt or struggle to obtain a livable wage. The fund allows individuals to pursue their passion and attend college or trade school when they wouldn't have been able to otherwise.
The fund is managed by MGCF but also receives assistance from the Community Foundation board and the Buchanan Promise board 
“Community-based scholarships support the future of our residents, enhance financial security for families and make the community a better place to live and raise families,” said Robert N. Habicht, president and CEO of MGFC 
Habicht explained that the scholarship was created due to the high demand for postsecondary education required by employers in today’s global economy. With the expense of college going up faster than the cost of living, fewer students are prepared to enter the job market without financial assistance.  
Most of the students in Buchanan Community Schools, located in Berrien County, will eventually benefit from MGCF’s contribution. The estate gift has been permanently endowed as a fund at MGCF. Money for the scholarship will be allocated and distributed according to the spending policy for the Foundation each year and distributed.  
Promise scholarships differ from traditional scholarships. They are place-based, rather than merit based, and do not consider GPA, financial need or other factors. To receive the Buchanan Promise Scholarship, students must live within the school district boundaries and have attended Buchanan Community Schools from the start of high school to graduation.  
Why the Buchanan Promise matters 
Scholarships like the Buchanan Promise are rare but important. Often scholarships are awarded to top academic performers, minorities or students that have overcome great obstacles, leaving little to help the majority of graduates. The Promise Scholarship eliminates parameters that could discourage students from furthering their education.  
By offering this opportunity, Habicht expects a larger percentage of local students to not only attend college but also successfully complete their degree or certificate program, leading to a more diverse, skilled and economically stable workforce

More educated, job-ready youth will strengthen the community," Habicht said. "Employers, consumers and the local economy do better when students can do better." 
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