For many high school seniors, the college application process is a much-anticipated rite of passage—but for some, it is overshadowed by a daunting question: “How am I going to pay for this?”

Without question, academic scholarships make the dream of college a reality for many students. Not only do scholarships make higher education possible for those who can’t afford to pay out of pocket, but they also help to spare cash-strapped college grads the angst of entering “the real world” with a cloud of debt hovering over their heads.

Just ask the 49 students from private and public high schools on Maui, Lanai and Molokai who are currently pursuing degrees—ranging from cybersecurity to biology and everything in between—at colleges and universities throughout the U.S. with the help of the scholarships they received last summer from RAM.

Since its inception in 1989, RAM’s Presidential Scholarship Fund has awarded more than $620,000 in scholarships to college-bound high school seniors throughout Maui County, as well as past recipients of RAM’s Presidential Scholarship Fund. Every year, RAM offers scholarships to eligible recipients; funds for the scholarship program are raised through events like RAM’s Installation Luncheon, RAM’s Big Deal fundraiser and the “RAM’s Got Talent” show at the Historic Iao Theater.

To be eligible for the scholarship award, students must be a high school senior or a former recipient of the scholarship (from the previous three years) and they must be in the process of applying or reapplying to an accredited college or university or trade school. Applicants must also be full-time Maui County residents who are currently attending—or have previously attended—a public or private high school in Maui County; however, students attending private high schools off island will be considered residents of Maui County if they are living off island for the specific purpose of attending that private high school. Current GED participants are also encouraged to apply for the scholarship award.

Once they receive the completed applications, the members of RAM’s Presidential Scholarship Fund Review Committee carefully evaluate each applicant based on a number of criteria, including financial need, scholastic achievement, career goals, school activities and community activities. In addition, applicants are required to submit a written personal statement that answers the question: “Who are you?” They are also asked to write about their interests, concerns and expectations, as well as why receiving the scholarship is important to them.

Each year, the members of RAM’s Presidential Scholarship Fund Review Committee determine the total number of scholarship recipients. And what makes this scholarship program unique is that past recipients can apply every year they are in school (up to four years).

All of the scholarship recipients, along with their immediate family members, are invited to RAM’s General Membership meeting, which is held every year in July. There, they are honored on stage with a certificate and lei and then treated to a private luncheon, where they have an opportunity to mingle with the review committee members, as well as their fellow scholarship recipients.

Do you know a college-bound student who may be interested in RAM’s Presidential Scholarship Fund? Tell them to mark their calendars now: The deadline to apply for the 2018 scholarship is Friday, Feb. 23 and all mailed applications must be postmarked no later than Wednesday, Feb. 21.

For more information or to download a scholarship application, visit www.ramaui.com/scholarship, stop by RAM’s main office at 441 Ala Makani Place in Kahului, or contact your respective high school guidance counselor. To learn more about RAM’s Presidential Scholarship Fund, call Leeann Poaipuni at 270-4628 or email leeann@ramaui.com.

 

Written by Sarah Ruppenthal
Published in The Maui News – December 30, 2017

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