New Scholarship to Cover Member Fees

After Leeanne Pennegar’s husband died, she enrolled in community college to earn a nursing degree and support her two daughters. When she received her invitation to become a member of Phi Theta Kappa, member fees might have been a barrier to joining. But, thanks to a fund set up by her college president, Pennegar received a letter saying that as Pell Grant recipient, a portion of her membership fees would be covered.

“It was a great recognition of my hard work,” Pennegar said. “I wanted to be who I needed to be for my daughters, and it’s helped me show them that you can succeed.”

The Phi Theta Kappa Challenge Fund that helped Pennegar was set up by Dr. Karen Stout, former president of Montgomery County Community College. The fund is one of many established by community college presidents and foundations across the country that cover some or all of the membership fees for students. (Read more in the 2016 issue of Visionary, beginning on page 3.)

“We saw that some of our neediest students were really struggling, and the data said enough for us to know that some of our students with high eligibility were not joining Phi Theta Kappa,” Stout said. “This is a way to recognize the wonderful accomplishments of our students, and it’s also a small way to celebrate participation in Phi Theta Kappa, especially among those who could not otherwise afford it.”

We couldn’t agree more, which is why we’ve created the new Golden Opportunity Scholarship — our first scholarship to help cover the cost of membership for students with financial need.

The Golden Opportunity Scholarship will waive the $60 international membership fee for more than 300 students. Recipients will be responsible for chapter and regional membership fees, which vary but average $25. The application will be open twice a year.

Recent research shows that 92 percent of Phi Theta Kappa members earn a college credential, and members also have access to more than $90 million in scholarships — this is one golden opportunity community college students can’t afford to pass up.

The fall nomination period is October 24 through November 4. Recipients and their advisors will be notified by early November. Read more about the new scholarship.

Special thanks to our generous friends, Cengage, and to Phi Theta Kappa members, advisors, alumni and corporate donors for making this possible!