Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK) has received a grant of more than $440,000 from the Woodward Hines Education Foundation (WHEF) to fund membership in PTK for more than 6,000 high-achieving students attending Mississippi’s two-year colleges and demonstrating financial need.
This grant will fund membership scholarships — called Golden Opportunity Scholarships — for more than 6,000 students in Mississippi over three years, enabling them to join Phi Theta Kappa without having to pay the $60 international membership fee.
Research shows that PTK members in Mississippi are twice as likely to complete college and three times more likely to transfer to a four-year college or university when compared to other students in the state, even those with similar grade point averages. But, the cost of membership is often a barrier for students with financial need.
“We viewed this as an opportunity to increase access to an organization that provides academic, social, and financial support to an otherwise vulnerable population of students,” said Jim McHale, WHEF President and CEO. “Ultimately, the WHEF grant could provide a model for other organizations and states seeking to achieve high impact in the two-year environment.”
This is not the first time WHEF has partnered with Phi Theta Kappa to put membership in reach for in-need students. In 2016, WHEF awarded a $50,000 grant to fund Golden Opportunity Scholarships for 750 high-achieving but underserved college students throughout the state over two years.
As of June 2018, the WHEF Golden Opportunity Scholarships has yielded a 97 percent student success rate. Twenty-eight percent of recipients had earned a college credential, and 69 percent were still enrolled at a two- or four-year institution.
“Engagement with college faculty, increased access to scholarships, personal and professional development, and an environment with the expectation to complete college — all of this has been shown to increase completion rates, and all of it comes with membership in Phi Theta Kappa,” PTK President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner said. “We are grateful to the Woodward Hines Education Foundation for ensuring there are no barriers to these opportunities for Mississippi students in need.”
About Woodward Hines Education Foundation
The Woodward Hines Education Foundation (WHEF) is committed to helping more Mississippians obtain post-secondary credentials, college certifications, and degrees that lead to meaningful employment. Since its inception, WHEF has worked to increase college access and entry for young people in Mississippi and has expanded that work to support promising practices that lead to college persistence and completion. For more information, contact Communications and Impact Director Courtney Lange at firstname.lastname@example.org.