MASON COUNTY — The Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation has awarded 98 scholars totaling $275,000 since 2010. The Foundation was created in 2009 with nine scholarships of $1,000 awarded to graduating high school seniors at awards assemblies in 2010.
“We established a formula based on the three high schools’ enrollment. Hannan High School had one award, Point Pleasant received five awards, and three scholars at Wahama High School were presented awards,” said Stephen C. Littlepage, the foundation’s president. “That formula has slightly adjusted and expanded over the years to include a recipient from the Mason County Career Center.”
Spanning the past 10 years, Hannan High School has 11 recipients, Point Pleasant High School has 50, Wahama High School has 32 and the Mason County Career Center has five scholars.
The scholarship of $1,000 is perpetual over four years for a total of $4,000. Although scholars could renew their awards for up to four years, only 34 students maximized the $4,000.00. The various reasons for not getting renewals include not maintaining a post-secondary institution’s guideline for full-time status, having a change in income, not submitting the completed application in a timely manner, not achieving satisfactory academic standards, and earning a degree or certification in fewer than four years.
In the 2017 cycle, the foundation increased the award to $1,500 for new recipients for a total of $6,000 over four years. This amount is contingent upon the foundation’s capacity to provide $1,500 per scholar and could revert to the $1,000 in the future.
“Post-secondary education is expensive. This scholarship is based on financial need. We looked at the West Virginia public college tuition costs and wanted this scholarship to increase significance to the recipient in paying for schooling,” Littlepage said. “Essentially, it pays close to 15 percent of a semester tuition.”
Of the 98 scholars, 14 renewed for three years, 22 for two years, and 28 were presented with the initial award. This 2020 cycle will budget for 22 eligible renewals.
The Claflin Scholars attended Marshall University (44 percent), West Virginia University (18 percent), other West Virginia schools (25 percent), and out-of-state institutions (16 percent).
Information provided on behalf of the Claflin Foundation.