Community Foundation of Western Mass., Davis Foundation Fund Scholarships for Community College Honors Students to Attend UMass

August 3, 2016

AMHERST, Mass. – Honors students at three area community colleges planning to pursue their studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will benefit from $550,000 in scholarships funded by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation.

The grants will provide additional financial support for first-generation and low-income honors students from Greenfield, Holyoke and Springfield Technical community colleges who are accepted into UMass Amherst’s Commonwealth Honors College through its Honors-to-Honors scholarship program.

Launched last year with an initial commitment of $360,000 by UMass Amherst, Honors-to-Honors furnishes additional scholarship support to graduates of the state’s 15 community colleges who are enrolled in one of the state’s MassTransfer programs. Honors-to-Honors provides a special $6,000 annual scholarship in addition to need-based aid from federal and state sources.

“The leadership of these two key foundations demonstrates their deep commitment to education and the Pioneer Valley,” noted Katherine Newman, provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs at UMass Amherst. “Our hope is that these grants will help attract additional private support from across the commonwealth for this important program.”

Beginning this fall, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts will fund up to $100,000 annually over four years to support Honors-to-Honors scholarships for students from Greenfield, Holyoke and Springfield Technical community colleges.

Another $150,000 in scholarship money is being provided by the Davis Foundation over three years.

“Collaborating with key partners is an important way to amplify our funding to help strengthen the Pioneer Valley. We are honored to be an inaugural funder of this exciting new opportunity,” says Katie Allan Zobel, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “One of the benefits of Honors-to-Honors for funders like us is the ability to collect data and learn more about what impacts the graduation rates for low-income and first-generation students. This would be challenging to do on our own, so we are excited that this partnership will allow us to follow our scholarship recipients through college and beyond.”

“Honors-to-Honors offers great promise for outstanding community college graduates from our area to further their education at UMass Amherst,” says Mary Walachy, executive director of the Davis Foundation. “We’re pleased to support a new, creative pathway for talented students from Hampden County to pursue their studies at Commonwealth Honors College. This investment has the potential to spur these students to greater success toward their career goals and inspire others from their communities to follow in their footsteps.”

Honors-to-Honors is the first scholarship program at UMass Amherst for students transferring from one of the state’s community college honors programs to the Commonwealth Honors College. The program began in the fall of 2015 with 36 students representing 13 of the 15 community colleges.

Under the state’s MassTransfer program, students at the community colleges are guaranteed acceptance to state four-year colleges and universities if they participate in approved programs and meet certain criteria. Students eligible for Honors-to-Honors must graduate from an honors program in any of the state’s community colleges and be accepted into the Commonwealth Honors College. Students from community colleges without honors programs will be eligible to apply if they graduate as members of an equivalent “President’s List.”

 

The Commonwealth Honors College was established at UMass Amherst to recognize the achievements of the state’s most outstanding high school graduates and offers them a special curriculum composed of small classes and research opportunities in collaboration with members of the faculty. It is widely recognized as one of the nation’s premier honors colleges and enrolls less than 15 percent of the university’s students.