Mentor Scholarship Program
Rotary Club of Jackson Mississippi

HOW THE PROGRAM BEGAN

In 1990 the Youth Charities Committee of the Rotary Club of Jackson recommended a college scholarship program for deserving youth who had potential as future leaders of Mississippi, but who lacked sufficient financial means to reach their goals. Instead of providing loans that had to be repaid, the committee wanted the scholarship recipients to give time back to the community in service by tutoring younger students and provide leadership by helping others.

The Club established the Jackson Rotary Mentor Scholarship program to help fill this need.  To assist the scholarship recipients, a Rotary Club member is assigned as a mentor to guide and advise the student.  In return, scholarship recipients are required to perform community service, usually tutoring and mentoring elementary or middle school students, in the town where their college is located.

THE MENTORING PROCESS

This mentoring process has been one of the main attractions of the program, both for Rotarians and for scholarship recipients.  The club has received rave reviews from both sides about how well it has worked and how meaningful it has been for the student recipient and the Rotary mentor. Many mentors and students remain friends after the student has graduated.

FUNDING THE SCHOLARSHIPS

The scholarships are for $16,000, payable at $4,000 per year.  This does not, of course, provide all the funds for college, but it often makes the difference so that college is affordable.

All members support and fund this signature program by paying a $50 fee in addition to the quarterly dues. 

The number of scholarships awarded each year is dependent upon the amount of money contributed by members. In the early years of the Mentor Scholarship Program, funds were raised through an annual raffle.  After the first several years, cash was invested to assure that all obligations could be met.  Currently, the number of scholarships awarded is dependent on a multiple of $16,000 being available for investment.  In other words, in years where the club raised $60,000 or more, five scholarships were awarded.  In recent years, four scholarships have been awarded each year, and at least $48,000 is banked for future use.  All business related to the Rotary Mentor Scholarship Program is handled through the Rotary Club of Jackson's  501(c)(3) subsidiary, Jackson Rotary Charities, Inc.

THE MENTOR SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE
Scholarship recipients are selected by the Mentor Scholarship Committee which consists of volunteers from the Rotary Club of Jackson membership.  The Committee's choices are based on student potential, financial need and high school performance.  Careful consideration is given to test scores, grades, courses taken, quality of written expression, involvement in extra-curricular activities, attendance, outside employment and other responsibilities.  Substantiated statements by references regarding the student's potential are given prime consideration.

HOW FUNDS ARE DISBURSED
The scholarship awards are sent directly to the college or university indicated by the recipient. Funds are applied to registration, tuition and other on-campus costs. In no situation do students receive the funds directly.

RULES

1.     Applicants must have an ACT score of 18 or higher.

2.     Applicants must be in a household where the combined family income does not exceed

        $60,000 per year.

3.     The Scholarship will provide a maximum $16,000 total over a four-year period at the rate of up 

        to $4,000 per year to be disbursed $2,000 each semester.

4.     To maintain the scholarship, recipients must maintain an overall 2.5 grade point average

        (GPA).

5.     During each college semester each recipient must serve as a tutor in an elementary or

        secondary school or provide supervised community service for a minimum of four hours

        weekly. This commitment does not start until the second semester of college.  Recipients 
        submit hours on a volunteer sheet showing date, place, type of service and it must be
        signed by a supervisor and received in the Rotary office in May and in December before a check
        for the following semester can be issued.

6.    Recipients must have their school send a transcript of grades to the Rotary office in May and
        in December before a check for the following semester will be written.
7.    Each recipient will have a mentor from the Rotary Club of Jackson and must communicate
       with the mentor monthly.

8.     Recipients must attend an accredited school in the State of Mississippi.
9.     Recipients may choose to attend a two-year community college or a four-year college or university.
        In the event that the student chooses a two-year community college for the first two years of the
        program, that person will be eligible for the third and fourth years if they choose to attend a four-year
        college or university for the third and fourth years.

 

APPLICATIONS FOR SCHOLARSHIPS

An application can be downloaded from the bottom of this page.  In addition to providing factual data, applicants must also make an appointment and meet with the non-profit organization called get2college.  These counselors are specially trained to advise prospective college students about what they can expect in college, both financially and in every other way.  Applicants must include a completed interview ESF form with their application. If selected to be interviewed, a second meeting with get2college may be required.

CHECKLIST OF APPLICATION COMPONENTS

  • Completed get2college Interview and Forms
  • Completed application form
  • Essay (on one of two assigned subjects)
  • High School transcript with ACT or SAT scores
  • Three letters of recommendation (teacher or counselor, two others)
  • Copy of parents' most recent federal income tax return or FAFSA (Financial Aid Form)
  • Photograph (wallet size if possible)

THE SELECTION PROCESS 

  • Applications are reviewed by the committee and an interview schedule prepared.  Interviews are scheduled for consecutive Mondays in late April and early May, and the committee is prepared to sit as a group for up to three hours each session.  Applicants are scheduled to meet with the committee in 15-minute increments.
  • Each committee member is provided with a complete set of information for each applicant, and they ask a series of questions of the applicant in the interview process.
  • At the conclusion of the entire set of interviews, the committee meets again in closed session to select the winners.  Discussion is free and complete.  After winners and alternates are selected, the committee chair contacts the winners and discusses their mandatory appearance at the June Rotary meeting where they will be announced.  Their parents are also invited to the luncheon meeting as guests of the club.

HOW IT HAS WORKED 

  • This program has been most successful.  Since the inception of the program, the club has invested more than $1.7 million in the program.  There have been more than 162 graduates, and there are presently 16 students in school.
  • There have been very few dropouts.  A couple could not maintain their grades.  One or two decided, for good reason, not to continue in college.  Mostly, though, they have had very successful college careers.
  • At the June meeting when new recipients are announced, several "alums" of the program are asked to say a few words to the club and to the new recipients.  Those have been very heart-warming.  We have had recipients named to Phi Beta Kappa; one was student body president at a leading state university; all have participated in community activities; many have gone on to graduate school.
  • Rotary Scholars are active participants and leaders in the world around them.  As one recipient told us, this scholarship literally meant the difference between being in a neighborhood gang and being a productive member of society. 
  • This is one of our most rewarding programs! 

    Note: For 2019 High School Graduates
    -The deadline for receipt in the Rotary Club office is March 14, 2019.
    Download Application Below: