“We really want all of our students to have a post-high-school plan."
Just thinking about college financial aid can be daunting! That’s why Beaverton High School counselor Bonnie Heaton is such a treasure. In addition to her counseling job, Bonnie is a volunteer advisor to OCF’s scholarship program and works with the Office of Student Access and Completion to help students find funding for post-secondary education and training. OCF has one of the largest scholarship programs in the state and relies on OSAC to facilitate the majority of the Foundation’s scholarships. Bonnie points out the unique advantage Oregon students have in finding the right scholarships: “One application through OSAC makes kids eligible for dozens of scholarship opportunities.” But steering students through the financial aid process to available scholarships is critical to the process and that’s why OCF relies on volunteers around the state such as Bonnie.
Bonnie reminds her students that, although getting good grades helps, it is not the only standard used to award financial aid. “One OSAC scholarship program is called Why Not?” said Bonnie. “It’s for students who have overcome obstacles.” Other scholarships reward volunteerism, while yet others focus on creativity. Bonnie said, “There are scholarships for mothers of redheads; there are twin scholarships; there are tall people scholarships.”
The fact that there are many scholarship options available is great both for students and the counselors, like Bonnie, trying to help them. “We really want all of our students to have a post-high-school plan. That may mean trade school, community college or four-year college. We can tell the kids what programs are available for them and let them know that there is hope and there is help out there to reach their goals.” And it helps to have good advice from a counselor such as Bonnie.