Karen Shafer Perseverance Scholarship Fund
Higher education remains the great equalizer, but many students face tremendous obstacles to obtaining a degree. In memory of Karen Shafer, a former educator in USD 501 Topeka Public Schools and active community volunteer, her family established the Karen Shafer Perseverance Scholarship Fund for scholarship support for students in the Ichabod Success Institute.
An achievement gap persists for students who are the first in their families to go to college, from low socioeconomic backgrounds, or are minorities. These students are far less likely than their peers to persist and graduate. Targeted programming, however, is beginning to close this gap. Numbers from the Ichabod Success Institute indicate students in the program will obtain associate's degrees at double the national graduation rate by May 2018.
Additional funding is needed to help these first-generation, minority students gain access to a university education and persist through the bumps on their path to graduation.
IMPACT ON STUDENTS
Research demonstrates that a university degree remains the primary vehicle for social mobility. The Ichabod Success Institute is helping students obtain a life of opportunity and transform their family tree. Currently, the Ichabod Success Institute serves 20 students each year, supporting them through their first two years of study. The Karen Shafer Perseverance Scholarship Fund will help sustain the program at its current levels, and in the future, Washburn hopes it will help grow the program to include more students.
Central to the Ichabod Success Institute is the summer residential experience, where students live on campus and take six credit hours of courses during the summer before their first full-time semester. The Karen Shafer Perseverance Scholarship Fund will primarily go toward summer tuition. Donations will also contribute to the Institute Retention Fund, which helps Institute students overcome obstacles that otherwise may force them to drop out of college.