The second annual Scholarship Shawnee Mission, a Shawnee Mission Education Foundation program, reeled in 35,000 offers for the Class of 2021.
About 1,600 students will be receiving scholarship offers in their mailboxes this week, with package offers ranging from $100,000 to $2.4 million, said the program’s Executive Director Kimberly Hinkle.
“If you’re a really great basketball player, colleges are going to come to you and offer you scholarships,” Hinkle said. “We think that that should happen for regular kids.”
Hinkle said the program seeks to turn tables on the college admissions process with institutions offering “bright, hard working, smart students” scholarships.
Once a student receives a scholarship offer they need to apply to the school or schools they wish to attend by the deadline noted in the scholarship letter. The student must also maintain their current academic standing.
While each senior would normally receive their offers at school, due to COVID-19 the foundation is hand delivering scholarship offers to five students from each high school.
Parents opt their students into the program, and student data is sent to the foundation’s college and university partners. Those partners — including public, private, in-state, out-of-state, two-year and four-year institutions — come back with scholarship offers specific to their schools.
Although a district-wide grand total is not yet available, last year’s 18,000 individual scholarships resulted in a grand total of more than $730 million in offers.
This year, seniors at Shawnee Mission North alone received more than $265 million in scholarship offers, Hinkle said. Shawnee Mission West seniors received more than $312 million.
“After parents opt-in, the families, the kids do nothing,” Hinkle said. “They probably don’t even remember opting in, and then all of a sudden we are there to present all of these offers from different colleges and universities — we think it’s really cool.”
Laylan Hamid, a Shawnee Mission West senior who wants to study biomedical engineering, said the hand-delivered offers came as a shock. She’s currently deciding between offers from Iowa State University, Illinois Tech, The University of Kansas and The University of Missouri, Kansas City.
Hamid said she’s grateful for the help and support of not only her parents, but also for her teachers and Leadership Shawnee Mission — and for not having to show colleges and universities she’s a capable candidate.
“It’s definitely taken a lot of stress out of the whole application process,” Hamid said. “Instead of me just submitting my application and being put into a stack, I have colleges actually coming to me giving me an offer and acknowledging my work.”