Hammond working on long-term funding for College Bound

2012-05-26T21:39:00Z 2012-05-28T15:09:18Z Hammond working on long-term funding for College BoundBy Chelsea Schneider Kirk chelsea.schneider@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND  | Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. said city officials are working on a long-term funding source for the College Bound program.

At its inception, College Bound, which awards up to $9,100 in annual scholarships to students of Hammond homeowners, was guaranteed a 10-year run.

The program is at the start of its seventh year.

McDermott said city officials have identified a funding source that could extend his administration’s signature program for an additional 20 years. He said he hopes to reveal that source by the end of the year.

In 2011, the city allocated $3.1 million of its gaming tax revenue to the program and awarded 500 scholarships, but McDermott said the program needs to move to a more stable funding source than gaming.

“I’m confident we can get it done,” McDermott said.

Parents with children in the seventh and eighth grades have asked McDermott if College Bound will still be available when their children are college-age.

“Right now we can’t say yes or no because it’s a 10-year program,” McDermott said.

College Bound covers up to four years of school if students meet certain academic and community service requirements. The student also must live in an owner-occupied home in Hammond and attend an Indiana college.

The amount students can receive through the scholarship program depends on how long they’ve lived in a home owned by their parents or legal guardian.

Students who have lived in Hammond since sixth grade are eligible to receive the full scholarship amount, while students who moved to the city in 10th grade can receive up to 60 percent.

College Bound Coordinator Courtney Saczawa said she has received similar questions from parents wanting to know how long the program will run.

“They just want to make sure it will still be around,” Saczawa said.

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