Tuition Grants Pave The College Path

Think you’ve got some hefty college bills?  Meet Jody Brown.

Last spring the Westport single mother prepared for Staples graduation — of her triplets.  Megan, Kyle and Tyler DeBussey were ready to enter college this fall.

Tuition costs — over $300,000 for 4 years — kept her up at night.  The Barron’s guide, she says, made her sick.

All 3 of her kids had gone through Westport schools, from kindergarten through 12 grade.  None had ever requested financial assistance.  But each took on the task of filling out financial aid applications — including applying for Staples Tuition Grants.

Since 1943, the program has provided assistance to Staples seniors — and graduates still in college.  Some are students like the DeBusseys (though triplets are a 1st).  Others live in homes where 1 — or both — parents are seriously ill, or out of work.

Staples Tuition Grants is the largest single donor of financial aid in Westport.  Last year the organization handed out $198,000 — 24 grants to seniors, 53 to alums.  Awards range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, and are based solely on need.

Last year also saw a 35% increase in applications.  Many came from graduates who had not needed aid as seniors, but because of changed family circumstances or college funding cutbacks, suddenly did.

The DeBusseys all qualified.  Tyler is at the University of Wisconsin; Kyle attends the University of South Carolina, while Megan is at the University of Hartford.

Along with additional scholarships for academics and sports achievements — plus personal loans and campus jobs — all 3 are thriving. 

This June Staples Tuition Grants hopes to award $200,000 to a new crop of seniors, and some familiar grads.  As always, the committee relies on contributions from individuals, PTAs, civic organizations, local businesses and trusts.

But so far they’ve raised only half their goal.  It’s time to step up for our own.  Contributions may be made here, or by mail:  Staples Tuition Grants, PO Box 5159, Westport, CT 06881. 

(The deadline for students to apply for aid is March 15.  Applications are available here.)

One response to “Tuition Grants Pave The College Path

  1. Grumpy Old Man

    Interesting piece and kudos to the Staples grant administration. I have one still in law school or I might write a check. But it brings up three issues:
    Why has college tuition escalated so dramatically in the past decades? The facilities look much the same and professors are making much the same salaries as ten years ago. So why the hike? No one is questioning why it cost so much to go to second or third tier colleges;

    Are we sending kids that really don’t belong in college? 25% don’t make it through the first year let alone graduate. Would they not be better in trade school? Or, god forbid, the military?

    And if money is an issue, why does Norwalk Community for two years and then transferring to UCONN make sense. It did for the guy building the 37,000 square foot house on Bayberry. He did alright apparently. In many cases, we are straddling this new generation with tremendous debt upon graduation. We begrudge our government for deficit spending (while looking to them for loans) but do little on our personal budgets??

    Some serious questions before we instill expectations in our kids that we really can not afford or foster realization. If you think the mother of triplets is stressed, I wonder the emotional stress on those kids?