By Janice Phelan, January 3, 2019
In January 2015, Randi Perry’s college experience was unexpectedly cut short when
she was seriously injured in an automobile accident while commuting from Independence
to the University of Central Missouri (UCM) Warrensburg campus. After a short period
as a homebound student, the busy mother of two children found herself unable to return
to college due to her injuries.
Fortunately, Perry learned about the KC Scholars and KC Degrees programs through a KC Degrees navigator, Carrie Barnes, and is working toward degree completion. She attends classes at UCM’s Missouri Innovation Campus, located in Lee’s Summit.
“I returned in August 2018 as a KC Scholar ready to conquer this dream of mine and move on with my life,” Perry said. “Truly these programs have changed my life.”
Thanks to financial resources provided through KC Scholars, a total of seven adult learners are working toward higher-education certificates or degree completion at the University of Central Missouri’s Lee’s Summit and Warrensburg campuses.
KC Scholars and KC Degrees work together in providing scholarship funding and helping students navigate within the higher-education system. The programs are designed to increase access for low- and modest-income students and adults.
“KC Degrees and KC Scholars are important to degree completion for students who would not have returned to college without this financial boost,” said Brenda Fuhr, lead coordinator of student transition and engagement at UCM Lee’s Summit. “In my experience one of the main reasons people stop pursuing higher education is money, and these programs reduce that barrier for students who want to reconnect to college.”
For Perry, an elementary education major planning to graduate in May 2020, the scholarship programs are making a tremendous difference. “Returning to school being able to finish my degree with no accruing debt is huge for my family,” she said. “I have a husband who is pursuing his master’s degree at this time, and we have two children who are 11 and 12. My returning to school has been quite the burden on my family, and this scholarship took away so much of the worry and stress.”
Perry also praised the UCM staff as well as the convenience of the Missouri Innovation Campus. “Brenda Fuhr (Perry’s advisor) has been essential in making sure I am on the right track and following the correct path,” she said. “The professors I have encountered just recently here at UCM have been amazing. It’s been such a wonderful experience.”
KC Scholars began approximately two years ago with the first adult learners returning to college in fall 2017. In addition to financial support for reconnecting adult learners (age 24 or older), KC Scholars offers traditional scholarships (high-school juniors) and a college savings account/match (high-school freshmen).
Adults returning to college can receive up to $5,000 per semester to cover educational expenses for up to five years. Students using the scholarship full-time for five years are eligible to receive financial assistance totaling $50,000.
The third application cycle for adult learners to apply for financial assistance begins Jan. 1. Learn more about eligibility and the application process on the KC Scholars website.