The Colorado Springs-based nonprofit that awarded more than $2 million in scholarships last year will begin accepting applications on New Year’s Day.
The Sachs Foundation, founded by Pikes Peak resident Henry Sachs, has helped more than 3,000 Black Coloradans pay for college, according to foundation president Ben Ralston. The application period will run from January 1 to March 15.
Depending on how far they want to go in school, qualified candidates can receive up to $90,000 in scholarship funding.
“A student can get up to $50,000 in undergraduate scholarships, and if they want to pursue a graduate degree, they can apply for an additional up to $40,000 in graduate school,” Ralston said.
The foundation’s president said the nonprofit awards 40 to 50 scholarships each year and has given $2.44 million in educational grants in the past year alone.
The Sachs Foundation provides scholars with more than funding, according to grant director Terrell Brown. Through a mentorship program called Elevated, the nonprofit helps prepare young people for the sometimes grueling experience of applying to and entering college. About 60% of Sachs scholarship recipients are first-generation college students.
“We want to help them see it along the way,” Brown said. “We are making sure it can afford college, which is a huge help for a struggling family, but a lot of these kids are first-generation college students who don’t have family members who are familiar with the college experience. We help them with the whole process.”
The financial obstacles facing black students today are not as stark as they were when the institution was founded 90 years ago, but young people of color still face a more difficult path to obtaining a college degree than their white counterparts, according to Ralston. Because of this, the mission of the Sachs Foundation is more necessary and relevant than ever, he said.
“The fact that this might make some people uncomfortable, but wealth — or lack of wealth — is a matter of generations,” Ralston said. “The same goes for educational opportunities. We are looking at data in Colorado and all over the country, and the gap is still huge.”
Ralston said that black students are more likely than their white colleagues to drop out of college for financial reasons, and those who graduate tend to take on more debt.
“What we do — provide educational opportunities for black students — is still important,” Ralston said. “It was our original founding mission, and it remains our mission today.”
The applicant must be an undergraduate at an African American high school and a full-time resident of Colorado with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The postgraduate candidate must have held a previous Sachs scholarship and have completed an undergraduate degree program within the last three years.
For more information, visit sachsfoundation.org.
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