Ds Scholarship

WNC’s homeschool program receives scholarship support

Michael Keaton, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, WNC

With more homeschooling students turning to Western Nevada College to align high school curricula with undergraduate courses, scholarship funding is now available to help parents fund the alternative education of their children.
WNC Board Member Michelle Keaton and her husband, Charlie, decided to start a scholarship for homeschooling students after learning more about the program from WNC Homeschool Coordinator Rebecca Bevans during a board meeting.
“What resonated with the number of students enrolled in the program and how passionate Rebecca is about ensuring that students have a positive school environment,” Keaton said.
Keaton believes that alternative education paths can make a huge difference in a student’s life. More and more parents are taking on this responsibility. According to the National Home Education Research Institute, 3.7 million K-12 students were educated at home in 2020-2021, up from 2.65 million the previous year.
“The public school system is not for everyone, and the right environment can be the difference in anyone’s future success,” Keaton said. “We want to start this scholarship to provide the opportunity for success to a student who might not otherwise be able to enroll in the WNC program. My goal with this scholarship is to provide more visibility for the homeschooling program in the community so that others feel inspired to donate as well.”
Home school students score 15 to 30 percentage points higher on standardized academic achievement tests and score above average on the SAT and ACT tests, according to NHERI. Most importantly, they are more likely to attend university.
Consequently, more colleges, such as WNC, are recruiting them.
During the fall 2021 semester, 60 students participated in the WNC homeschool program, up from 42 students last year (an increase of 42.8 percent). But Bevans believes many other families would like to send their students from home to NC State College.
“Because the students at home have not yet completed high school, they are not eligible for any financial aid that is currently available,” Bevans said. “Some families can pay the costs out of pocket while others cannot.
“This scholarship from Michelle is amazing and has the potential to help some of our ambitious homeschool students earn their degree and reduce the cost burden on many families.”
If they are academically eligible, homeschooled students can participate in WNC’s Jump Start Program. This dual credit program allows high school juniors and seniors to take classes through WNC and earn up to an associate’s degree by the time they graduate from high school. But homeschooling students are not required to comply with the Jump Start program and can have an education program tailored to meet their needs and goals.
For traditional homeschooling students, WNC is a place to continue their education and foster more friendships. All students at home have a place on campus; They even have a room to hang out in the library where they can socialize, study and plan events, as well as a club to socialize and make a difference on campus and in the community – Nerd Herd.
“I love the name The Nerd Herd!” Kitten said. “This tells me that these are young people who know themselves and embrace who they are. This is the environment that this scholarship will provide for a student. While they are students taking college level classes, they are still teenagers. They need opportunities to connect with each other, develop friendships, and continue to to be children.”
For all of these students, what is not lost is that they not only complete high school but also gain a degree and direction in life while having the opportunity to make lifelong friends.
“I’ve been working with these kids for over two years, and I’m constantly amazed at their maturity and intelligence,” Bevans said. WNC provides an environment focused on education and personal growth and a space to be themselves. WNC is a place free from bullying, smoking, drugs and alcohol.”
To underscore the possibilities in this program for home tutors, Bevans recalls how an eighth-grader succeeded in WNC after demonstrating his academic qualifications with his English 101 test.
He wanted to leave the school system because he was tired of being bullied and because his mental health was struggling. Bevans said being at WNC allowed (the student) to unlearn negative behaviors he had learned in a place where he was seen as the individual.” “It was amazing to watch him grow up and take charge of his identity. And he is not alone; Many other students have the same story.”
With the growing number of WNC home school students, the Ketten Scholarship provides a springboard for the college to better support these young students.
“I joined the WNC Foundation Board so that I can help raise awareness of WNC’s programs to the community and to help bring more resources into the WNC for students. I hope this does both,” said Keaton.
For information about the WNC Homeschooling Program, contact Bevans at rebecca.bevans@wnc.edu. To donate, contact the WNC Foundation at 775-445-3240 or Foundation@wnc.edu.


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