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STORM LAKE, IA (12/07/2017) (readMedia)-- Buena Vista University (BVU) is announcing a new scholarship program, "Education for Service Scholars," which will award up to ten full-tuition, four-year scholarships each year to eligible students who graduate from a high school located in Buena Vista County.

In return, the students will serve as Iowa College AmeriCorps volunteers in Buena Vista County communities throughout their four years at BVU. This purposefully aligns with BVU's Education for Service motto and the University's ongoing commitment to civic engagement.

Of the students selected, up to six scholarships are exclusively for students who attend the Storm Lake or St. Mary's High Schools, and up to four scholarships will be awarded to students who attend Sioux Central, Newell-Fonda, or Alta-Aurelia High Schools. This annual scholarship covers full tuition. State and federal financial assistance may be used to pay for room, board, and other educational expenses.

"We've had positive conversations with school administrators in the county, and each is excited about this opportunity for their students and local communities," said BVU President Joshua Merchant. "We strive to make a college education be within reach for all students, and this is another way we are demonstrating that goal."

To be eligible for consideration, students must:

• Be a first generation college student (neither parents nor guardians hold a bachelor's degree).

• Earn a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA while completing a college prep curriculum.

• Be Federal Pell Grant and Iowa Tuition Grant (state) eligible.

As part of the Iowa College AmeriCorps volunteer program, the cohort of students will take part in a four-year service plan that includes completing up to five hours of purposeful service activities per week, going on AWOL (Alternative Week of Off-site Learning) trips and other service-oriented retreats, participating in success coaching, implementing community-based research on and off campus, and more. The plan is designed to equip the students with exemplary personal, leadership, and professional skills.

"BVU wanted to build a scholarship program that specifically supports local, first generation college students who have the potential to be successful in college and need extra financial support," said Merchant. "Qualifying students will garner a strong commitment for community leadership, too. A hallmark component of the program is engaged service, and scholarship recipients will provide a substantial amount of volunteer service to area nonprofit organizations during their time at BVU."

Merchant added, "Our ultimate aim is that these students will build lasting networks and choose to stay in BV County post-graduation and continue to make it a prosperous region. I wholeheartedly believe that a stronger community translates into a stronger BVU and vice versa. Together we are better, and this program is a big step in that direction."

To apply and learn more about the Education for Service Scholar program, visit www.bvu.edu/service. For questions or for additional information, contact Mike Frantz, vice president of enrollment, at 712-749-2655 or frantzm@bvu.edu. BVU will identify the first cohort of students for the 2018-2019 academic year no later than April 1, 2018.

Photo details:

L-R: Melinda Buchholz, City of Newell City Clerk; Sandy Mouw, Storm Lake High School Guidance Counselor; Brittany Hill, Storm Lake High School Charter School Coordinator; Joshua Merchant, BVU President; Beau Ruleaux, Storm Lake High School Principal; Jeff Scharn, Sioux Central Middle/High School Principal; and Emilia Marroquin, Storm Lake High School Board Member

About Buena Vista University

Since 1891, Buena Vista University has prepared students for lifelong success and blends liberal arts with real-world applications. Our traditional campus on the shores of Storm Lake hosts students in a variety of majors and pre-professional programs, including elementary, secondary, and special education; business and accounting; and biological and chemical sciences. Our 16 degree-completion locations, online, and graduate programs expand student potential with a pace and academic rigor designed for working adults and a variety of class formats that make scheduling even more convenient. With an average scholarship of more than 50 percent off of tuition, BVU is an affordable option for all students. Visit www.bvu.edu.