OACRAO Scholarship History

In November 1995, the OACRAO Executive Committee encouraged a few OACRAO members to explore the possibility of developing a scholarship program for up and coming college freshmen. The scholarship initiative was suggested for two reasons:  1.) to make OACRAO more visible in the community, and 2.) an interest on the part of OACRAO members to  give  something back to the community and contribute to tomorrow's leadership.  As a result, the Executive Committee approved and funded an ad‐hoc committee in 1995 to develop a scholarship proposal for the organization's membership to review.

The ad‐hoc committee met several times during that year, talked with AACRAO scholarship committee members as well as members of scholarship committees in other state organizations, and even OACAC (Ohio Association of College   Admissions Counselors). In setting the parameters for the scholarship program, the group was very interested in   focusing on recognition of students who possessed leadership and service skills in their schools and communities. Thus, at the fall, 1996 conference, the membership approved the OACRAO Leadership and Service Scholarship Committee as a standing committee in the organization. Thanks to the commitment of the Executive Committee, funding for the committee operating costs and 2‐$500 scholarships were set aside for that first year.

The Scholarship Committee went to work immediately that first year reaching out to 950+ high schools seeking out applicants for the first two OACRAO Leadership and Service scholarships ever to be awarded. The committee received over 1100 applications that first year and all were considered, but two names made it to the top after much reading and discussion about all the candidates. At the fall 1997 OACRAO conference the first two scholarships award recipients were recognized.

Continued financial commitment from the OACRAO Executive Committee as well as fundraising initiatives through the organization's membership has enabled the Scholarship Committee to increase the number and dollar amount of awards given since the first year. In 2010, a decision was made to focus on awarding scholarships to students working in the offices of the OACRAO membership. Currently, students who work in Registrar’s, Admissions, Student Services and Enrollment Management offices in Ohio colleges and universities are eligible for these scholarships. Scholarships are still based on leadership and service, and a recipient is selected from each type of institution: 2‐year and nursing, 4‐year public, and 4‐year private.

Each year, the number of applications increases and the quality of the applicants is remarkable. The scholarship committee rigorously reviews all applications carefully and fairly, and remains steadfast in assuring the integrity of the scholarship program.
The past presidents of OACRAO consistently provide additional support for the scholarship program. Beginning in 2010, with the change to the new awarding format, they identified the 2‐year community colleges and nursing school colleges as their focus to welcome involvement in OACRAO by those schools and to emphasize the important role that those institutions are playing in the academic and economic success of Ohio.

The program has garnered very strong support from the general OACRAO membership. Members truly look forward to the committee’s activities, particularly the silent auction at the annual fall conference, and to the acknowledgement of the scholarship recipients. As the names of those who have earned the OACRAO scholarships are announced, the committee begins its work to determine the next year’s selection of deserving scholarship recipients.