GRAND RAPIDS — Aquinas College has been partnering with local businesses and organizations for years to provide working adults with tuition relief through the John F. Donnelly Scholarship Program.
Donnelly scholarships are available to working adults who are new to Aquinas and are employed at one of 130 businesses and school districts partnering with the college to provide the program.
In light of layoffs expected as Old Kent Bank merges with Fifth Third Bancorp, Aquinas is amending terms of the program to allow seven students currently employed at Old Kent to continue participating in the program for another three years, according to Ina Marshall, director of adult student recruitment.
Aquinas covers 25 percent of tuition cost for students selected into the scholarship program, while the partnering organization provides an additional reimbursement incentive.
Under Old Kent’s partnership with the college, full-time employees of the bank received 75 percent of tuition reimbursement and part-time employees received 50 percent.
“They may very well be laid off from Old Kent and lose that benefit. We would like to extend them the opportunity to maintain the scholarship,” Marshall said, adding that Aquinas will continue offering those students a 25 percent tuition reduction. “When you’re laid off, that’s the time to be in school.”
Marshall said Aquinas has offered to carry on the relationship with Fifth Third, should the company be interested in participating.
Participating organizations can recommend employees for Donnelly scholarships, which are awarded for up to seven years or until the recipients complete their degrees, provided they remain employed by the partnering organization.
For the 2000-2001 academic year, Aquinas awarded 88 Donnelly scholarships for either undergraduate or graduate study, Marshall said.