Maps offers students a lifeline

Published January 14, 2016

If all goes according to plan, Oregon’s 2016 college graduates will leave school with knowledge, insight, and drive.

And, if history repeats itself, a lot of them will also graduate with a mountain of debt.

Roughly 570,000 Oregon students owed a total of $15.7 billion in federal student loans as of January 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Each Oregon borrower owed an average of $27,453.

The Maps Community Foundation is doing what it can to stem the tide by giving scholarships to local students. Applications are being accepted through Feb. 29.

Winners will be selected by Maps Credit Union employees and volunteers who examine each applicant’s:

  • Academic success
  • Aptitude
  • Participation in activities
  • Accomplishments
  • Career goals
  • Financial need
  • Answers to essay questions

Four different scholarships will be offered to students pursuing college degrees. They include:

  1. Maps Credit Union Scholarship: Two $1,000 scholarships for Marion or Polk high school seniors who intend to study at an accredited college or university 
  2. Maps Business Partner Scholarship: $2,000 for North Salem, West Salem, or McKay high school seniors who have been in business and management classes for one or more years and plan to study at an accredited college or university. The committee will determine the amount of the awards, which will each be $500 or higher.
  3. Earl Littrell Scholarship: $3,500 for Marion or Polk County residents who plan on studying economics, accounting, business or a related subject at an accredited college or university in Oregon. Priority will be given, in the following order, to: Maps Credit Union employees, family members of Maps employees, and members of Maps. The committee will determine the amount of the awards, which will each be $500 or higher.
  4. Dan Penn Scholarship: Two $1,000 scholarships for Marion or Polk county high school seniors who intend to study business, finance or a related subject 

The Maps Community Foundation, a charitable affiliate of Maps Credit Union, has given away more than $100,000 in scholarships since 2005. 

Western Oregon University student Katia Horsey said the award she received means she’s able to spend more time studying and less time working to earn money to pay for school. She’s grateful for the help, she said. “I don’t take it for granted.”