It really is the most wonderful time of the year for us at Operation Thank an Officer. But perhaps not for the reason you think. Although we love the holidays, we love our scholarships even more.
Four years ago, when we decided to add a scholarship program, I could have never dreamt at where it would go. The first year, there were around 30 applications. Last year, we had nearly 100 applications from 32 different states. Reading the achievements, volunteerism and essays of these applicants leaves me optimistic about the future leaders that are among these students.
According to Forbes, in 2016 44 million borrowers owed $1.5 trillion dollars in student loan debt; around $37,172 per student graduating with a four-year degree (that’s up $6,000 from where it was in 2015). That’s why scholarships are so important. Students are more likely to finish their degree earlier and with a higher grade point average if they have at least one scholarship when entering college.
Our scholarship applicants come from every background and ethnicity; they are first generation college students and first generation Americans. They come from a long line of law enforcement officials or are just following a calling to serve; whatever their background, we are so proud of those who receive our scholarships all year.
We could not do it without the support of all of our donors. It is because of our donors that we have been able to provide over $20,000 in scholarship awards. Each year, we are able to give out more scholarship dollars than the year before. We have expanded our program from four scholarships to ten scholarships and are happy to fund additional scholarship awards like the Trooper Joshua Orbeck Memorial Scholarship and the Officer Todd Besser Memorial Scholarship.
I look forward to a new class of scholarship recipients in 2019 and will work to continue to grow this program! Make sure you check out our blog frequently to check out some of these great student essays! If you are interested in donating to our scholarship program visit thankanofficer.org/donate.
You can apply starting now our scholarships page!
President, Operation Thank an Officer