The MS Scholarship program is now ten years old, having been founded in 2003 with a generous donation from Chapter Trustee Arthur Collias. It continues to be a very meaningful way for the National MS Society to provide direct assistance to families affected by multiple sclerosis. Awardees must have a parent with MS, or have MS themselves, and be attending college for the first time.
While MS Scholarships range from $1,000 to $3,000, and are modest compared to tuition, they do play a significant role in defraying expenses associated with attending college, such as activity fees, books, and more. These added expenses can be an obstacle to a family’s ability to fully afford college, which is a truly frustrating reason not to pursue higher education.
This year, the Greater New England Chapter was able to fund scholarships locally for 16 students, although we sincerely wish it could have been more. As we strive to increase funding for research to end MS forever, and to fund our efforts in MS education, support, advocacy, and services, we also search for more donors who believe that MS shouldn’t stand in the way of an education.
In addition to demonstrating financial need, these students are especially deserving of recognition, because of their impressive academic records, devotion to their families, and dedication to education. There is at least one scholarship awardee from each state in the chapter: Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine. We are particularly proud of the three students who achieved “Top Scholar” status out of only 17 nationwide. “Top Scholars” are eligible to re-apply for MS scholarships each of the next three years.
We wish each student much success in their college careers and in life. The Society maintains a connection with the students during their time at school through a private Facebook group that each is invited to join. The group gives students an opportunity to reach out to other students nearby who come from different areas of the country, but are attending the same school or a school in the same city. The Facebook group can also help students connect with the Society’s office in their new community.
As you review your charitable giving choices, and when you speak with family members and friends about their donations, please consider a generous gift to the MS Scholarship Program to maintain the vital role it plays in helping families affected by MS.
Arlyn A. White
President & CEO