The College Bound Scholarship program has a new source of funding which will make Hammond the first city in the nation to invest public dollars in raising the level, importance and performance of its student population and — in the process — secure the community’s bright future.
In May an ordinance was signed extending the program — which has funded 1,300 students since 2006 — for 12 years enveloping the last two years of the old promise into the new one. The funding source has changed from gaming revenue to monies received from water rates through a contract with Illinois, meaning Hammond residents do not pay for the program.
The objective of the College Bound scholarship program is to provide eligible students with up to $10,500 per year toward tuition at the accredited Indiana college or university of their choice. The scholarship amount will remain at $10,500 until the yearly cost of 30 credit hours at the benchmarked college location — Purdue University Calumet — exceeds that amount.
Courtney Margraf, the coordinator of the College Bound program, recently discussed the growth of the program. “Back when I came on board in 2008, the program was serving 100 students,” Margraf said. “Now I am managing about 550 students across approximately 30 different universities. The mass amount of people Mayor McDermott has been able to help provide an education for is amazing.”