Columbia insurance company offers students help to pay for college

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COLUMBIA - High school seniors in Columbia can now get a little extra help in paying for college.

The Shelter Insurance Foundation Success Grant is offering $1,000 for students per year.

Seniors from Battle, Douglass, Hickman and Rock Bridge can apply, as long as they meet certain criteria.

The grant is awarded to three high school seniors who show: 

  • Financial need
  • Live in or have a connection to a Columbia neighborhood (North, East, Central neighborhoods and the White Gate Area)
  • At least a 2.5 GPA
  • Service project involvement

The money can be used for tuition, fees, books and housing at either two or four-year colleges, universities or technical schools. 

"We understand the cost of education is expensive. So, any kind of help you can get is great," said Shelter Insurance Director of Public Relations Jay MacLellan.

The 2016-2017 school year was the fist time the City of Columbia and Shelter Insurance offered the grant.

Despite efforts to publicize the grant, only one student applied to it.

"We probably did not do as good as a job recruiting students as we should have," City of Columbia Civic Relations Manager Toni Messina said. "We really need to get the word out to attract more applicants. I know they are out there."

Messina said the service project gets the students to think of others in the community.

"If you want to do something that lets you leave your fingerprints on Columbia. Especially in your neighborhood were you can affect the lives of families and individuals, this project is for you," Messina said.

MacLellan said students can benefit even more from the experience they get with the grant.

"The skills you get out of it. You will do a project, you will get to know your city a little better. And so, some of those soft skills that you are going to get out of it, really almost pay dividends down the road," he said.

People can apply on the Shelter Insurance Foundation website, or by going to the Columbia City Hall and asking for an application packet.

Applications are open and will go until February 12, 2018.