Tribe offers $30,000 in scholarships

Published 7:15 am Monday, April 18, 2005

By By Lee Weyhrich
If you are a Poarch Creek tribal member between the ages of 10 and 25 or are a member with children in that age range $30,000 may be available to go towards education.
The Tribal Council voted last month to use funds from its enterprises to fulfill a long-time tribal goal.
"The money comes from discretionary funds," Tribal Council member Daniel McGhee said. "The discretionary funds are made up of the profits of all the businesses. We have to determine how to use this money, and it comes out of this money."
Education assistance has been a goal of the tribe almost since the beginning.
"It has been a long time goal of the tribe to provide educational assistance for our tribal members," Poarch Community Relations Director Sharon Delmar said. "It begins when they're 10 years of age and goes until they're 25, so it can be used for secondary school or for college."
Daniel McGhee was just one of the tribal council members to vote for this program.
"It's very good for the future of our youth to help them prosper and attain the goals set for them through education," McGhee said.
The program allows each member a cap of $30,000 for education that could be spread out throughout an academic career.
"They sign up and they have a $30,000 allotment," McGhee said. "They're limited to a certain amount a month."
That amount is based on the child's age, but can also be influenced by academic achievement.
"There are two sections one for secondary education (middle school through high school) and one for post secondary (college)," McGhee said. "For 10 years through 18 years or 12th grade, they can receive an allotment of $250 per month, but no more than three thousand per year. For post-secondary school it's capped at $7,500 a year for books and tuition fees until they've exhausted their funds."
Exceptional students get added benefits.
"We have an academic achievement bonus," McGhee said. "If they excel they receive an increase in that allotment, so they can receive more if they have good grades."
The money may only be used during a five-year period. If a child was admitted to the program at age 10 his or her benefits would expire when they turn 15.
"We're hoping everyone takes advantage," McGhee said. "It has always been a goal to educate our tribe's younger tribal members, but we've never had the means to do it before. Now that we're able to it's one of the first things we're doing."
In the past the tribe has done what it could to educate tribal members, but this is the first large-scale program.
"The Tribe has always strived to provide educational assistance to our people, but because of our limited funds in the past we were only able to provide a small amount, such as $100 dollars to a handful of students," Eddie L. Tullis, Tribal Chairman said. "This new program is set up in a way that will always allow this money to be available for many generations to come."
The money will begin to be available in fall of 2005.

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