Ivory Billups thought finances may cause her to take a semester off from her studies at Gateway Technical College, delaying her timeframe to earn a degree and start her career or further her education.
A Foundation scholarship changed all that, and Ivory kept her studies on track – and graduated with a Human Services associate degree, walking across the stage at the May commencement ceremony to gather her degree and take the first steps to her future.
“I had gone through some financial hardships and thought I would have to take a semester off,” says Ivory. “The scholarship really helped me. I didn’t feel like I had to put off finishing my degree – I was able to finish it. I think knowing you are able to afford your classes also affects your grades, and this helped me to take care of my classes.”
Ivory was awarded the Human Services & AODA Certificate Scholarship as well as the Ken Vetrovec Memorial Scholarship.
Ivory began in Gateway’s Nursing program before deciding to shift programs and go into Human Services. “Going into this field would still help me to fulfill my goal of helping people, which is what I want to do. I want to be in a career where I can help people in some way,” says Ivory.
Ivory excelled at Gateway, making the dean’s list several times before graduating this year. She says she took classes consistently and always saw graduating as her goal. The scholarship played a part in that goal, and she encourages other students to apply for one, as well.
“I’ve been a part-time student for four and a half years now, and I would say that the scholarship really did make a difference in my life,” says Ivory. “I would encourage others to apply. It becomes that tipping point when you ask yourself, ‘Can I keep going, or stop because I can’t afford to get those books I need for class now?’ The scholarship was that tipping point for me to stay in college.”