The Benefits of Working with Us.
Why partner with us? First off, we make the process incredibly easy. But it goes beyond simplicity alone.
We’ll Create a Scholarship that Embodies Your Mission.
No matter your organization’s industry or purpose, we can design a scholarship around it, and make a lifetime impact on students and their families. We approach scholarship solutions with your mission in mind.
We Know Students. And How to Find Them.
We work to understand the students you want to support. From program design to national marketing, we customize a strategy based on your desired impact.
There are Countless Administrative Ins and Outs to Consider.
We take care of them all, saving you time, so you can focus on the value of the program, not the rules and regulations. Our 175 employees have an average of 7 years of service — plus a passion for amplifying the impact.
No Scholarship is the Same.
We’ll customize your program to your needs and give it the flexibility to change and grow.
The Anatomy of a Scholarship
Offering a scholarship can be amazingly complex, but we provide a better, easier way — saving you hassles and headaches. Depending on what you need, our scholarship solutions include any or all of these parts and pieces.
“I have been so impressed with Scholarship America as an organization. This was my organization’s first time offering a scholarship program, and Scholarship America made the entire process seamless.” Dana Jones, the Jones Group
Meet Yessenia Cantero Hernandez: 2017 Drea
We are thrilled to have such a diverse and interesting class of Dream Award recipients! Yessenia’s story continues our series on each of the ten 2017 students. Throughout the next few months we will be posting more stories on a bi-weekly basis featuring these amazing individuals. Check out previous student stories by visiting our Success By Degrees blog.
Growing up as a minority in small town, Yessenia Cantero Hernandez’s reputation preceded her—mostly for having a name that most people in her community had difficulty saying. The typical greeting was, “Oh, you’re Yessenia. You’re the name we can’t pronounce.”
Born in Mexico City, Yessenia and her family moved to the United States when she was 7. They moved in with family in Chicago before placing roots in rural Kentucky. With few resources or familial connections, Yessenia and her family relied heavily on the community to help them get established. Members from their local church would come by their apartment on Sundays to play with Yessenia and her sisters and have Bible lessons.
When her family went through hard times, they could count on someone from the community to provide for basic needs. Once, Yessenia really needed glasses because she was struggling to see the board in class, and someone just stopped by their house one day and offered to take her to an eye exam. The community rallied behind Yessenia and became, as she would say, family.
Despite standing out in a crowd, Yessenia grew to love her little community. Her best friend grew up just around the corner and was only a five-second walk away. She studied for the ACT at the home of a woman who donated her time and expertise to helping the students in her town go to college.
“You definitely can create bigger bonds with people than if you live in a bigger city,” Yessenia said about the charm of growing up in her hometown.
Yessenia was unaware of her undocumented status until it came time to apply to colleges. Her application was denied at a few schools because she wasn’t eligible for scholarships or financial aid. It was hard news to handle for the aspiring nursing student who made her education a priority in order to help build a better future for her family. She always knew that finances were going to be an issue, but this felt like an additional barrier.
Her educational future looked bleak, until a family friend encouraged her to talk to the financial advisors at Northern Kentucky University. Thanks to that connection and the implementation of the DACA program, Yessenia managed to secure a partial scholarship. She also landed a job as an RA in the second semester of her freshman year to cover her room and board. The financial assistance helped, but Yessenia still had to put in a lot of hours working numerous other jobs and filling out financial paperwork to cover the rest of her expenses.
Fortunately for Yessenia, she met Luis Loza, a 2014 Dream Award recipient, her first few weeks on campus. Luis encouraged her to apply to Scholarship America’s Dream Award.
Months later, Yessenia found out she received the scholarship while she was manning the front desk of her resident hall. Her scream of excitement caused her to fall off her chair, and prompted another RA to check to makesure Yessenia was ok.
“You [Scholarship America] gave me just the right amount to cover for everything and this means that I get to be a normal student for just once in my life,” Yessenia explained.
Yessenia is currently a sophomore at Northern Kentucky University, where she is studying nursing. She hopes to use her education to teach minorities how to identify warning signs for diseases like diabetes, so they can get the medical help they need before it’s too late. She also wants to be able to communicate complicated medical terms in a language that Hispanics understand, especially in small towns where access to quality medical translators is scarce. Thanks to her persistence—and some help from Scholarship America’s Dream Award—Yessenia will someday be able to give back to a town like the one where she grew up.
m Award Recipient
Meet the 2018 Dream Award Recipients: Jacoby Barry
An only child and a smart, well-rounded student growing up in New Orleans, Jacoby Barry developed important life skills that helped him thrive inside and outside the classroom. He excelled academically in math and science, completed AP and honor classes, but also had a passion for playing basketball and was a team captain.
“Playing basketball taught me resilience, toughness, dedication, and teamwork,” said Jacoby. “It takes practice to improve and compete. Math came easy for me as a child. I viewed it as a puzzle to solve. Other subjects like English required more effort. My competitive spirit helped me work through challenges.”
When Jacoby was 14 years old, he woke up and found his beloved 47-year-old father lying deceased on the sofa. The night before, his father had shampooed the carpet and prepared dinner; his sudden death was a shock to the family. It sent his mother into a deep depression that required medical assistance and traumatized Jacoby.
To make matters even more difficult, his mother discovered her husband had dropped his life insurance policy after not being able to afford it. He had been their family’s main wage earner, and Jacoby’s mom’s depression prevented her from being able to cope with the new challenges. They struggled, argued and soon afterwards, she lost her job and their family home.
His mother went to live with a friend, starting a new job in a nearby city to get back on her feet. Jacoby went to live with his aunt. He had to change schools and had a hard time adjusting while still grieving the loss of his father. His grades dipped and he stopped playing basketball. Fortunately, he realized he needed to regroup and dedicated himself to working hard in school so he could reach his full potential.
“My aunt loved me through the pain,” said Jacoby. “Financially, she could not afford much, because she had a son in college. She supplied love, spiritual guidance and readjusted her financial resources to include me. She made sure I did not lack anything required for school including uniforms, books, and the ability to participate in school trips and play sports. Having this support, I had no reason not do my best at school and volunteer to help others. I was also able to rebuild my relationship with my mother.”
Growing up, Jacoby loved playing video games and all types of technology. In 7th grade, Jacoby joined SeaPerch, an innovative underwater robotics program that teaches kids to build an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), using PVC pipes. His team’s hard work paid off, as they placed first in the regional competition in Louisiana and fourth at nationals in Washington D.C. He competed a second year, which solidified his love of STEM.
By his senior year in high school, everything came together. Jacoby graduated with honors and received several academic and leadership awards. He received acceptances from six engineering schools. After much consideration, he choose Mercer University in Macon, Ga. (He first became aware of the school by seeing their basketball team beat Duke in the NCAA tournament.) The university sent him a postcard, and later offered him a scholarship. He visited and lived on campus during his spring break.
“They have great teachers and a strong engineering curriculum accredited by ABET, he said. “I liked that the school has a partnership with Warner Robins Air Force Base and numerous GA Medical facilities. I have the opportunity to obtain hands-on knowledge and training in all eight programs of engineering offered not just computer engineering. Faculty members bring professional experience in their specialized fields so I can apply my skills in research, gaming, animation, logistics and biomedical areas of nuclear medicine. The campus just felt right and the college checked all my boxes for progression. I also appreciated their Southern hospitality.”
In addition to studying Computer Engineering, he works as a Student Team Manager for the Mercer Bears Men’s Basketball team to help cover expenses and remain connected to the sport.
Jacoby’s aunt found the Scholarship America Dream Award scholarship when she was helping him search for scholarship opportunities and an ad popped up on the screen. He applied right away, a few days before the deadline.
“The Dream Award scholarship has helped me tremendously,” said Jacoby. “I was fortunate to receive several small local scholarships for my first year of college, but they were not renewable and were not enough to cover my tuition, housing, meals and books. The Dream Award has helped me gain financial stability to stay in school. I appreciate their investment in my dream, education and future.”
Once he earns his Bachelor’s degree, he plans to pursue a Master’s degree. He has seen too many other students get complacent and not get their advanced degree. He learned that to succeed in engineering requires self-motivation and discipline to study beyond class instruction.
“Each facet of the school’s Computer Science program contributes to my desire to one day be able to set up an entire network,” he explained. “My ultimate career goal is to eventually own a multinational IT software or web operating system that will make Google or Yahoo outdated. I want to contribute something through engineering that makes life less complicated and expands capabilities to appreciate math and science.”
“As I grow, I will continue to make it my ultimate concern to pay-it-forward in the spirit of giving back, tutoring and doing my Christian duty. I go back and visit my neighborhood to inspire others who have lost a parent and feel hopeless. I urge kids to not give up or be lazy but to work hard to achieve their goals,” Jacoby said.