Meet the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation: No Student or Family Left Behind
MCSF is a 2022 Scholarship Provider of the Year Award Winner
The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation was established in 1962, as a result of a Marine veteran reading in the newspaper about a fellow Marine veteran and Medal of Honor recipient who couldn’t afford to send their child to college. The article prompted fundraising within networks of friends and Marines on behalf of that child as well as the realization that many other Marine families and their children may have difficulties paying for college. Today, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation awards $10 million to 2,600 students across the country each year through a need-based, non-competitive scholarship program that funds all qualified applicants.
The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation (MCSF) feels strongly about supporting these students and their families, many of whom do not qualify for ‘traditional’ financial aid like the Pell grant but still cannot afford to write a check for a college education. Building on the Marine Corps ethos of “No Marine left behind”, MCSF supports families in their higher education and scholarship learning process as well as provides multi-year financial support for eligible children of Marines from all service eras and duty statuses.
MCSF joined NSPA in the early 2000s, and Jeanna Adams, Chief Scholarship Officer (and new Board Member for NSPA!) has been involved since she came onboard in 2010. ‘The NSPA community is incredible!” says Adams–a place to learn what it means to be a great scholarship organization, gain expertise from the ‘best of the best’ in the field, commiserate with those coping with the same issues, and form strong friendships. The diversity of scholarship providers that make up the NSPA membership, from community foundations, private foundations, corporate programs, service and technology providers, consultants, and more, means that there is an opportunity to interact with a wide variety of programs and professionals. “I’m always amazed at what little nugget you can get from someone who isn’t like you,” says Adams.
When Adams she joined MCSF in 2010, she leaned heavily on NSPA to learn about the scholarships industry and build partnerships with other providers; since then, she’s had the opportunity to rebuild the MCSF program to be more student-focused, streamline existing processes, and learn new approaches for conducting business. She also named NSPA’s strong presence in advocacy and the role it can and has played in addressing issues that providers have been complaining about for years as a huge benefit of membership. NSPA, and members like Michele Waxman Johnson, have stood up to be strong leaders in the field of scholarship displacement, an issue that affects students across the country.
Coming up, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation is embarking on a new strategic plan and setting an ambitious growth model for the next five years. They’re looking forward to being able to impact even more Marine families and their students and continuing to evolve and modernize their program and processes through a student-focused lens. Adams encourages NSPA members to spread the word about the scholarships available to Marine Corps families–the more awareness, she says, the better! NSPA members should also see the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation as a resource for data-informed decision making and impact measurement and reach out if they are beginning to (or hoping to) use student data in this way.
Adams encourages all scholarship providers to “start where you are today”–one student and family impacted has a ripple effect that can grow far into the future. Together, NSPA members can ensure that no student and family are left behind.
Meet Cierra, a scholarship recipient, and learn more about the MCSF’s impact on her and her family by watching this video – and follow their work on their website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram!