Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Impact of Ag Scholarships

So, today I have been procrastinating A LOT and came across commentary and discussion on (, that features a response to a question regarding, "whether or not a scholarship to a farm kid means they don’t return to the very rural community they grew up in".

My initial reaction was," No!” But, then I got to thinking. I guess it all depends on what the scholarship is for. I am a true believer that scholarships and grants are increasingly becoming a necessity for students to attending college. In fact, my husband and I even have a small scholarship set up at Dickinson State University in efforts to help students attend college. We set our scholarship up to require that the recipients be enrolled in an agricultural related course of study. We did not restrict it to a major, a minor, or a certificate program in a specified career because we believe that part of supporting agriculture is supporting the entire industry, not just production agriculture. We wanted to perhaps provide support to those who were active in agriculture in a non-traditional way. Anyway, I strongly feel that scholarships are a must in given the dynamics of our current economic situation and the increasing cost of tuition.

With that being said, I also believe that scholarships can guide people towards or away from various careers, living locations, and life choices. Ok, so what in the world do I mean? What I mean is that scholarships can be created with guidelines that support specific fields of study, living locations from which one was raised or is willing to reside in once graduated etc. This can draw people into specific fields and also support those already interested. The down side is that people may not be able to enter into a specific field if they do not receive financial support.

Do I think that scholarships deter individuals from returning to their rural communities....? I still say, "No", but, perhaps for different reasons. I feel that the PERSON decides whether they return, scholarships may open a door that wasn't before, but ultimately personal interest, job availability, and individual characteristics and circumstances decide whether a person returns "home".

So keep the scholarships out there, make personal connections with those we want to come "home", and help support the decisions that individuals make while leaving the "door" to the rural community open.

1 comment:

  1. Ok i found you true the Rural women rock facebook page! Hope to see you lots more here in bloggy world!