Youngstown Foundation Blesses YSTAR Students with More Support

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The Youngstown Foundation blessed YSTAR college-bound seniors in the Youngstown City School District this holiday season with a special gift — four-year full tuition for the last dollars needed to attend Youngstown State University or Eastern Gateway Community College.

The gift was announced Dec. 22. It’s part of a new funding model that allows public school graduates to attend YSU or EGCC as a commuter without incurring student loan debt. Funds from The Youngstown Foundation will be applied after all other financial aid and scholarship sources have been exhausted and can be utilized to pay tuition, mandatory fees, parking and book expenses.

“The generosity of The Youngstown Foundation will help our Youngstown City School District scholars realize their dreams of continuing their education,” said CEO Justin Jennings. “I can’t thank The Youngstown Foundation enough.”

Lynnette Forde, newly appointed foundation president, credited the “visionary leadership of her predecessor, former executive director Jan Strasfeld, for establishing the YSTAR program in September 2012. With an initial commitment of $3 million, and commencing with the class of 2016, all students enrolled in the Youngstown City Schools had the opportunity to receive up to $3,000 of last-dollar funding to attend YSU or EGCC.

In 2018, as part of the Foundation’s 100th anniversary festivities, the maximum YSTAR funds available for each student, commencing with the Class of 2018, was doubled to $6,000, which continues today.

Students enrolled in YCSD as a freshman, sophomore or junior can earn YSTAR dollars. To accumulate funds, students must meet all requirements for graduation within four years with at least a 2.0 GPA. The scholarship continues to require YCSD students to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually to ensure federal and state grant eligibility.

“Youngstown State University is excited for students to receive the special YSTAR four-year scholarship,” said YSU President James P. Tressel. “At YSU, we are committed to student success. We will provide these YSTAR Scholars with a free, two week Summer Bridge Program that will create an on-campus living and dining experience, along with a curriculum to prepare each student for the rigors of college.”

Added Michael Geoghegan, president of EGCC, “When we address the financial barriers of getting a college degree, we have seen greater success from our students in the classroom and in their careers.”

Since its inception in 1918, The Youngstown Foundation has grown from $33,000 in assets to over $130 million, and has distributed more than $100 million back into the community through grants to support nonprofit organizations.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.