MCLEAN, Va., Oct. 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- ThanksUSA today announced the recipients of its post-secondary scholarships for the 2017-2018 academic year. 315 children and spouses of America's Armed Forces will receive scholarships totaling $1,327,510 from the national non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational and employment opportunities to military families. Additionally, Kaplan University provided nine full-tuition scholarships valued at $400,000, including four to help advance students from associate's to bachelor's degrees.
"With 700,000 military spouses and more than 105,000 children aged 17-22, college affordability has become one of the greatest burdens facing military families," says ThanksUSA President Kevin Schmiegel. "Along with the cost of post-secondary education, military families cite spouse employment, year after year, as a critical concern. With that in mind, ThanksUSA is expanding its Pathways for Patriots program, which calls on companies to provide mentoring, networking, internships and career opportunities for the military spouses and children they sponsor."
This year's impressive scholarship recipients represent all branches of the Armed Forces, from across the U.S. including:
Aspen Kelley - Kaplan/ThanksUSA Associate's to Bachelor's Degree Scholarship
Navy spouse Aspen Kelley was awarded this full-tuition scholarship at an estimated value of $33,390 toward her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree at Kaplan University.
"Being a military spouse means that my education and career goals often take a backseat to the needs of the Navy," Kelly says. "Because of Kaplan University and ThanksUSA, I can continue my education without the financial burden that prevents many military spouses from going back to school. This scholarship is truly a blessing."
Victoria Clark - $3,000 CVS Health/ThanksUSA Scholarship
One of 10 students awarded a $3,000 scholarship from CVS Health/ThanksUSA to study health-related and business majors is Air Force dependent Victoria Clark, a Pharmaceutical Sciences major at the University of Georgia.
Aiming to open a hometown pharmacy, Victoria says, "I would like to thank all that were so generous as to make the CVS Health/ThanksUSA scholarship possible. It's encouraging to know that so many people support the sacrifices of military personnel and their families. I appreciate the opportunity to continue my education so that one day I may give back to my community."
Blake Krpec – $3,000 Lockheed Martin/ThanksUSA Scholarship
Committed to the advancement of STEM education, Lockheed Martin has generously sponsored 15 ThanksUSA scholarships for this academic year. Recipient Blake Krpec, the son of an Army National Guardsman, was awarded a $3,000 Lockheed Martin/ThanksUSA scholarship to continue undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University. He will major in Aerospace Engineering with an Electrical Engineering minor.
Planning for a career as an aerospace engineer, Blake appreciates Lockheed Martin's support of ThanksUSA, saying, "I am overjoyed to have received a scholarship sponsored by a company that I want to intern with and possibly work at one day! This scholarship is a tremendous help."
ThanksUSA achieved 25 and 30 percent increases respectively in the total number and dollar value of scholarships awarded over last year and welcomed the founding support of companies like CVS Health, Smiths Detection and Lockheed Martin for the Pathways for Patriots program. Donors also proved generous this summer in response to The Kovner Foundation $400,000 Challenge Grant. ThanksUSA raised $314,445, which was automatically doubled by the Foundation, bringing the total raised to $628,890. The campaign was so successful The Kovner Foundation has issued a second $400,000 challenge through June 30, 2018.
"The Kovner Challenge Grant presents a remarkable opportunity for all Americans to say thank you to our troops and their families," says Schmiegel. "Small donations from communities across the nation quickly add up and will result in us awarding hundreds of additional scholarships to deserving military spouses and kids hoping to go to school next fall."
Since 2006 ThanksUSA has awarded more than 4,200 scholarships valued at more than $13 million. Sponsors championing the organization's efforts include Altria, American Airlines, Apex Systems, Blavatnik Family Foundation, Centene Corporation, CVS Health, Health Net Federal Services, Helping Hand Education Scholarship Fund, Intelligent Decisions, Jackson Casey Fund, Kaplan University, KPMG, The Kovner Foundation, Lockheed Martin, Monster Energy, Navy Postgraduate School Foundation, Paladin Capital Group, Pershing Square Foundation, Red Cloud Food Services, Rudy's Country Store and Bar-B-Q, Rumsfeld Foundation, Smiths Detection, Strada Education Network and others.
ThanksUSA is a non-partisan, charitable effort to mobilize Americans of all ages to "thank" the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. The organization provides college, technical, and vocational school scholarships to the children and spouses of military personnel with the goal of helping them achieve both their educational and career aspirations. For more information, visit www.ThanksUSA.org.
Michele Stork, Executive Director