By MATT BLOIS
Students in Williamson County have been offered more than $1 billion in scholarships during the past eight years.
That’s how long Superintendent Mike Looney has been with the district, and it’s a goal he set at the beginning of this year.
Williamson County Schools asks students to report scholarship offers to their counselors, and then the district adds up the total number. Since the district relies on students to report their own scholarships, the actual number might be even higher.
The $1 billion reported by Williamson County Schools is the total amount of scholarships students are offered, but doesn’t necessarily reflect how much they ultimately receive. The district also asks students to report the amount they received, but Communications Director Carol Birdsong said that number also can be hard to track.
During the past eight years, students reported accepting between 50 and 70 percent of the total scholarships they were offered. That’s partly because many students apply to several colleges and receive scholarship offers from multiple schools. Eventually, those students will have to pick a school and turn down the other offers.
Matt Largen, the president of Williamson, Inc., said that the scholarships offered to students can help the economy in Williamson County, too. He said the scholarship offers are a signal of the quality of the schools here, and that can attract new companies to the area.
“It’s a great selling point for the community,” he said. “In talking with companies we’re working with to expand or relocate here, when we talk about scholarship dollars earned it definitely piques their interest.”
After going away to college many of those students come back, and Largen said that can also help businesses that are already here by providing a highly-educated workforce.