Annual scholarship lacks applicants in Illinois

Champaign+County+Sheriff+Dustin+D.+Heuerman+explains+the+Illinois+Sheriffs%E2%80%99+Association+scholarships+in+his+office+Friday.+These+scholarships+are+open+and+available+for+Illinois+residents.

Brigida Dockus

Champaign County Sheriff Dustin D. Heuerman explains the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association scholarships in his office Friday. These scholarships are open and available for Illinois residents.

By Luis Velazquez, Staff Writer

The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association announced an annual scholarship that is offered to all permanent residents of Illinois. However, there has been a lack of applicants over the past few years.

The ISA is an organization that helps Illinois’ 102 counties throughout the state with “training, communication and the necessary resources for them to serve local communities more efficiently,” according to their website.

The ISA will be awarding over $58,000 in college scholarships throughout the state of Illinois to students who are pursuing higher education. Requirements to obtain this scholarship include being a permanent Illinois resident, using the scholarship for higher institutes in Illinois and being enrolled for the 2020-2021 school year.

Dustin Heuerman, sheriff for Champaign County, said he hopes this scholarship will have a positive effect on the recipient with financial need. Heuerman will be awarding one scholarship of $500.

“I can’t speak for the association itself but to me, that is why it is important: to hopefully provide $500 to someone who would not otherwise be able to buy textbooks or afford that little (part) of tuition,” Heuerman said.

According to Heuerman, ISA provides funds for the scholarship through the dues that are paid by the membership.

Teresa Schleinz, the executive assistant to Heuerman, said there used to be 50 to 90 applicants when she first started to work at the office.

“As the years went by, I don’t know if people just got lazy or if they have other opportunities,” Schleinz said. “Last year, I think I got a total of five. We had a committee read the five and we selected a winner from those five.”

One part of the application is an essay. However, this year, the prompt asks applicants to write a short essay on how to increase the number of applicants due to the law enforcement sheriff’s office experiencing a decline in applicants.

“For this scholarship, I think (we’re) really looking at what are ways that we can get a new group of candidates who really want to make a difference because that’s really what this is. It’s not for somebody who wants a lot of money.” Heuerman said.

Methods the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office is attempting to use include advertising this scholarship through news outlets, radio stations and their Facebook page.

Karli Waldrep, last year’s scholarship recipient, student at Northern Illinois University and Champaign County native, said she was grateful for receiving the scholarship. According to Waldrep, she said local scholarships should be recognized more by students to get additional financial help.

“With local scholarships, they want students to go to college and help with their financial need for college,” Waldrep said. “I feel like you’re better off getting local scholarships than if you try to go on a website and apply for a random scholarship where millions of students apply.”

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