HARTSVILLE, S.C. (courtesy coker.edu) — In an effort to continue meeting the needs of its students and making a quality college education more accessible, Coker University recently welcomed its first cohort of 18 Foster Scholars and its second cohort of 18 STEM Scholars in Biology (SSB). In addition, the university’s library recently launched ‘Stock, Paper, Scissors,’ a supply closet for any students in need of basic school supplies.
“Coker prides itself on providing students with the resources necessary for personal growth and academic achievement,” says Dr. Robert Wyatt, president of Coker University. “Programs like the Foster Scholars and STEM Scholars in Biology, and mindful initiatives like ‘Stock, Paper, Scissors,’ are all great examples of some of the many innovative ways Coker is helping students persist to graduation with confidence and proficiency.”
Coker recently received recognition for making college more accessible through institutional aid and scholarships. LendEDU’s 2018 annual Student Loan Debt by School by State Report, an in-depth analysis of student loan debt figures at nearly 1,000 four-year private and public higher education institutions across the country, ranked Coker University’s average student loan debt per borrower the 10th lowest in the United States and 6th lowest among private schools. According to LendEDU, through licensing data from the annual Peterson’s financial aid survey, they keep both current and future college students up-to-date on which institutions tend to lead to high levels of student loan debt. The data was reported through a voluntary survey to the colleges and universities listed in the report.
Coker’s Foster Scholars program offers first-time freshmen a head start at acclimating to college by providing an early move-in on campus, a two-week compressed communications course before classes start, extra support, and a $1,000 scholarship for their sophomore year if they successfully complete the program and maintain a certain GPA. The Foster Scholars program was created in memory of Coker professor Rev. John Foster, in honor of the work he did to create opportunities for all students and to ensure that Coker is a place where everyone feels like they belong.
Coker’s SSB program is for high-achieving students interested in pursuing careers in STEM fields who are in need of financial assistance to attend college. Made possible by funding from the National Science Foundation’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (NSF S-STEM), the program provides scholarship aid of up to $10,000 per year for each of the recipient’s four years in college. In addition to the four-year scholarships, SSB participants receive an integrated first-year experience, including a STEM-based first-year seminar, new laptop computers, mentoring by external scientists, advising from faculty and support from peer mentors, and research or project-based learning experiences. The program’s first cohort of 18 SSB scholars started in 2018 (class of 2022) and the second cohort of 18 scholars started earlier this month (class of 2023).
The 2019-2020 academic year marks the launch of Coker University’s first school supply closet. An effort spearheaded by the university’s library staff, ‘Stock, Paper, Scissors’ provides students with basic school supplies, such as notebooks, backpacks, pens, highlighters, index cards, and more. ‘Stock, Paper, Scissors’ is described as “a confidential way for students to acquire the supplies they need to succeed.” All students need to do is go to the library’s front desk and ask for ‘Stock, Paper, Scissors.’ Students will be able to take what they need, no questions asked. The closet is stocked solely by donations. Anyone interested in donating to Coker’s ‘Stock, Paper, Scissors’ can contact Arlia Frink at email@example.com for more information.