This is always a busy time of year for students, especially seniors. Besides the regular hustle and bustle of spring sports and prom and academic competitions, there are the many plans that come with high school graduation. The ceremony, the reception, the plans for life after high school, all of it comes quickly. It's a time filled with a lot of excitement and a lot of questions.
Many of those questions revolve around college planning - specifically, how to pay for it. The Marshalltown High School Counseling Department keeps an extensive list of scholarships, grants and loans that MHS grads can utilize to fund their post-secondary education. The list is available in the counseling office or on the "Counselor's Corner" website (www.marshalltown.k12.ia.us/mhs/guidance.html). Scholarships and grants are always popular for good reason, but there are other valuable local programs that can help Marshalltown students afford college. Among them is the Frank Pierce Trust.
The Frank Pierce Trust is a low-interest loan program available to MHS graduates attending an Iowa college or university. Frank Pierce lived in Marshalltown at the turn of the 20th Century. In 1896, at the age of 25, he became mayor of the city and he and his wife devoted their lives to its betterment. The Pierces established a trust with their estate in order to ensure Marshalltown youth could afford quality college education.
Since it was established in 1950, the Frank Pierce Trust has dispensed 939 loans, lending about $200,000 annually to MHS graduates.
Interest rates on the loans are set at 2 percent less than the Federal student loan rate. The Trust currently has $1.84 million currently loaned out to students, with an additional $636,000 available for new applications.
Applications for the Frank Pierce Trust are available from the MHS counseling office or from Grimes Law Firm. Students applying for the loan are required to have an interview with trustees and can re-apply for the loan every year they're enrolled in college. Repayment begins upon graduation or the end of schooling and must be repaid in 10 years. Loan applications are due May 1.
It's been more than a century since Frank Pierce was mayor of Marshalltown and his legacy is still influencing Marshalltown youth to be the successful leaders he once was. If you know a soon-to-be MHS graduate, encourage them to consider this valuable local program.
Jason Staker is communications director for Marshalltown Community School District.