Grand Canyon University’s Student Inspiring Students (SIS) Scholarship Program has received a $500,000, five-year grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation. The grant will fund full-tuition scholarships for “Parsons Scholars” – high school seniors who are the most academically qualified among SIS recipients. The largest single gift in the program’s history, the multi-year grant will provide life-changing opportunities for high-achieving youth who otherwise may not be able to afford a college education.
“Supporting higher education, and organizations like Grand Canyon University, is about more than funding a scholarship, it’s about investing in a person’s future,” said Founder & CEO of PXG Bob Parsons. “Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders, and I’m proud to support those who are willing to put in the hard work and earn a college degree.”
The SIS Scholarship Program is a public-private partnership in which a community-minded university, local businesses and donors, K-12 schools and a pay-it-forward scholarship program are greatly impacting education in GCU’s diverse inner-city community. Each year, the University awards full-tuition scholarships to high-achieving students from inner-city high schools who maintain a minimum 3.5 grade point average, demonstrate financial need and complete 100 or more hours of required tasks such as college-preparedness exercises and academic assistance in GCU’s innovative Learning Lounge. The Learning Lounge provides free one-on-one tutoring from GCU’s best and brightest students to any K-12 student who seeks assistance.
“GCU’s SIS Scholarship Program is providing motivated students in underserved communities with the tools they need to not only pursue higher education, but excel,” said President & Executive Creative Director of PXG Apparel Renee Parsons. “These programs are bringing hope and empowering students to follow their dreams.”
In the last six years, more than 4,500 students from 150 neighboring schools have taken advantage of this service, making nearly 60,000 visits to the Learning Lounge for 140,000 extra hours of study. In conjunction with that free tutoring program, GCU has awarded 361 four-year, full-tuition SIS scholarships to high school seniors who attend the Learning Lounge. Those SIS recipients, in turn, pay it forward while in college by providing 100 hours of tutoring to the next generation of K-12 students behind them – helping other students the same way in which they received help. More than 90 percent of the SIS recipients are students of color, which reflects the demographics of the communities surrounding GCU.
“We are extremely grateful to Bob and Renee Parsons for their generous gift and their recognition of the transformative impact this program is having,” said GCU President Brian Mueller. “First, the impact of the Learning Lounge program on K-12 schools in our neighborhood is incredibly significant. Second, that full-tuition scholarship allows high-achieving students an opportunity for a college education regardless of their socioeconomic status, changing the trajectory of their family for generations to come. And third, the recipient will also be impacting hundreds of future K-12 students while paying it forward as a college student and tutor in the Learning Lounge. The involvement of Bob and Renee Parsons allows us to get closer to our goal of having 800 students from our neighborhood involved in the SIS Scholarship Program every year.”
The initial cohort of Parsons Scholars will be selected by GCU’s SIS Scholarship Committee and announced in December 2020. The SIS Scholarship application deadline is Oct. 30.