In 2006, OPTIONS Alumnae came together to create something directly impacting women seeking higher education. From their collaboration, fundraising and generosity, they created the OPTIONS Alumnae Scholarship. This scholarship was created to help women who needed financial support to complete a post-secondary degree or certification.
Scholarships can completely change students’ lives. According to data from Pew Research Center, “In 2021, full-time workers ages 22 to 27 who held a bachelor’s degree, but no further education, made a median annual wage of $52,000, compared with $30,000 for full-time workers of the same age with a high school diploma and no degree.” While college increases the wages of graduates it comes at a high cost. According to the Education Data Initiative, in 2023 the average cost of tuition, books, supplies and daily living expenses was $36,436 per year. The total cost over 4 years is more than $145,000. That sum is unattainable for many in Indiana, which is why scholarships like the OPTIONS Alumnae Scholarship are essential.
The OPTIONS Alumnae Scholarship offers more than just financial assistance. It also connects recipients with a powerful and diverse support network of women.
Eight women have received the OPTIONS Alumnae Scholarship.
- Megan Nalley
- Humaira Khan
- Jennifer McKoy-Hick
- Surinam Aveja
- Kendra Bowling
- Megan Bone
- Sarah Ramsey
- Gloria Combs
Meet Sarah Ramsey
Every OPTIONS Alumnae Scholarship recipient has a unique journey and story to tell. One of our most recent scholarship recipients is Sarah Ramsey, a first-generation student completing her senior year at Purdue University.
Nearly four years ago, in the fall of Sarah’s senior year at Beach Grove High School, her mom sat her down and shared some sobering news—without grants and scholarships, affording college would be impossible. But Sarah, an excelling student and lover of learning, felt that getting a post-secondary degree was critical.
Sarah began to navigate how and where to apply for scholarships. She applied for everything—even the opportunities that seemed like long shots. She didn’t know much about Women’s Fund, but she took a chance and applied for the OPTIONS Alumnae Scholarship, using the Central Indiana Community Foundation’s scholarship portal, where she loaded all of the important information about her grades, financial need and references.
Months later, she was surprised to receive an invitation for a Zoom call about the scholarship. What she thought would be an interview was a surprise: She had earned the scholarship, which was a total of $48,000 spread over 4 years. The award was transformative and unlocked countless opportunities for Sarah.
The Adventures of a College Student in 2023
Sarah has spent her time in college meeting new lifelong friends, falling in love and pushing herself to new limits academically, including finding ways to explore her biracial identity. Sarah will graduate in 2024 from Purdue with a double major in psychology and developmental family science.
Studying Abroad in Italy
Sarah’s rigorous academic schedule includes several research labs, including the opportunity to study abroad. In the summer of 2023, after an intensive review process involving transcripts, a resume and interviews, she was accepted into a travel abroad research program that would involve research into pregnancy and the postpartum experience in Italy. Sarah funded her trip through grants.
She stayed in Florence for the summer, experiencing Italian culture, getting to know new people and conducting research. One of her favorite memories of the summer was visiting Capri. “It felt magical like I was in a fantasy book.” Her summer in Italy was only the beginning of Sarah’s bright future and career.
The Future is Bright
Right now, Sarah is applying to graduate psychology programs nationwide focusing on Multiracial identities. Wherever she goes, Sarah brings with her an infectious enthusiasm and unbreakable tenacity. As a first-generation college student and the daughter of an immigrant from Indonesia, Sarah has confronted some barriers, but she is making her mark on the world.
It’s meaningful that Women’s Fund is supporting so many people. Without Women’s Fund a lot of doors that were opened would’ve just been barriers. Women’s Fund has been such a pivotal part in my life.” Women’s Fund wishes Sarah and all OPTIONS Alumnae Scholarship recipients the best in all their future endeavors.
If you or someone you know is interested in the OPTIONS Alumnae Scholarship, the application is open for the 2024-2025 school year. It will close on Feb. 2, 2024; for more information about eligibility and requirements, click here.
About Women’s Fund
Women’s Fund of Central Indiana convenes, invests and advocates so all who identify as women and girls living in Central Indiana to have an equitable opportunity to reach their full potential, no matter their race, place or identity. Learn more about Women’s Fund.