Friday, October 12, 2007
Scholarship makes Critical Difference for OU student
By Rebecca Wyatt Thomas, OU Web Writer
A year ago, Sherry Ruckman was dreaming of returning to the classroom to finish her degree. Her education was interrupted nine years ago and the single mother of two boys didn’t think she could possibly afford to return to school. That was until she saw the Women of Oakland University Critical Difference Scholarship on OU’s Financial Aid Web site. The scholarship has enabled her to pursue her education again, move into family housing and focus on her future.
“Without this scholarship, I probably would not be here,” Ruckman said.
The Critical Difference Scholarship is awarded annually to a single head of household who has had his or her education interrupted for at least one year. Applicants must have earned at least 16 credits at the university with a GPA of 2.50.
Ruckman and her sons, ages 8 and 10, were living in Wixom when she returned to OU for the spring semester. She was commuting more than an hour for classes, but it didn’t matter because she was excited to be back in school. Rather than switching her kids’ school so late in the year, Ruckman waited until the summer to move into on-campus family housing.
“If it’s something you really want to do, you find a way to do it,” Ruckman said. “I’ve always known I wanted to complete my education and the timing was finally right.”
Ruckman began exploring coming back to school last fall. With very little family in the area, Ruckman was looking for a school with on-campus family housing, an education program that would help her attain her goals and financial aid. OU offered her all of these things.
While Ruckman is finishing up her general education classes, she is studying political science and hopes to do something with education reform.
Ruckman found the scholarship information on OU’s Financial Aid Web site and applied right before the deadline. She received a call from the scholarship committee and was brought in to interview with the committee panel within a week. Ruckman had to submit a letter of reference, explain her situation and how the scholarship would benefit her, and provide financial information.
“I got a call the next day that I had received the scholarship. It was a huge relief knowing I would have this financial help,” Ruckman said.
The scholarship can be renewed and Ruckman plans to apply for the scholarship again for next year. She said the scholarship is unique because it applies to all semesters, which allows her to take classes year round and complete her degree sooner.
“The idea that this Women of Oakland University group existed and offered this scholarship gave me the courage to come back to school and come to OU,” Ruckman said.
For more information on scholarships available through Oakland University, visit the Scholarships Web site or contact Financial Aid at (248) 370-3370.